I saw the post about congregational prayer, and this reminded me of another issue that came up at our Islamic school.
We always have the children offer dhuhr salat at school, because it is at the proper time, and the older boys (generally 3rd-6th grade, but now some of the younger ones as well- down to 1st and 2nd) lead the prayer. Of course, we've already talked with the older students about how when one of the very young boys is imam, that they could pray with the group as their sunnah prayer, to show support and encouragement, but then afterwards pray alone as their dhuhr prayer, since many of the girls especially are 10 and older. And as an adult, I won't follow one of the boys who is too young to really lead, but will pray by myself during or after, as do many of the other teachers.
The question, however, is about women leadng prayer for other women only. I know that women can lead children in their home, and I'm under the understanding that a knowledgeable woman could lead a group of other women, or mixed with women and children. In fact, I've heard of the story of Fatima (I believe, may Allah forgive me if I'm wrong) leading prayer in her house and it included male slaves. And as is usually the case with any congregational prayer, the most knowledgeable should lead, not the one who is brand new and may not yet know all of the words or movements.
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
So last year we actually had I believe 3-4 days where we split up the girls and boys during prayer, into two different rooms, and had them pray separately, with the oldest girls leading the other girls. Some of the girls in the group have lead grown women as well in the past, mashaallah. The question comes because one of the older girls (not the oldest or the most knowledgeable) told the teachers that her father (who happens to be the Islamic Studies teacher, which is why I'm confused) has told her she cannot pray in a group of just women, but must pray behind a boy. Or by herself, I imagine. The Arabic.QUran teacher and I had never heard this before, so I'm wodnering if this is a valid point, maybe coming from hadith? Or is it something that only certain scholars follow?
Can anyone shed some light on this??