Are women allowed in mosques?Posted: October 11, 2010
There is no verse in the Holy Quran which prohibits the women from praying in mosques. Neither is there any authentic Hadith (anecdotes of Prophet Muhammad) on the same.
In fact, there are various Hadith which prove that Islam allows women to pray in mosques given there are separate facilities for women, so that both the groups can concentrate in prayers.
Sahi bukhari (hadith) , chapter 832 says “when your wife asks to go to the mosque, do not forbid them. Volume 1, Ch 80, Hadith 824 says that when the women ask to go to mosque at night, allow them. Sahi muslim (chapter no. 177, hadith no.891) says, “do not take away the share of the mosque of the women.”
Prof. Hasnath Mansur, former member of Karnataka state Minorities Commission and says that superficial knowledge of Islam is responsible for women not getting their due status in the community. “It is the responsibility of educated class and the ulema to look into issues which are crucial for women to discharge their duties as Muslims”, says she.
Mumbai-based Maulana Mukhtar Ahmad Nadwi is a noted Ahl-i Hadith scholar. In a book titled Kya Musalman Khawatin Ka Masjid Mai Ana Fitna Hai? (Is the Entry of Muslim Women into Mosque a source of Strife?’), Nadwi quotes the Qur’an and the Hadith to press his case for allowing Muslim women to enter and pray in mosques.
He criticises those who insist that doing so would lead to strife (fitna).
Nadwi refers to the time of the Prophet, when women, too, would participate in congregational prayers in the mosque.
He quotes a hadith narrated by Ayesha, wife of the Prophet and contained in the books of Bukhari and Muslim (considered by most Sunnis to be authoritative compilations of Hadith), where he is reported to have said that women used to attend even the early morning (fajr) congregational prayers in the mosque along with the Prophet, although it was still dark outside.
If the ‘ulama who oppose women praying in the mosques are consistent in their argument, he writes, how is it that they allow women to participate in congregational prayers with men, although separately, at the two major mosques of Islam, the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and the Masjid Nabavi in Madinah, where women have always been allowed to pray?
Those who forbid women from worshipping in the house of God, Nadwi concluded, will be held answerable in God’s court’.
So, the trend of men outnumbering women in mosques cannot be attributed to Islam.
The absence of women in mosques in our localities can be attributed to the fact that not many mosques have facilities for them. There are no provisions such as separate entry and places to perform ablution and offer prayers for women.
Mosques with these provisions (more than 500 mosques in kerala, many in Maharashtra handful in Delhi, Bhopal and Gujarat) witness females performing prayers throughout the year.
In August 2005, Fatima, a 15-year old girl from Chennai released a pamphlet arguing that when the Prophet had expressly stated that women could enter mosques, there should be no hesitation.
Sharifa Khanum of Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu have established a mosque for women in Pudukottai, 110 kms from Madurai.
In many countries in the Gulf and in the USA, women even offer prayers in congregation, though there are separate arrangements.
According to a study conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, America ’s largest Islamic civil liberties groups, at least seven out of ten mosques offer programs for women. The study surveyed 416 mosques nationwide.
In May 2006, Morocco appointed 50 women as state preachers for the first time as part of the government’s drive to promote a more tolerant version of Islam.
The Islamic Cultural Centre, New York City ’s largest mosque in size and congregation, provides one of the most convenient places for women worshippers. A separate washroom is marked “For Sisters Only” and signs posted on walls advise women on appropriate mosque attire. There are cubicles allotted for women, who can also pray in the main hall during large sermons, and co-ed religion and Arabic classes taught by men and women are offered at the mosque.
So, friends, the answer is yes. Women are very much allowed in mosques.