By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan
Our religion is a perfect one that comprehensively covers our welfare and interests in this world and in the Hereafter, Islam came with good to all Muslims, whether male or female as Allah says:
Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily we shall quicken with good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16:97)
Islam takes an interest in women, conferring honor and respect upon them as long as they abide by its rulings and adorn themselves with its virtues.
Concerning going to mosques, does Islam allow women to attend the mosques to witness congregational prayer and assemblies for remembering God? What do the Qur’an and Sunnah say about that? (Read Part 1)
When a woman adheres to the high moral standards of Islam, such as bashfulness, covering herself, keeping away from attractive adornment and perfume (when going out) and keeping away from mingling with men, it becomes permissible for her then to go to the mosque for prayer and attend gatherings for the remembrance of Allah. However, it is better for her to stay at home, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“ … Yet their houses are better for them (to perform prayer therein).” (ِAhmad and Abu Dawud)
Moreover, scholars unanimously agree that it is better for women to perform prayer in their houses than in the mosque, to keep away from any satanic seduction, and for purpose of safety and for uprooting any source of evil.
If a woman does not adhere to the high moral standards of Islam and does not avoid whatever the Messenger (peace be upon him) forbids of adornment and perfume when going out, then it is prohibited for her to go to the mosque, and she must be prevented from going out by her guardian or those in authority. It is stated on the authority of `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said:
“Had Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) witnessed what the women were doing, he would have forbidden them from going to the mosque as the women of the Children of Israel had been forbidden.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
When a woman goes to the mosque, both the benefit gained behind this (for her and for the whole community) and the avoiding of any cause of evil are to be taken into account (by the Lawgiver). If the cause of evil is greater than the benefit gained, a woman, in this case, must be prevented from going to the mosque.
If a woman is asked to observe these high moral standards, when going out to the mosque, then it is more worthy for her, to be cautious and to keep away from any cause of temptation when going anywhere other than the mosque.
The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence”.
Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.