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Women attending the Masjid?

Question

Are women allow to go mosque nowadays?

( Question published as Received )

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran regarding hijab:

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى

“Remain in your homes, and do not display (your) beauty as it used to be displayed in
the earlier days of ignorance” (33:33)

قل للمؤمنين يغضوا من أبصارهم ويحفظوا فروجهم ذلك أزكى لهم إن الله خبير بما يصنعون   وقل للمؤمنات يغضضن من أبصارهن ويحفظن فروجهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا ما ظهر منها وليضربن بخمرهن على جيوبهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا لبعولتهن أو آبائهن أو آباء بعولتهن أو أبنائهن أو أبناء بعولتهن أو إخوانهن أو بني إخوانهن أو بني أخواتهن أو نسائهن أو ما ملكت أيمانهن أو التابعين غير أولي الإربة من الرجال أو الطفل الذين لم يظهروا على عورات النساء ولا يضربن بأرجلهن ليعلم ما يخفين من زينتهن وتوبوا إلى الله جميعا أيها المؤمنون لعلكم تفلحون

“Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is more decent for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known. And repent to Allah O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success”. (24:30-31)

In this time of extensive fitna, it is better for women to pray within the confinements of the home. In our times, we see that many masjids have one entrance for men and women, which means that intermingling undoubtedly takes place and it is extremely difficult to control the gaze in that case. Many women nowadays also beautify themselves, perfume themselves, and do not observe proper hijab when going to the masjid. When all these things occur, then forbidden acts such as non-mehram men and women gazing at each other, unnecessary conversation etc. take place that ignites the fire of temptation which leads to the different forms of zina. Allah Ta’ala has given us a warning in the Quran by saying:

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

“And do not even go close to fornication. It is indeed a shameful act and an evil way to follow”. (17:32)

In this verse, Allah Ta’ala did not just say “Do not fornicate”, but He said do not even go close to it, meaning do not do things which may lead to adultery or fornication as  Shaytan is quick to mislead the believers.

It is true that in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), women were permitted to pray in the masjid. In fact, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:

لا تمنعوا إماء الله مساجد الله

“Do not ban the female servants of Allah from Allah’s masjids” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud)

However, there were reasons why Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not prevent women from going to masjid in his time. Before getting to those, it must first be stated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) clearly mentioned that it is better and more rewarding for women to pray salat in their homes. Despite that, he forbade others from preventing women to attend the masjid.

The reason for permitting women going to the masjid is that in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), women going out in full hijab were not considered to be a cause of fitna. This is why he had given women permission to pray at themasjid even though the reward for them praying in their homes is greater. After the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), the Sahaba (RadiyAllahu Anhum) realized that women going to the masjid was no longer free from apprehension of fitna. Even A’isha (RadiyAllahu Anha), the beloved wife of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), stated that if the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) could see the circumstances in that time, he most certainly would have stopped women from going to the masjid. If women covered in full hijab were not encouraged to go out in the times of the Sahaba (RadiyAllahu Anhum) due to fitna, then surely in our time the fitna has greatly expanded and it has become ever so dangerous for Muslim women to go out unnecessarily.

In the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), unnecessary intermingling did not take place. A Hadith narrated by Umm Salamah (RadiyAllahu Anha) states that when the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) completed the prayer, the women would get up to leave. He would then wait awhile before standing. Ibn Shahab said: “I believe he waited for a while to give the women an opportunity to depart before the men”. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Ibn Hajr Asqalaani (Rahmatullah Alayhi) mentions that in this Hadith, we see that it is disliked for men and women to mix on the road. (Fathul Bari)

Therefore, we must remember that the hikmah (wisdom) of Allah Ta’ala is behind everything. As mentioned earlier, it is clear that there is more reward for women to pray at home rather than the masjid. Had women’s full reward for prayer depended on going to the masjid or praying in congregation, then this would have placed a great hardship and spiritual loss on mothers and other women who are at home. For example, women with young or infant children at home would have been deprived of full reward. Rather, from Allah’s infinite wisdom and mercy, He made the religious responsibilities of each gender in accordance with the nature of their social roles.

And Allah knows best

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