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Women Praying in Congregation

Last updated: 24th August 2006
Question ID: #2292
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24th August 2006

I wanted to find out whether under the Hanafi madhab women are allowed to pray in jammat, as in a women leading the salaat but stands in the middle at the front row?
Some people say you are not allowed and someone said to me that Aisha R.A led ladies in salaat therefore permissable. Please clarify.

Ulamaa ID 04
Answer last updated on:
27th August 2006
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 04
Location: London

Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah's guidance)

The Hanafi position is that If a lady leads the Salah of a purely female congregation, then Salah will be correct. However, it is prohibitively disliked (Makruh Tahrima). (Hidayah vl.1,pg.305; Bada'i-us Sanai vl.1,pg.157).

It is reported from Hadhrat Ali (RA) saying, "woman must not lead the Salaat." and from Nafi (RA) that: "I do not know that a woman can lead the women in Salah", Hanafi Scholars also explain that when a woman does lead a purely female Jamat, she has one of two options:

1. She stands in front of the first row (just as a male Imam would do). This is however, Makrooh because it is contrary to the spirit of Hijab.

2. She could stand in the middle of the first row (as Hazrat Aisha and Hazrat Umme Salmah did). This however is also Makrooh because it is Wajib (necessary) in a congregational Salah that the Imam stands a little in front of the first row. (Fathul Qadeer vl.1, pg.306)

Hanafi Fuqaha (jurists) therefore explain the Ahadith of Umme Waraqah, Aisha and Umme Salmah (RA) as Mansukh (abrogated).

Therefore, it is not recommended for a woman to lead the Salaat and for the other females to follow. Also, this practice was not established or encouraged from the female Companions.

Salaat is a means of earning the Mercy and Blessings of Allah Ta'ala. It should therefore be performed in the best manner possible. However, to deliberately indulge in an act of Makrooh-e-Tahrimi is to earn the displeasure of Allah Ta'ala. These two aspects therefore cannot be reconciled.

And Only Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.