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aaiil.org > Articles & Magazines > A Collection of Various Articles > Admission of Women to Mosques by Imam Muhammad Aslim Shaw

Admission of Women to Mosques:

by Imam Muhammad Aslim Shaw

From the Official Magazine of the AAIIL Guyana, 'Muslim Times'

Many Muslims believe that for one reason or the other women should not be allowed to enter mosques for the purpose of prayer. This is not in accordance with the Holy Quran and the practice of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Some men prevent women because the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that it is better for women to pray in their inner chambers. If the hadith refers to all prayers, then it must be rejected as a fabrication because it contradicts the Holy Quran and the Sunnah [practice] of the Holy Prophet.

The Holy Quran is the best authority for Muslims. The Holy Quran says in 62:9:

O you who believe (in Allah)! When the call is sounded for prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off traffic. This is better for you, if you know.

There is indeed a tradition which tells us that on a certain night the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was very late in coming out to lead the night prayers. The people had already assembled in the mosque, and he came out after hearing Hazrat 'Umar (rta) calling out, "The women and the children are going to sleep" (Bu. 9:22). This shows that women were in the mosque even at such a late hour.

According to another tradition narrated by Hazrat 'Aishah (rta), women used to be present at the morning prayer, which was said at an hour so early that they returned to their houses while it was still dark (Bu. 8:13). Yet another tradition shows that even women who had children to suckle would come to the mosque, and that when the Holy Prophet (pbuh) heard a baby crying, he would shorten his prayer lest the mother should feel inconvenienced (Bu. 10:65).

There are other traditions which show that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had given orders not to prohibit women from going to the mosque. For instance, there is one which quotes the Prophet (pbuh) as saying, "Do not prohibit the handmaids of Allah from going to the mosques of Allah" (Bu. 11:12). According to another, the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said if a woman wanted to go to the mosque at night, she should not be prohibited from doing so (Bu. 10:162).

Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women, and the charitable men and the charitable women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward (33:35).

This verse repeats ten times that women can attain every good quality to which men can have access and conclusively settles the matter that according to the Quran women stand on the same spiritual level as men.

On the material side, too, we find no difference, except what nature requires for its own ends. A woman can earn, inherit and even own property and dispose of it just as a man can, and the Holy Quran is explicit on these points:

Men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn (4:32).

Men shall have a portion of what the parents and near relatives leave, and women shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave (4:7).

I will not suffer the work of any worker among you to be lost whether male or female, the one of you being from the other (3:195)

And who is more unjust than he who prevents (one) from the mosques of Allah, from His name being remembered therein, and strives to ruin them. (As for) these, it was not proper for them to enter them except in fear. For them is disgrace in this world, and theirs is a grievous chastisement in the Hereafter (2:114).

And there is certainly a party of them who lie about the Book, that you may consider it to be (a part) of the Book while it is not to be (a part) of the Book, and they say, It is from Allah, while it is not from Allah, and they forge a lie against Allah whilst they know (3:77).

Oppose those who think that our women are impure and their presence in the mosque would dirty our place of worship or our minds.

May Allah help us to do the right things.

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