SHOULD WOMEN BE IN OR OUT OF THE MOSQUE?
How the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, sanctified and made obligatory the rights of women:
All authentic Islamic movements based on fear of Allah begin from the masjid [mosque]. Pagan cultures, by contrast, use women to turn places of worship into places for the exploitation of women. Hence, some of the Companions of the Prophet, pbuh, were hesitant about the presence of women in mosques. Muhammad, pbuh, counteracted these tendencies by, on the one hand, implementing a strict code of conduct for behavior in the mosque, and on the other, commanding men not to hinder the participation of women in the mosques.
[Masjid is a better word but “mosque” is used here for new Muslim readers.]
Unfortunately, in our times, some schools of though oppose the equal participation of women in the masjid. To clear up the confusion created by these schools of thought, we must go to the authenticated teachings of the Prophet, pbuh:
“Do not stop the maidservants of Allah from the mosques of Allah.” [Hadith, Sahih Muslim, kitabus Salat, narrated by Nafi’ from Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, r.a., from the Prophet, pbuh.]
This general command brought some hesitation about times when it is difficult to go to the mosque. Hence the Prophet, pbuh, went further:
“Do not stop women from going to the mosque at NIGHT.” [Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, Hadith Sunan of Abu Dawud, Hadith Jami’ of Tirmidhi, Hadith Sahih Muslim, narrated by Mujahid from Ibn ‘Umar, r.a., from the Prophet, pbuh.]
Women were separate from men but were very close to them. Some of the men in prayer were extremely poor and had scanty clothing. Hence the Prophet, pbuh, taught women to keep their eyes down while the men were in prostration:
“O women, lower your eyes when men are in prostration and do not look at their scanty lower body wraps which barely conceal their private parts.” [Hadith, Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, narrated by Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Aqeel from Jabir, r.a., from the Prophet, pbuh. Also narrated by others in the collections of Darimi, Tirmidhi, Nasai and ibn Majah.]
I selected the narration from ibn Hanbal because some men claim to be Hanbali but go to extremes to keep women out of mosques. Thus do Muslims ignore the Prophet’s teachings! May Allah guide us to obedience to Him (Zojal) and His Rasool pbuh.
K. Siddique PhD