Answered by SunniPath Answer Service Team
Is there more reward for women to pray at home or in congregation with men (that being not necessarily in a mosque with separate praying areas)?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate
From a previous question answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani:
A man only gets full reward for his prayers, by what our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, if he prays in congregation, in the masjid. For a woman, on the other hand, he told us that, ‘A woman’s prayer in the depths of her house is better than her prayer in this masjid of mine.’ [(is better) = has more reward; (this masjid of mine) = the Masjid al-Nabawi!]
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. Rather, from Allah’s infinite wisdom and mercy, He made the religious responsibility of each gender consonant with the nature of their social roles.
As for praying in congregation with men, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, if a man is unable to make it to the masjid for some reason, it is recommended for him to pray in congregation with his family, to get the reward.
However, it is generally disliked for women to go to the masjid just to pray in congregation, because it is reversing the nature of their religious responsibility, as we have seen. BUT, if they want to go to the masjid for other reasons, such as gaining religious knowledge, asking a question, meeting other religious sisters [for good company is often not readily found at home or at school, and is a necessary fuel for one’s spiritual life], then there is nothing wrong with going to the masjid or praying in congregation there.
SunniPath Fiqh Team