The Rulings of the Fuqaha

THE FUQAHA AND THE SUPPOSED UNDENIABLE RIGHT

Let us now study the views and the rulings of the great Fuqaha (Jurists of Islam) on this question. These were men who followed the Sahaabah. They lived in the Khairul Quroon, having obtained their Deeni Knowledge and training at the hands of the Sahaabah. Surely they possessed a better understanding of Islam and its teachings than all the Sheikhs and Maulanas of this age put together. Surely, they would have known about the existence of this “undeniable right” if it had in fact existed. What was their attitude to women emerging from their homes to attend the Musjid?

In An-Nihaayah it is said;

“Our Fuqaha, base the illegality of women attending the Musjid on the prohibition declared by Hadhrat Umar Ibn Khattaab (radhiallahu anhu). When he detected the mischief (fitnah which women had started to introduce) he forbade their emergence. ”

Arabi in his Sharhut Tirmizi says:

“Sufyaan Thauri said: ‘It is forbidden for women to emerge from their homes. Ibn Mas’ud (radhiallahu anhu) said that a woman is an object of concealment and when she emerges shaitaan lays in wait (to create fitnah). Imam Abu Hanifah and Ibn Mubarak also stated thisOur Fuqaha have said so (i.e. it is not permissible for women to attend the Musjid) because in their emergence is the danger of fitnah.”

Hadhrat Ibrahim Nakhai (rahmatullah alayh) prevented his womenfolk from attending the Musjid. In Nailul Autaar, the following narration appears:

“It (females going for the Eid Salaat) is forbidden. This has been narrated by Tirmizi on the authority of Thauri, Ibn Mubaarak. And, this is the view of Imaam Maalik and Abu Yusuf. Ibn Qudaamah narrated it on the authority of Nakhi and Yahya Ibn Saeed Ansaari. “

Among the early Fuqaha there existed difference of opinion on the question of old women attending the Musjid. While some Fuqaha maintained that old women may come to the Musjid for certain Salaat, others averred that they may attend for all Salaats. However, regarding women who are of marriageable age, the ruling of prohibition is emphatic. The following ruling is recorded in Qudoori.

“It is forbidden for women to be present for Jama’ (i.e. Salaat in the Musjid). However, old women may come for Fajr, Maghrib and Isha according to Imaam Abu Hanifah. According to Imaam Abu Yusuf and Imaam Muhammad it is permissible for them for all Salaats.”

According to Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh), the ahadith indicating permissibility apply to only old women. This is the view held generally by the early Fuqaha of Islam. However, the later Fuqaha expanded on the prohibition to include all women, even old women. In view of the deterioration in the morals of people and the rise of vice, the Fuqaha upheld the total prohibition of women attending the Musjid. Ibn Hajar (rahmatullah alayh) states:

“The summary of the discussion of Nawawi and also of what Zarkashi has stated in his Ahkaamul Musjid is that when intermingling with men prevails, whether in the Musjid or in the roads or there exists the danger of mischief because of women’s adornment and displays of beauty, then it is forbidden for them to emerge . . . it is incumbent on the Imaam or his representative to prevent women from emerging.”

Ibn Humaam (rahmatullah alayh) said:

“The Fuqaha-e-Muta-akh-khireen have stated that the prohibition includes young as well as old women. The prohibition applies to all the Salaats because of the prevalence of mischief.”

Who can deny the existence of the worst types of mischief in our age? If anyone chooses to become blind and deny the existence of the evil so predominant in our times, let him peruse the following statement of Hadhrat Allaamah Aini (rahmatullah alayh) who lived in the eighth century of Islam:

“If Aishah (radhiallahu anha) could observe the innovations and evils which the women of this age (i.e. the 8th century) have introduced, her rejection (of women’s attendance to the Musjid) would be more vehement. The interval between the time of Aisha’s rejection of this practice (of females attending the Musjid) and Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) demise is very little. The wrongs which the women during the time of Aishah (radhiallahu anha) had introduced were infinitesimally compared to the evils which they have introduced in this time (viz., the 8th century).”

This being the situation in those early days, what can we now say about these times of vice and immorality in which we find ourselves? Or shall we choose deliberate blindness and rhetorically argue away the reality of the age? Modernists assume that they are living in an age of purity, in an age akin to the age of piety of former times, hence they remain blind to the immorality surrounding them. They, therefore, clamour for the Musaajid to have a female attendance as well. But, the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha could not tolerate the practice of female attendance even in the best of ages, yet Sheikh/Maulana Makda seeks to overrule the Fatwa of the Ummah – the Fatwa which has existed in the Ummah for the past fourteen hundred years. He has lost his bearings. The prohibition of female attendance is stated as follows in Muheet:

“The ruling (Fatwa) is prohibition in all Salaats because of the appearance of mischief (fitnah) in this age.”

The author of Al-Jauharah states :

“The verdict today is prohibition of women’s presence (in the Musjid) for all Salaats because of the prevalence of mischief.”

All authoritative books of Islamic Law state the same view of total prohibition.

“Today, the Fatwa is on Prohibition (of women attending the Musjid).” (Allaamah Aini)

“Today women’s emergence (to attend the Musjid) is totally prohibited.” (Munazzal)

“The Fatwa today is that it is forbidden for women to attend the Musjid for all Salaats because of the appearance of fitnah.” (Kaafi)

“The Fatwa today is the prohibition of female attendance for all Salaats because of the spread of fitnah.” (Al-Kifaayah)

The Shaaf’i view is well stated by Sheikh Sulaiman Bujairmi (rahmatullah alayh) in Tuhfatul Habeeb Ala Sharhil Khateeb:

“Women should not attend (the Musjid) whether they are young or old for Jamaa-at because of the appearance of corruption …………. Today the Fatwa is on total prohibition in all the Salaat.”

In the statement, Jamaa-at is included Juma’, Eid, Istisqa’ and gatherings of lectures, especially the lectures of the juhhaal (ignoramuses) who pretend to be Ulama while their motive is lust and the acquisition of the world. The following absolute prohibition is stated in Fataawal Kubra of Ibn Hajar Haitami (rahmatullah alayhi), an authority in the Shaaf’i Math -hab:

“… the statement of Ghazaali in Ihyaaul Uloom: ‘It is obligatory to prohibit women from attending the Musjid for Salaat, for sessions of knowledge and for Thikr when there is the danger of fitnah as a result of them. Verily, Aishah (radhiallahu anha) forbade them. It was then said to her: ‘Verily, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not forbid them from Jamaa-at.’ She replied, ‘If Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) knew what the women have introduced after him, then most certainly, he would have prevented them.’ Agreeing with it is the statement of Ibn Khuzaimah who is among our senior authorities: ‘The Salaat of a woman in her home is superior to her Salaat in the Musjid of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). . .

Now when her Salaat at home is superior, then the object which brings her out of her home (to perform Salaat in a Musjid) is either pride or show and this is haraam.’

There is unanimity regarding the prohibition of women going to the Musjid, Eid Salaat and visiting the graves because of the absence of the conditions of permissibility which had existed during the age of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)…………… This has been stated by Shaikh Taqiuddin Al Husni and Shaikh Alaauddin Muhammad Al Bukhaari who were two great Imaams among the Mutaqaddimeen (the early Fuqaha).

. . . .what these two Shaikhs have stated i.e. the Muftaa Bihi (the view on which the verdict is) in this age is on the prohibition of women’s emergence. Only a dense man following his lowly desires will not accept this, for verily, the rules change with the changing of the times. This is correct in terms of the Math-habs of the Ulama of the Salaf and the Khalaf. Hujjatul Islam (Imaam Ghazaali) says in Al-Ihya in the chapter dealing on Amr Bil Ma’roof: ‘It is obligatory to prohibit women from attending the Musaajid for Salaat and Thikr when fitnah in regard to them is feared. ‘ In Anwaar it is said: ‘It is waajib to prohibit women from attending the Musaajid for Salaat and Thikr when there exists the danger of fitnah.’ The evils of their emergence today are established facts. . . . The correct view is that prohibition is absolute and the Fatwa is this (prohibition). This is the summary of our (Shaaf’i) Math-hab” (Fataawa Kubra of Ibn hajar Haitami)

From the discussion in the aforegoing pages, the reader will understand that all authorities of Islam from the time of the Sahaabah never accepted women to have any undeniable right of attending the Musaajid. Far from possessing any such right, the authorities have clarified that it is not permissible for women to even emerge from their homes since the Qur’aan Majeed forbids this. Allah Ta’ala says:

“And, remain inside your homes and do not make a display like the exhibition of the times of jaahiliyyah.”

Such displays of jaahiliyyah and the resultant fitnah of immorality are today integral parts of society, Muslim society included. The slight departure from Piety and Hijaab which had commenced even in the very age of the Sahaabah constrained them to prohibit women from coming to the Musjid inspite of them being fully aware that women used to visit the Musjid during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, since they detected the beginning of the process of corruption and they discerned the gradual abandonment of the very strict conditions which accompanied the original permissibility, the Sahaabah initiated this prohibition. Since Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has commanded obedience to his Sahaabah and has described the Sunnah of his Sahaabah as his Sunnah, the prohibition enacted by the Sahaabah is in actual fact the Sunnah of Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) — it is the Law of Allah Ta’ala. This prohibition is a divine law which only men rabid with lust or dense in the mind will attempt to violate.

We have come a long long way since the era of the Sahaabah. The type of Hijaab (Purdah) or seclusion and separation between men and women practised by them will be described as madness by modernists of today. The most rigid Hijaab which we can conjecture in our minds in this age cannot compare with that degree of Hijaab which the Sahaabah had considered inadequate. This will emerge from the conditions of the initial permissibility which shall, Insha’ Allah, be presented in the ensuing pages. Indeed, modernists and even the modernist Maulana or Sheikh will shake their heads in disbelief and we dare say, ridicule the exceptionally strict conditions which accompanied the initial permissibility of women attending the Musjid during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Maulana/Sheikh Makda having misinterpreted the ahadith concerning initial permissibility and having entirely ignored the Muftaa Bihi (the official verdict) of the Ummah for the past fourteen centuries regarding this practice, audaciously proclaims that separate facilities for women be established in the Musaajid. Indeed this teaching of the Maulana/Shaikh is obnoxious and baatil. It is a view which cannot be substantiated on any Islamic basis. It is purely the desire and un-Islamic opinion of the propounder of women’s so -called liberation and emancipation from the so-called shackles of Hijaab which Allah Ta’ala has ordained for this Ummah.

Does the Maulana/Sheikh understand this question better than the Sahaabah, the Taabieen and the Tab-e-Taabieen who constitute the first and foremost authorities of the Shariah? Did these illustrious Sons of Islam introduce separate facilities in the Musaajid to accommodate the initial permissibility which was in vogue during the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Did the men whom Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commanded the Ummah to obey and follow, bring about separate facilities inside the Musaajid to accommodate the imagined undeniable right conjectured by the Maulana/Sheikh? Did the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha then not understand the value of Ibaadat and ilm for women? What, then was the action adopted by the Sahaabah and the entire Ummah thereafter?

Far from accepting the existence of the imagined “undeniable right” and far from instituting measures to accommodate this supposed right by the creation of separate facilities in Musjids for women, the Sahaabah and the authorities thereafter outrightly prohibited women from the Musaajid. This was their answer to curb and eliminate the rise of corruption and evil which was bound to ensue in the wake of entertaining the imagined “undeniable right” of women to visit the Musaajid. It is, therefore, ludicrous for the Ummah to even entertain the un-Islamic advice tendered by the Maulana/Sheikh.

 

WOMEN’S DUTIES OF IBAADAT AND KNOWLEDGE

Maulana/Sheikh Makda states in his pamphlet of deviation (Dhalaal) that separate facilities should be introduced in the Musaajid so that  women can “exercise their Islamic right to admission to a Musjid for fulfilling their Islamic duties of Ibaadaat and improving their knowledge of Islam.” 

It has already been explained that women have no such right of admission to a Musjid as the Maulana/Sheikh contends. His view is utterly baseless, having no Shar’i basis. He has mentioned women’s “Islamic duties of Ibaadaat” in relation to their attendance of the musjid. What are these Islamic duties of Ibaadaat which they have to fulfil inside the Musjid? Can the votary of modernity enumerate these supposed duties of women in relation to the Musjid? The Shariah has not prescribed any acts of Ibaadaat for women for fulfilment in the Musjid. The question of such duties does not apply to women.

Islam does not impose on women Jamaa’ Salaat. There is no obligatory Eid Salaat for them. Women are not required to participate in Jamaa’ Taraaweeh Salaat nor are they required to execute I’tikaaf in the Musjid. Juma’ Salaat is neither compulsory nor Sunnat for them. There is not a single act of Ibaadat connected with a Musjid which has been imposed on women by the Shariah. When Islam does not impose any Musjid acts of Ibaadaat on women, then the claim of duties relative to the Musjid made by the Maulana/Sheikh is misleading and baatil. What constrains a Muslim to emphasise a course of action which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah discouraged verbally and practically? What motivates a Muslim to take a stance in direct opposition to the exhortation of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? For a short while let us forget about the technical rulings of the Fuqaha. Let us even cast a blind eye at the practical example of the illustrious Sahaabah. Let us merely look at Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) attitude and exhortation regarding the question of women’s attendance of the Musjid. What were Rasulullah’s {sallallahu alayhi wasallam) feelings on this question?

(1) Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said;

“The Salaat of a woman in her bedroom is better than her Salaat in (another) room (of her house), and her Salaat in the innermost recess of her home is better than her Salaat in her room.”(Abu Dawood)

(2) Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh) narrates that Umm- e- Salmah (radhiallahu anha) said that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The best Musaajid for women are the darkest corners in their homes.” (Umdatur Riaayah)

(3) Baihaqi narrates that Ibn Mas’ud (radhiallahu anhu) said:

“I take oath by the One Being that a woman has never performed a better Salaat than the Salaat she performs in her room.” (Umdatur Riaayah)

(4) Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal and Tibraani record the Hadith of Umm- e- Humaid Sa’diyah who came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and said:

“ O Rasulullah! I love to perform Salaat behind you.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “I am aware of it. But, your Salaat in the innermost recess of your  house is better than Salaat in (other places) of your house……………..”

On the basis of this Hadith, Ibn Khuzaimah (rahmatullah alayh), a leading member of the Shaaf’i Fuqaha stated:

“The Salaat of a woman in her room is superior than her Salaat in the Musjid of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) even if her Salaat there be the equivalent (in quality) of a thousand Salaats performed by males.” (Al-Fataawal Kubraa)

(5) Even in the ahadith which record the initial permissibility, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stated the best course for women. Thus, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam} said:

“Do not prevent your womenfolk from the Musjid, but their homes are best for them.” (Sahih Muslim)

The permissibility stated in this Hadith shall, Insha’Allah, be explained later.

From the narrations mentioned above, it will be abundantly clear that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) far from encouraging women to attend the Musjid, exhorted them to perform their Salaat at home. The discouragement from the Musjid was emphasised to the extent that he described the woman’s Salaat in her home to be far superior to her Salaat in Musjid-e-Nabwi where the Imaam was none other than Rasulullah (sallallahu alay hi wasallam).

Since the Sahaabah understood Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) more than the entire Ummah can ever hope to understand, we observe them (Sahaabah) giving practical expression to the exhortation which Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) generally gave women in regard to Salaat. Inspite of the existence of all the conditions for the permissibility in large measure during the age of the Sahaabah, they, nevertheless, did not go by the initial permissibility which existed during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). On the contrary, they accorded priority to the exhortation of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) — his exhorting women to perform Salaat in their homes. In direct contrast, today we find that Maulana/Sheikh Makda and other modernists actively encourage female attendance of Musaajid inspite of the total absence of the conditions which accompanied the initial permissibility in the early days of Islam. Can anyone then claim that these modernist deviates are marching in the spirit of Rasulullah’s advices? If they are concerned of the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then what constrains them to act in conflict with the wishes of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Leaving aside all technical arguments, the love which a Mu’min should have in his heart for Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) must necessarily impel him towards obedience and submission to the beloved Sunnah of the beloved Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). But, we observe the direct opposite in regard to the modernists – modernist sheikhs, modernist maulanas and modernist laymen. Inspite of their vociferous slogans of “SUNNAH”, they are not at all keen to follow the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), hence they fabricate a plethora of technicalities and baatil interpretations to give substance to a practice which was not favoured by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) or his Ashaab. In fact, they move with their times – they move in total conflict with the exhortation which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advocated for women.

When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advocated that the noblest Salaat of women is their Salaat at home, then the fallacy of the claim of women’s Islamic duties of Ibaadaat in the Musjid should be apparent for all to see. How can it be asserted that she has a right to fulfil acts of Ibaadat in the Musjid, when Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) exhorted the opposite  – that she should execute her Ibaadaat in the darkest corner of her home? In view of the fact that women have absolutely no “undeniable right” of attending the Musjid and that the venue for the fulfilment of their acts of Ibaadaat is NOT the Musjid, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not institute separate facilities for women in the Musjid. Instead of creating or ordering separate facilities for women in the Musjid, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) exhorted the separate facility of their homes. Their homes constitute the separate facilities so absolutely necessary for Muslim women.

It is indeed incomprehensible to hear of a learned man speaking about the fulfilment of women’s acts of Ibaadaat in a Musjid. When Islam has not decreed fulfilment of their Ibaadaat in Musjids – when the Musaajid play absolutely no part in regard to women’s Ibaadaat, the claim by the Maulana/Sheikh is shockingly baatil. It is a claim unbecoming of one who raises his stand on the foundation of Knowledge. Let the Maulana/Sheikh who has rendered such a disservice to Islam by his baatil view and claim explain the prohibition which has been in the Ummah for the past fourteen centuries. Let him explain the attitude of the Sahaabah. Let him explain how was it possible for the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha to have cancelled the supposed undeniable right of women. Let him explain how was it possible for the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha to prohibit women from fulfilling their Islamic duties of Ibaadaat in the Musjid, if indeed their duties did relate to the Musjid. Let him explain the reasons for the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha considering it necessary to prohibit women from the Musjid. Let him explain the practice of the Ummah as it has been transmitted down the centuries from generation to generation. Why does he wish to contradict the Sunnah of the Sahaabah and the course which the Ummah has followed these past fourteen centuries?

It is noteworthy that the Maulana/Sheikh is silent regarding the large volume of Islamic writings explaining the prohibition of women from attending the Musjid. He makes no mention of the rulings of the authorities of Islam. He seeks justification for his baatil opinion by tendering some ahadith in the light of his personal understanding. He behaves as if the history of Islam from the age of the Sahaabah is something to be ignored. His attitude implies that the statements and rulings of the Sahaabah are of no significance, hence he adopts silence in this regard. Isolating the Sahaabah from the Ahadith and discarding their interpretation and understanding are tantamount to scuttling the Ship of Islam. There is no Islam without the Sahaabah. Whoever seeks to interpret the Sunnah by isolating the Sahaabah is clearly plodding the path of dhalaal (deviation) and baatil (falsehood).