بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

In View of the Present TroublousTime, Women Should Not Go Out to Musalla (Prayer Ground) for Performing Eid Salah

As a number of narrations affirm the fact, the women during the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH), certainly, went out to Musalla to join the congregation of Eid Salah. Yet certain points should be taken into consideration (beforediscussing with all such narrations to advocate women’s going out for Eid prayer). Muslim enjoined to observe fasting in the month of Ramadan for the first time in the second year of Hijrah which also marks the beginning of the Eid prayer in Islam whereas the mandate of observing Hijab was imposed five or six years after the migration took place.  Hence, it is clear that there was no restriction for women in respect of joining Eid congregation in the Musalla during the first five years as the very mandate of observing Hijab had not yet been revealed. Since Muslims were gradually being asked to observe different mandates and there was the least possibility of any Fitna at that time, it was necessary that women too should acquire religious knowledge directly from the noble Prophet (PBUH). Umm-ul-Mu’minin Ayisha who played a vital role in transmitting a larger portion of the religious teachings to the Ummah lived 48 years after the demise of the Prophet (PBUH) but the changes that she observed in the society in these 48 years compelled her to comment that they ways the women gradually adopted in respect of adorning themselves added to the chances of Fitna to occur. She also commented that had the Prophet (PBUH) been alive he would certainly have forbidden women to go to Masjid as the women of the BaniIsra’il were restricted before. (Muslim) In addition to that, though it was allowed for women to go to the Masjid yet the Messenger of Allah often encouraged them to offer prayers in their houses. He told them that offering Salah for a woman in her house is better and more rewarding than praying in the mosque. (Abu Dawood) The noble Prophet (PBUH) also said that ‘A woman’s prayer in her room is better than her prayer in her courtyard, and her prayer in a small chamber is better than her prayer in the room.’ (Abu Dawood)The underlying message of all these narrations is that more a woman observes Hijab in offering Salah the greater reward she gains. As we know, Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her) felt it during her lifetime, in view of the changed behavior of people, that women should offer Salah in their houses to be immune from Fitna. This much should be enough to open our eyes regarding the issue as after the passing of 1400 years, situation became worse than ever with different sorts of Fitna prevailing in the society. Nudity, indecency and lack of morality are what we see all around. The women during the time of Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her) were a thousand times superior than the ladies of our time in respect of knowledge and piety yet she could notresist herself from expressing her concerns and advising them not to go to the Masjid. Safety of women requires that they should not attend Eid Salah in the Musalla. As for those scholars and jurists who allowed attending Eid Salah for women, they too, in line with the Prophetic injections, prescribed some conditions to be strictly followed such as maintaining proper Hijab, avoiding display of beauty and ornaments, absence of the possibility of Fitna and avoiding mixing with men. I leave it unto you to decide if it is practically possible for women in our society to meet all the conditions prescribed by the scholars for attending Eid prayer. The answer, most likely, isin negative. On the one hand, we find only permissibility (not encouragement or obligation) of attending Eid prayer for women and on the other hand, there exist a number of inescapable vile things in doing so— a ground reality enough to convince one that safety of women lies in not attending Eid prayer in this troublous time of ours.

Back in the old days women maintained complete Hijab. You may recall how the ladies in the subcontinent would go out clad in proper Islamic dress two or three decades back. On the other hand, a group of scholars during the first and second centuries discouraged women about attending Masjid. After narrating a number of Hadith on the topic in his Sunan, the famous scholar of Hadith Imam al-Tirmidhi commented that Imam Sufyan al-Thawri (97-161 AH) and Imam Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (118-181 AH) held it undesirable (makrooh) for women to attend Eid Salah. This clearly establishes that discouragement of women in this regard is not a new issue but the fact is it has been a scholarly opinion in the early periods of Islam. Imam al-Tirmidhi (may Allah have mercy on him) also mentioned the opinion of Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her). Besides it, the Hanafi jurists also consider it Makrooh (undesirable) for women to go out for offering Eid Salah. The majority of the Islamic scholars in the subcontinent who preferably follow the famous scholar of Hadith and Fiqh Imam Abu Hanifa in jurisprudence in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah also maintain that women should not go to Musalla for joining in the Eid congregational prayer.  In short, though it has been a disputed issue since beginning yet a large group of the scholars of Hadith and Fiqhbelieved that safety of women lies in not attending Eid prayer.Therefore, we should preferably adopt the standpoint of Umm-ul-Mu’mininAyisha (may Allah be pleased with her) in view of the troublous and challenging period of time we live in.

Refutation of Objections Raised By a Friend on the Above Article

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,

The way you raised objections suggests as if you have all the rights of interpreting Islam reserved for you and I am to devote whole my life to answer people like you. If you agree to what I wrote, so far so good or else consult whoever you think may convince you. I write whatever I see right in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah to the best of my understanding and knowledge whether you like it not.  Blaming a certain individual or school of thought for all the inappropriate ways some Muslim women act in the society is tantamount to slandering entire humanity for the crimes of some against others.

Back to the topic, I must make it clear that women were granted unrestricted permission by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) to go out to Musalla and join the congregational Eid Salah while you people seem to give the expression that reform of women will remain an unfulfilled dream unless they attend Eid prayer.  But have you ever asked yourself as to why or how Umm-ul-Mumi’nin Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her) during the time of the Rightly-guided Caliphs, while many of the noble companions were yet alive, said the following: “If the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had seen what new things the women have introduced (in their way of life) he would have definitely prevented them from going to the mosque, as the women of BaniIsra'il were prevented.”? And when she was asked if the women of BaniIsra’il were really prevented from the mosques, she replied in affirmative. Moreover, majority of the Hadith scholars reported this statement of Ayisha (may be pleased with her) including Imam Bukhari and Muslim (may Allah have mercy on them) in their respective compilations of Hadith. You may find this narration in almost every compilation of Hadith. In view of this statement of Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and other Prophetic narrations about the issue as well as in consideration of the changes creeping in the life the women, a group of scholars having expertise in all the deciplines of Islamic learning issued a verdict prohibiting women from coming out to perform Eid Salah in the prayer ground.  Have you ever thought why Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said so? If it was against the purport of Prophetic teachings, why no one from among the Sahaba or the Tabi’in questioned her statement? Not a single criticism from any Sahabi or Tabi’ one can find in any book. Besides, Imam al-Tirmidhi in his acclaimed Sunan reported from the Fuqaha and Muhaddithin of the first century that they regarded it Makrooh for women to go out to Musalla for offering Eid prayer without mentioning any criticism or rebuttal of any scholar on the said opinion and then he proceeded to quote the aforementioned statement of Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her). This is obvious that Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her) held a clear opinion that women should not go to Musalla and in all probability that is the reason we find no report from her that encourages women to go to Musalla for praying Eid Salah.

So, don’t question me. If you see my points invalid, please proceed and question the Mother of all the Believers to come till the Day of Judgment, question those Tabi’in and their successors who were present just a few years after the demise of the Prophet (PBUH) amid the noble Sahabah around, instead of encouraging women on visiting Musalla to perform Salat-ul-Eid emphasized that they should not attend Musalla. Ask all those Muahddithin who are responsible for recording the statement of Ayisha (may Allah be pleased with her) in their books. Inquire them how they forgot to condemn the statement. Ask Imam al-Tirmidhi why he did not issue a verdict against opinion of the scholars of Fiqh and Hadith of the first Hijri century after the mention of their view in his famous Sunan.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)