The story behind the Mariam Mosque

In the beginning of 2015 the organization FEMIMAM was launched to advocate for the inclusion of women functioning as imams in Denmark. In 2016, FEMIMAM launched Scandinavia’s first mosque with female imams performing Islamic ceremonies, offering spiritual care, facilitating seminars and leading an Islamic Academy. FEMIMAM works to challenge patriarchal structures in the leadership of religious worship and education, and to challenge patriarchal interpretations of the Quran.

In Denmark the first female priests were ordained in April 1948 within the Protestant church. Today the number of female and male priests is about the same and women have a higher representation than men at The Faculties of Theology at Danish universities. In Denmark minority groups of Jewish and Muslim scholars, both men and women, push for the same development calling for Scandinavian full-time female rabbis and imamahs. The Mariam Mosque is an all-inclusive mosque, but when offering Friday prayers the mosque is exclusively for women. At all other times, men are welcome to come and pray, but in the mosque women lead only women in prayer.

Imamahs are not a new phenomenon. Mosques with female imamahs are active in China, South Africa, Canada, Germany and USA. The Islamic scholar Amina Wadud has led the Friday prayer in USA, South Africa and various European countries. Furthermore, Morocco educates female religious leaders to teach and give Islamic spiritual care.

The al-Azhar University in Cairo, as well as three out of four Islamic schools of jurisprudence, acknowledge females leading prayers for other females. The Andalusian Islamic scholar, Ibn Rushd (scholar of Fiqh and philosopher, 1126-1198), also attests to this in his encyclopedia of Islamic jurisprudence. Tabbari allows female imams. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) allowed Umm Salama and Aisha to lead the prayer for other women in his house mosque in Medina, the first house mosque in Islamic history. He also asked Umm Waraqa to lead the prayer for her household. Women, at the time of the Prophet, had variated roles- some were teachers, warriors and female imams.

Our Friday prayer in The Mariam Mosque is reserved for women only. Any woman, regardless of her faith, is welcome to join our Friday prayer. After the prayer the Mosque welcomes anyone. The Mariam Mosque presently has a team of 3 female imamahs, Islamic spiritual care persons, khatibahs and dhikr leaders. The Mariam Mosque offers dhikr for both men and women.