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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Women’s Prayer in Mosques: Allowed or Not?

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan 

Our religion is a perfect one that comprehensively covers our welfare and interests in this world and in the Hereafter, Islam came with good to all Muslims, whether male or female as Allah says:

Women’s Prayer in Mosques

One of the things by which Islam honors woman is allowing her to attend the mosques.

Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily we shall quicken with good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16:97)

Islam takes an interest in women, conferring honor and respect upon them as long as they abide by its rulings and adorn themselves with its virtues.

Allowed

One of the things by which Islam honors woman is allowing her to attend the mosques to witness the congregational prayers and the assemblies for remembering Allah in order to win reward. However, at the same time the woman must do that with due decency and precautions that keep her away from any satanic seduction and preserve her dignity as well.

With Men’s Permission!

It is detestable to prevent women from going to the mosque if they ask permission. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Do not prevent the female servants of Allah (women) from (going to) the mosques of Allah, but they should go while they are not perfumed.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

This is because performing the prescribed prayers in congregation has a great reward for both men and women: moreover, walking to the mosque has a great reward.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Why?

The wisdom behind asking their husbands’ permission is that it is among the rights of men upon their women (wives) to stay at home. Thus, going to the mosque, in this case, is only permissible, and they art not to abandon what is obligatory for the sake of what is permissible. When the husband gives permission to his wife to go to the mosque, he then gives up his right (upon his wife to stay at home).

The Prophet said:

“ … yet their houses (women’s) are better for them (to perform prayer therein).” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) means that it is better for women to perform prayer in their houses to avoid any satanic temptation. The Prophet also said:

“… But they should go while they are not perfumed”

On this Condition

This means that women are allowed to go to the mosque (to perform prayer) on the condition that they should not be perfumed, lest they might tempt men with their perfume, thus diverting men’s eyes to them. The intended meaning here is that perfume is something that tempts men towards women. Joined to perfume (in prohibition) is what resembles it (with regard to temptation) like wearing attracting clothes, jewels and adornments.

Thereupon, if a woman perfumes herself or puts on attractive clothes, then she is prohibited to go to the mosque and must be forbidden from going out of her home. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever woman perfumes herself should not join us in the `Isha’ (Night) Prayer.” (Muslim)

Besides, if a woman went out to the mosque (for prayer), she should keep away from crowded gatherings of men, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Thus, those in authority must forbid mingling between men and women in marketplaces and  gathering of men. The responsibility for this is upon those in authority since mingling between men and women brings about a great affliction. This is according to the hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Al-Qayyim added:

“Thus, those in authority must forbid women from going out adorned and beautified (in a seducing way). They must also forbid women from talking to men in streets and forbid men as well from doing the same.”

                                                                                                                                                                      To be continued

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence”.

 

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Tarawih Prayer: Its Meaning, Rulings and Manners

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan 

The Tarawih Prayer (Nightly Supererogatory Prayer during the month of Ramadan) is among what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has ordained for Muslims in Ramadan, and it is a stressed act of the Sunnah.

Trawih Prayer

It is more desirable to perform the Tarawih Prayer in congregation in the mosqueو

It is called ‘tarawih’ which means in Arabic ‘intervals of relaxation’, because Muslims used to take an interval of relaxation after every four rak`ahs  of the Tarawih Prayer as they used to prolong the prayer.

It is more desirable to perform the Tarawih Prayer in congregation in the mosque, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) led his Companions in performing the Tarawih Prayer for some nights then he stopped for fear that it might become a burden on Muslims.

`A’ishah  (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

“One night, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) performed prayer in the mosque and some people followed him. The next night he also performed prayer and too many people gathered. On the third or the fourth night, more people gathered, but Allah’s Messenger did not come out to them. In the morning he said, ‘I saw what you were doing and nothing but the fear that it (i.e. the  prayer) might be enjoined on you, stopped me from comil1g to you.’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In the narration of Al-Bukhari the words “… and that happened in the month of Ramadan” were added. It is well-known that the Companions performed the Tarawih Prayer after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslim nation has accepted and followed this practice.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

“Whoever stands (performing prayer) with the imam until he finishes prayer, (the reward for) performing prayer all the night will be recorded for him.” (Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’I, and Ibn Majah)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also says:

“Whoever performs prayer during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping for Divine reward (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Thus, performing the Tarawih Prayer is stated (stressed) act of the Sunnah that a Muslim should not leave.”

How Many Rak`ahs?

Concerning the number of rak`ahs (units of prayer) performed in this prayer, nothing definite is narrated about the Prophet (peace be upon him) and hence Muslims are free to choose. Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“A Muslim can perform twenty rak`ahs (in the Tarawih Prayer) according to the famous Hanbali and Shafi`i schools, thirty six rak`ahs with regard to the Maliki School, eleven rak`ahs  or thirteen. Thus, all is good and a Muslim can perform more or less rak`ahs according to the (long or short) time of his standing reciting the Qur’an.”

When `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) gathered Muslims to perform the Tarawih Prayer in congregation behind Ubay Ibn Ka`b, the later performed twenty rak`ahs. Some of the Companion used to perform more rak`ahs and other Companions performed less. So, there is no definite text related about the Prophet (peace be upon hgim) determining certain number of rak`ahs to be performed in the Tarawih Prayer.

Tranquility

Many imams of mosques perform the Tarawih Prayer without paying attention or feeling tranquil while bowing or prostrating. Feeling tranquil is an integral part of prayer and a Muslim must pay attention while standing before Allah (Exalted be He) and learn from the words of Allah (the Qur’an) while they are being recited.

Of course, a Muslim cannot feel this when performing prayer with detestable haste. It is more befitting to perform less rak`ahs in a state of tranquility and reciting the Qur’an for a long time than to perform twenty rak`ahs with detestable haste. This is because the essence of prayer is to turn one’s heart to Allah.

Verily, a few rak`ahs (with tranquility and reflection) can outweigh so many ones. Also, it is better to recite the Qur’an with measured recitation than reciting it with haste. It is allowable to be quick in reciting the Qur’an provided that no letter is neglected since it is prohibited to neglect a letter for the sake of quick recitation.

Pondering the Qur’an

However, it is good for an imam (in congregational prayer) to recite the Qur’an in a way that benefits those performing prayer behind him. Allah dispraises those who recite the Qur’an without understanding its meaning as Allah reveals:

And among them are unlettered ones who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming. (Al–Baqarah 2:78)

The verse refers to those people who recite (the Book) without understanding its meaning. Allah has revealed the Qur’an for Muslims to understand its meaning and carry out its rulings, not only to recite it.

Some imams of mosques do not perform the Tarawih Prayer as it should be performed, for they recite the Qur’an so hastily that they violate the sound reciting of the Qur’an.

Moreover, they do not feel tranquil while standing, bowing, or prostrating though feeling tranquil is an integral part of prayer.

Furthermore, they may perform only a few rak`ahs in (units of prayer). Thai is, those imams combine many detestable acts which are performing only a few rak`ahs, shortening the the time of prayer, and reciting the Qur’an in a bad way.

Thus, they perform worship heedlessly. They must fear Allah, establish their prayer well and not deprive themselves and those (performing prayer) behind them from performing the Tarawih Prayer according to the legal way.

We invoke Allah to guide all Muslims to success.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence”.

 

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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