Jumu‘ah prayer not held by only women
Fatwa No: 286435

  • Fatwa Date:8-4-2015 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 19, 1436
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Question

Assalam u alaikumI want to understand the permissibility of a woman leading ONLY women on jummah prayer? Is a woman allowed to lead other women in jummah prayer and is the prayer accepted or does the prayer REQUIRE a male imam? If so, why does the jummah prayer require a male and what is the difference between a male and female leading salah for their own gender? I am not speaking about women leading men in salah, I am only talking about women leading other women in salah and in jummah salah. what is the permissibility of women having an only women masjid? In the case the women wanted to take an only women masjid due to the fact that they did not feel welcome by the masjids which are ran by men.the masjids where men go are usually over crowded with women and kids in a very small part of the masjid. the women usually get a small portion of the masjid and many women try to go to masjid with their husbands but this crowdedness where the women's section is has made it impossible for many women to attend. Jazakallahu khair sheikh

Answer

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, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Jumu‘ah (Friday) prayer is not held by women as they are not obliged to perform the Jumu‘ah prayer. An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Al-Majmoo‘: “As regards women, slaves and travelers, Jumu‘ah prayer is not held by them because it is not obligatory for them to perform it, so it is not held by them, like small boys.” [End of quote]

A  Fatwa from the Permanent Committee reads: “The Jumu‘ah prayer is prescribed for men only, and we are not aware of any evidence which indicates that it is prescribed for women in their homes. Yes, if a woman prays the Jumu‘ah prayer with the Imaam, it suffices her, but it is not held by her. Ibn Qudaamah said: "There is no difference of opinion among the scholars that a woman is not obliged to perform the Jumu‘ah prayer." Ibn Al-Munthir said: "All the scholars whose statements we have read unanimously agreed that Jumu‘ah prayer is not required of women." Also, (this is so) because a woman is not required to attend the gatherings of men; therefore, she is not obliged to perform the congregational prayer.” [End of quote]

For women to hold a special Friday prayer for them (women) is an innovation in religion that is not prescribed in Islam. At the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, there were Muslim women, but the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, neither allocated a special mosque for them nor prescribed that they would hold a special Friday prayer for women only. Had this matter been permissible, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would have clarified it and encouraged it; rather, he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, urged women to pray in their homes and informed us that their homes are better for them than the mosque.

As regards a woman leading other women in prayer outside of the Friday prayer, as if she leads them in her home, the jurists differed in opinion about its permissibility. The Shaafi‘i School is of the view that it is recommended, and the woman who leads other women stands in the middle of the same line as the others. Among the scholars who were reported to be of the view that it is permissible for a woman to lead other women in prayer are ‘Aa’ishah and Umm Salamah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them and it was not reported that any Companion disagreed with them. However, two narrations were reported from Imaam Ahmad: a narration that this is recommended, and another narration that it is not recommended; but if they do it, it suffices them. The Hanafi School is of the view that it is disliked in the sense of being forbidden for women to hold a congregation without being led by men, even for the Taraaweeh prayers.

The evidence for those who are of the view that it is permissible for a woman to lead other women in prayer is what Abu Daawood narrated from Umm Waraqah bint Nawfal Al-Ansaariyyah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her who narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to visit her and called her the martyr – and she memorized the entire Quran – and she led the people of her home in prayer, and the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, appointed a Mu’aththin to call the Athaan (call for the prayer) for her.

For more benefit on the absolute prohibition of a woman delivering the Friday Khutbah, please refer to Fatwa 85634, and refer to Fatwa 89729 on the ruling on a woman leading the Friday prayer and leading men in prayer. It includes clarification that the entire Muslim community agreed that this is forbidden with mention of the evidence. You may also refer to Fatwa 166207 about building separate mosques for women.

Allaah Knows best.

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