Is there any evidence that woman's manner of performing the Prayer is somehow different from that of man?
Answering your question, Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states:
“The general principle is that women are equal to men in all religious rulings, because of the Hadith: "Women are counterparts of men." (Reported by Ahmad), except when there is evidence of a specific ruling which applies only to women. One of the cases in which the scholars mention specific rules for women in Prayer, as follows:
1) Women do not have to give Adhan (call to Prayer) or Iqamah (second call to Prayer). Ibn Qudamah, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "We don’t know any difference between Muslim scholars (on this point)." (Al-Mughni ma`a Ash-Sharh Al-Kabir, 1/438).
2) All of the woman’s body must be covered during Prayer, except for her face and hands, because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "No prayer will be accepted from an adult woman unless she wears a Khimar.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) There is some dispute as to whether her heels and feet should be covered.
3) The woman should keep her limbs close to her body during bowing and prostration, and not spread them out, because this is more modest and covering. (Al-Mughni, 2/258)
4) Al-Nawawi said: "In his Al-Mukhtasar, Ash-Shafi`i said that there is no difference between men and women in Prayer, except that women should keep the parts of their bodies close to one another, and they should make their stomachs touch their thighs during prostration. This is more covering and preferable in bowing and the rest of the Prayer as well." (Al-Majmu`, 3/429)
5) It is preferable for women to pray in congregation, led by another woman, because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, told Umm Waraqah to lead the women of her household in Prayer. There is some difference among scholars on this matter. (See Al-Mughni, 2/202 and Al-Majmu`, 4/84-85) The woman leading the Prayer should read aloud as long as no non-mahram man can hear her. It is permissible for women to go out and pray in the mosque with men, although their Prayer at home is better, because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "Do not prevent the women from going out to the mosques, even though their homes are better for them."
Imam An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "Women differ from men in congregational Prayer in some ways:
a) Congregational Prayer is not required of them in the same way as it is of men.
b) In case a woman leads a group of women in Prayer, she stands in the middle of the (first) row.
c) If one woman led by a man, she should stand behind him, not next to him.
d) If women are praying in rows behind men, the back rows are better for them than the front rows.” (Al-Majmu`, 3/455)
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islam-qa.com
Moreover, the following are some other differences:
1. When the Imam makes a mistake in a congregational Prayer, men would correct him by saying, “Subhanallah”, while women would correct him by clapping (some describe it as clapping the palm of one hand against the back of the other). This is confirmed in a well-known Hadith.
2. The Friday Prayer is not obligatory upon women. If a woman performs the Friday Prayer, then she doesn't have to pray the Zuhr Prayer.
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.jannah.org
Recently, I heard Dr. Amina Wadud leading a group of women at the first public, mixed-gender Muslim prayer service that was held in New York City on March 18, 2005. What is the Islamic reason behind not allowing women to lead prayer (in the presence of men)?
Focusing more on the question at hand, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
Islam places no restriction on women to teach, preach, and guide both women and men. The Qur'an says,
"Men and women are supporters of each other. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong..." (At-Tawbah 9:71).
There are many women today who are fully
qualified to be jurists (faqihah) and give religious opinions (fatwas).
They do issue fatwas and teach Qur’an and Hadith in schools, colleges,
and universities all over the world. Many Islamic organizations, Islamic
centers, and mosques in America also have very learned and knowledgeable
sisters who participate in their masjids’ boards and involve themselves
in administration, teaching, preaching, and counseling. Muslims should
give them more opportunities, allow them and encourage them to become
full partners in Islamic work.
1. There is a difference between salah and du`aa' (supplication) in
Islam. Salah is a fixed and formalized form of prayer. Its timings,
positions, postures, style including the wording and recitations were
all fixed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). It is not
permissible to introduce any new style or liturgy in salah. Du`aa',
however, is another form of Islamic prayer that is informal and there is
no restriction as to who performs it and how and when it is performed.
It can be performed in any language. It can be done individually or
collectively. It can be led by males or females. In salah we are
supposed to follow the Sunnah. We cannot add or delete anything from the
salah if we want our salah to be valid and acceptable to Allah.
1. Islamic teachings are based on two things: belief and submission. When it comes to `ibadat (acts of worship), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to follow his example and not someone else’s. Salah (ritual Prayer) is unanimously agreed to be an act of `ibadah, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said “Pray as you see me praying.” So the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Companions and the generations that came after them have to be followed.
2. The rules of salah should be known from scholars because they know how to interpret the sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Among those great scholars are `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). Among the rules of salah are the requirements and prerequisites for how to perform it, who can lead the people in salah, and so on.
3. Scholars have put certain conditions for someone to be qualified to lead the people in Prayer. The imam must be a Muslim, sane, adolescent, male, and pure, i.e., have wudu’ (ablution). Women leading men in Prayer is wrong, whether in fard (obligatory) or nafl (supererogatory) Prayers. But if the followers are only women, it is allowed for a woman to lead the Prayer. According to Shafi`is and Hanbalis, a woman can lead other women in Prayer while standing in the middle of the line. According to Malikis, women cannot lead other women in Prayer at all, while the Hanafis say it is makruh or blameworthy.
4. According to the hadith of Umm Waraqah reported in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) appointed a muezzin for her, and ordered her to lead her family members in Prayer.
5. The majority of Muslim jurists say that there is no single incident where a woman led a mixed Prayer outside her family members.
Can a woman lead other women in congregational prayer? Should the imam recite loudly or in a low voice?
Here, we would like to cite for you the fatwa issued by Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee:
“It is well known that congregational prayer (Salatul-Jama`ah) far exceeds individual prayer in reward, and there are many hadiths that support this. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "The congregational prayer exceeds that of individual prayer (Salatul-Fard) by twenty five or twenty seven degrees."
A woman is allowed to join the congregational prayer at mosques. The same rule applies to a woman who wants to join a congregational prayer in her house along with her family, as well as at her work or even at school where she studies or teaches.
Imam Malik states that a woman, under any circumstances, is not allowed to lead other women in congregational prayer.
The majority of jurists, however, maintain that a woman is allowed to lead her fellow sisters in congregational prayer if there is no man to lead the congregation. They cite an occasion to support their view. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have appointed a muezzin to Umm Waraqah (may Allah be pleased with her) and allowed her to lead other women in her household. Also, it is reported that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to lead women in congregational prayer and she would stand along with them in the row. So did Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her). In this case, she can recite loudly if it is either of the loudly offered prayer.
Some jurists maintain that when a woman leads other women in congregational prayer, she should stand with them in the same row and she is not allowed to stand in front of them.
Others say that even if the woman leads other women in congregational prayer, then her prayer as long as the prayer of women praying behind her is valid as there is no clear evidence which states otherwise.”
I have recently started praying prayer 5 times and a week before my due period, I noticed a discharge on my shalwar. My question is: Is it necessary for me to do Ghussal before I pray or touch anything holy, or is the cleaning of that area, only sufficient to continue praying? I await your answer eagerly. Thanks, Your fellow Muslim sister.
During menstruation, a woman may not pray, fast or have sexual
intercourse with her husband.
Late Shaikh Syed Sabiq states:
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said to Fatimah bint Abu Habish, "Do not pray during your period. After it has ended, perform ghusl and pray." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Shaikh Ibn Baaz states:
However, she may recite from her memory without touching the Quran. It is also so they may learn the laws of the Sharee'ah from the Book of Allah. Therefore it is even more so permissible for her to read the books of supplications that have verses and hadeeth intermixed with them. This is the correct view and is the correct opinion of the scholars, may Allah have mercy on them- on that point.
We hold regular classes or circles for teaching the Qur’an in our mosque. Are women who are in a state of hayd (menstruation) allowed to attend such classes in order to enhance their Islamic knowledge? Are they allowed to attend Jumu`ah and `Eid sermons in such a state? Ihsan, Date 03/Nov/2005
Answer : Name of Mufti: Ahmad Kutty
Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.
First of all, we would like to stress that menstruating women are allowed to attend the `Eid prayer without participating in the prayer but just to witness it. The significance of this is meant for encouraging Muslims to gather at one time and share the blessings of this day and get to feel happy in the broader sense.
Responding to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following:
Traditionally, most of the Islamic scholars and jurists are of the opinion that women in a state of hayd (menstruation) are not permitted to enter or stay in the mosque.
However, on a closer look at the issue from within the sources and evidence presented, it can be clearly seen that such an absolute ban is not based on any incontrovertible texts or proofs. Reports that are cited to justify such ban are considered either weak or dubious, or at best questionable as well as contradicted by other reports and ascertainable facts.
When faced with such ambiguities and doubts, we always have recourse to the original rule of permission, which can only be revoked in case of a categorical prohibition.
It should also be pointed out that even some of the most prominent scholars—who, otherwise prohibit women in state of menstruation from staying in the mosque—allow them to do so in case of a genuine necessity. Attending classes for gaining essential Islamic knowledge undoubtedly falls in this category, especially in a predominantly non-Muslim society like ours in North America, where in many cities mosques are the only places where such education is imparted.
By barring women from attending such classes or lectures in mosques, we will be depriving them of the only opportunity they may have for gaining essential religious knowledge, which is the life-blood of a vibrant Islamic community.
The opinion that women in case of necessity—not necessarily a dire necessity (darurah)—can enter and stay in the mosque is the view held by such authentic scholars and thinkers as Ibn Taymiyyah and others.
On the other hand, the view that women in a state of menstruation are permitted to enter and stay in the mosque is held by scholars such as al-Muzani, Dawud az-Zahiri, Ibn Hazm and others.
The last mentioned view is based on the report from `A'ishah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) allowed a woman who had converted to Islam—who apparently had no place go—to stay inside the mosque, where she set up a little tent for that purpose. It is common knowledge that women do menstruate, and if it had been prohibited for women to enter or stay in the mosque in a state of menstruation, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) certainly would not have allowed her to stay inside the mosque.
Those who hold the view that the women in state of menstruation are not permitted to enter and stay in the mosque compare menstruation with janabah (post-sexual impurity) as a major defilement. However, it is an established fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) lodged the poor emigrants in the mosque. They were known as the people of as-Suffah. Men may occasionally experience nocturnal emissions. Yet, we are not told anywhere that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ever told them to get out of the mosque in such a state.
It is well known principle of Islamic jurisprudence that failure to explain something when it is needed shall be deemed as an indication of permission. How could the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) fail to communicate to the people of as-Suffah and to the woman he had lodged inside the mosque that they should leave the mosque when they are in a state of janabah or hayd?
Having said this, we must still urge the mosque authorities to arrange such classes or circles in areas of the mosque other than the prayer hall, such as basement or adjacent class rooms, etc., or provide special facilities for women to hear and see the speaker there. By doing so we remain within the consensus of scholars, as no one would ever object to that. If this is not practical because of constraints of space, then at least a small area in the main hall should be earmarked or cordoned off for women to sit behind or on the side of the regular prayer lines or musalla (prayer hall).
When such conditions are observed, it is perfectly acceptable for women in a state of menstruation to attend `Eid and Jumu`ah sermons according to scholarly consensus.
In conclusion, let me state: We must never compromise the greater maslahah (welfare) of seeking essential Islamic education, which must take precedence over our pre-occupation with fiqh minutiae that are not based on any explicit textual proofs.
Excerpted, with some modifications from:http://www.islamonline.net/
I have read that you have to remove lipstick or make-up before making wudu'. I have also read and heard that if your make-up is the type that water can penetrate through then you can make wudu' right over the make-up, because it is not like nail polish which need a special remover to remove it. What is the correct view?
If you have applied lipstick and then made wudu’, then of course it will be gone by washing the face and lips. As for the make-up, you should remove it first and then make wudu' because it might block the water from penetrating through.
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net
A woman was away from the city,
and did not know that the nail polish must be removed to make wudu’ and
pray. When she knew she must remove it, she tried to find a nail varnish
remover to use but she could not find it. She could not go to the city
to buy it either. She was making ablution and praying with it on for one
week. What is the ruling on this?.
One of the conditions of tahaarah (purification) being valid is that the water must touch the skin. If there is any barrier such as grease, paint, wax or glue that prevents water reaching the skin, then the tahaarah is not valid and prayers offered in that case are not valid.
The evidence for that is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him): “If you find water, then let it touch your skin, for that is good.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (332); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Imam al-Shaafa’i (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
If there is on him any mastic or anything thick that will prevent the water from reaching the skin, his washing of that part for wudoo’ is not valid, unless he removes it or removes enough so that he knows that there is no barrier to the water touching the skin. End quote.
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
If there is wax, dough, henna and the like on one of his limbs, which prevents water from reaching any part of it, then his tahaarah is not valid, whether the amount is large or small. If there are traces of henna and its colour left on the hand, without there being any solid material left, or elsewhere, or traces of liquid grease whereby water flows over the limb but does not stay there, his tahaarah is valid. End quote.
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (5/218):
If the colour is impermeable, then wudoo’ is not valid unless it is removed before doing wudoo’. If it is not impermeable, then wudoo’ is valid, as is the case with henna. End quote.
Hence this woman should have tried to find something to remove this nail polish, even if she had to go far away to find a place that sold it. She could also have removed it by using a strong kitchen cleaning agent or by rubbing it with a cloth dampened with liquid fuel, and so on.
We do not think that this woman has any excuse for praying with wudoo’ that was invalid because of this nail polish. Ignorance may mean that she is free of sin but it does not make the prayer valid.
She has to repeat the prayers that she offered with wudoo’ that was invalid because of this nail polish.
We ask Allah to forgive us and her. And Allah knows best.
I want to know what Islam says about women to go to mosque and say prayer. Should it be mandatory?
It is permissible for Muslim women to attend the prayer in the mosque because prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ordered the Muslim men not to forbid the women from attending the mosques. However, there are conditions to be met for this permission which are:
1- The woman should not go to the mosque if she has put perfume.
2- Her clothes should be modest meeting the Islamic dress code (such as not being tight, and modestly covered).
3- They should be separate and on back rows. It is recommended that they must be screened by a wall or separate room from men.
Thank you for asking and God knows best.
Could you please explain the position with regard to exemption from prayer for women during their period, especially if it is prolonged?
Some scholars mention a number of days for the minimum duration of a woman's period and they also quote a figure to indicate the maximum days of such a period. There is no Hadith to indicate a minimum span of time when a woman is in menstruation. What we can say is that the minimum is a single flow. Nor is there a maximum period for menstruation. We do not have any reliable report to estimate its duration. I say this knowing that some scholars mention one full day, i.e. twenty-four hours, for the minimum period of menstruation and ten or fifteen days for its maximum. None of these figures relies on a specific and authentic Hadith.
Menses is recognized by its color. The Prophet is quoted to have said: "The blood of menses is dark, easily recognized." During a woman's period, her discharge may have different colors, ranging from almost black, to red, to yellow or a dark color between white and black. Normally, a woman can distinguish whether her discharge is menses or not. Some women may have a prolonged discharge, but that does not mean that they have a prolonged menstruation. If a woman has such a prolonged discharge, then she has to distinguish between her menses and a discharge that does not stop her from offering prayers or fasting. There are three situations:
i) A woman with a regular period. This is the case of a woman who used to have her menstruation lasting for six, seven or eight days on a regular basis. If she happens to have prolonged discharges afterward, then she should take count of her normal period, then she takes a bath and begins prayer. This is understood from a Hadith when, Umm Salamah, one of the Prophet's wives, asked him about a woman who was having a continuous discharge. He said: "Let her consider the number of days and nights for which she used to have her period every month. She need not pray during those days. Afterward, she should take a bath, use a piece of cloth or cotton, and offer her prayers." (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others). This Hadith applies to a woman who used to have a regular period before she developed this disorder.
ii) A woman who does not have a regular period and cannot distinguish her menses from ordinary bleeding. The Prophet's sister-in-law, a young woman, had this trouble when she had just attained puberty. She told the Prophet that her discharge had prevented her from praying and fasting. The Prophet said to her: "I suggest that you use cotton because it absorbs blood." She told him that her discharge was too strong for that. He suggested that she should tie herself properly, but she again said that her discharge was too strong. He said to her: "I will describe to you two courses of action and you may choose either of them." He then explained her condition and told her: "You count your period six or seven days, as God knows, then have a bath until you feel that you have purified and cleansed yourself. You offer your prayers for twenty-four or twenty-three days and nights, and fast as usual. Your action is sufficient for that. You may repeat this every month as other women have their normal periods and cleanse themselves in accordance with their regular time of menses and cleanliness. Alternatively, you may choose to delay offering Dhuhr prayer and bring Asr prayer forward: You have a shower then pray Dhuhr and Asr together; then you delay Maghrib and bring Isha forward and combine the two prayers together. Then you have another shower for Fajr prayer and offer it. You may do like this and fast and pray if you can." The Prophet then added: "This last course is the one I would prefer." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and At-Tirmithi). Al-Bukhari commented that this is an authentic Hadith.
iii) If she does not have a regular period but can distinguish menses from other discharge. In this case, she relies on distinguishing one from the other. The Prophet said to a woman named Fatimah who had the trouble of prolonged discharge: "Menses is dark and can be distinguished. If your discharge is such, then refrain from praying. If it is of the other type, then have ablution and offer prayer."
Are women exempt from prayers during their menstruation period? Please give reference
Narrated Aiyub: Hafsa said, 'We used to forbid our young women to go out for the two 'Id prayers. A woman came and stayed at the palace of Bani Khalaf and she narrated about her sister whose husband took part in twelve holy battles along with the Prophet and her sister was with her husband in six (out of these twelve).
She (the woman's sister) said, "We used to treat the wounded, look after the patients and once I asked the Prophet, 'Is there any harm for any of us to stay at home if she doesn't have a veil?' He said, 'She should cover herself with the veil of her companion and should participate in the good deeds and in the religious gathering of the Muslims.' When Um 'Atiya came I asked her whether she had heard it from the Prophet. She replied, "Yes. May my father be sacrificed for him (the Prophet)! (Whenever she mentioned the Prophet she used to say, 'May my father be sacrificed for him) I have heard the Prophet saying, 'The unmarried young virgins and the mature girl who stay often screened or the young unmarried virgins who often stay screened and the menstruating women should come out and participate in the good deeds as well as the religious gathering of the faithful believers but the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla (praying place).'
" Hafsa asked Um 'Atiya surprisingly, "Do you say the menstruating women?" She replied, "Doesn't a menstruating woman attend 'Arafat (Hajj) and such and such (other deeds)?"
As-Salamu `alaykum, is it possible to pray without covering the hair, or the prayer would be invalid. I'm asking as the veil is not allowed in my place of work. Thank you!
dealing with the issue of prayer without hijab, or head-covering, we
like to say that hijab is a well-established duty upon all Muslim women.
This obligation is clearly stated in the Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah.
Therefore, it is your right—as a Muslim woman—and your duty to wear
hijab at every public place: work, shops, etc. You should not obey your
boss/manager at the expense of disobeying Allah. Seek your right to wear
hijab through all legal and acceptable channels and never accept any
compromise in this regard.
Finally, we do advise you, dear sister, to be strong in your religion. Always consult the Imam of the mosque regarding the difficult problems that you face which may affect your religion. Also, we do advise the Muslim communities to defend their rights by all possible legal and acceptable channels.
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net