Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
Can women raise their elbows in ritual prayer (ṣalāh) when going for prostration?
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.
In general the four jurists, Imams Abū Ḥanīfah, Shāfi’īe, Mālik and Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal are of the opinion that a woman will compress her body in the postures of prayer instead of spreading out her body parts like a man. Thus, it would be best for her to keep her elbows on the ground close to her flanks.
Some jurists do say there is no difference between a man and a woman’s prayer. That being said, if a woman does raise her elbows in prostration, this will not cause the prayer to be invalid.
‘Alī (may Allāh be pleased with him) says,
“When a woman prostrates she should do iḥtifāz and press her thighs together.” (Ibn Abī Shaybah)
Ibn Abbās (may Allāh be pleased with him) was asked about the prayer of a woman. He replied,
“She should pull herself close together and do iḥtifāz.” (Ibn Abī Shaybah)
Ḥasan al Baṣrī says,
“A woman should pull herself close together in prostration.” (Ibn Abī Shaybah)
Ibn Qudāmah writes,
“The ritual prayer for a man and woman is the same except that the woman will gather herself during bowing and prostration. She will refrain from expanding her body in the postures of prayer, for indeed that is the awrah. She will adopt postures that are more concealing.” (Al-Mughnī)
And Allāh Knows Best
This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.