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Women and the Eid Gah


The practice of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was to perform Eid Salaah on an open field at the outskirts of the city. It is thus Sunnah to perform Eid Salaah at the “Musallah” (Eid Gah).

Indeed in the time of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam women attended the Eid Salaah. Initially, women were permitted to even attend the daily Salaah in the Musjid. Subsequently, many senior Sahaaba Radiallahu Anhum stopped women from attending the Musjid due to the conditions having changed from that of the glorious era of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Nevertheless, even in the time of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, the permission to attend the Musjid was subject to several conditions. Some of these were:

Complete Hijaab (Purdah) – Hazrath Aisha Radiallahu Anha reports that women used to come to the Musjid completely covered in their sheets (Sahih Bukhari).

No perfume must be used – Hazrath Zainub Radiallahu Anha, the wife of Abdullah bin Masood Radiallahu Anhu, reports that Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “If any woman attends the Musjid, she should not use any perfume” (Sahih Muslim). In fact Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam has commanded that if women attend the Musjid, it should be in a manner that they are “tafilaat” (Abu Dawood). The word tafilaat is literally translated as untidy. In this context it will mean that they will not take any steps to adorn themselves. Rather they will be dressed in clothing that is completely unattractive. The purpose for this was to prevent every type of fitnah. Hazrath Aisha Radiallahu Anha has also reported that Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “Do not prevent the servants of Allah Ta’ala (women) from the Masaajid but they should go out “tafilaat”. After reporting this Hadith of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, Hazrath Aisha Radiallahu Anha comments:
“Had Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam seen the condition of women today, he would have prevented them from attending the Musjid” (Jamiul Masaneed).
Allama Ainee Radiallahu Anhu the author of the famous commentary of Sahih Bukhari comments that this was regarding the time of Hazrath Ayesha Radiallahu Anhu. He then says regarding his time: “As for today, Na-oothubillah! (We seek Allah Ta’alas  refuge from the fitna that is prevalent).” That too was several centuries ago.

They should not be adorned in any way. It is reported that Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was in the Musjid when a woman from the people of Muzaina who had adorned herself came into the Musjid. Upon this Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “O People prevent your women from wearing attractive garments and walking proudly in the Musjid since the people of Bani Israeel were cursed because of this very action of their women (Ibn Majah).

No intermingling of males and females. Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam ordered the women to stick to the edges of the road (to avoid any intermingling even due to the Musjid). Hence it is reported that after this command women walked so closely to the walls of the houses that their clothing would at times be caught in the wall (on anything that might have been protruding from the wall) (Abu Dawood). Similarly, Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam forbade women from walking in the middle of the path (Al-Jamius Sagheer, Vol. 5, Pg. 379).

Later when these conditions were not upheld as they were in the time of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, many Sahaaba Radiallahu Anhum refrained women from attending the Musjid. It is reported that Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar Radiallahu Anhu used to chase women away from the Musjid. Hazrath Abdullah bin Masood Radiallahu Anhu also prevented the women from attending the Musjid (Targheeb).

SAME CONDITIONS

Whatever conditions applied to women attending the Musjid, the same will apply to the Eid Gah. When the strict conditions could not be upheld shortly after the era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), in this time of fitna there is not even a faint chance that they will be upheld in the manner of the women in the time of Nabi Kareem Sallallallu Alaihi Wasallam. Hence the decision of the Fuqaha is that women must not attend the Musjid or Eid Gah.

Imam Tirmizi Radiallahu Anhu has recorded the narration of Umme Atiy’a Radiallahu Anha in his famous collection of Hadith. She says: “We were ordered to go out with the single and menstruating women to the two Eids…” After quoting the statement of Umme Atiy’a Radiallahu Anha, Imam Tirmizi Radiallahu Anhu quotes the statement of the great Muhaddith Abdullah bin Mubarak Radiallahu Anhu who said: “I believe that in these times it is Makrooh for women to go for the Eid Salaah to the Eid Gah. If a woman insists on going, her husband should permit her to go in old clothes and she should not adorn herself. If she does not agree to this, he must prevent her…” It is also reported from Sufyaan Thawri Radiallahu Anhu that he regarded it as Makrooh for the women to go to the Eid Salaah in these times (Jami Tirmizi).

EXPERTS OF HADITH REGARD IT AS MAKROOH

Imam Tirmizi Radiallahu Anhu is one of the great scholars of Hadith. His compilation, Jami Tirmizi, is one of the “Sihah Sitta.” He has concluded the discussion on the Hadith of Umme Atiya Radiallahu Anha upon the statement of Abdullah bin Mubarak Radiallahu Anhu and Sufyan Thawri Radiallahu Anhu. This is itself evidence that he is also of the view that it is not Sunnat to go to the Eid Gah.

His quotation of Hazrath Abdullah bin Mubarak Radiallahu Anhu is very significant. Hazrath Abdullah bin Mubarak Radiallahu Anhu is the Ustaad of Imam Bukhari Radiallahu Anhu. In his famous treatise titled “Raff’ul Yadain,” Hazrath Imam Bukhari Radiallahu Anhu described his Ustaad thus: “Imam Abdullah bin Mubarak Radiallahu Anhu is the greatest Aalim of his time. If people followed him rather than others who possess lesser knowledge, it would have been better.” This great personality, who himself was an expert in the knowledge of Hadith, and who was the Ustaad of the expert of Hadith in the calibre of Imam Bukhari Radiallahu Anhu, declares clearly: ” According to me it is Makrooh nowadays for women to emerge for the Eid Salaah to the Eid Gah!!”


ARDENT FOLLOWERS

The proverbial adherence to the Sunnah of Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar Radiallahu Anhu is well known. He would diligently practice on every Sunnah of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. It is reported that he would not take the women of his family to the Eid Gah (Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah).

Thus an act which was prevented by many Sahaba Radiallahu Anhum who were the ardent followers of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam cannot be encouraged in this time of extreme fitna and fasaad. On the one hand are the strict conditions that were set by Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam for women leaving their homes for Salaah. On the other hand is the lax attitude towards Deen of many Muslims of this era. To suggest that women should attend the Eid Gah is to open the doors to fitna. When Hazrath Aisha Radiallahu Anha observed a slight departure; from the strict conditions in the time of Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, she declared that had Nabi Kareem Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam been present he would have forbidden women from leaving their homes for Salaah. What would she have said if she witnessed the conditions of this day and age!

It is thus clear that women must not leave their homes for Salaah, whether it be the five daily Salaah, Jumu’ah, Taraweeh or Eid Salaah.

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