SHOULD WOMEN BE IN OR OUT OF THE MOSQUE?

How the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, sanctified and made obligatory the rights of women:

Zayed mosque: courtesy private transmission

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

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About Kaukab Siddique PhD

Professor of English, World Literature and Journalism at Lincoln University. Research specialization in Women and Islam

8 responses to “SHOULD WOMEN BE IN OR OUT OF THE MOSQUE?”

  1. IslamicChamper says :

    JazakAllah Khairun.

    Good post ! Im a revert/convert as some say, originally from Denmark but now living in Egypt. I used to go in the Masjid when I still was in europe,but now here in Egypt I dont find women in the Masjid as much as I saw in europe.

    But here woman can go, i think thats good…

    • Kaukab Siddique PhD says :

      Asalaam o alaikum sister IC

      JazaikLAlah hu Khairan Sister, what ever is not used fades away or atrophies. Thus is the use of the mosque, if the sisters use it as in the USA there are large spaces reserved for them but it has taken them Alhamdollillah 30 years of consistent effort of going regularly to the mosque even in the days that they were relegated to a small back room in a rented house that served as a Masjed.
      Inshallah you are in Egypt at a time when a revival of Islam is taking place and the fear of practicing Islam has been removed from the hearts of the believers.
      I pray that you will go often to the Masajeds to pray and to study and take full advantage of vein educated and get the barakah from Al Azhar University and mosque inshallah.
      Meanwhile keep up the good work on your blog!

      • IslamicChamper says :

        Salam alaikum….

        Thank you for your reply…insallah Egypt is moving on,im lucky to be married to an wonderfull man full of knowlegde inside Islam. He used to teach in Masjid and to lead prayers…He has writen many book’s but couldnt print them,as they here before didnt alowe a simpel man to do it(only if one had university)…

        I my self have made Dawah for many years,simply cant stop, I love it..

        Beside my blog and my other Site, I teach online in Islamic Teachings organisation,we run several groups on facebook as well,our newest is teaching the arabic language for Muslims as for Non Muslims(Quranic arabic as well) we have dawee’s here from Egypt who is in our Team.

        I will defently come back to your blog,to read more and to learn more…your blog is full of good knowlegde..

        Sister Aminah

      • Kaukab Siddique PhD says :

        Walaikum Asalaam wa rahmatullahe we barakatahu!
        Alhamdollillah continue to give out the message, join with others in cyberspace, publish an ebook. Inshallah Allah will recognize and reward your husbands and your efforts!
        Please suggest topics of interest that you would like to see on the blog.
        JazaikAllah hu Khairan.

  2. Kaukab Siddique PhD says :

    Any suggestions on issues to be discussed?

  3. Kaukab Siddique PhD says :

    JazaikAllah hu Khairan! May Allah reward the women of your family for going to the mosque and the men for encouraging them.

  4. Jamal Quraishi says :

    SubhanAllah! I liked it. It could be an eye opener for majority of men who were born and raised in Pakistan, India, etc, as they have only seen men going to the mosques to offer prayers. I think it is due to lack of knowledge, being illiterate and not having enough protection available for women over there. I guess I am comparing it with what I see and experience here in the US. Alhamdolillah here my mother, wife and daughters can go to the local mosque and can offer their prayers without feeling that they would be teased or harassed by another mosque goer.
    JazakAllah Khairun.

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