#287: A Woman Makmum Correcting the Imam


Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it permissible for a woman to recite tasbih loudly to correct the imam if he makes a mistake? Hope for an explanation.


Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Basically, scholars agreed that a makmum should correct the imam if the imam forgets or is mistaken in his recitation of the Quran or other actions in prayer. [1]

Correcting the imam in a congregational prayer is sanctioned based on the statement of the Messenger PBUH:

التَّسْبِيحُ لِلرِّجَالِ وَالتَّصْفِيقُ لِلنِّسَاءِ

“Glorification of Allah (i.e. saying) is for men and clapping of hands is for women.” [2]

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani explained the restriction against tasbih (reciting Subhanallah loudly) for women is due to the fact that they are commanded to lower their voices in prayer to prevent fitnah, while men are restricted against clapping their hands for it is synonymous to women. [3]

Some scholars stated the reason for the makruh ruling of tasbih by women and the permissibility of clapping to correct the imam is because of the softness of the voice of most women and the possibility that it will distract the concentration of the male congregants. This is cited by Ibn Abd al-Barr. [4]

In answering this question, scholars of madhhab Syafie argued presenting the hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

‏ التَّسْبِيحُ لِلرِّجَالِ وَالتَّصْفِيقُ لِلنِّسَاءِ ‏‏

“Saying ‘Glory be to God’ applies to men and clapping to women.” [5]

According to this hadith, here, we cite several scholars’ opinions, among them are:

  • Imam al-Nawawi stated that according to madhhab al-Syafie, tasbih is for men and clapping is for women. [6]
  • Imam Mawardi is also of the opinion that clapping is the way for women to correct the imam, for the voice of women is aurah and there is a concern of fitnah for those who hear it. And he said that clapping is more accurate compared to tasbih for women according to the above hadith. [7]
  • While according to Imam al-Zarkasyi, clapping to correct the imam when there are other ajnabi men; whereas if there are only women and mahram men in the congregation, they should recite tasbih in jahar (loud and clear). [8]
  • In madhhab Imam Malik’s opinion, men and women should recite tasbih in prayer and restricts women against clapping in prayer. [9]


Hence, according to the discussion of scholars above, it is clear that according to madhhab Syafie, correcting the imam by reciting tasbih is for men while for women it is by clapping.

May Allah SWT grant us all understanding in His shariah. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] See al-Taj wa al-Iklil, 2/27; Mathalib Uli al-Nuha 1/485 and Nail al-Autar, 2/373

[2] Narrated by al-Bukhari (1203), Abu Daud (939) and al-Nasa’ie (1210)

[3] See Fath al-Bari 3/77

[4] See Al-Tamhid lima fi al-Muwatta’ min al-Ma’ani wa al-Asanid 21/108

[5] Narrated by al-Bukhari (1203)

[6] See al-Majmu’4/13

[7] See al-Hawi al-Kabir, 2/162

[8] See Mughni al-Muhtaj 1/418. This is also the fatwa issued by Syeikh Nuh ‘Ali Salman and Syeikh Abdullah bin Baz, where is it permissible for a woman to correct the imam if the only people present are her husband, other women and mahram men. Furthermore, Syeikh Ibn Baz permits a woman to correct the imam if there are no other men that do so. A woman’s voice is not aurah and it only becomes aurah when it is mellowed or softened and this is prohibited. (See the link https://bit.ly/2FS3pyr and http://aliftaa.jo/Question3.aspx?QuestionId=2202#.XE5-sVwzZPZ )

[9] See Fath al-Qadir, 1/356