Home > Fiqh > Are women allowed in the Masjid?

Are women allowed in the Masjid?


 

Islam has always been a champion of Women’s rights since its advent. It has given her many rights and abolished many of the oppressive practices against her. Practices such as female infanticide, exploiting women as objects of pleasure without rights, and many more malpractices have been eradicated while establishing clear guidelines and rules concerning marriage, property, inheritance and so forth. The mosque is the central place for congregation of Muslims for salah or prayer. Muslim men are highly encouraged to attend 5 times compulsory prayer in congregation in mosques. However, when it comes to women’s attendance in masjids, there are varying opinions today. Some mosques outright prevent women from attending while others accommodate woman. Let us look into the prophetic guidelines to understand the permissibility of women to visit mosques.

 

Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, has said that

“Do not prevent female servants of Allah from the mosques of Allah, but they should go while they are not perfumed.”[1]

“If your women ask permission to go the mosque at night, allow them.”[2]

These words of the noble Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) clearly indicate that if a women intends to go to mosque, she should be allowed to do so. Prohibiting women from attending mosques is not from Islamic teachings. This way, they would not be deprived of the thawaab or rewards of offering prayer in congregation nor would they be deprived of the quintessential Islamic knowledge necessary to raise the next generation of Muslims, especially if an alternate access to this knowledge does not exist.

 

However, one should note that it is not obligatory for women to observe prayer in the mosque. Furthermore, in the hadith mentioned earlier, women are instructed not to be perfumed while going to mosques. This is emphasized along with maintaining proper Islamic Dress code – covering the entire body except the hands and face, wearing loose fitting and non revealing clothes. Furthermore, women are not to mingle with men in the mosques and must pray in rows behind the men.[3]

 

Having said that women are allowed to pray in masjids, having attained permission from their guardian and while adhering to the proper etiquettes of visiting mosques; however it is still preferable for them to pray at their homes as demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad’s (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam) response to Umm Humaid’s statement that she loves to pray with him[4]:

 

“I know that you love to pray with me, but your prayer in your bedroom is better than your prayer in your living room, and your prayer in your living room, is better than your prayer in your courtyard, and your prayer in your courtyard is better than your prayer in your neighborhood mosque, and your prayer in your mosque is better than your prayer in my mosque.”[5]

 

These are regulations set in place in general and especially in mosques to avoid temptations as prophet Muhammad (pbuh) declared the “After me, I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.”[6] These regulations highlights the great power that women possess and with power comes responsibility to utilize this power in a positive way while not causing chaos to the fabric of society. Furthermore, these regulations empower women to contribute to society while not being exploited as an object of pleasure by men.

The onus is not on women alone, as Allah Almighty has commanded men to lower their gazes and restricted not to interact with women who are their non-mahram (marriageable women).

 

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that is more purifying for them. Surely Allâh is aware of what they do.” (Quran 24:30)

This further emphases the important role that women have to play in the society as shapers of the future generation as well as establishing safeguards in the society to prevent intermingling of sexes leading to gaps which the enemy of mankind, Satan, can leverage to cause chaos by promoting vice, illegal relationships, exploitation leading to transgression of the laws set by our Creator and leading to breakdown of order in society. This can be witnessed in the West and is rapidly spreading to many parts of the world where intermingling of sexes, lewd attire worn by women as Prophet Muhammad prophesized that “…women will be clothed yet naked…” has contributed to the breakdown of the institution of marriage and adversely exponentially raising social nightmares such as fornication, adultery, rape, prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases, etc leading to the moral collapse of society.

 

In conclusion, it is allowed for women to visit the mosques while it is not obligatory for them, given that they maintain the proper Islamic etiquettes of dressing and behave modestly and that they have attained permission from their guardian.  It is recommended however that they pray at home. Mosques should accommodate prayer area for women and focus on imparting Islamic education for women especially when an alternative source of such knowledge does not exist at home.

 

 

 

 


[1] Ahmad (9625) [2/577] and Abu Dawud (565) [1/271]

[2] Al-Bukhari (865) [2/448] and Muslim (990) [2/383]

 

[3] A Summary of Islamic Jurispredence, Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

[4] Fiqh According to the Quran & Sunnah, Muhammad Subhi bin Hasan Hallaq

[5] Ahamd (6/371), Ibn Khuzaimah (3/95, no. 1689)

[6] Al Bukhari (5096) [9/172] and Muslim (6880) [9/57]

 

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