Women attending the Musjid for Congregational Salaah

Q: Please can you clarify for me. There is a masjid/classrooms/ladies namaaz area in one building. The masjid-mens namaaz area is on the first floor. The wuzu khanaa, classrooms and ladies namaaz area downstairs. The classrooms are used for namaaz when there is an overflow of males. The ladies area has a separate entrance door to that for the men and classrooms.

In some peoples mind, the ladies area does not form part of the masjid. They call it rooms. So they say, the ladies are not going to the masjid. Is this thinking correct? Can the ladies go to the masjid/rooms to make namaazCan the ladies read namaaz behind an Imam in JamaatCan the ladies go to the masjid/rooms to read namaaz but not in JamaatCan the ladies go to the masjid/rooms to read Taraweeh salaat in JamaatCan the ladies go to the masjid/rooms to listen to lectures? Can the ladies go to the masjid/rooms for a nikahCan the Bride go to the masjid for her nikah but being in the ladies section? 

Are Ladies permitted to go to the masjid for any reason whatsoever?

Can the ladies go for Eid Namaaz to an Eid Ghah?

Please advise.

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A: Women are commanded to remain within the confines of their homes and they should not leave their homes unless with a valid Shari’ee reason. Due to the overwhelming and uncontrollable fitnah in these times, women are discouraged from attending the Salaah in the Musjid, Eid Gah, etc. However if women perform Salaah behind the Imaam (in the same place), and the Imaam makes niyyah for leading them in Salaah, the Salaah will be valid.

In this regard we have prepared a detailed article titled: “The Shar’ee ruling regarding women attending congregational or Eid Salaah“. The said article has been pasted below.

The era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was a mubaarak era. It was an era where Wahi (revelation of the Quraan) was being received from Allah Ta’ala. New Shar’ee laws regarding various issues were constantly being revealed by Allah Ta’ala and there was a need for Sahaaba to learn the laws of Deen relating to salaah, fasting and other injunctions directly from Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Generally Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would educate the Sahaabah after salaah. Hence women were permitted to attend the congregational Salaah in the Musjid in order to learn the laws of Deen.

However, it should be borne in mind that the era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was the khairul quroon (the best of eras).  The greatest honour of that era was to perform salaah behind Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). People were protected and safeguarded from fitnahs. The levels of Imaan, taqwa and piety were so high that all the Sahabah, whether men or women, were prepared to make any type of sacrifice for the cause of Deen. The ardent love within the hearts of the Sahaabah for Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was unimaginable and unconceivable. Similarly, there can be no match or comparison for the unflinching commitment and submission they displayed before the command of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). When Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) commanded them to segregate men and women and prohibited them from intermingling, they immediately surrendered before the command of Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). When Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) commanded the women to dress in a shabbily, unattractive state and not to apply any perfume when leaving their homes for salaah (so as not to be a means of fitnah in attracting the gazes of men towards themselves), they spontaneously submitted and obeyed.

Nevertheless, as time passed and the laws of Deen were learnt, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) began encouraging women to perform their salaah within the confines of their homes and discouraged them from attending the congregational salaah.

 

Shari’ah commanding women to remain within the confines of their homes

The command of Shariah exclusive to women is that they should remain within the confines of their homes and that they should not leave their homes except at the time of need. Addressing the Azwaaje Mutahharaat (the mubaarak wives of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the women of this ummah, Allah Ta’ala says:

وَقَرْنَ ​فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ﴿الأحزاب: ٣٣﴾

“Remain within your homes and do not leave your homes displaying your beauty and attraction in the manner it was displayed by the women in the former times of ignorance.”

قد أذن لكن أن تخرجن لحاجتكن (صحيح مسلم رقم 2120)

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) adressing the women had said: “Permission has been granted to you to leave your homes (only) at the time of need.”

 

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)’s ardent desire that women should remain within the confines of their homes

عَن أَنَسٍ ، قال : جئن النساء إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلن : يارسول الله ذهب الرجال بالفضل والجهاد في سبيل الله فما لنا عمل ندرك به عمل المجاهدين في سبيل الله فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : من قعد -أو كلمة نحوها- منكن في بيتها فإنها تدرك عمل المجاهد في سبيل الله. وهذا الحديث لا نعلم رواه عن ثابتٍ إلاَّ روح بن المسيب وهو رجل من أهل البصرة مشهور. (مسند البزار رقم 6962)

It is reported from Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) that a group of women once came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and complained, “O Messenger of Allah, the men have excelled the women through the abundant virtues that they acquire (in your company) and through striving in the path of Allah in jihad. Is there any action by means of which we could receive the same rewards of those fighting in the path of Allah?” Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) responded saying, “Those among you who remain within the confines of their home (worshipping Allah Ta’ala), they will acquire the reward of those striving in the path of Allah Ta’ala.”

 عن عبد الله ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم  قال إن المرأة عورة فإذا خرجت استشرفها الشيطان وأقرب ما تكون من وجه ربها وهي في قعر بيتها (مسند البزار رقم 1820)

It is reported from Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “A woman should be concealed (from the eyes of strange men). When she exits from her home Shaitaan stares at her (i.e. he causes men to cast lustful glances towards her and he strives to mislead her by commiting sin). The time that she is closest to her Lord is when she is concealed within her home.”

 

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)’s encouraging women to perform salaah within the confines of the home

عن عبد الله عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال صلاة المرأة في بيتها أفضل من صلاتها في حجرتها وصلاتها في مخدعها أفضل من صلاتها في بيتها. (سنن ابي داود رقم 570)

It is reported from Hadhrat Abdullah bin Ma’sood (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said “The salaah of a woman in her bedroom is more rewarding than her salaah in the communal room  of her house and the salaah she performs in the inner most portion of the bedroom (i.e. a small room within the bedroom or a corner of her bedroom) is greater and more rewarding than her salaah in her bedroom.” [1]

عن عبد الله بن سويد الأنصاري عن عمته أم حميد امرأة أبي حميد الساعدي أنها جاءت الى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فقالت يا رسول الله إني أحب الصلاة معك قال : قد علمت أنك تحبين الصلاة معي وصلاتك في بيتك خير من صلاتك في حجرتك وصلاتك في حجرتك خير من صلاتك في دارك وصلاتك في دارك خير من صلاتك في مسجد قومك وصلاتك في مسجد قومك خير من صلاتك في مسجدي ) قال : فأمرت فبني لها مسجد في أقصى شيء من بيتها وأظلمه وكانت تصلي فيه حتى لقيت الله جل وعلا (صحيح ابن حبان رقم 2217)

Hadhrat Ummu Humaid (Radhiallahu Anha), the wife of Abu Humaid As-Saa’idi (Radhiallahu Anhu) once came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and said, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), I long to perform salaah behind you.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied, “I am aware that you long and desire to perform salaah behind me, however your salaah in your bedroom is more rewarding than your salaah in any other part of your home. The salaah in any other part of your home is more rewarding than the salaah in your courtyard. The salaah in your courtyard is more rewarding than the salaah in the musjid of your locality. The salaah in the musjid of your locality is more rewarding than your salaah in my musjid (i.e. Musjid Nabawi). Hadhrat Ummu Humaid (Radhiallahu Anha) (in compliance and obedience with the mubaarak desire of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)) instructed that a small place be reserved for her salaah in the innermost and darkest portion of her bedroom, and she would devotedly perform all her salaah here until the end of her life.

وعن أبي عمرو الشيباني أنه رأى عبد الله يخرج النساء من المسجد يوم الجمعة ويقول اخرجن إلى بيوتكن خير لكن رواه الطبراني في الكبير بإسناد لا بأس به (الترغيب والترهيب 1/228)

It is reported from Abu Amr Ash-Shaybaani that he had seen Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) removing the women from the musjid on the day of Jumu’ah while instructing them in the following manner, “O women! Return to your homes, for indeed remaining within your homes is better for you.”

 

The verdict of Umar (Radiyallahu Anhu)

Though women were allowed to attend the congregational salaah and the eid salaah in the Mubaarak era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), however it was the burning desire of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that women perform their salaah within the confines of their homes, thereby remaining completely concealed from the eyes of strange men. Hence we find that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) expressed this desire in the aforementioned Ahaadith.

Subsequently, during the era of the Khilaafat of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), this permission for women attending the congregational Salaah was revoked on account of the fitnah witnessed due to women attending the congregational Salaah. All the Sahaaba concurred with the verdict of Hazrat Umar (Radiyallhu Anhu). The following Hadith of Aaisha (radhiyallahu anha) sufficiently explains the necessity of revoking the previous permission which existed in the Mubaarak era of Rasullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

عن عمرة بنت عبد الرحمن أنها أخبرته أن عائشة زوج النبى – صلى الله عليه وسلم قالت لو أدرك رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أحدث النساء لمنعهن المسجد كما منع نساء بنى إسرائيل. قال يحيى فقلت لعمرة أَمُنِعَ نساء بنى إسرائيل قالت نعم.) سنن ابي داود رقم 569)

It is reported by ‘Amrah that Hadhrat ‘Aaisha (radhiyallahu anha) said, “Had Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) been alive today and witnessed the fitnah being caused through the women leaving their homes and attending the congregational salaah, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would have surely prohibited them in the same manner as the women of the Banu Israa’eel had been prohibited from attending the congregational salaah.”

When this was the condition in the era of the Sahaabah that due to the increase in fitnah women were prohibited from attending the congregational salaah in the Masaajid, then one can well imagine the need for not allowing women to participate in the congregational prayer in this time and age, where fitnah is rampant, overwhelming and widespread to such an extent that controlling the fitnah has become impossible.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

 

[1] صلوة المرأة في بيتها أي الداخلاني لكمال سترها أفضل من صلاتها في حجرتها اي صحن الدار قال ابن الملك اراد بالحجرة ما تكون ابواب البيوت اليها وهي ادني حالا من البيت وصلاتها في مخدعها بضم الميم وتفتح وتكسر مع فتح الدال في الكل وهو البيت الصغير الذي يكون داخل البيت الكبير يحفظ فيه الامتعة النفيسة من الخدع وهو اخفاء الشيء اي في خزانتها افضل من صلاتها في بيتها لان مبني امرها علي التستر (بذل المجهود في حل ابي داود 1/ 320)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)