Question and answer details
|My question is can Muslim women attend the mosque prayers and activities with other sisters? Because I have friends who tell me that women should not go to mosque, when I ask them if the Qur'an says so, they say that their parents tell them that. Based on the Qur'an and sunnah should women go to mosque or not? And what makes the Muslim Ummah better?|
|Amani Aboul Fadl Farag|
Thank you for writing to us.
Your first question asks if sisters can go to mosques for Prayers and other activities, and states that you have heard from some friends' parents that this is not permissible in Islam.
Allow me to start with this statement. In fact, Sara, the real problem is the way we gain our knowledge of Islamic law. Most of us depend on what we hear from unqualified people. Thus, at the end we only have fragmented pieces of knowledge that can never lead us to successfully developing our Islamic identity.
Islamic web sites are rich in information as well. We can directly access such sources, in order to obtain genuine knowledge. If something is too vague for us to understand on our own, the scholars are now more reachable through the specialized fatwa (religious rulings) sections online.
Allah says what means:
Yet, in saying that, Sara, I don't mean of course to diminish the value of our parents' opinions. They are the major source of knowledge from experience in our life, and they should always be very much appreciated. Nevertheless, the nature of Islamic knowledge is quite different, as it always needs qualified scholars to deal with, in order to avoid some of the intellectual chaos that is spreading nowadays in the Islamic world.
This has taken place as a result of having amateurs involving themselves in the process of giving religious rulings and mixing their personal attitudes with the rules of religion.
He also said: "Do not prevent the maid- servants of Allah from going to the mosques" (Muslim).
Again it was narrated by Ibn Umar that the Prophet said: "Do not prevent women from going to the mosques at night." A boy said to Ibn Umar: "We would never let them go out, that they may not be caught in evil." Ibn Umar reprimanded him and said: "I am saying that the messenger of Allah said this and you say: no, we will not allow it?" (Muslim).
What he did instead, was that he said, "O womenfolk, do not lift your heads till men are raised" (Muslim). What is wonderful about his incident is that he trusted them not to betray.
Not only did the prophet allow women to go for prayers, but he also encouraged them to go to public religious teaching circles. Some women requested the Prophet to fix a day for them, as men were taking up all his time. On that, he promised them a day for religious lessons and commandments (Al-Bukhari).
This means, that when we are in a bad situation as an Ummah we are instructed to focus on changing ourselves. We should develop our piety and become aware of God - both in public and in secret, in worship and in communication with others, we should control our behavior, increase our knowledge of Islam and help others to increase theirs as well.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.