Question # 530: I was out with a friend and since the time of prayer had come, I suggested that we pray in a women’s jammah. She stated that such gatherings are not allowed. Could you clarify this matter?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: It is permissible for women to pray in congregation among themselves. Their leader should stand in the middle of the row according to authentic narrations.
Long Answer: It is permissible for women to pray in congregation among themselves. Their leader should stand in the middle of the row according to the narration regarding Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها), which indicates that she used to lead women in prayer and would stand with them in the middle of the row. (This has been narrated by ‘Abdur Razzaq in Al-Musannaf and Daraqutni, and is authentic due to the evidences for it)
Similarly, Umm Al-Hasan narrated that she saw Umm Salamah (رضي الله عنها) leading women in prayer while she stood in the middle of their row. (This has been narrated by Ibn Abee Shaybah and is also authentic due to other supporting evidences)
Ibn Qudamah has quoted the difference of opinion on whether congregation for women is recommended and then says about their leader: “The one who leads them should stand in the middle of the row. We do not know of a difference of opinion on this among those who support that one woman may lead others in the congregation. Since it is recommended for the women to be covered, ….. standing in the middle of the row makes it a better covering for her from the sides.” (Al-Mughni)
The author of Al-Muhadhdhab says: “It is sunnah that the leader of women in the congregation stand in the middle of them as narrated about ‘Aa’ishah and Umm Salamah (رضي الله عنهما) that they lead women and stood in the middle of their row.”
The scholars differed concerning the congregational prayer of women:
The Shaafi‘is chose that it is recommended and that their woman Imam stands in the midst of them. ‘Aa’ishah and Umm Salamah (رضي الله عنهما) made narrations that confirm this view without any opposition from the Companions (رضي الله عنهم).
There are two narrations of Imam Ahmad: the first is that it is recommended. The second is that it is not recommended, but if they offered it, it substitutes offering the same obligatory prayer.
The Hanafi scholars prohibit offering the congregational prayer by women alone with no men, even if it is the Taraweeh prayer.
The scholars who permitted women to offer the congregational prayer sought evidence in the hadith that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to visit Waraqah Bint ‘Abdullah Ibn Al-Haarith (رضي الله عنها) and used to call her ‘the martyr.’ She had memorized the Qur’an and used to lead the women of her household in congregational prayer. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) permitted her to have a Mu’aththin in her house. (Abu Daawood)
(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by:
- Islamqa.info; and
- Islamweb.net, a website belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.