Majlisi Mutahida Ulama Patron, Mirwaiz Mohammad Umar Farooq, recently talked ABOUT allowing women attend mosques. In this regard it is important to remember a Hadith narration, in which it is reported from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: ‘Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque if they ask your permission.’” Bilal ibn ‘Abdullah said, “By Allah, we will prevent them.” (Ibn ‘Umar) turned to him and told him off in an unprecedented fashion, saying: “I tell you what the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, and you say ‘By Allah, we will prevent them’!!”
It is evident from this Hadith that Ibn Umar got angry with the suggestion that someone could think of preventing women from attending mosques, even though he had stated that Prophet (SAW) allowed it. This should be kept in mind by every one who is thinking of building mosques and tries to prevent women from attending it, either directly or indirectly (by not having enough space for women). Would they like to violate a direct instruction in this Hadith.
The excuse of not allowing women in mosques is that it can lead to mixing. It is strange that men can work, study and shop with women all the time, but think only they will become immoral in a mosque with separate space for women to pray. It should also be noted that even though Hijab is important in Islam, prayer is far more important. No one has said that not wearing a Hijab takes you out of Islam, but many Ulama like Ahmed ibn Hanbal have stated that not praying can take one out of Islam. Even those who do not hold to this view, still agree that not praying is one of the biggest sins in Islam. It is strange when, people consider minor sins and do not even think of half the population not having enough space to pray. Where can they pray, when they are in offices, market etc? They don’t have space.
This problem is also unique to Indian subcontinent, as Muslims all over the world have places for women to pray. Women now a days work and study outside the houses, and at prayer times, they just usually miss their prayers. Do our Ulama think that prayers are only obligatory for men, and not women; then they should realize that women need places to pray on time, and so they need to have spaces in mosques. Men can even pray on the side of a road, but it is hard for women to do that. At this stage it is essential to provide spaces for women to pray in mosques. Anyone who opposes it, let him know that he might be taking on himself the sin of making women miss obligatory prays, apart from going against a Hadith. Also, our scholars, ulama talk about women rights, husband-wife rights, rights of wife on husband etc., without the presence of women in masjids. It doesn’t make much sense to speak on these things without the presence of women.
Some people might argue that it is better for women to pray at home, or they are not required to attend mosques. It is not the question of where the prayers are preferred, but the question is of not allowing women to attend the mosques. There is not a single Hadith where women are prevented from going to the mosque. There is a myth, and that is attributed to Umar (RA) forbade women from going to mosque. This is a myth, as according to a Hadith prophet (SAW) had said “Do not forbid the bondswomen of Allah from [going to] the mosques of Allah.” So there was no question of Umar (RA) stopping anyone. Atika bint Zayd the wife of `Umar was even present in the mosque when he was stabbed. If this myth had been true, then women would not go to the mosque in all the Muslim world, but in reality women go to mosque in almost all places except Indian subcontinent. It is time for Muslims of Kashmir to allow women in mosques, as they were allowed at the time of Prophet (SAW). It will also give women sense of equality.