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Friday, 30 June 2017

IT'S BETTER FOR WOMEN TO PRAY AT HOME Than In A Mosque - Prophet Muhammad

Prophet’s Advice To Women:
‘It’s Better For You To Pray
At Home Than In A Mosque!’

Prophet’s Advice To Men:
‘Do not prevent your women
from going to the mosques if
they ask your permission!’

(M. Javed Naseem)

(Women offering Eid prayer in Luknow, India)
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and
His Messenger, and turn not away from
him when you hear (him speak)!”
(al-Quran 8:20)

“He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah.
But if any turn away, We have not sent you
to watch over their (evil deeds).”
(al-Quran 4:80)

A gang-rape incident that took place on 27th of Ramadan forced me to write this article!

Islam is a ‘way of life’ that brings you closer to your Creator, Allah – the Almighty. Islam is certainly more than the rituals, like praying, fasting, paying charity and going for pilgrimage. It establishes a relationship between the Creation and the Creator. It also cultivates love for Allah’s Prophet (Muhammad, s.a.w.) in the hearts of the believers as he was our role-model designated by Allah. A true Muslim loves Allah and His Prophet more than anything else in life. Allah has commanded the believers that they should obey the Prophet’s commands and follow him as a role-model.

Abu Salamah ibn Abdur Rahman heard Abu Hurairah say that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said:
"Whoever obeys me has obeyed Allah. Whoever rebels against me has rebelled against Allah. Whoever obeys my Amir has obeyed me. Whoever rebels against my Amir has disobeyed me." – (Bukhari, Muslim).

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
"When I forbid you to do something, avoid it. When I command you to do something, then do it as much as you are able." – (Bukhari, Muslim).

 “Say (O Muhammad)! If you do love Allah,
follow me! Allah will love you and forgive your
sins, for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
(al-Quran 3:31)

The best way (rather the only way) to show our love for Allah is to obey His commands – do what He tells us to do and abstain from the things He forbids us. The Quran contains all the commands of Allah and the Sunnah (way of life) of the Prophet (s.a.w.) shows us how to implements those commands in real life. Since humans want easy life, they always look for shortcuts – the ways and means to please Allah and His Prophet without doing any hardwork. This has resulted in many interpretations of the Quranic verses that are promoted by different sects or groups. The irony is that each sect or group claims that its version or interpretation is the ‘true Islam’ and anything else is not Islam. That approach is very unreasonable and illogical. It creates disunity and divides the Muslim Ummah into sects. And that is forbidden by Allah.

Don’t create religious issues out of
nothing! If you don’t respect Prophet’s
advice, you don’t love him nor can you
claim to be a true Muslim! Prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w.) was declared the
best rolemodel for mankind.

Should women also go out to pray in the mosques just like men? Are they not prohibited to do that? This debate is very old. There are different opinions and many Fatwah (rulings) by the scholars on this subject. But in fact, it’s very simple. This should not be considered an issue triggering disputes and fights between husbands and wives. If you know the facts, this is not an issue requiring Fatwah (ruling) from the scholars.

(Women offering Taraweeh prayer during Ramadan at Masjid Hassan-II, Casablanca)

Women Praying in The Mosques:

There is no verse in the Quran that prevents women from entering the mosques for praying purposes. Similarly, there is no authentic Hadith from the Prophet (s.a.w.) that
prohibits women from praying in the mosques. On the contrary, there are several Hadiths
that tell men that they should not stop women if they (women) insist on going to the mosques for prayer. They should allow them. But, at the same time, there are also authentic Hadiths according to which Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) recommended women to pray at home as it was better (for them) than praying in the mosques.

Did you find anything disputing or contradictory in that? No, because there is none.

 Simply put, the Prophet (s.a.w.) told women
that it was better for them to pray (Salaat) at
home than in the mosques. But if they wanted
to go to the mosques, they were allowed.

The issue or the problem here should NOT be the permission (allowed or not-allowed). The real issue here should be “respecting and adhering to the advice or recommendation of the Prophet (s.a.w.)” than to your (women’s) own desire or opinion to go to the mosques for Salaat.
The critical issue here should be women’s security risks and social evils. Not the permission. They are permitted by the Prophet and there’s no dispute about it.

Women’s going to the mosques is fine but there are some hidden social evils that are being ignored by people. I live in front of one of the biggest mosques in the world, Masjid Hassan-II, Casablanca, Morocco. Population-wise, there are a lot (one million) more women (out of 35 million people, Women: 51%, Men: 49%) in Morocco than men and that shows not only in the streets of Moroccan cities but also in the famous mosques. In Ramadan, it feels that more women come for Isha/Taraweeh prayers than men. Even in Fajr prayer, women’s number is high.
I feel bad in saying that sometimes there are scenes from the parking lots, lawn and corridors of the mosque and around, that show evil/Fitnah at work! We see “love-sick” couples in the dark corners hand-in-hand trying to have good time while the Taraweeh prayer is going on. Not all women/girls come to the mosque for prayers. All girls and women come out with their mobile phones and keep them in their hands to show off. Culturally (French colonial influence), any man can talk to any woman and any boy can chat with any girl without any problem. All high-school and college-going teenagers have girlfriends or boyfriends, openly or secretly. They can freely exchange their phone numbers. But the real problem starts afterwards when they start looking for dark corners in the parking lots or the corridors.

When we were kids, I heard that Lailat-ul Qadr was the 27th night of Ramadan. After 60 years now I hear it again in Morocco that the ‘Night of the Qadr’ falls on the 27th night of Ramadan. Not all Moroccans believe that. It’s just a general view, just like in India or Pakistan or any other Muslim country. Most people believe that it could fall on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or even the 29th night of the month of Ramadan. It is a Moroccan tradition that kids and young people put on new or fancy clothes. The night of 27th is crowded, like Eid night as the streets are bustling. Everybody is outside. Mosques are full to the capacity and people (both men and women) bring their own mats and bottles of water to stay at the mosques as long as possible. Even the surrounding open yards and lawns of every mosque are also occupied. It’s a great scene to watch, with thousands of women praying behind men. A curtain-like long partition separates the two groups. In Arab countries, most mosques have separate area for women, generally upstairs or in the back, with separate entrance/exit.

Now, the funny thing is that inside the mosques, men and women are separated but outside the mosques, they can hold each others’ hands, hug each other, or even do more than that. By law, it is not a crime. Crime starts with “kissing in public” so most of them hide in the corridors or in the parking lots between two cars.

The reason for my writing this article is a news item that disturbed me a lot. It was reported last week in the social media (Moroccan press is not always honest and bold enough to report crimes) that in the city of Beni Mellah (south of Marrakesh) a teenage minor girl was assaulted and raped by 5 young men in Ramadan. The girl had left the house for Isha/Taraweeh prayer and went to the nearby mosque to celebrate the night of “Lailat-ul Qadr”. How did it happen, is another story! The point is, ‘why’ did it happen?
It happened because it was easier for boys and girls (men and women) to mingle with each other. And that’s my point! Islam does not allow mixing up or intermingling of men and women. If you control that, you can control 90% of sexual crimes.

Under today’s uncertain circumstances and unsafe conditions, would anybody send his/her daughter, sister or wife to a mosque for prayer? I hope this question answers many questions.

Mosques should have special areas for women

Islam gives permission to woman to enter the Mosques provided there are separate and equal facilities. Islam does not allow the intermingling of sexes. There should be separate entrances for men and women – separate places of ablution (Wudhu) for men and women. In Islam, when we pray, we stand shoulder to shoulder. But men and women cannot stand shoulder to shoulder in prayer. They are not allowed to intermingle. That is why in Islam, women have to stand behind. The Imam has to be a male.

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 (s.a.w.). 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 (s.a.w.) 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 (s.a.w.) and said:
"O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), 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 farthest and darkest part of her house, and she always prayed there until she met Allah (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 Hadith:

From Abdullah ibn Umar, who said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) say: ‘Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque if they ask your permission." Bilal ibn Abdullah said, "By Allah, we will prevent them." Ibn Umar turned to him and told him in an unprecedented fashion, saying: "I tell you what the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, and you say ‘By Allah, we will prevent them’!" (Reported by Muslim, No.667).

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid says that a woman is permitted to go to the mosque for prayer but there are certain conditions:

1) She should wear complete Hijaab.
2) She should not go out wearing perfume.
3) She should have the permission of her husband.
4) 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.

Abd al-Azeem Abaadi said:
The reason here is that women's praying at home is better so as to avoid Fitnah, and that was more strongly emphasized after the ‘Tabarruj’ (wanton display) that women introduced. – (Awn al-Ma’bood, 1/193).
(Men and women have separate Ablution (Wudhu) places and washrooms at Masjid Hassan-II)
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said:
The Sunnah indicates that it is better for a woman to pray at home, no matter where she is, whether she lives in Makkah or elsewhere. Hence the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “Do not prevent the female slaves of Allah from coming to the mosques of Allah, but their houses are better for them.”
He said that when he was in Madinah, even though prayer in the Prophet’s Mosque brings more reward, because a woman’s prayer in her own house is more covering for her and farther removed from temptation (Fitnah), so if she is in her house then this is preferable and is better.
(Note: As far as multiple reward is concerned, Allah will grant women more reward for obeying the advice of the Prophet (s.a.w.).
(See Fataawa al-Jaami’ah li’l-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, Vol.1, p. 207).
The Messenger (s.a.w.) said: “Do not stop your women-folk from going to the mosques if they ask you for permission.” (al-Bukhari, No.865; Muslim, No.442).
(Women have a separate entrance/exit at Masjid Hassan-II, Casablanca)
It was narrated that Ibn Umar said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) say: “When your women ask you for permission to go to the mosque, give them permission.”

According to another version, “Do not forbid women their share of the mosques if they ask you for permission.”

Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, in his book Hiraasat al-Fadeelah (p. 86), listed the conditions for women to go out to the mosques. He said that women were allowed to go out to the mosques under the following conditions:

(Women's separate big prayer gallery inside Masjid Hassan-II, Casablanca)
1- That there is no risk of them tempting others or being tempted.
2- That their attendance will not lead to anything that is forbidden according to Shariah.
3- That they do not jostle with men in the streets or in the mosques.
4- That they should go out not wearing perfume.
5- That they should go out wearing Hijab, not making a wanton display of their adornment.
6- A door should be set aside in the mosques just for women to enter and exit, as mentioned in the Hadith narrated in Sunan Abu Dawud and elsewhere.
7- The women’s rows should be behind the men’s rows.
8- The best rows for women are those at the back, unlike the case for men
9-Women should leave the mosque before men, and men should wait until the women have dispersed to their homes, as mentioned in the Hadith of Umm Salamah (r.a.a.) in Saheeh al-Bukhari and elsewhere.

So, let the common sense and logic prevail to avoid disagreement and Fitnah! If women insist to go, make it safer and easier for them!

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