Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Is it recommended for a woman to pray in the furthermost corner of her home and not to come out unless for a legal need?
The best place of prayer for a woman is in her home, actually in her boudoir, which is usually her bedroom as has been affirmed in a rigorously authenticated hadith, because it is more concealing for her. However, it is permissible for her to go to the masjid to pray and attend circles of learning which benefit her in her religion, for it has come in a rigorously authenticated hadith, “Do not forbid the female slaves of Allah from the masjids of Allah.”
It has also been affirmed in authenticated traditions, that the wives of the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and the female Companions did go to the masjid and perform i`tikaf in it. They even went to the marketplaces and the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, did not disapprove of them doing that, nor did the Imams after him. This is because they used to go out in a modest and proper manner where no part of their nakedness was revealed, and they did not provoke any kind of fitna, nor did they come in improperly close contact with men.
Verily, what is disapproved of is when women go out in such a manner that causes fitna because of their beautifying themselves, perfuming themselves, revealing parts of their nakedness and mixing with men who are not their mahram and coming into actual contact with them in places of over crowdedness and the like, where it is usually unavoidable, such as marketplaces and other places where people gather.
For this reason, A`isha said, may Allah be well pleased with her, “If the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, knew what the women are doing today, he would have forbidden them to go to the masjid in the same way that the ladies of the Children of Israel were forbidden.”
What we can understand from her saying, is that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, did not forbid women from going to the masjid, but the only reason for preventing them from going would be because of them beautifying themselves and the like, as the scholars have explained.
[Translated by Sr. Shazia Ahmad]