Permission for women to attend the Masjid

It is true that women used to attend the Masjid during the time of Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam). This fact can be used as evidence to allow women to attend the Masjid‎. Note that this was simply an authorisation because Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam)‎ always preferred that women perform their Salaah in the most concealed place of their houses. In fact, in a hadith Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam)‎ said:

(خير مساجد النساء قعر بيوتهن (مسند احمد

"The best place for women to accomplish their Salaah is the innermost corner of their home."(Musnad Ahmad)

Authorisation at the time of Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam)‎

The authorisation that existed during the time of Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam) was subject to several conditions. According to the principles of the Shari'ah, an authorisation which is subject to conditions will be applicable as long as the conditions are respected. Obviously, the authorisation ceases to be valid if the conditions are no longer respected.  For example, the pension granted to a minor is discontinued once the person reaches maturity. 

Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam)‎ allowed women to attend the Masjid on condition that their attire is not attractive. Their dressing should therefore be simple. They should be well covered and they should not apply any perfume. Furthermore, they must not mingle with men when entering or leaving the Masjid.  That is why Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam)‎ and the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (Radiyallahu Anhum)‎ remained seated after completing their Salaah in order to allow the women to leave and disperse.  

In our times however, we notice that these conditions are not respected and this happens constantly. In general, people tend to remember the authorisation of a practice but forget its conditions. That is why they end up practicing some actions while disregarding the conditions. Or it may also happen that, initially, they abide strictly by the conditions. But gradually, due to negative influence and constraints, their consistenc and steadfastness weakens until the conditions are disregarded.

The 'Ulamaa, being the ones responsible in the society, are perfectly right to prevent such a practice as they know that people will neglect these conditions over time.

Restricting this authorisation can be likened to preventing a child from doing something that is subject to conditions that the child will most certainly be unable to abide.  Therefore, one cannot blame a wise person that prevents the child from doing this action.

Moreover, if something is risky yet unimportant, people will not undertake it. A person may accept a small risk to reap a great profit but not the opposite. Whoever does the opposite may pass as a hero in other fields but Islamically speaking, he is not a normal person. The Shari'ah teaches wisdom. It cannot promote something which is contrary to wisdom.

The subject of "women in the Masjid‎" at most, can fulfil the degree of "Ibaaha", which is a simple authorisation and that too, subject to a certain condition. Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam) preferred women performing their Salaah in their house and in the most concealed place of that house.

(ان احب صلاة تصليها المرأة الى الله ان تصلى فى اشد مكان من بيتها ظلمة (صحيح ابن خزيمة

"The most appreciable Salaah which a woman performs for Allah Ta'aala is the one that she performs in the darkest corner of her house." (Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah)

These conditions began to be neglected even during the days of the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (Radiyallahu Anhum).  Their farsightedness made them aware that if the situation had turned out in this manner while Nabi (Sallallaahu A'laihi Wasallam) was still among them, then he would never have allowed women to attend the Masjid. It is not merely a statement. It is the observation of the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (Radiyallahu Anhum) who witnessed the revelation of Qur'aan-e-Karim. They were those who have witnessed the legislation of Deen and have understood the spirit of Deen better than us. If we were given the choice to choose between the reasoning of the Sahaabah and the desire of people, what will we it be? Choosing to follow the desires of people these days would be very stupid indeed.

So how can we take the risk on the basis of a simple authorisation, when we realise that the climate is not favourable? It is deteriorating day by day.  Conditions are not abided by. Precautions are taken only superficially and inefficiently.

[English version of "L'autorisation banne madames vinne dans masjid" - Al Jamiat - Vol. 6 No.6]