If a female follows a male in tarāwīḥ and the male needs to be corrected, can the female correct the male?
Before answering the question, we find in the Qur’an that Allāh has forbidden the pure wives of the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to speak in a soft and seductive tone. Allāh says:
“O wives of the Prophet! You are like no other [category of] women, if you remain Allāh-fearing. So do not be soft in [your] speech [with men], such that one in whose heart there is a sickness should become desirous. Rather, speak a forthright word.” (Sūrah al-Ahzāb: 32)
Many mufassirīn (exegetes) and scholars have deduced from this verse that it is impermissible for a woman to speak in a seductive tone whereby the heart of males become desirous.
Moreover, women who are praying behind men are advised to clap with their palms, rather than informing with their voice when the imam makes a mistake.
On this basis, hadith scholars have forbade listening to the voice of a woman when it creates temptation.
Some scholars have included the voice of a woman in the awrah (that which needs to be concealed). However, other expert scholars have excluded her voice from the awrah.
Despite this, a woman is not permitted to expose her voice in a seductive manner which will create temptation in the hearts of non-mahrams (males of marriageable kin). It is on this basis, a woman is not permitted to call out the adhān. Hence, the recitation of a woman in a melodious tone may not be heard by non-mahrams.
Due to the opinion of expert scholars being that the voice of a woman is not included in the awrah, her recitation of the Qur’an aloud in ṣalāh will not render it invalid. Nevertheless, it will be disliked for her to raise her voice, especially if her voice reaches non-mahram males.
However, as it is not a sin for her voice to reach her husband or mahram males, she will be permitted to correct them. If there is a non-mahram present, she should avoid correcting the imām. If she does, neither her ṣalāh nor the ṣalāh of imām will be rendered invalid.
(Adapted from Tarāwīḥ ke Aham Masā’il by Muftī Muhammad Riḍwan. Published by Kutub Khāna Idāra Gufrān, Rawalpindi.)
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