Allowing women to pray in the Masjid
Fatwa No: 216976

  • Fatwa Date:24-9-2013 - Thul-Qi'dah 20, 1434
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Question

in India Many of the so called sunnis do not allow women to pray in the masjid. they say it is haram. but no where it is said it Haram. there were proves that even after the time of Prophet (saw) women used to pray in the masjid, as an Example Aatiqa (ra) the wife of Umar (ra) even she was in the masjid when Umar (ra) was killed by a slave. can you give some light on this issue and give the reference where it is mentioned that Aatiqa (ra) was in the Masjid when Umar (ra) was killed. is it in Bukhari or Abu dawood etc. ?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

There are many proofs that supports the permissibility of letting women go to the Masjid such as the narration of Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that: "One of the wives of ‘Umar (Ibn Al-Khattaab) used to offer the Fajr and ‘Ishaa' prayers in congregation in the Masjid. She was asked why she used to come out for the prayer while she knew that ‘Umar disliked it and that he was known for his protective jealousy (with his wives). She replied, 'What prevents him from stopping me?' The other person replied, 'What prevents him is the statement of the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: "Do not stop the female slaves of Allaah from going to the Masjids of Allaah."" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Abu Daawood added, "And their houses are better for them (for praying)."

However, not preventing the woman from going to the Masjid is not absolute; rather, it is limited by some conditions and if one of these conditions is not met, then she should be prevented. Imaam An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Explanation of Saheeh Muslim: "This Hadeeth and other ones like it in that chapter indicate clearly that women should not be prevented from attending the Masjid; however, here are some conditions that should be met as stated by the scholars who took them from the Ahaadeeth: The woman should not wear perfume, should not be adorned or wearing anklets whose sound is heard, or wearing luxurious clothes, or mixing with men, and should not be a young beautiful one by whom men would be tempted. Also, the road to the Masjid should be void of what may cause evil or the like. Prohibition of preventing them from going out to the Masjid is interpreted to be dislikeable if the woman has a husband or a master and she meets the stated conditions. If she has no husband or master, then preventing her (from attending the Masjid) will be prohibited if the conditions are met." [End quote]

Also, it was stated in Al-Mawsoo‘ah Al-Fiqhiyyah regarding women going out to the Masjid: "It is worth mentioning that allowing women to go out to the Masjid, according to those who allow it, is limited by the previous conditions. An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'It is recommended for the husband to permit her if she asked him his permission to go to the Masjid for prayer if she is old, does not tempt men and there will be no evil for her or others. In this case, if he prevents her, this (his act) is not prohibited. This is our opinion.' Al-Bayhaqi said: 'That is the opinion of the majority of the scholars." [End quote]

As for the story of ‘Aatikah, it was reported by ‘Abdur Razzaaq in Al-Musannaf from Az-Zuhari who said: "‘Aatikah bint Zayd ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl, the wife of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, used to offer prayer in the Masjid. ‘Umar used to say to her: "By Allaah! You know very well that I dislike it." She said: "By Allaah! I shall not stop until you forbid me." And the day ‘Umar was stabbed to death she was in the Masjid." [End quote]

Al-Haafith (Ibn Hajar) said in Al-Fat-h: "As such, he stated it as Mursal Hadeeth (i.e. narrated by a Tabi’ie (successor of the Prophet’s companions) while omitting the companion’s name whom he heard the Hadeeth from)."

Allaah Knows best.

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