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Women Going To The Masjid For Salaah

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Question

Are women allow to go mosque in this days

 
 
Answer

 

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

 

Allah Ta'ala says in the Holy Quran regarding hijab:

 

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى

 

"Remain in your homes, and do not display (your) beauty as it used to be displayed in
the earlier days of ignorance" (33:33)

 

قل للمؤمنين يغضوا من أبصارهم ويحفظوا فروجهم ذلك أزكى لهم إن الله خبير بما يصنعون وقل للمؤمنات يغضضن من أبصارهن ويحفظن فروجهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا ما ظهر منها وليضربن بخمرهن على جيوبهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا لبعولتهن أو آبائهن أو آباء بعولتهن أو أبنائهن أو أبناء بعولتهن أو إخوانهن أو بني إخوانهن أو بني أخواتهن أو نسائهن أو ما ملكت أيمانهن أو التابعين غير أولي الإربة من الرجال أو الطفل الذين لم يظهروا على عورات النساء ولا يضربن بأرجلهن ليعلم ما يخفين من زينتهن وتوبوا إلى الله جميعا أيها المؤمنون لعلكم تفلحون

 

"Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is more decent for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known. And repent to Allah O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success". (24:30-31)

 

In this time of extensive fitna, it is better for women to pray within the confinements of the home. In our times, we see that many masjids have one entrance for men and women, which means that intermingling undoubtedly takes place and it is extremely difficult to control the gaze in that case. Many women nowadays also beautify themselves, perfume themselves, and do not observe proper hijab when going to the masjid. When all these things occur, then forbidden acts such as non-mehram men and women gazing at each other, unnecessary conversation etc. take place that ignites the fire of temptation which leads to the different forms of zina. Allah Ta'ala has given us a warning in the Quran by saying:

 

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

 

"And do not even go close to fornication. It is indeed a shameful act and an evil way to follow". (17:32)

 

In this verse, Allah Ta'ala did not just say "Do not fornicate", but He said do not even go close to it, meaning do not do things which may lead to adultery or fornication as Shaytan is quick to mislead the believers.

It is true that in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), women were permitted to pray in the masjid. In fact, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:

 

 

لا تمنعوا إماء الله مساجد الله

"Do not ban the female servants of Allah from Allah's masjids" (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud)

 

However, there were reasons why Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not prevent women from going to masjid in his time. Before getting to those, it must first be stated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) clearly mentioned that it is better and more rewarding for women to pray salat in their homes. Despite that, he forbade others from preventing women to attend the masjid.

 

The reason for permitting women going to the masjid is that in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), women going out in full hijab were not considered to be a cause of fitna. This is why he had given women permission to pray at the masjid even though the reward for them praying in their homes is greater. After the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), the Sahaba (RadiyAllahu Anhum) realized that women going to the masjid was no longer free from apprehension of fitna. Even A'isha (RadiyAllahu Anha), the beloved wife of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), stated that if the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) could see the circumstances in that time, he most certainly would have stopped women from going to the masjid. If women covered in full hijab were not encouraged to go out in the times of the Sahaba (RadiyAllahu Anhum) due to fitna, then surely in our time the fitna has greatly expanded and it has become ever so dangerous for Muslim women to go out unnecessarily.

 

In the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), unnecessary intermingling did not take place. A Hadith narrated by Umm Salamah (RadiyAllahu Anha) states that when the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) completed the prayer, the women would get up to leave. He would then wait awhile before standing. Ibn Shahab said: "I believe he waited for a while to give the women an opportunity to depart before the men". (Sahih al-Bukhari)

 

Ibn Hajr Asqalaani (Rahmatullah Alayhi) mentions that in this Hadith, we see that it is disliked for men and women to mix on the road. (Fathul Bari)

 

Therefore, we must remember that the hikmah (wisdom) of Allah Ta'ala is behind everything. As mentioned earlier, it is clear that there is more reward for women to pray at home rather than the masjid. Had women's full reward for prayer depended on going to the masjid or praying in congregation, then this would have placed a great hardship and spiritual loss on mothers and other women who are at home. For example, women with young or infant children at home would have been deprived of full reward. Rather, from Allah's infinite wisdom and mercy, He made the religious responsibilities of each gender in accordance with the nature of their social roles.

 

And Allah knows best

Wassalam

Ml. Asif Umar,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah

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Do women have to attend the eid prayers?
 
Question

Umm Atiyah (ra) reported: "The Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded us to bring out on Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, young women, hijab-observing adult women and the menstruating women. The menstruating women stayed out of actual Salaat but participated in good deeds and Duaa (supplication). I (Umm Atiyah) said to the Holy Prophet (saw): Oh! Messenger of Allah, one does not have an outer garment. He replied: Let her sister cover her with her garment." (muslim)

 

Ash-Shawkaanee (radiyallaahu `anhu) said:
"Note that the Prophet consistently performed this prayer on every Eid, never neglecting it. He commanded the people to go out for it; he even commanded the free women, the virgins, and the menstruating women to go out, instructing the latter to refrain from praying, in order for all of them to witness this good and the Muslims' supplications. He further commanded the woman who did not own a jilbaab (outer overall garment for women) to borrow her friend's (al-Bukhari)

 

Can you please verify the above as some people say these hadiths are not true ? do women have to attend the eid prayers? is it wajib or depends on one's choice? in the arab world we see separate areas being assigned for women during eid prayers which we dont find in our countries, if such facility is available can a women go for eid prayers?

 

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

 

We confirm that these ahadeeth are recorded in Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim and thus authentic.

 

Furthermore, this is not an isolated practice of the Sahaba (R.A). In fact during the era of Rasul Allah ( sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam ) women (excluding those who were menstruating) would attend the Salaats in the Masajid five times a day.

 

 

* This was the general practice and was in fact needed, since Islam was in its initial stages and the women were needed to become accustomed to performing Salaats.
 

 

* Moreover, the aspect of fitnah was far less than in our era.

Therefore, although the need for the women to be accustomed to these Salaats still exists today and will remain till the day of Qiyaama; the element of fitna (evil and mischief) is more threatening today than ever before.

Ponder over the fact that Ummul-Mo’mineen Sayyidatuna Ayesha (R.A) had began to discourage this practice not very long after the demise of Rasul Allah ( sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam ) based on the same element of fitna. Can we imagine what she would have said had she witnessed our era?
 

 

* The scholars of Islam always considered this aspect of the fitna and therefore many of them ruled that women should not attend the Salaat, neither in masjid nor at the Eid Gaah (Musallah).

After quoting the hadeeth in question, Imam Tirmidhi (R.A) has reported from Imaams (Abdullah ibn Mubarak (R.A) and Sufiyaan As Thawri (R.A)) that they considered it makrooh for the women to attend the Eid Salâah. Imam Tirmidhi (R.A) also made reference to the statement of Sayyidatuna Ayesha (R.A) that was quoted above. (Sunan Tirmidhi Vol.2 Pg.430 #539-40).
 

 

* This is also the view of the Hânafi Scholars. (A’ini in Umdatur Qari Vol.3 Pg. 305; I’laau Sunan Vol. 8 Pg 107)
 

 

* Even those scholars who allow the women to attend attach strict conditions, like:

 

  • The women should not be scantly adorned.
  • They should not have applied perfume etc.

 

One cannot say for fact that on the day of Eid, no person would prefer to be shabbily dressed. On the contrary, people generally adorn their best attire on this day. So how can it be justified that the women be permitted to attend when the conditions of permission will certainly be flouted?
 

 

* Another reason for which all the women were ordered to attend was so that the large numbers of the Muslims may become apparent, thereby attracting others towards Islam.

More than being affected by ones inner spirits and enthusiasms, one needs to bear in mind the commands ofAllah and be conscious of not displeasing Him. There is no rational in trying to fulfill a Mustahab (liked) act by perpetuating several haraams and prohibitions.
 

 

* Lastly, some people think that it is only the Asians who prohibit the above.

 

Hereunder is a short list of the scholars of the past who also prevented the women from attending either the five Salaats in masajid or the Eid Salâah:

  1. Sayyidatuna Ayesha (R.A) (Sahih Al Bukhari  )
  2. Sayyiduna Abdullah b. Mas’ood (R.A) (Majma’uz Zawaahid)
  3. Sayyiduna Abdullah b. Umar (R.A) (Musannad ibn Abi Sheyba #5845)
  4. Sayyiduna Urwa b. Zubayr (R.A) (Musannad ibn Abi Sheyba #5846)
  5. Sayyiduna Qasim b. Mohammed b. Abi Bakr Faqih Al Madinah (R.A) (Musannad ibn Abi Sheyba #5847)
  6. Sayyiduna Ibraheem Nakh’ee (R.A) (Musannad ibn Abi Sheyba #5844, #5848)
  7. Imaam Abdullah b. Al-Mubarak (R.A) (Sunan Tirmidhi #539-40 Vol.2 Pg.420)
  8. Imaam Malik (R.A) (Umdatur Qari Vol.3 Pg. 305)
  9. Imaam Sufiyaan As Thawri (R.A) (Sunan Tirmidhi)
  10. Imam Abu Yusuf (R.A) student of Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A) (Umdatur Qari Vol.3 Pg. 305)

 

Now, ask yourself and question: How many of the above are Asians?

 

And Allah knows best

 

Wassalam

 

Maulana Mohammed ibn Maulana Harooon Abasoomer

Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah

askimam.com

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Women and the Masjid: Avoiding Extremes

Khalid Baig

 

Does Islam require --- or even permit ---- a coed masjid?

 

Without using the term ---for obvious reasons---- many people in the US are making suggestions that point in that direction. They begin by referring to real problems women face in some of the masajid where they are denied even minimal facilities to use the masjid but then take a “leap of faith” and go to the extreme position that men and women must be in the same physical space without any barriers and that both must have an equal share in administering the masjid. They call it the Prophetic example and the practice of this ummah over the centuries as a deviation from that Sunnah. They want to correct a historic wrong!

 

So let us take a careful and balanced look at the role of the masjid and that of our sisters in it according to Islamic teachings.

 

Does the Qur’an Require Masjid Attendance by Women?

The answer is no. Neither the Qur’an nor the Hadith make it a religious obligation for women to pray in a masjid. It is permitted, with conditions, as we shall see below. But it is never required.

 

Some people have tried to use the ayah from Surah al-Ahzab to imply a requirement. The ayah says:: "For the Muslim men and women,- for the believing men and women, for the devout men and women, for the truthful men and women, for the men and women who are patient and constant, for the men and women who humble themselves, for the men and women who give charity, for the men and women who fast, for the men and women who guard their chastity, and for the men and women who are exceedingly mindful of Allah—for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great rewards." [Al-Ahzab 33: 35]

 

What this very important ayah tells us is that women and men are equal in being servants of Allah and being responsible for whatever obligations have been placed on them. Allah's forgiveness and great rewards are open to both men and women as they become sincere believers and devout worshipers, and as they develop qualities of humbleness, chastity, charity, and taqwa. It does not say that their obligations are the same or they work in a coed world.

 

Some people used this alleged quote from the Qur’an: "They (collaborate) to promote all that is good and oppose all that is evil." [Al-Tawbah 9:71] to make their case. The word "collaborate" has been inserted to suggest that the Qur'an is praising men and women collaborating with each other in a coed campaign. If that is the idea, that is a blatant lie. For the word is not there and it is not implied. The Qur'an is simply asking men and women to command good and forbid evil in their own spheres. Here, for comparison, are three translations:

 

YUSUFALI: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil. PICKTHAL: they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. SHAKIR: they enjoin good and forbid evil.

None of them hints at the word “collaborate.”

 

The Qur’an on Mixed Gatherings

To understand the Qur'an's view of mixed gatherings, we can turn to this verse: "O you who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former)" [Al-Hujarat, 49:11]. Here men have been admonished against laughing at other men and women from laughing at other women. But there is no mention of cross gender possibilities. Why? Because in Islam there is no concept of a mixed gathering. So the question of men laughing at women or vice versa simply does not arise.

 

Ahadith on Women’s Prayers

Given below are some of the ahadith that address the issue of women’s prayers.

 

A) Um Salama, Radi-Allahu anha, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "The best masjid for women is the innermost part of their houses." [Ahmad 6/297, Tabrani in Al-Kabeer, Ibn Khuzaima, Mustadrak Hakim 1/209].

 

B) Um Humayd, the wife of Abu Humayd As-Sa'di, Radi-Allahu anhuma, narrates that she came to the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you. He said, “I know that you love to pray with me, but your prayer in your bayt [e.g. bedroom] is better than your prayer in your hujra [e.g. living room], and your prayer in your hujra is better than your prayer in your daar [e.g. courtyard], and your prayer in your daar is better than your prayer in your neighborhood masjid, and your prayer in your neighborhood masjid is better than your prayer in my masjid.” The narrator says: "So she ordered and a masjid was constructed for her in the farthest and darkest corner of her house, and she continued to pray there until she died." [Ahmad 6/371, Ibn Khuzaima 3/95, Ibn Hibban 2214]

 

C) Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "No woman prays a prayer more beloved to Allah, than that in the darkest part of her home." [At-Tabrani in Al-Kabeer. Also Ibn Khuzaimah 3/96]

 

D) Abdullah Ibn Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "The woman is worth hiding ('awrat) and when she leaves her home, the Shaytaan raises his glance to her, and she is never closer to Allah than when she is in the innermost part of her home." [Tabrani in Al-Awsat. For similar ahadith see Tirmidhi, Abwaab-ur-Ridaa' 1173; Ibn Khuzaima 3/93; Ibn Hibban 5570]

 

E) Abdullah Ibn Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Do not prevent your women from (entering) the mosques, but their houses are better for them." [Abu Dawud Kitab-us-Salat. Bab Ma Jaa'a fi Khuroojin-nisaa-i ilal Masjid]

 

F) Abdullah Ibn Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Do not prevent your women from (entering) the mosques of Allah." [sahih Muslim. Kitab-us-Salat, Babu Khuroojin Nisaai ilal masjid iza lam utarattab. #668]

While the advocates of the coed masjid claim that they are asserting the rights of women, they are in fact denying the right of a private space to both men and women.

 

Imam Nawawi’s Commentary on the Hadith prohibiting Stopping Women from Masjid

This last hadith has been used as a justification for an unmitigated and unconditional right of women to fully participate in the main hall of a masjid. But this is not how it has been understood by hadith scholars and Muslim jurists. In his commentary of Sahih Muslim, Imam Nawawi writes:

 

قَوْله صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( لَا تَمْنَعُوا إِمَاء اللَّه مَسَاجِد اللَّه ) هَذَا وَشَبَهه مِنْ أَحَادِيث الْبَاب ظَاهِر فِي أَنَّهَا لَا تُمْنَع الْمَسْجِد لَكِنْ بِشُرُوطٍ ذَكَرَهَا الْعُلَمَاء مَأْخُوذَة مِنْ الْأَحَادِيث , وَهُوَ أَلَّا تَكُون مُتَطَيِّبَة , وَلَا مُتَزَيِّنَة , وَلَا ذَات خَلَاخِل يُسْمَع صَوْتهَا , وَلَا ثِيَاب فَاخِرَة , وَلَا مُخْتَلِطَة بِالرِّجَالِ , وَلَا شَابَّة وَنَحْوهَا مِمَّنْ يُفْتَتَن بِهَا , وَأَنْ لَا يَكُون فِي الطَّرِيق مَا يَخَاف بِهِ مَفْسَدَة وَنَحْوهَا . وَهَذَا النَّهْي عَنْ مَنْعهنَّ مِنْ الْخُرُوج مَحْمُول عَلَى كَرَاهَة التَّنْزِيه إِذَا كَانَتْ الْمَرْأَة ذَات زَوْج أَوْ سَيِّد وَوُجِدَتْ الشُّرُوط الْمَذْكُورَة , فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهَا زَوْج وَلَا سَيِّد حَرُمَ الْمَنْع إِذَا وُجِدَتْ الشُّرُوط .

 

“From this hadith and other ahadith like this it appears that women should not be prohibited from the masjid, but with conditions that the scholars have mentioned and which are deduced from ahadith and these are:

 

1) She should not wear any perfume.

3) She should not be wearing jingling jewelry

4) She should not be wearing fancy clothes.

5) She should not mix with the men.

6) She should not be young, through whom fitna can erupt

7) The path to the masjid should be safe (i.e. there should be no fear of any problem on her way to and from the masjid).

 

Stopping them from going to the masjid will be lightly discouraged (makruh tanzihi) if she meets all the conditions listed here and has a husband or guardian. Stopping them will be haram when she meets all the conditions and does not have a husband or guardian."

 

Women in the Masjid in the Time of the Prophet (Sall-Allahu Alayhi wa sallam)

Certainly there are authentic reports that tell us that women did attend the prayers at the masjid during the time of the Prophet, Sall-Alalhu Alayhi wa sallam. But they do not support the overall picture being painted by the coed masjid campaigners. Regarding women's prayers in the masjid, we get this account:

 

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يُصَلِّي الصُّبْحَ بِغَلَسٍ فَيَنْصَرِفْنَ نِسَاءُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَا يُعْرَفْنَ مِنْ الْغَلَسِ أَوْ لَا يَعْرِفُ بَعْضُهُنَّ بَعْضًا

 

Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, narrates that the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to pray Fajr at dusk and then the women would leave immediately without being recognized because of darkness and they would not recognize each other. [bukhari, Kitab-ul-Azan Bab Sur'ati Insiraaf-inisaai min as-subh]

 

Another narration tells us:

 

عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا سَلَّمَ قَامَ النِّسَاءُ حِينَ يَقْضِي تَسْلِيمَهُ وَيَمْكُثُ هُوَ فِي مَقَامِهِ يَسِيرًا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقُومَ

 

Um Salamah, Radi-Allahu anha, reports that when the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, finished the prayer by saying salam, the women would stand up and leave while he was saying the salam. And he would stay in his place for a little while before standing up. [bukhari, Kitab-ul-Azan Bab Salat-un-Nisa khalf-ar-Rijal]. Other narrations tell us that men also stayed with the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, so the women could leave before men.

 

While both of these ahadith tell us that women were praying in the masjid, they also inform us that an overriding concern was that they should not be seen by men. The women left even as the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was saying the salam. This act would be extremely rude if conducted by a man. Yet it was desirable for women, clearly pointing out that men and women are not the same. Further, all men stayed behind so the women could leave without encountering them. Needless to say, this is poles-apart from the mutual discussion, full participation, and collaboration being advocated.

 

Masjid Setting the Tone for the Islamic Society

There is something else worth reflecting upon here. Islam brought about a sea-change in the Jahilya society, including its ethics, morality, and cultural practices. The pre-Islamic Jahilya society was a coed society, just like the modern Jahilya society. Islam transformed it, introducing, among other things, the laws of hijab and segregation of men and women. Of course the masjid was the center of this cultural and moral revolution. It had to depict the new teachings in the purest way possible so they would be emulated everywhere. And it did. Women were fully covered, wore no perfume or jingling jewelry, stayed as far away from men as possible and left the masjid quickly after the salat so there would be no intermixing. Even on the way to and from the masjid, they would stay so far to the sides that they were practically scraping the walls of the buildings. (See Abu Dawud, Kitab-ul-Adab. Bab "Fi Mashyin nisaa-i ma'ar-rijaali fit-tareeq")

 

Blocking the Means

Another thing to keep in mind is the well-established Islamic juristic principle of Sadd-udh-dharaai', or the principle of blocking the means to sin. In life often one thing leads to another. An act of sin is not an isolated event but is preceded by chains of other events, which facilitate it. Therefore, Islam does not just forbid the final act, but also the preceding acts that can lead to it. There are hundreds of laws in Islamic jurisprudence that are based on this important principle. Consider alcohol. All its problems arise from its consumption. But Islam banned not just consumption of alcohol, but also making it, storing it, selling it, offering it, and even eating at a table where it is being served. This is blocking the means. One only needs to look at the spectacular success that Islam had in prohibiting alcohol and keeping the lands of Islam dry compared to the miserable failure of other societies in achieving that goal to appreciate the wisdom of the Islamic teachings.

 

Islam's laws of hijab follow the same principle. Ultimately, it is the illicit extramarital relationships that are prohibited. But Islam does not limit itself to banning this final result. It also prohibits a number of other practices that could lead to this final sin. Again, the result speaks for itself. For centuries, Islam has provided an atmosphere of chastity and decency in its societies that remains unmatched by any other society. And this has been accomplished through the same laws of hijab and segregation of sexes that are under attack today.

 

Fuqaha on Women in the Masjid

We can gain further insight into this issue by looking at the positions of the schools of fiqh. This should dispel the myth that it I sonly some misguided Mullahs from the subcontinent that stand in the way of coed masajid.

 

Shafi'i Fiqh

Taken from the Reliance of the Traveler:

It is better for women to pray at home than at the mosque (A: whether they are young or old). It is offensive for an attractive or young woman to come to the mosque to pray (O: or for her husband to permit her), though not offensive for women who are not young or attractive when this is unlikely to cause temptation. (N: the authors words here must be interpreted in the light of the following details: If a woman in going to a group prayer or elsewhere will definitely lead to temptation between the sexes, it is unlawful for her to go. If such temptation can be definitely prevented her going to attend group prayer remains sunnah, as is attested to by the ahadith that have reached us on the subject. If temptation is feared but not certain to occur, her going becomes offensive. Whether such temptation is likely to occur is something that differs with different times, places, and people. An old woman is not like a young one, nor a righteous society like one in which temptation between the sexes is the rule; nor is a special prayer place set aside for women in a mosque like a prayer place which they share with men. This is why A'isha (Allah be well pleased with her) said:

 

"Had the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, seen what women do now, he would have forbidden them the mosque as the women of Bani-Israel were forbidden." (A hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Hanafi Fiqh

Translated from Al-Lubaab:

And it is offensive for young women to attend the congregation at all, because in that there is a fear of fitna (but there is no harm that old women attend Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha). And that is according to Imam Abu Hanifah. And according to them (Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad) old women can go out in every salah, because there is no fear of fitna because they lack attractiveness. According to Jawharatun Nayyara, the offensiveness is in all salah because of the appearance of fisq in our time period. The bad people come more during Zuhr, Asr, and Jumuah prayers while they are sleeping at the time of Fajr and Isha and eating at the time of Maghrib.

The positions of the Maliki and Hambali schools are also similar.

 

Conclusion

As has been shown above, the case for a full and equal participation by men and women without barriers in the main hall of the masjid, therefore, has no foundation in the Shariah.

 

However, women may have genuine needs for using the masjid and they have been permitted to do so. It is the responsibility of the administrators of a masjid to see to it that these needs are met by providing them with a safe, protected, and private space. Where women are denied entry in the masjid, or where they are required to enter the main hall, the situation should be corrected.

 

The central argument of the proponents of the coed masjid is that segregation is exclusion. But it is not. No one would take the demand seriously that medical and engineering students at a university must share the same classroom to prove that they are not unequal. Their needs are different, and so are their spaces.

 

The prohibition of free mixing of men and women and their equal, unrestrained participation in public affairs is not something to be ashamed of. This has been meant to provide for chastity and purity of hearts and conduct and that has been its result. In contrast, houses of worship of other religions became horrible centers of corruption on this account precisely because their leaders chose to ignore this principle. And as we become lax in this area we are seeing similar unfortunate incidents in the masajid in the West as well.

 

While the advocates of the coed masjid claim that they are asserting the rights of women, they are in fact denying the right of a private space to both men and women. The masjid is the pivot for the Muslim community. It has to be the place that sets the standards for proper behavior. It is the responsibility of everyone to protect it from all corruption, including the one promoted in the name of reform.

 

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Women Praying at the Mosque

QUESTION

In the area that I live in, there is a big problem. There are about 20 Mosques within 5 miles but only a handful allows women to come for prayers. I know that it’s better for women to pray at home but I think facilities should be provided. Sisters go shopping with husbands and the men go for salah on the way and the women can only stay in the car. In winter, within a couple of hours Zuhr, Asr and Maghrib is prayed. The sisters then just do Qadha. How can I sort out the situation? I am deobandi but find it very hard to accept this. What do the deobandi scholars say about this?

 

ANSWER

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
 

Generally, the major Fatawa books of the Indian Subcontinent Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) discourage (quite vehemently at times) women from attending and praying at Mosques. They base their understanding on the fact that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in many Hadiths encouraged women to offer their prayers at home, for example:

 

Sayyida Umm Salama (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “The best Mosque for a woman is the inner part of her home.” (Musnad Ahmad & Tabrani)

 

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Do not prevent your womenfolk from attending the Mosque, even though their houses are better for them.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

 

Sayyida Umm Salama (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A woman’s prayer in her inner room is better than her prayer in the outside room, and her prayer in the outside room is better than her prayer in the courtyard, and her prayer in the courtyard is better than her prayer in the Mosque.” (Mu’jam of Imam Tabrani)

 

Indeed, women in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did attend congregational prayers in the Mosque, and they were not prevented from doing so. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself advised against preventing women from attending congregational prayers, for example:

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If your wives seek permission from you to go to the Mosque at night, let them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 827)

 

And:

Salim narrates from his father that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If the wife of any one of you seeks permission to go to the Mosque, he may not prevent her.” (Sahih Muslim, no: 442)

 

However, the understanding of the various classical and contemporary Hanafi Fuqaha is that women in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) had the unique opportunity of praying behind the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself- an act that cannot be paralleled today. Secondly, they used to observe all the requirements of Shariah including those of proper covering (hijab), hence they were not prohibited from attending the congregational prayers. Despite this, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) still advised and encouraged them to pray in their homes.

 

Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) in his time felt that the concession given to women for attending the congregational prayers in the Mosque is sometimes being misused and could be misused even more in the future. He felt that women were no longer taking care of the Shariah requirements as they used to in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and he was also aware of the fact that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) advised women to offer their prayers at home. Hence, keeping all of the above in mind, he issued a verdict that women should no longer attend congregational prayers in the Masjid, and this decision of his was collectively accepted by the other Companions. (See: Ayni, Umdat al-Qari, 3/228)

 

Similarly, Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) used to refuse women entry to the Mosque for Friday prayers and would say: “Go, your homes are better for you.” (Recorded by Imam Tabrani. See: al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib, 1/190)

 

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said:

“If the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was alive to see what women are doing now (in A’isha’s time), he would surely have prevented them from attending the prayers in the Mosque just as the women of Banu Isra’il were prevented.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

 

The renowned Hadith scholar and Hanafi jurist, Imam Badr al-Din al-Ayni (Allah have mercy on him) states whilst commentating on the above statement of Sayyida A’isha:

“Had A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) witnessed what women are involved in the various types of innovations and wrongdoings these days, she would have been even more extreme in her preventing women from entering the Mosques……Also the fact that there had not been a long time between her statement and the demise of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and also the fact that women in her time were not involved in even one portion of a thousand of what women are up to these days.” (Umdat al-Qari, 3/230)

 

Based on the above, the various classical Hanafi Fuqaha (and also the majority of the contemporary Hanafi Ulama of the Subcontinent) state that it is disliked (makruh) for women, whether married or single, to go to the Mosque for congregational prayers.

 

Imam al-Kasani (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“It will not be permitted for young women to go to the Mosque for congregational prayers due to the fact that Sayyiduna Umar (Allah be pleased with him) prevented women from doing so. Moreover, women’s going to the Masjid is a cause of mischief (between men and women) and mischief (fitna) is Haram, and that which leads to something Haram will also be unlawful.” (Bada’i al-Sana’i, 1/157)

 

Another classical Hanafi jurist, Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“It is disliked for women to attend congregational prayers in the Mosque even for the Eid and Jumu’a prayers, and even for old women attending night prayers, according to the more reliable position in the Hanafi School, due to the corruption of the time.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 1/566)

 

It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:

“The Fatwa these days is that it is disliked for women to go to the Mosque for all prayers, due to widespread corruption.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/56)

 

Based on all of the above evidences, and based on what the classical Hanafi Fuqaha have stated in their respective works, the majority of the contemporary Hanafi Fuqaha of the Subcontinent consider women attending the congregational prayers in the Mosque to be disliked if not disallowed. Their stance is not based on any cultural values or customs (as some people wrongfully believe); rather, they are merely reinforcing what the ‘classical’ Hanafi jurists have stated. Thus, to point fingers at them saying they are culturally oriented is indeed doing injustice to them.

 

Having said all of the above, the following is worth considering:

 

In my humble view (and who am I to have a viewpoint, hence what I intend to mention is merely through the blessings of my teachers), the main reasoning behind the classical Fuqaha’s dislike of women going to the Mosques for congregational prayers is the fear of what they term as “Fitna”. The term Fitna means: mischief, harm, corruption and generally the non-observance of the Shariah rulings. Almost all of the classical jurists state that due to widespread mischief and corruption, women no longer should be going for congregational prayers. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself never forbade women from attending the Mosques; rather, he said that women should not be prevented from entering the Mosques. Hence, the jurists (fuqaha) have based their ruling on the position of Sayyiduna Umar and Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with them both), and their position was based on the fear of mischief and harm.

 

They saw that corruption was rife and widespread in their time; hence, women may be harmed by immoral and corrupt people if they emerged out of their homes. They feared that if women are encouraged to go to the Mosques, it could open the door for unlawful intermingling of the two sexes. The main reason, however, was the fear of women being harmed, as pointed out by Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) in his renowned Radd al-Muhtar and other classical Fuqaha. This is the very reason why some classical Fuqaha permitted old women to attend the Fajr and Eisha prayers, for the immoral and wicked people are asleep at that time. Some even allowed them to go for Maghrib prayers, for the immoral people are normally busy eating at that time. Imam Ibn Abidin then states that if there is a fear of the wicked people loitering around in these prayers times, then it will be disliked for women to go for these prayers also. (Radd al-Muhtar, 1/566)

 

One should always keep in mind the context in which the Fuqaha were giving such verdicts. Life was very plain and simple. Women in Muslim countries and Islamic societies would normally not emerge out of their homes unless absolutely necessary. The need to emerge out of the house was not like the need we have in today’s complicated world. Hence, Muslim women would remain within the confines of their homes, and emerge outside only in certain unavoidable situations.

 

Keeping this context in mind, one can easily understand why the classical Fuqaha gave such verdicts. By allowing women to frequent the Mosques, they would be giving women permission to emerge out of their homes – women who would have otherwise not emerged outside. Thus, they feared that Muslim women normally do not come out of their homes, and in allowing (and encouraging) them to go to the Mosque, there is a possibility that evil and wicked people may jump at the chance of harming them.

 

If we were to apply this context to the modern era – where women are all over the market areas, shopping malls, shopping centres, streets and roads – it seems unfair to completely shun them from entering the Mosques. As one scholar of piety and knowledge once said: “We don’t mind women frequenting the most disliked of places in the sight of Allah (abghad al-Bilad) which are the bazaars (aswaq), but we have a major problem with women coming to the most beloved of places (ahab al-Bilad) in the sight of Allah, which are the Mosques!

 

Therefore, when women are allowed to go to the Bazaars, markets, shopping malls and other such places (and justifiably in many cases), then it does not seem right to completely shun them from coming to the Mosques. The main wisdom behind the position of the classical jurists was the fear of harm and corruption, and in the modern times women (Muslim, non-Muslim, practising and non-practising) are all over the place, hence if evil and wicked people would want to cause any harm to them, they would surely look out for them at other places rather than the Mosques. Also, women generally would be safe in our times from being harmed whilst going to the Mosques.

 

Secondly, at times there may be a genuine need for women to go to the Mosques, such as when travelling and the prayer time is about to come to an end. There have been many cases where a sister had to miss her prayer, for there were no facilities for women to pray in the Mosque. At times, women may need to go to the Mosque to learn sacred knowledge, attend a spiritual gathering and other such matters, hence she may need to pray her Salat in the Mosque.

 

Keeping the above in mind, and given the times we are living in, I believe that both of the following two extremist approaches should be avoided with regards to women going to Mosques, and we should adopt the middle way, as “the best of ways is the middle way”:

 

Some people are quite extreme in their support and encouragement for women attending congregational prayers to the point that they consider women who wish to pray at home to be deprived of the blessings and benefits of praying in the Mosque. At times, men and women are seen praying in the Mosque in such an informal and casual manner that the rules of Shariah are overlooked. The rules of Hijab are violated and men and women are quite willing to intermingle freely and openly in the Mosque. They think that actions are according to their intentions; hence, even if the means taken are unsound, it seems not matter to them. In some Mosques, on the occasion of Eid and other celebrations, women and men dress like they are attending some sort of a fashion show, with the women dressed up in all their make up and powerful fragrance.

 

This was actually what Sayyiduna Umar and Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with them both) were thinking of when they prevented women from going to the Mosques. One should always remember that “ends don’t justify the means” hence it is vital that in order to do an act of good, one must take means that are sound also. Open and casual intermingling of the sexes is prohibited in Shariah; hence, it will not be permitted for women to go to the Mosque in such a context.

 

On the other hand, we see that some people are quite extreme in preventing women from attending the Mosques that they don’t even have a designated place for women to pray. If a sister was travelling and was out of the house due to a need, and the time for prayer came in, what would she do? In many cases, women are forced into knocking on people’s doors to allow them to pray. If they are unsuccessful, they have no choice but to miss their prayers. This is another form of extremism which I believe should be avoided.

 

The middle way is that women should be encouraged to offer their regular prayers at home, and not come to the Mosque habitually without having a need to do so. At the same time, every Masjid should have facilities for a woman’s prayer area, so that if a sister is travelling she is able to make Wudu and offer her prayers without having to miss her prayers altogether. In the case of women coming to the Mosque, extreme care and precaution should be taken of observing the rules of Hijab, so that there is no fear of any Fitna. Both brothers and sisters should have separate entrances, and open intermingling of the two genders must be avoided. Sisters should also be wary that going to the Mosque should not lead to the non-fulfilment of their other household duties.

 

I believe this is the balanced approach that may be adopted in the west given the times we live in. Ultimately, the main objective of the slave, male or female, is to seek the pleasure of Allah Most High and not satisfy one’s own desire and wish. Hence, one should be content with the command of Allah Most High and His beloved Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace) whether it suits one or otherwise. Therefore, Muslim women should understand that praying at home is just as equal in the sight of Allah to men praying in the Mosque. May Allah Almighty give us all the true understanding of Deen, Ameen

 

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK

 

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Women Attending the Masjid
A Detailed Response
 
Prior to Eidul-Fitr 1439, the Jamiat KZN had received a question regarding the permissibility of women attending the Eid Salaah considering the new trend of  family Eid Gahs being arranged in different places. In conformance with the established ruling of the Fuqahaa (Islamic jurists), the Jamiat had responded by stating that women should not attend the Eid Salaah. Subsequent to this, the Jamiat received a fair amount of correspondence regarding our ruling. Some correspondences requested additional clarity and some correspondences openly challenged the correctness of our ruling.
 
In light of this, the Jamiat has compiled a comprehensive and academic article to answer these correspondences so that the correct Islamic position on this matter may be clearly revealed.
 
The key points of our article are given hereunder:
 
Approach to Deen and its Ahkam (commands)
 
What is the correct manner of understanding Islam and implementing its rulings? Islamic Law stems from the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the practice of the Sahaabah. The formulation of this Law in to a codified system was the work of master jurists (Fuqahaa) who dedicated their lives to this vital endeavour. Their rich legacies provided the Islamic constitution for the Muslim Ummah from the very first century of Islam. The correct understanding and implementation of Islamic Law is, therefore, not attainable except through their guidance.
 
• Rulings may change based on circumstances and conditions attached to them
 
The common argument raised is that when Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has allowed women’s entry to the Masjid, how can anyone prevent it? The article explores in length, the various Ahadith related to women attending the Masjid, the conditions that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam attached to their entry and how negligence to those conditions would, naturally, necessitate a change to the original ruling.
 
• Opinions of the Fuqahaa and their explanations of the Dalaa’il (proofs)
 
The statements of Sahaabah and Islamic jurists from all four Mazhabs are provided, clearly showing that women should not attend the Eid Salaah or congregational Salaah at the Masjid.
 
• It is more rewarding for women to pray at home
 
The general ruling for women in the time of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, when women’s attendance to the Masjid was permitted, was that it was still better for them to perform Salaah at home instead of the Masjid. This is clearly proven through various Ahadith.
 
The view of those strongly advocating that women should attend the Eid and congregational prayers in the Masjid stating that women should not deprive themselves of the blessings of the congregational prayer is not in conformance to the advice of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam himself as well as the verdicts of the illustrious Fuqahaa.
 
The complete article is available here.
 
Further Reading
 

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