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Imamas and visitors talking together during friday prayer


In early 2015, The Mariam Mosque was established to champion the cause of female imams in Denmark. By 2016, this pioneering organization founded Scandinavia's first women-led mosque in Denmark, where female imams conducted Islamic ceremonies, provided spiritual guidance, and led an Islamic Academy. This empowering institution aims to create more space for women in religious leadership and reinterpret the Quran by reconnecting with its original, inclusive sources.

In the Danish Protestant church, female priests have been ordained since April 1948. Today, the number of male and female priests is nearly equal, and women outnumber men in Danish theological faculties. Within Denmark, diverse groups of Jewish and Muslim scholars, both male and female, advocate for the appointment of full-time female rabbis and imamahs in Scandinavian communities. The Mariam Mosque is all-embracing; however, Friday prayers are reserved for women only. Men are welcome to pray at other times, but only women lead prayers for other women. Female imamahs are not a novel concept, with mosques led by them in countries such as China, South Africa, Canada, Germany, the US, France, Finland, and the UK. Islamic scholar Amina Wadud has led Friday prayers in the US, South Africa, and various European nations, while Morocco trains female religious leaders to teach and provide Islamic spiritual care.

The prestigious al-Azhar University in Cairo, along with three of the four major Islamic schools of jurisprudence, recognize the legitimacy of women leading prayers for other women. Andalusian Islamic scholar Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) also supports this view in his encyclopedia of Islamic jurisprudence, and Tabbari approves of female imams. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) permitted Umm Salama and Aisha to lead prayers for other women in his house mosque in Medina, the first of its kind in Islamic history. He also instructed Umm Waraqa to lead prayers for her family. During his time, women held diverse roles, including teachers, warriors, and female imams.

The Mariam Mosque's Friday prayer is exclusively for women, but anyone, regardless of their faith, is welcome afterward. The mosque currently has a team of three female imamahs, Islamic spiritual care providers, khatibahs, and dhikr leaders. Both men and women can participate in the dhikr offered by The Mariam Mosque.


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