Fatwa No : 89843
Women entering the mosque and leading prayer
Fatwa Date : Rabee' Al-Awwal 17, 1426 / 26-4-2005
I am writing to you in order to obtain clarification in light of the current event in New York City USA today in which a woman initiated the call for Friday Prayer and proceeded to lead the prayer as an Imaam. The group of people attending prayed together in a mixed group of men and women side by side – no segregation. CNN television news reported this incident claiming these people involved in the Friday Prayer were seeking equality between men and women. They also reported that there is no Surah in the Qur'an indicating that men and women must be segregated during prayer and that there was no reason that a woman could not lead the prayer. CNN has also interviewed some Muslim attendees who claim there are no restrictions concerning segregation during prayer and that if men and women are truly equal in Islam then they should be able to pray together and that a woman should be able to make the call for prayer and lead the prayer as well. There is also claims that in the Qur'an there is nothing restricted women from entering a Mosque from the front door along with the men. As you are aware at the present time women must enter the Mosque from either a side door or a back door. Some groups claim this is a clear sign of discrimination against the equality of women within Islam.
As a married man with two daughters I would like clarification of this above situation as it is becoming increasing popular as a topic among younger Muslims who are beginning to see this situation as a contradiction to the freedom and equality that Islam has given women as stipulated in the Qur'an. I would like to request a Fatwa concerning this very important topic and please include a reference from the Qur'an or the Hadeeth for further study. Thank for reviewing my request and for the time involved in your research. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest possible convenience.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.
We have already issued many Fataawa about the invalidity of the misconceptions that the enemies of Islam are propagating about the equality of men and women, and rejecting their claim that women can lead men in prayer or make the call to the prayer or stand in the same row with men. We mentioned the ruling about these issues, so please refer to Fataawa: 89729, 88708 and 82591.
As regards the issue of women entering the mosque from the main entrance and whether there is any evidence that prohibits them from doing so, the answer is that there is no evidence that prohibits them from doing so if entering from this entrance does not make them mix with men. However, the Prophet used to urge the companions to make a special door for women and encouraged them to be separate and far from each other. Ibn 'Umar narrated: "The Prophet said: ''It is better if we leave this door for women." Naafi' said: "Ibn 'Umar never entered using that door until he died." [Abu Daawood]
You should know, dear brother, that it is Islam that gave the woman her complete right, and honoured her as a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, and as an aunt; and she is not despised as the enemies of Islam claim. Indeed, I swear by Allaah, that it is they who despised the woman and turned her into a cheap product from whom they take pleasure as they wish and then discard her. The true state of affairs and their behaviour with their mothers, wives, daughters and sisters is the best evidence about the wrong that they are doing to them by their lack of respect, caring for them, protecting their chastity, supporting their children, as well as incest.
By referring to the above-mentioned Fataawa, you will indeed find that which would convince anyone who has the slightest sound mind, Inshaa' Allaah.
Allaah knows best.