THE INITIAL PERMISSION
There is no denying the fact that during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) women were allowed to visit the Musjid for Salaat. However, this permission was accompanied by a number of very strict conditions which are all non-existent in our times. Again, although there was this initial permission, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) discouraged women from availing themselves of this permission. His exhortation that women perform Salaat at home paved the way for the prohibition which came into effect later by the authority of the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha. We shall now proceed to outline the strict measures which accompanied the initial permission.
THE CONDITIONS FOR THE INITIAL PERMISSION
(1) Attractive garments were forbidden. Women who came to the Musjid were not permitted to don fine and attractive clothing. It was declared that they had to dress shabbily and unattractively. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ” .. but, they should emerge while they are shabbily dressed.” (Abu Dawood)
In Ibn Majah it is narrated that once while Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was seated in the Musjid, a woman dressed and adorned in her finery entered and walked proudly in the Musjid. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then proclaimed:
“O people! Prohibit your women from wearing beautiful garments and from showing off in the Musjid, for verily, Bani Israeel were not cursed until their women started to wear beautiful garments and show off inside the Musjid.”
Ibn Arabi in his Sharhut Tirmizi commenting on the type of dress which women should wear according to the Hadith which permits them to come to the Musjid, says:
“When she emerges to go to the Musjid, she should come out dressed in dirty and shabby garb as it has been reported in the Ahadith.”
(2) Perfume was forbidden. Women who came to Musjid in the early days were not permitted to apply perfume. In this regard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Any woman who applies perfume and passes by a gathering is like an adultress.” (Tirmizi)
“The woman who applies perfume must not be present with us for Isha.” (Muatta Imaam Maalik)
Since it is not permissible for women to emerge from the house with perfume applied, be it night or day, the reference to Isha in this Hadith should not be understood to be confined to only Ishaa Salaat. The word Ishaa appears in the Hadith in view of the greater danger of mischief and evil during the night time. The Ahadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) clearly brands a woman as immoral for applying perfume and passing by a gathering.
(3) The Jilbaab or outer -covering. When women emerged in those days, they were thoroughly concealed in their jilbaabs which were very large outer garments or sheets of unattractive colour. The sheets were so big that normally two women could be wrapped up in a single jilbaab. The jilbaab was not merely flung over the shoulders. It covered the entire head and the face as well. The jilbaab which the ladies wore during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was not a stylish garment with a decorative niqaab (face-veil). It was not designed for beauty as are some of the burqahs of modern times. The jilbaab covered every part of the body, the head and face included. It had to be left slightly open to enable the women to see where they were walking. In other words they had to peep through an opening to see their way. Such garments will not be worn by women of today. About these outer-garments, Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) narrates:
“After Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had made the morning Salaat, the women would return thoroughly wrapped in their sheets. So thoroughly were they wrapped that they could not be distinguished from the dark ness (The cloth presumably being black as the darkness).” (Bukhaari)
(4) The women would leave immediately after the Fardh Salaat. The following narration in Bukhaari explains the practice which was adopted to ensure absolutely no contact with any of the men in the Musjid:
“Hind Bintul Haarith said that Umm-e-Salmah (radhiallahu anha), the wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), informed her that during the lifetime of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the women would get up after the Salaam of the Fardh Salaat while Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the menfolk who made Salaat with him remained seated. After Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stood up, the men would do likewise.”
Commenting on this procedure adopted in the early days, Imaam Zuhri (rahmatullah alayh) states:
“The reason for Rasulullah’s delay in rising after the Fardh Salaat was to give the women the opportunity of leaving the Musjid before the men. (This prevented intermingling).”
(5) Intermingling was prohibited even outside the Musjid. In a narration in Abu Dawood, the Sahaabi, Abu Usaid Ansaari (radhiallahu anhu) says that once outside the Musjid men and women had mixed. Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then said:
“(O Women!) Move back! Verily, it is not permissible for you to spread in the road. The edges of the road are compulsory on you.”
The Sahaabi narrating this Hadith says: “As a result the women would walk so close to the sides that their clothing would brush against the walls (of the houses).”
The introduction of these conditions is not possible in this day. After the demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), even the Sahaabah discerned the difficulty in enforcing the strict or the exceptionally high degree of piety which had prevailed during the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They did not therefore concern themselves with remedial measures. On the contrary, they banned the practice of women coming to the Musjid. Their high degree of Deeni intelligence and insight convinced them that if women are not prevented from the Musaajid, the situation will deteriorate to the extent where the Musaajid will be no better than the Christian churches. The consequences of females participating in public worship in congregational form are aptly mirrored in the churches. But, today modernists in religious garb are attempting to destroy the atmosphere of piety which still prevails inside the Musaajid of the Ummah.
SOME RULINGS OF THE SHARIAH
The following Deeni direction is stated in Musannaf of Ibnul Attaar:
“It is only proper for a woman that she does not emerge from her home, but remains glued to the innermost recess of the house. Verily, her whole body is an object of concealment. It is Waajib to conceal the Aurah (and her entire body is aurah). Regarding women’s emergence in the darkness to go to the Musjid, this was in the absence of harm and fitnah as it was during the age of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the age of certain Sahaabah.
Thereafter, emergence was prohibited because of the fitnah which women had introduced such as exhibiting (themselves), application of perfume and their mischief with men. It is only proper for a woman when she emerges from her home (because of necessity) that she does not beautify herself; that she does not apply perfume; that she does not walk in the middle of the path and that her emergence for a valid Shar’i need is not without the consent of her husband. It is only proper for a man to refrain from aiding his wife or any women under his authority with anything from among the acts which facilitates her emergence from her home. . . .” (Al-Fataawal Kubra)
While acknowledging the fact of the initial permissibility of women attending the Musjid, Fataawa Kubra records the following ruling;
“Verily, this (women’s emergence from their homes to attend the Musjid) has been forbidden because in their presence (at the Musjid) are haraam evils. Hujjatul Islam (i.e. Imaam Ghazaali) states in the Ihyaa: Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did permit women to attend the Musjid. But, the correct view now is prohibition excepting old women. In fact, the prohibition has become established since the age of the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum). Thus, Aishah (radhi allahu anha) said… and he narrated what had transpired in this regard with her…It is obligatory to prohibit women from attending the Musjid for Salaat and gatherings of Thikr when there is the danger of fitnah with them.”
“When the fear of fitnah is attendant to their emergence from the home, then it (emergence) is undoubtedly haraam…The meaning of fitnah is zina and its introductory acts such as looking at the opposite sex, privacy (with the opposite sex), touching, etc..”
Dirmaani (rahmatullah alayh} says:
“The Hadith: ‘Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from the Musjids.’, is applicable to night times (i.e. the permission was only for night times). Furthermore, the permission exists only in the absence of fitnah against women or by women. During the life time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) absence of fitnah was dominant.”
Allamah Aini (rahmatullah alayh) says; “During our age mischief and evil are rampant.”
Allamah Aini (rahmatullah alayh) was among the Fuqaha of the eighth century of the Islamic era. The author of Lamiud Duraari asks:
“When this (rampant fitnah and mischief) was the situation during the time of Allamah Aini (rahmatullah alayh) who died in the year 855 Hijri, then what do you think of the present age saturated with vice and fitnah?”
Ibn Hajar (rahmatullah alayh) says:
“The summary of the discussion of Nawawi and Zarkashi is that when intermingling of the sexes prevails whether in the Musjid or on the roads or there is the danger of mischief because of women’s adornment and exhibition of beauty, then it is forbidden for them to come out… It is incumbent on the Imaam or his representative to prevent women from emerging.” (Laamiud Duraari)
Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) was asked about a woman who took an oath to the effect that if her husband was released from prison she would, as a measure of thanks unto Allah, perform two raka’ts Salaat in every Musjid of the city of Basra where Salaat is performed in Jamaa’. Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) commented:
“If Umar was here, he would have smashed her head.”
Imaam Taimi (rahmatullah alayh) says:
“The Hadith of Aishah (radhiallahu anha) contains the substantiation for the view that it is not proper for women to emerge (from their homes) to attend the Musjids when mischief has come into existence.”
Numerous similar statements and rulings of the authorities in the Books of the Shariah proclaim explicitly the prohibition on women attending the Musjid for Salaat or for listening to lectures. Each and every one of these Fuqahaa who spoke on this question was fully cognizant with the initial permission which applied during the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Nevertheless, they issued the verdict of prohibition on the basis of the Fatwa of Hadhrat Umar, Hadhrat Aisha and other Sahaabah (radhiallahu annum) as well as on the grounds of the prevalence of fitnah which undoubtedly did not predominate the scene as we find in our age. In this age of modernity and liberalism, vice, immoral mischief, shamelessness, nudity and public demonstrations of sexual acts have become part of the living “culture”.
Therefore, by what stretch of Islamic thinking is it conceivable to overturn the rulings of those august personalities and illustrious authorities of Islam–the Sahaabah and the Aimmah -e -Mujtahideen? Maulanas and Sheikhs in this age of immoral revolution, vice and lustful liberalism, with their gross deficiency in every branch of Islamic Knowledge coupled to the total lack of taqwa and abandonment of A’maal-e-Saalihah can never hope to even aspire to attain the lofty pedestal of Uloom and Taqwa of the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha. It is only insolence and gross ignorance (jahl murraqqab) which befuddle the mind of a man who labours under the colossal delusion of his ability to transgress and ignore the rulings and interpretations of the men appointed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to command the operation of the Shariah.
MAULANA/SHEIKH MAKDA’S ADMISSION
The proofs of the Shariah negating the suggestion of women having the undeniable right to attend the Musjid are so overwhelming that even this Maulana/Sheikh is compelled to concede:
“However, the Noble Prophet (PBUH)did not insist that women should attend the five daily congregational prayers in the MASJID as he insisted to men.”
“In fact, the Noble Prophet (PBUH) strongly advised women to perform their daily Salawaat at home saying that the best place for women to perform their daily prayers is in their innermost apartment of their homes.”
He accepts the following two facts which the most modern, anti-Taqleed critic cannot refute:
(1) That Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not insist that women attend the Musjid.
(2) That Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) “strongly advised women to perform their Salaat in the innermost apartment of their homes.”
After accepting this attitude of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), why does the Maulana/Sheikh not move in the light and spirit of this Deeni advice which emanated from the Rasool of Allah? Why does he choose an insistence which conflicts with the insistence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Why does he advise women to act in conflict with the “strong advice” of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Why does he as an Aalim of Deen not continue with the advice and insistence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? An Aalim of Deen will seek to perpetuate the wishes of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It does not behove a man of Knowledge, a man who proclaims adherence to the Sunnah to adopt a direction which diverges from the Path established by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah.
After having conceded that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself strongly advised women to cling to their homes and discharge their Ibaadaat in the inner apartments of their homes, the Maulana/Sheikh’s claim of women’s “undeniable right” of admission to the Musjid is both superfluous and devoid of any Shar’i substance.
Our advice to the Maulana/Sheikh is: Stand up in your Musjid and publicize Rasulullah’s “strong” advice and declare vehemently to your congregation that Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) NEVER insisted that females attend the Musjid. Tell Muslims that since Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) strongly advised women to remain at home and perform their acts of Ibaadaat at home – in the innermost apartments of their homes – you too, strongly advise them to follow and practically adopt this strong advice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Do not befuddle and confuse the issue with your personal opinion and misinterpretations of the Ahadith. Do not advise Muslims to act in conflict with the “strong” advice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Do not advise Muslims to arrange separate facilities for women in the Mosques. Accept the Nabi’s strong advice and insist that their separate facilities are the “innermost apartments of their homes.” If you are not inclined to retract your baatil opinion, then at least inform your people – inform the Muslims – that although in your opinion women enjoy the “undeniable right” of attending the Musjid, nevertheless, Rasulullah’s wish was that they do not exercise their (supposed) “undeniable right” and that they remain at home clinging to their “innermost apartments” inside their homes.
MAULANA/SHEIKH MAKDA AND THE CONDITIONS WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE INITIAL PERMISSION
The Maulana/Sheikh enumerates the “conditions under which Muslim women are permitted to attend congregational prayers in a Masjid”. We must observe that the Maulana/Sheikh is extremely naive, to say the least, if he believes that the strict conditions of high Taqwa which existed during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are possible and enforceable in this age of nudity – in this age of immorality – in an age when Maulanas and Sheikhs actively encourage women to emerge from their homes in direct violation of the prohibition stated in the Qur’aan Majeed and in total abandonment of the example of the Sahaabah and the Ummah.
The Maulana’s/Sheikh’s naivety exceeds all bounds since it is an established Shar’i fact well-known to all and sundry possessing even a smattering of Deeni Knowledge at academic level that even during the time of the Sahaabah when piety reigned supreme, when the ladies were women of Taqwa, observing total Hijaab, the Sahaabah considered it best to prohibit the women from the Musjid. They did not seek to introduce measures to ensure the operation of the conditions.
On the contrary, they banned the practice of women attending the Musjid. If the Sahaabah had realized the impossibility of successfully enforcing all the conditions which attended the initial permission during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam}, then what can we say of a Maulana or a Sheikh in this belated century of evil and immorality endeavouring to bring into practice what the Sahaabah could not or did not for some reason of wisdom? He is clutching at straws like a drowning man if he sincerely believes in his naive idea of successfully introducing the conditions which had existed in the time of Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
How can it be possible to achieve the successful operation of the stringent conditions of Hijaab and total separation between male and female when there is no control over the activities of people? The attitude of Muslim males and females regarding dress and intermingling of sexes, the free mixing of the sexes on the streets, the preponderance of non-Muslims wandering about and Muslim females mixing with non-Muslims, the modern outlook and the liberalism which has smitten Muslim mentality, the almost total non-existence of Hijaab and the destruction of Hijaab and the destruction of Islamic modesty and the rise of shamelessness in both men and women are all factors which will never permit the rigid conditions to operate.
Let the Maulana/Sheikh first establish such a society in which the high grade of Hijaab and Taqwa in vogue in the time or Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), will reign. When the Maulana/Sheikh can show the existence of such a community of Muslims, then only may he open discussion on the question of reconsidering the prohibition, which the authorities of this Ummah have enacted many centuries ago. We say, ‘he may’, since this is a hypothetical case. Assuming that the impossible is achieved, then too, the “strong” advice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the attitude and practical example of the Sahaabah can never be ignored. The Taqwa of those ages of holiness belong to bygone times which will not return until the Day of Qiyaamah. We have long passed the Quroon-e-Thalaathah (the three noble ages of goodness and virtue) and we are in close proximity to Qiyaamah.
Thus, the Maulana/Sheikh in dreaming about the introduction of the conditions which prevailed during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and which occasioned the initial permission for women to attend the Musjid, is in fact placing the cart in front of the horse. First create a society or a community of high grade Muttaqeen; first introduce total Islamic culture and first ensure that the women and the men in the community are of a calibre of superior piety, then think about giving da’wah to women to attend the Musjid. In outlining the conditions necessary for women to attend the Musjid, the Maulana/Sheikh commits a serious blunder which is unforgiveable since he opposes all the Sahaabah and the Fuqahaa in having propounded his baatil idea. Regarding the type of dress which women are required to don when necessity brings them out of the home environment, the Maulana/Sheikh says:
“The Islamic requirement of dress for women leaving their homes must be worn from home; ie. the entire body must be covered with the exception of the face and hand up to the wrist.”
Again, he repeats his error in the following statements:
“Hence a plain over-garment or burqah with face only open is recommended for women intending to go to a Masjid.”
It is quite apparent that in expounding his personal baatil opinion, the Maulana/Sheikh is tripping over his own feet. He makes the following two claims:
(1) That women should leave their faces open when outside on the streets since in his view it is permissible for them to parade around the streets with faces exposed.
(2) That a plain over-garment is merely recommended for women intending to emerge from their homes.
Both claims are baatil and in conflict with the commands of the Shariah. The outer-garment, jilbaab or burqah in the first instance is not “recommended”. It is a compulsory command which women have to adhere to when need compels them to leave the home precincts. It is haraam for a woman to emerge from her home without the jilbaab. The Qur’aan Majeed commands:
“O Nabi! Say to your wives, your daughters and the women of the Mu’mineen to hang over themselves their jalaabeeb.”
In Islam there is no difference of opinion regarding the compulsion of the jilbaab for women emerging from home on account of necessity. The jilbaab/burqah/outer-garment is not merely recommended. It is obligatory. There is no need for us to tender further proofs for the compulsory nature of the jilbaab in view of the facts in this question being as clear as daylight. However, should the Maulana/Sheikh opt for denying the compulsory nature of the jilbaab, then we can always present the Shar’i facts to prove our case and refute baatil from whichever source it emanates.
Secondly, is the contention that the women emerging from their homes should leave their faces uncovered. The Maulana/Sheikh should substantiate his claim by reference to the authorities of the Shariah – the Sahabah and the Fuqaha. We are not requesting him to present the arguments of our illustrious Ulama of India and Pakistan since we are aware of the attempts of certain so-called learned persons to attribute the Shar’i pronouncements of our illustrious Ulama to “Indian” customs. This is a despicable attempt to confuse unwary Muslims and to mislead them and to conceal the truth from them. It is quite easy for them to draw a smokescreen over the true Sunnah, rejecting practices of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by attributing these to be the teachings of Indian Ulama.
Therefore, the Maulana/Sheikh is requested to furnish his proofs citing the Sahaabah and the Aimmah -e-Mujtahideen who were all non-Indians. At the same time we must emphasise that when we speak of Shar’i proofs we are not interested in the Maulana’s/Sheikh’s personal understanding and interpretation of the Qur’aanic aayaat. If he cannot content himself with the understanding and interpretations of the Sahaabah and the Fuqahaa, then our rejection of his personal ideas and interpretations should not surprise anyone.
The practice of the ladies during the time of the Sahaabah emphatically demonstrates the compulsory act of covering the face when outside the home. The rulings of the Fuqahaa confirm the importance and the need for women to cover their faces when they have to emerge from the home. We shall here not go into the details of this mas’alah. We have already published a booklet on Islamic Hijaab (Purdah) in which this question has been explained in detail. Those interested may write for a free copy to the Y.M.M.A., P.O.BOX 5036, BENONl SOUTH 1502, (SOUTH AFRICA). It will suffice here to cite the following narrations to dispel the baatil of the Maulana/Sheikh’s claim:
Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) narrates:
“During the occasion of Hajjatul Wida when people passed near to us, we (the ladies) would draw the jilbaab over the head and face. When they (the people) departed from us, we would open our faces.” (Abu Dawood)
Imaam Ghazaali (rahmatullah alayh) states: “Women emerged (from their homes during the time of Rasulullah–sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with niqaabs (face-coverings) on their faces.” (Ihyaaul Uloom)
The following Fatwa is stated in Durrul Mukhtaar:
“Young women are compulsorily prohibited from revealing their faces in the presence of males.”
These are not the pronouncements of the Ulama of India and Pakistan. If the Maulana/Sheikh cares, he may check these facts and verify their authenticity.
THE MAULANA/SHEIKH AND THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE
Maulana/Sheikh Makda, in his pamphlet, says:
“You will even find right here in Zimbabwe Muslim women coming from such countries opening their shops during the Jumu’a Prayers (trading during that period is forbidden in Islam) and during ‘ldd Prayers while their husbands and sons and brothers go to the Musjid. Needless to say: ISLAM can never be associated with such degradation of women as having no souls to cater for!”
It is the type of propagation advocated by modernists attempting to bring women out of the home, onto the streets and public places, which have made women objects seemingly without souls. The modernist teaching destroys the natural hayaa (modesty) in Muslim women. When their modesty is displaced, all spirituality abandons them. Let the Maulana/Sheikh by all means castigate the men for putting up the honour and hayaa of their wives and daughters to be plundered by all and sundry. But, let him not make people believe that it is permissible for Muslim women to manage their husbands’ shops at times other than Juma’.
Just as it is haraam for women to be standing and operating the shops of their husbands during Juma’ time, so too. is it forbidden for them at all times. The allegation of “no souls to cater for” should be addressed to the men who advertise and ruin the Islamic morality of their womenfolk by exposing them to even the Kuffaar. When it is not permissible for women to leave their homes to attend even the Musjid, then to a far greater degree will the prohibition on emergence apply to shops and other worldly places of public gatherings. The teachings of modernist learned men and of modernist ghair muqallid aalims are responsible for the degradation of Muslim women. Such “learned men” have fallen into the trap of shaitaan, a trap which has been set by the tools of westernism.