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Women Performing Salaah In The Masjid

Question

Why is it better for women to perform Salaah at home and not in the Masjid?

Answer

Firstly, it is Makrooh-e-Tahreemi for women to go to the Masjid to perform Salaah, be it the Masjid of one’s locality or the Masjid ul Haraam. No doubt, women were permitted to come to the Masaajid for Salaah during the noble and illustrious era of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, when Islam was being practised and implemented in its pristine and unadulterated pure form. But that was a period wherein Rasoolullah Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam himself was present in the midst of the people, Wahi was regularly being revealed, a mass education programme was rolling along and people were toeing the line of Sharee’ah in all aspects of their lives. The fear of Allah Ta’ala and awareness of Deen were uppermost in the hearts of people. Women did not have the temerity of dressing in attractive, state-of-the-art, eye-catching outfits or applying scent when emerging from their homes. In short, it was indeed a benevolent period due to which there was no risk of any such intermingling of sexes taking place that would result in Fitnah (trials and tribulations).

After the demise of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, times began to change and gradually evils began to penetrate through the armour of Muslims’ social values. It was in this environment that Hadhrat Umar Radiallahu Anhu put his foot down and he began discouraging women from coming to the Masaajid. When some women complained about this apparent “harshness” to Hadhrat Ayesha Siddiqah Radiallahu Anha, she brushed the complaint aside and agreed whole-heartedly with the decree of Hadhrat Umar Radiallahu Anhu by saying:

Translation:”Had Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam seen this era (of fitnah and corruption), he would certainly have prohibited the women from entering the Masaajid just as the women of Banu Israa’il were also prohibited.”
Sunan Abi Dawud 1/91 Maktabah Haqqaaniyah

Who could be better in understanding the emotions and feelings of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam than his noble wife, the mother of the Mu’mineen, Hadhrat Ayesha Siddiqah Radiallahu Anha? In her capacity of being the wife of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam and also the champion of women’s rights, she could also have objected by saying that how can Hadhrat Umar Radiallahu Anhu take away a right given to us by Allah Ta’ala and His beloved Rasool Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam? But no, she did not say that. Why? Because she knew that Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam had given not only Hadhrat Umar Radiallahu Anhu, but also all four Khulafa, the authority to implement such restrictions if they were deemed to be necessary. Such authority had been given in a Hadeeth of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, wherein he stated, “Hold on fast to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa.” As Rasolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was not Aalimul Ghaib (Knower of the Unseen, for that is the sole attribute of Allah Ta’ala), he could not stipulate exactly when in the future this restriction would be implemented. However, because Hadhrat Ayesha Radiallahu Anha had her fingers on the pulse of the women of the time and she was aware of the nature of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, she knew that this was the period in which Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam would have definitely prohibited the women from coming to the Masaajid.

Even in his own time, although he did not clearly forbid the women from going to the Masaajid, Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam did indicate that his happiness and pleasure was in the women performing their Salaah at home. In another Hadeeth, Rasuoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has said: 

Translation: “The Salaah performed by a woman in the back room of her home is superior to that performed in the front room and the Salaah performed in the innermost chambers is even more superior that that performed in the back room.” In  other words, the further away from prying eyes, the better.
Sunan Abi Dawud 1/91 Maktabah Haqqaaniyah

If one studies these Ahaadeeth closely, one can deduce that Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam never really encouraged women to perform their Salaah in the Masaajid. In fact, he encouraged them to perform it at home by stating that there was more reward for them in performing their Salaah at home. This, in spite of the fact that they could have had the opportunity of performing their Salaah in the Masjid-e-Nabawi behind none other than Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. It would appear from these Ahaadeeth that Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam wanted women to brace themselves for the forthcoming times of Fitnah when his Sahaabah would officially discourage and prohibit women from coming to the Masaajid.

When it is acknowledged by us, as Muslims that Hadhrat Ayesha Radiallahu Anha is our (spiritual) mother, we should comply with her wishes and instructions. As mentioned earlier, Hadhrat Ayesha Radiallahu Anha was forthright is stating that if Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam had seen the condition of the women of today, he would definitely have prevented women from coming to the Masaajid. Just as obedience to one’s biological mother is essential, even more so should one endeavour to be obedient to one’s spiritual mother. Furthermore, when we as Muslims acknowledge the Khilafat of Hadhrat Umar Radiallahu Anhu, we should also follow the directives of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam that, “Hold fast onto my Sunnah and the Sunnah of my rightly guided Khulafaa” and also “My Sahabah radhiallahu anhum are like stars, whomsoever of them thou shall follow thou shall be rightly guided.” How can we as Muslims, give vent to our emotions by giving preference to our desires and passions at the expense of discarding the directives of such great Khulafaa whom we have been urged to follow?

The Fuqahaa are also forthright in prohibiting and declaring abominable the participation of women in the congregational Salaah of the Masaajid. This declaration is not restricted to the Masaajid of one’s own country or town. It is with regards to all Masaajid, including the Masjid ul Haram and Masjidun Nabawi. Hazrat Mufti Abdur Raheem Lajpuri Rahimahullah has stated this very fact in one of his Fataawa after declaring it Makroohe Tahreemi for women to go to the Masjid, he states: “This law is general. Be it the Haram Shareef or Masjid un Nabawi, be it India or the Arab countries, this law is general.”

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

References

(يجب) وظاهر الآية أنه فرض نهر( ويكره حضورهن الجماعة ) ولو لجمعة وعيد ووعظ ( مطلقا ) ولو عجوزا ليلا ( على المذهب ) المفتى به لفساد الزمان ، ( قوله : ولو عجوزا ليلا ) بيان للإطلاق : أي شابة أو عجوزا نهارا أو ليلا 
رد المحتار،كتاب الصلاة،ج ١،ص ٥٦٦

( ويكره حضورهن الجماعة ) ولو لجمعة وعيد ووعظ ( مطلقا ) ولو عجوزا ليلا ( على المذهب ) المفتى به لفساد الزمان ، (قوله : على المذهب المفتى به)……وفى الكافى وغيره اما فى زماننا فالمفتى به منع الكل فى الكل حتى فى الوعظ ونحوه 
حاشية الطحطاوى علا الدر المختار، كتاب الصلاة، ج ١،ص ٢٤٥

وكره لهن حضور الجماعة إلا للعجوز في الفجر والمغرب والعشاء والفتوى اليوم على الكراهة في كل الصلوات لظهور الفساد . كذا في الكافي وهو المختار 
الفتاوى الهندية، كتاب الصلاة،ج ١،ص ٨٩

ولا يباح للشواب منهن الخروج إلى الجماعات ، بدليل ما روي عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه نهى الشواب عن الخروج ؛ ولأن خروجهن إلى الجماعة سبب الفتنة ، والفتنة حرام ، وما أدى إلى الحرام فهو حرام . 
بدائع الصنائع، كتاب الصلاة،ج ١،ص ١٥٧

ولا يحضرون الجماعات لقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم صلاة المرأة في بيتها أفضل من صلاتها في حجرتها وصلاتها في مخدعها أفضل من صلاتها ) في بيتها اه فالأفضل لها ما كان أستر لها لا فرق بين الفرائض وغيرها كالتراويح 
حاشية الطحطاوى على مراقى الفلاح، كتاب الصلاة،ص ٣٠٤ 

( قوله ولا يحضرن الجماعات ) لقوله تعالى وقرن في بيوتكن وقال صلى الله عليه وسلم صلاتها في قعر بيتها أفضل من صلاتها في صحن دارها وصلاتها في صحن دارها أفضل من صلاتها في مسجدها وبيوتهن خير لهن ولأنه لا يؤمن الفتنة من خروجهن أطلقه فشمل الشابة والعجوز 

والصلاة النهارية والليلية قال المصنف في الكافي والفتوى اليوم على الكراهة في الصلاة كلها لظهور الفساد ومتى كره حضور المسجد للصلاة فلأن يكره حضور مجالس الوعظ خصوصا عند هؤلاء الجهال الذين تحلوا بحلية العلماء أولى . 
البحر الرائق، كتاب الصلاة،ج ١ص ٣٥٨ 

فتاوی رحیمیہ ،ج۵، ص۱۲۸، دار الاشاعت

فتاوی محمودیہ ، ج۹، ص۴۴۰، مکتبه محمودیہ

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