Allah Taãla says in the Noble Qurãn, 'You are the best of nations sent to man. You command good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah'. (Aali Imraan).
Allah Taãla states that one reason for this Ummah being titled as the best of Ummah, is the practice of commanding good and preventing evil'.
Should Women Be Prevented From Attending the Masjid?
The clear and most correct answer to this question is NO. We have in the following four authentic Hadith a clear example for those who wish to fulfill the obligation of living in Ma’roof (absolute kindness and justice) with their women. Narrated Salim from his father, ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Umar, that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
"When women ask permission for going to the mosque, do not prevent them." (Saheeh Muslim)
'Abd Allah bin ‘Umar reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say:
"Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque when they seek your permission." Bilaal bin ‘Abd Allah said: By Allah! We shall certainly prevent them. On this, ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Umar turned towards him and reprimanded him so harshly as I had never heard him do before. He (‘Abd Allah bin ‘Umar) said: I am narrating to you that which comes from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and you (dare) say: By Allah! We shall certainly prevent them. (Saheeh Muslim)
Ibn ‘Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
"Do not prevent women from going to the Mosque at night." A boy said to ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Umar: We would never let them go out, that they may not be caught in evil. He (the narrator) said: Ibn ‘Umar reprimanded him and said: I am saying that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said this, but you say: We would not allow! (Saheeh Muslim)
Zainab bint Thaqafiya reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said to us:
"When any of you comes to the mosque, she should not apply perfume." (Saheeh Muslim)
From the above authentic Hadith, we can clearly see that the Sahabiyat (female companions) were not prevented from attending the mosque. In fact, the Prophet (SAW) instructed the men not to prevent them! Further, it is clear that they may attend 'Isha even though it may be night time. We also have authentic Hadith in the Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari that the women would attend Fajr completely enveloped in their Hijab. Hence, if a woman does not perfume herself and observes the proper Hijab (see Her Dress Requirements), she may attend the masjid for Salat. Let the above serve as an argument against those who wish to practice the extreme of banning women from the houses of Allah (SWT)!
Further, it is extremely important for women to attend community functions at the Masjid (i.e. lectures, study circles, and other similar gatherings) as this is one of the few times a woman witnesses how Muslims are to interact with each other. Such functions benefit the women by allowing them to give and receive Da’wah, apply proper rules of Adab (manners), and to help in the maintenance of Allah’s (SWT) houses. Thus, the permissibility of women praying in the Masjid is well established from the Sunnah. The important issue is knowing where it is better to perform her Salat.
The Mosque or My House?
It is clear from the following Hadith that Salat in her home is far superior than Salat in the Masjid. Narrated Umm Humaid As-Sa’diyah who once said to the Prophet (SAW): Messenger of Allah (SAW)! I love to pray with you (i.e. in the mosque)! Upon hearing this, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:
"I know that you love to say your prayer with me. However, the prayer you offer in your residence is more excellent than that you offer in your people’s mosque. And your prayer in your people’s mosque is better for you than you prayer in the (lager) congregational mosque." (Abu Dawud; Musnad of Imaam Ahmad; & At-Tabarani)
From the above Hadith it is clear that a woman’s Salat is more rewarded if it is done in her home. No one can claim that performing Salat in the Masjid is better or equal to performing Salat in the home for the women. Regardless of whether or not that Salat in the Masjid is Jumu’ah or Salat in Al-Masjid Al-Haraam in Makkah, the home of the woman is far more superior. We see that Umm Humaid (RA) had the opportunity to: a) make her Salat with the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and to; b) make it in his Masjid as further narrations in the Sunan of Abu Dawud pinpoint. Surely, making Salat with the Prophet (SAW) and in his mosque are far better than any Jumu’ah prayer, etc. Nonetheless, the Prophet (SAW) still instructed her that her Salat at her home was better for her. Allah (SWT) says in His Book:
"...Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?..." (Al-Baqarah 2:61)
Therefore, it is now quite clear that women are allowed to make their Salat in the Masjid as the Prophet (SAW) did not allow the men to prevent them. However, it is far more superior to make her Salat in her home as that is where the blessings are more heavy and abundant. So we see that after obeying Allah’s (SWT) Commandment of referring back to Him and His Messenger (SAW), this issue is quite clear and easy to implement. This should serve as an encouragement for us to always refer our differences back to the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (SAW).
Furthermore, if one truly ponders over this injunction, one will surely see the mercy Allah (SWT) has placed in it. It would be a hardship upon the women if they were obligated to make the obligatory Salat in the masjid, five times per day, every day. This would require her to prepare her children, regardless of the number, and take them to the masjid. Surely her husband could not stay home and care for them as prayer in congregation is obligatory upon the men. Thus, the whole family would be forced to go to the Masjid five times daily. Upon that, the woman would have to be responsible for her children while at the masjid. This would take away from her concentration upon the prayer. However, were she to stay at home, then she could allow her children to roam about in a familiar environment while she performs her prayer. While at home, her husband can even take control of the family while she makes her Salat. To perform her prayers five times daily in congregation would require that the woman observes full Hijab upon leaving the house. Surely, all of this would be burdensome for our sisters in Islam. Thus, Allah (SWT) has given her something better. She is rewarded abundantly for making her prayer in her home and this is what is best for her. Indeed, this is a mercy from Allah (SWT).
I ask Allah to make us of those who, when commanded by our Lord, respond only with the saying of: "We hear and we obey!" Ameen. O our Lord! Give us the good in this world and the good of the Hereafter and save us from the Punishment of the Fire. Ameen. Subhanaka Allahummah wa bihamdika, ash hadu an la illaha illa anta, astaghfiruka wa atuboo ilayk.
Article Written By Abu ‘Abdul Fattaah Salaah bin Bernard Brooks of Pittsburgh, PA
Is it right to forbid women to go to the mosque? If so, where in the Holy Qur’aan or the ahaadeeth can I find this?
Praise be to Allah.
There is no doubt that a woman’s prayer in her house is better for her than praying in the mosque, as is indicated by the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him). He said: "Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque, even though their houses are better for them." (Reported by Abu Dawud in al-Sunan, Baab maa jaa’a fee khurooj al-nisaa’ ilaa’l-masjid: Baab al-tashdeed fee dhaalik. See also Saheeh al-Jaami‘, no. 7458).
Whenever a woman prays in a place that is more private and more hidden, that is better for her, as the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: "A woman’s prayer in her house is better than her prayer in her courtyard, and her prayer in her bedroom is better than her prayer in her house." (Reported by Abu Dawud in al-Sunan, Baab maa jaa’a fee khurooj al-nisaa’ ilaa’l-masjid. See also Saheeh al-Jaami‘, no. 3833).
Umm Humayd, the wife of Abu Humayd al-Saa‘idi reported that she came to the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) and said: "O Messenger of Allaah, I love to pray with you." He said: "I know that you love to pray with me, but praying in your house is better for you than praying in your courtyard, and praying in your courtyard is better for you than praying in the mosque of your people, and praying in the mosque of your people is better for you than praying in my mosque." So she ordered that a prayer-place be built for her in the furthest and darkest part of her house, and she always prayed there until she met Allaah (i.e., until she died). (Reported by Imaam Ahmad; the men of its isnaad are thiqaat (trustworthy)).
But the fact that praying at home is preferable does not mean that that women are not permitted to go to the mosque, as is clear from the following hadeeth:
From ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, who said: "I heard the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace be upon him) say: ‘Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque if they ask your permission.’" Bilaal ibn ‘Abdullah said, "By Allaah, we will prevent them." (Ibn ‘Umar) turned to him and told him off in an unprecedented fashion, saying: "I tell you what the Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said, and you say ‘By Allaah, we will prevent them’!!" (reported by Muslim, 667).
But there are conditions attached to the permission for women to go to the mosque, as follows:
(1) She should wear complete hijaab.
(2) She should not go out wearing perfume.
(3) She should have the permission of her husband.
Her going out should not involve any other kind of prohibited acts, such as being alone in a car with a non-mahram driver. If a woman does something wrong like that, her husband or guardian has the right to stop her; in fact it is his duty to do so. And Allaah knows best
Should Women Be Prevented From Attending the Masjid?