The women in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to come out of their houses to attend congregational prayer in the Masjid. They would come out well covered so that no one would recognize them, or see anything of their beauty.

In the Saheehain,  it is quoted that ’Aishah  (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha)  narrated: “Whenever Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  finished the Fajr prayer, the women would leave covered in their sheets and were not recognized owing to the darkness.” [Al-Bukhaari- The Book of Adhaan,  no. 867]

In another narration she (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) said: “Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women would cover with their veiling sheets and attend the Fajr prayer with him. Then they would return to their homes unrecognized.” [Al-Bukhaari- The Book of Salaat,  no. 372]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not stop Allaah’s Imaa’ (women slaves) from going to Allaah’s Mosques.” [Al-Bukhaari- The Book of al-Jumu’ah,  no. 900]

Shaikh Ibn ’Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah)  said in Sharh al-Mumti’  (4/284): “In this Hadeeth there is a prohibition (banning) and basically banning indicates Tahreem.”

Accordingly, it is forbidden for the Waliyy (guardian) to prevent the woman (if she intends) to go to the Masjid to offer Salaat with the Muslims. And this is the correct statement (opinion) regarding this matter.

And what confirms this opinion is the attitude that Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) had with his son Bilaal. When Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated this Hadeeth to him,  he (Bilaal) said: “By Allaah! We shall certainly prevent them.” This is because he (Bilaal) saw the Fitnah and changes in the states [of the people].

However, ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) narrated: “Had Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) known what the women were doing, he would have forbidden them from going to the mosques as the women of Bani Isra’eel were forbidden.” [Al-Bukhaari– The Book of Adhaan, no. 869]

When Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) heard the reply of his son Bilaal, he (Ibn ‘Umar) turned towards him and reprimanded him  harshly as he had never done before. He [‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma)] said: “I am narrating to you that which comes from the Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and you (have the audacity to) say: “By Allaah, we shall certainly prevent them.” So Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma)  abandoned talking to him.” [Muslim]

This is because preventing women from going to the Masjid is in opposition to the statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam),  and this is a great matter. The attitude of Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) indicates the prohibition of prevention.

However, if the states of the people change with time, one should advise his household against going out; in doing that, he will be saved from violating this prohibition.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “When your women seek permission to go to the mosque, you grant them (permission).” [Saheeh Muslim, no. 442]

This includes all women; young, old, beautiful and ugly.

His (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement “to the mosque” indicates that if they ask permission to go to other than mosques, their guardian has the right to prevent them.

For example, if a woman asks permission to go to school, her husband (or Waliyy) can prevent her, except in the case it was a condition agreed upon by the two at the time of contracting the marriage. Similarly, if she intends to go to the market, he has the right to prevent her, i.e. it is not forbidden upon him, but he should look into the interest consequent to that. This is because there could be an interest (good reason) in preventing her just as there could be an interest in allowing her.

His (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement “to the Masjid” means for offering the Salaat; but (if her intention in) going to the Masjid is to look at its construction, or attend a lecture, for example, then he has the right to prevent her, for her house is better for her than going to the Masjid.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated: “Do not prevent the female slaves of Allaah from coming to the mosques of Allaah, but their houses are better for them.” [Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Targheeb,  no. 343]

This Hadeeth consists of two messages:

  1. One message is directed at the guardians.
  2. The other message is directed at the women.

The guardians are told not to prevent the women (from going to the mosques); whereas the women are told that their houses are better for them.

It was narrated that Umm Humayd, the wife of Abu Humayd as-Saa’idi, came to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I like to pray with you.” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “I know that you like to pray with me, but your prayer in your room is better for you than your prayer in your courtyard and your prayer in your courtyard is better than your prayer in your house, and your prayer in your house is better for you than your prayer in the mosque of your people, and your prayer in the mosque of your people is better for you than your prayer in my mosque.” So she issued orders that a prayer-place be prepared for her in the farthest and darkest part of her house, and she used to pray there until she met Allaah (i.e. died). [Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Targheeb,  no. 1/135]

TheState of the Women when going out to the Masjid to attend the Congregational Prayer

  1. They should come out without wearing perfume.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not stop the female servants of Allaah from attending the mosques of Allaah, but let them go there without applying perfume.” [Saheeh al-Jamie’, no. 7457]

Zainab ath-Thaqafiyyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) [the wife of Ibn ’Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma)] narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to us: “When one of you comes to the mosque, let her not wear perfume.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prohibited the woman from attending the mosque if she was wearing perfume. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Any woman who fumigates herself with perfume should not join us in the ’Ishaa’ prayer.” [Muslim]

The women used to go to the mosque to offer ’Ishaa’ and Fajr Salaat (prayers) with the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Accordingly, the Waliyy (guardian) of the woman should prevent her from leaving the house while wearing perfume.

Note: Since it is forbidden for women to wear perfume when going to the mosque, it is also not allowed when she goes out to other places.

  1. They should not display themselves wearing adorned garments, or shoes with high heels, or anything similar that makes a sound when they walk

Regarding the Prophet’s (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement: “Their houses are better for them”- exempted from this outing is going out for ‘Eid prayer. Going out for ‘Eid Prayer is a Sunnah act for women. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded the unmarried virgins and the mature girls and the menstruating women to come out and participate in the good deeds, as well as join in the invocations of the faithful believers; but the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla (praying place). [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

This is because the Musalla of ‘Eid is a Masjid. Still, she should not come out while adorning herself or wearing perfume. Rather, she should come out with tranquility and dignity, without raising her voice with speech or laughing with her companions, and without walking like men. She should be walking a feminine walk with modesty and dignity. [End quote]

These are some conditions for women going to mosques.

TARAWEEHOF THEWOMAN

Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them.” [Al-Bukhaari]

In another narration he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allow women to go to the mosques at night.” [Al-Bukhaari]

Is it better for a woman to pray Taraweeh in her house or in the Masjid?

It is better for a woman to pray in her house rather than in the Masjid, whether it is for an obligatory or voluntary (Nafil) prayer, including Taraweeh prayer.

The scholars of the Standing Committee of Iftaa’ said: “A woman praying in her house is better for her than her praying in the Masjid, whether it is obligatory or voluntary prayer, Taraweeh or otherwise.” [Fatawa al-Lajnah  ad-Daa’imah, vol 1, (7/201)]

A woman does not have to memorize the Qur’an in order to pray Taraweeh in her house; she may pray with whatever she has memorized of the Qur’an.

Shaikh Ibn Baaz (Rahimahullaah) said: “If there is a need to read from the Mus-haf, for one who is an Imaam leading the prayer, or a woman who is praying Tahajjud at night, or a man who has not memorized the Qur’an, there is no sin in doing that.” [Fatawa Noor ‘alad-Darb, 8/246]

Shaikh Ibn ’Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “It is better for a woman to pray in her house, even if there is a Masjid in which Taraweeh prayers are held; and if she prays in her house, there is nothing wrong with her leading the prayers for the other women in the house. In the case she has not memorized except a little of the Qur’an, she may read from the Mus-haf.” [End quote -Summarized- Fatawa Noor ’alad- Darb]

However, there is nothing wrong with a woman praying Taraweeh or other prayers in the Masjid with the congregation of men, especially if that will be more effective in encouraging her to offer lengthy prayers and will help her maintain that. However her Salaat, obligatory and voluntary, is better for her in her house than her Salaat in the Masjid.

Shaikh Ibn Baaz (Rahimahullaah) was asked: “What is the ruling on a woman praying Taraweeh in the Masjid?”

He (Rahimahullaah) replied: “The basic principle with regards to a woman’s prayer, is that her home is better for her, but if she finds that there is an interest (benefit) to be attained by offering the Salaat in the Masjid because that is more motivating for her, or because she can benefit from listening to lessons, then there is no sin on her and nothing is wrong with that, as long as she covers herself properly. All praise be to Allaah.

It is also good because of what it includes of great benefits and it is an encouragement for others to do righteous deeds.” [End quote]

He (Rahimahullaah) was also asked: “Is it permissible for a woman to pray Taraweeh in the Masjid with men?”

He (Rahimahullaah) replied: “Yes, it is recommended for her to do that if she fears she will become lazy at home, otherwise her house is better. But if there is a need for that, there is nothing wrong with it. The women used to pray the five obligatory prayers with the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say: ‘Their houses are better for them.’

But some women may feel lazy or become weak at home. So if she goes out to the Masjid, fully covered and observing the proper Hijab (veil), and she avoids any wanton display, with the aim of praying and listening to people of knowledge, then she will be rewarded for that because this is a righteous aim.” [Fatawa Noor ‘alad-Darb, 9/489]

With regard to the virtue of praying in congregation in the Masjid, will women get the same reward as men if she prays in congregation?

This is a matter of dispute among the scholars:

Some say that the reward of offering Salaat in congregation is only for men because they are the ones who are commanded to go out to it, except for the ’Eid prayer, the reward of which is multiplied for women too, because they are commanded to go out to it.

Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eid said in “Umdat al-Ahkaam”: “As women are encouraged to go out to the Masjid, they should be equal with men (in reward) because the fact that men are mentioned with regard to the reward for actions does not mean that the reward is limited to them in Shari’ah.”

Ibn Rajab (Rahimahullaah)  said that the Hadeeth that is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “(The reward for) the prayer of a man offered in congregation is multiplied,” indicates that the reward for a woman’s prayer offered in congregation is not multiplied, because her prayer in her house is better for her. [Fat-h al-Baari]

Shaikh Ibn ’Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “It is known that congregational prayer is not obligatory for the woman, i.e. she is not commanded to attend the congregation, rather it is only allowable (Mubaah) for her- except for the  ‘Eid prayer because the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered the women to go to the ‘Eid prayer, but without showing their adornments.  Accordingly, the multiplied reward which is attained by praying in congregation applies only to men, because they are the ones who are called to it in the sense of it being obligatory. This is based on the wording of the Hadeeth ”(The reward) of the Salaat (prayer) offered by a person (a man) in congregation is multiplied twenty-five times as much than that of the Salaat offered in one’s house or in the market (alone).” [Al-Bukhaari]

Based on this, thewoman doesnot attain this reward.  

However, the scholars differed with regard to whether it is prescribed for women to pray in congregation separately from the men in their houses or in schools.

  1. Some of them said it isSunnah for them to pray in congregation; because the Prophet(Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)commanded Umm Waraqah to lead her household family in prayer. [Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawoud, and authenticated by al-Albaani in Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel,  493]
  2. Others said that it is Makrooh(disliked); and they considered the Hadeeth of Umm Waraqah to be Da’ief  (weak).

They said that the woman is not of people of congregation and showing the Rites of Islam, so it is disliked for her to hold congregational prayer in her house, and because this is not practiced and known among the mothers of the believers and others.

  1. Others said that it is permissible (Mubaah) allowable; because women are of people of congregation generally. Since it is allowed for her to attend the Masjidto offer congregational prayer, then it is permissible for her to offer it in her house in congregation because it is more concealing for her.  [End quote of the Shaikh, Majmoo’ Fatawa and Rasaa’il of Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen, vol. 15, chapter: Congregational prayer] [Also see the statement of Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam al- Mu’waqqi’een in which he mentioned the evidences on recommendation of congregational prayer for women] no. 2/351]

Sources:

  1. Fatawa Noor ’alad-Darb
  2. Fatawa Shaikh Ibn Baaz (http://www.binbaz.org)
  3. com
  4. Sharh al-Mumti’  by Shaikh Ibn ’Uthaimeen.

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