(Raddul Muhtaar 6/62)
As far as men are concerned, the Hadith instructs them to perform their salaah in the musjid and prohibits them from performing salaah at home without a valid reason.
عن عبد الله بن مسعود قال حافظوا على هؤلاء الصلوات الخمس حيث ينادى بهن فإنهن من سنن الهدى وإن الله شرع لنبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم سنن الهدى ولقد رأيتنا وما يتخلف عنها إلا منافق بين النفاق ولقد رأيتنا وإن الرجل ليهادى بين الرجلين حتى يقام فى الصف وما منكم من أحد إلا وله مسجد فى بيته ولو صليتم فى بيوتكم وتركتم مساجدكم تركتم سنة نبيكم صلى الله عليه وسلم ولو تركتم سنة نبيكم صلى الله عليه وسلم لكفرتم. (سنن ابي داود رقم 550)
It is reported by Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Guard your five daily salaah through performing it at a place where the Azaan is called out i.e. the musjid. Verily performing these salaah in the musjid are from the Sunan-e-Huda (i.e. the prescribed actions of Deen). Allah Ta’ala has prescribed for His Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) such practices which are complete guidance for you. During the lifetime of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) no one would miss salaah with jama’at except an open munaafiq, to such an extent that a sick person would be taken to the musjid while being supported on the shoulders of two men. Each one of you has a specified place in his home reserved for performing nafl salaah. However, if you begin performing your fardh salaah at home and leave attending the congregational prayer in the musjid then you will be discarding the emphasized Sunnah of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and no sooner do you forsake his Sunnah, you will certainly go astray.”
On the converse, women are exhorted and encouraged to perform their salaah within the confines of their homes.
عن عبد الله عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم قال صلاة المرأة فى بيتها أفضل من صلاتها فى حجرتها وصلاتها فى مخدعها أفضل من صلاتها فى بيتها. (سنن ابي داود رقم 570)
It is reported from Hadhrat Abdullah bin Ma’sood (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said “The salaah of a woman in her bedroom is more rewarding than her salaah in her courtyard of the house and the salaah she performs in the inner most portion of the bedroom (i.e. a small room within the bedroom) is greater and more rewarding than her salaah in her bedroom.” 
عن عبد الله بن سويد الأنصاري عن عمته أم حميد امرأة أبي حميد الساعدي أنها جاءت الى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فقالت يا رسول الله إني أحب الصلاة معك قال : قد علمت أنك تحبين الصلاة معي وصلاتك في بيتك خير من صلاتك في حجرتك وصلاتك في حجرتك خير من صلاتك في دارك وصلاتك في دارك خير من صلاتك في مسجد قومك وصلاتك في مسجد قومك خير من صلاتك في مسجدي ) قال : فأمرت فبني لها مسجد في أقصى شيء من بيتها وأظلمه وكانت تصلي فيه حتى لقيت الله جل وعلا (صحيح ابن حبان رقم 2217)
Hadhrat Ummu Humaid (Radhiallahu Anha), the wife of Abu Humaid As-Saa’idi (Radhiallahu Anhu) once came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and said, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), I long to perform salaah behind you.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied, “I am aware that you long to perform salaah behind me, however your salaah in your bedroom is more rewarding than your salaah in any other part of your home. The salaah in any other part of your home is more rewarding than the salaah in your courtyard. The salaah in your courtyard is more rewarding than the salaah in the musjid of your locality. The salaah in the musjid of your locality is more rewarding than your salaah in my musjid (i.e. Musjid Nabawi). Hadhrat Ummu Humaid (Radhiallahu Anha) (in compliance with the mubaarak desire of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)) instructed that a small place be reserved for her salaah in the innermost and darkest portion of her bedroom, and she would devotedly perform all her salaah here until the end of her life.
From the above we understand that the laws of Shariah are in conformance to the nature and function of the respective genders.
When we have understood that the position of each one varies from the other, we will easily be able to comprehend that each one is required to fulfil what is expected from him/her. If one imitates and emulates the other, then apart from it opposing the divine command of Allah Ta’ala, it goes contrary to the divine system that Allah Ta’ala designed for both (male and female) and hence disrupts the administration of worldly affairs, thereby creating havoc and chaos on the earth. This is clearly understood from the following Hadith:
عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المتشبهين من الرجال بالنساء والمتشبهات من النساء بالرجال رواه البخاري وأبو داود والترمذي والنسائي وابن ماجه والطبراني وعنده أن امرأة مرت على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم متقلدة قوسا فقال لعن الله المتشبهات من النساء بالرجال والمتشبهين من الرجال بالنساء (الترغيب والترهيب رقم 3139)
It is reported from Hadhrat ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhuma) that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had cursed those men that emulate women and those women that emulate men in their ways. It is reported that on one occasion a woman passed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) carrying a bow around her neck (in the spirit to emulate the soldiers of Deen). Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) observing this scene, said “May Allah’s curse fall on those men that emulate women and those women that emulate men in their ways.”
The command of Shariah exclusive to women
The command of Shariah exclusive to women is that they should remain within the confines of the home and that they should not leave the home except at the time of need. There are many injunctions recorded in the Qur’aan and Ahaadith of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) which explicitly instruct women to remain within their homes. A few are listed below:
Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’aan:
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ﴿الأحزاب: ٣٣﴾
“Remain in your homes and do not exit from your homes displaying your beauty in the manner it used to be displayed in the former times of ignorance.”
وعن أبي عمرو الشيباني أنه رأى عبد الله يخرج النساء من المسجد يوم الجمعة ويقول اخرجن إلى بيوتكن خير لكن رواه الطبراني في الكبير بإسناد لا بأس به (الترغيب والترهيب 1/228)
It is reported from Abu Amr As-Shaybaani that he had seen Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) remove the women from the musjid on the day of Jumu’ah while instructing them in the following manner, “O women! Return to your homes for indeed remaining within your homes is better for you.”
عن أبي هريرة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لنسائه عام حجة الوداع هذه ثم ظهور الحصر قال فكن كلهن يحججن إلا زينب بنت جحش وسودة بنت زمعة وكانتا تقولان والله لا تحركنا دابة بعد أن سمعنا ذلك من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم (مسند احمد 26751)
It is reported from Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) while addressing his Mubarak wives on the occasion of Hajjatul Wadaa said: “After this (the rites of Hajj) remain in your homes (i.e. do not leave your homes without a valid need).” Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) mentions that it was on account of this statement of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) that Hadhrat Zainab binte Jahsh and Saudah (radhiyallahu anhuma) never left their homes for even nafl Hajj (though the other Azwaaj-e-Mutahharaat performed nafl Hajj). Hadhrat Zainab and Saudah (radhiyallahu anhuma) would say: “After hearing this from Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), we never mounted a conveyance thereafter.”
عن عبد الله ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إن المرأة عورة فإذا خرجت استشرفها الشيطان وأقرب ما تكون من وجه ربها وهي في قعر بيتها (مسند البزار رقم 1820)
It is reported from Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said that a woman should be concealed (from the eyes of strange men). When she exits from her home Shaitaan stares at her. The time that she is closest to her Lord is when she is concealed within her home.
عَن أَنَسٍ ، قال : جئن النساء إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلن : يارسول الله ذهب الرجال بالفضل والجهاد في سبيل الله فما لنا عمل ندرك به عمل المجاهدين في سبيل الله فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : من قعد -أو كلمة نحوها- منكن في بيتها فإنها تدرك عمل المجاهد في سبيل الله. وهذا الحديث لا نعلم رواه عن ثابتٍ إلاَّ روح بن المسيب وهو رجل من أهل البصرة مشهور. (مسند البزار رقم 6962)
It is reported from Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) that a group of women came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) with the following complaint, they said, “O Messenger of Allah, the men have excelled the women through the abundant virtues that they acquire (in your company) and through striving in the path of Allah in jihad. Could you show us a means whereby we could receive the same rewards of those fighting in the path of Allah? Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) responded saying, “Those among you who remain within the confines of the home (worshipping Allah Ta’ala), they will acquire the reward of those striving in the path of Allah Ta’ala.”
Nevertheless, permission has been granted to women to leave their homes at the time of need,  as was mentioned by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to Hadhrat Saudah (radhiyallahu anha):
قد أذن لكن أن تخرجن لحاجتكن (صحيح مسلم رقم 2120)
“Permission has been granted to you to leave your homes at the time of need.”
Hence, we find in the books of Hadith that Sahaabiyyaat were permitted to perform nafl hajj and ‘umrah, visit their parents, offer condolences at the time of death, participate in giving ghusl to the mayyit, offer assistance to the wounded mujaahideen in jihad, etc. Since all these actions fall within the scope of need, permission was granted for these actions provided there is no fear of fitnah.
Two types of needs
In the noble era of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) women were allowed to exit from their homes for mainly two types of needs:
- Those needs that were subject to a certain time and place, e.g. attending the congregational prayers in the musjid.
- Those needs that were not subject to any time and place, e.g. meeting one’s parents, offering condolence to the bereaved, taking part in the ghusl of the mayyit, performing ‘umrah, etc.
As far as exiting from the home to fulfill the first need is concerned (i.e. women attending the salaah), though it was allowed in the Mubarak era of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) due to the absence of fitnah, however later on in the era of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), this permission was revoked on account of the increase of fitnah that was witnessed due to women attending the salaah. The following Hadith of ‘Aaisha (radhiyallahu anha) sufficiently explains the necessity of revoking the previous permission.
عن عمرة بنت عبد الرحمن أنها أخبرته أن عائشة زوج النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم قالت لو أدرك رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أحدث النساء لمنعهن المسجد كما منع نساء بنى إسرائيل. قال يحيى فقلت لعمرة أَمُنِعَ نساء بنى إسرائيل قالت نعم.) سنن ابي داود رقم 569)
It is reported by ‘Amrah that Hadhrat ‘Aaisha (radhiyallahu anha) said, “Had Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) been alive today and witnessed the fitnah being caused through the women exiting from their homes and attending the congregational prayer, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would have surely prohibited them as the women of Banu Israa’eel had been prohibited from attending the congregational prayer.”
When this was the condition in the era of the Sahaabah that due to fitnah women were prohibited from attending the salaah in the musjid, then one can well imagine the need for not allowing women to participate in the congregational prayer in this time and age, where the fitnah is rampant and widespread everywhere to such an extent that controlling the fitnah is impossible.
As far as the second type of need is concerned, just as it was permissible in that era, it is permitted in this time and age provided there is no fear of fitnah. However, the Hadith has placed certain restrictions and conditions on women when exiting from their homes to fulfill this need, i.e. they should exit from their homes in an unattractive state, not applying perfume, being fully covered with donning the veil, not intermingling with males and being transported to and from the destination by their husbands or mahrams.
As far as educating women is concerned, the ideal approach (free from any fitnah) is that their Deeni education be arranged within their homes and that they do not leave their homes without any need. This was the method of education adopted in regard to women in the era of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum).
However, due to the sad and unfortunate plight of the ummah witnessed across the globe, where a decline and degeneration of Deeni morals and values are seen in women, to the extent that they are openly seen frequenting the shopping centres and bazaars, halls and malls, occupying positions in shops and offices, driving about freely, going for morning walks and jogs in groups, taking part in national and international sports and even the Olympics, attending schools and universities, getting involved with or marring non Muslims, being influenced by anti Islamic beliefs and ideologies e.g. Darwin’s theory etc. and are also seen intermingling and interacting with the opposite sex without any sense of shame and modesty. Due to this sad and unfortunate plight, the need was perceived to use some other Halaal alternative which may perhaps not be the ideal but a means to acquire the ideal – a means through which a woman can once again come onto the path of the Sunnah and find her true place in her home and observe complete purdah. Hence the ‘Ulama have thought of ways (through girls Madrasahs and Mastooraat Jama’at) to reform and rectify the unimaginable maladies and uncontrollable ailments which have spread in the ummah.
The Tableegh Jama’at
The Tabligh Jama’ats aim and goal is to enliven the whole of Deen in the lives of the Muslims and to create within the women such a realization whereby they would understand their Deeni responsibilities and duties. Since achieving the goal all at once is extremely difficult, as is witnessed that most people are not prepared to make an immediate change to their lifestyles, the Tabligh Jama’at have worked out a solution to gradually draw such women who have been confused or lost and to bring them towards the real goal, i.e. finding their true place in their homes and observing complete purdah.
Furthermore, the Tabligh Jama’at has detected an Imaani crisis in the Ummah. They have observed that the Imaani levels of the people have reached such a low ebb, that if they are not taken through a remedial and reformative process, the coming generation will be totally lost. Hence, as the famous maxim goes, “When confronted with a crisis, one will adopt the lesser of the two evils (أهْوَنُ الْبَلِيَّتَيْن)”. Hence, through women leaving their homes to learn the basic teachings (Faraaidh) and the fundamentals of Deen, they will be able to save themselves and their families from a greater destruction. Furthermore, the ‘Ulama (of the Tabligh Jama’at) have analysed that when Shariah has granted women permission to leave their homes for a physical need, such as to acquire medical treatment or be hospitalised, then why would they not be allowed to leave their homes to acquire their Imaani need (through attending girls Madrasahs or Mastooraat Jama’at). This Imaani need is so vital that it is a means of securing their Deen, the Deen of their families and once again acquiring the values of Islam (modesty, Hayaa, etc.). Generally it has been noticed that through the medium of coming out in this form, a Deeni realization and awareness is created within the women. Thousands of women’s lives have improved and those who were far from Deen have begun to observe the essentials of Deen and adopt purdah as well.
Currently, the Imaani spirit and Deeni enthusiasm in the ummah is extremely low on account of the western culture prevalent everywhere. Hence they find it difficult to grasp basic Deeni concepts and Islamic values. Therefore they have to be introduced to these values slowly and gradually. If we do not adopt the present method of inviting and introducing them to Deen, the chances are that let alone not being able to reach out to them; we will lose them completely through them leaving the fold of Islam.
Another analogy found in the Tabligh Jama’at, of bringing people gradually to the ultimate goal, is creating the motivation and enthusiasm within people to perform their five daily salaah. At the onset, they begin inviting a person (who has no salaah in his life) towards performing the Jumu’ah salaah for a start. Thereafter, gradually they ask him to join them for one or two salaah daily. If one has to view this from a negative angle, he would raise objections against the Jama’at that they have reduced the number of salaah to one or two salaah a day. However, the one who has a more comprehensive understanding will regard this action of the Tabligh Jama’at as a gradual but positive step towards the ultimate goal.
One common example adopted by our senior ‘Ulama of the past as well as present (of bringing people gradually on the path of Deen in a way that is manageable to them) is that, if they had come across a person involved in some Haraam occupation (e.g. working for an insurance company or conventional bank etc. and he does not have any other source of income), they would not instruct him to immediately abandon the occupation he is involved in, instead they would ask him to continuously make tawbah for the sin he is involved in and look for some other (Halaal) occupation. The obvious reason being that if they are going to instruct him to immediately abandon the current source of income, the chances are that he might not find any other source of income, and due to his Imaan being extremely weak, this could lead him to bidding farewell to Islam. Thus, viewing the extremely low level of this person’s Imaan and him not being able to manage the original method of correction and rectification, instead of proving beneficial we lead him from the frying pan to the fire. Hence we understand that the ‘Ulama asking him to continue with the Haraam occupation cannot be construed that they have sanctioned and endorsed it as Halaal or Shariah compliant. Instead it is on account of the person’s personal condition and based on what is manageable to him. Similar is the case of a person involved in drugs. On account of the addiction, it is difficult and not manageable for him to kick the habit all at once. Hence those treating him wean him off it gradually.
The crux of the matter is that the girls Madrasahs and the Tabligh Jama’at is gradually introducing Deen to the women in phases in a way that is manageable to them and thus leading them to the ultimate goal, i.e. creating the enthusiasm through which a woman can once again come onto the path of the Sunnah and find her true place in her home and observe complete purdah. Certainly this was what Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) desired for the women of his ummah, as is clearly gauged from the above mentioned Ahaadith, where women are exhorted to remain within the confines of their homes. Therefore, it is incumbent that those in charge of girls’ madrasahs, as well as those overseeing the jama’at, that they periodically explain to the womenfolk that the girls madrasahs or the Mastooraat Jama’at itself is not the real goal. Instead it is a means to acquire the ideal. Similarly, they should strive towards creating the spirit of the Sunnah within the womenfolk, whereby they understand the importance of observing purdah as well as remaining within the confines of their homes and not leaving their homes except at the time of need.
Two Fatwas of Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi Saheb (rahimahullah) regarding educating women:
- “There is a great need for Tabligh to take place amongst the women (i.e. educating them in Deeni matters). In doing so, it is best that women be educated at home. Alternatively, a weekly gathering could be arranged in the locality, so that the women of the locality could gather in Hijaab to learn Deen. If the need arises for women to travel to learn Deen, then they are permitted to do so in the company of their husbands or Mahrams so that they do not suffer loss in regard to their Deen together with them being saved from any type of fitnah. In this way, the purpose for travelling (i.e. women’s self reformation and correction) will also be achieved.” (Fataawa Mahmoodiyyah Farooqiyyah 4/265)
- “It is the responsibility of every person to learn Deen and teach it to others according to his capability. If the menfolk of the home i.e. the father, grandfather, uncles, and brothers educate the womenfolk, then this need will be fulfilled. However, if the men do not teach their womenfolk nor are they (womenfolk) knowledgeable in regard to the laws and injunctions of Deen, then it will be necessary for them to learn the Masaail regarding ‘Aqeedah (beliefs) and other relevant Masaail from the women of the locality, who will acquire it from their menfolk and explain it to these women. However, in acquiring Deeni education in this manner, strict purdah will have to be observed.
Women used to come to Hadhrat ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu anha) to learn Deen. Similarly, it is reported that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would arrange a gathering (in Madinah Munawwarah) wherein he would address the womenfolk and teach them the relevant Masaail of Deen.
If they accompany their Mahrams or husbands during safar and they come in contact with other women with whom they discuss matters of Deen, then it will be permissible provided it is done in such a way that no Ghair Mahram hears their voice, there is no fear of any fitnah and strict purdah is observed. It will be impermissible for them to travel without a Mahram or husband. Similarly, if they travel without observing purdah, or if their voices reach Ghair Mahrams, or if there exists the fear of any other fitnah, travelling will be impermissible. Generally, some type of fitnah takes place when there is a gathering of women. Hence, if there is fear of any fitnah, it will be necessary to avoid attending such gatherings.” (Fataawa Mahmoodiyyah Farooqiyyah 4/268)
Fatwa of Hadhrat Mufti Abdur Raheem Laajpoori Saheb (rahimahullah) regarding educating women:
Women leaving their homes to attend Deeni gatherings is an extremely sensitive issue. Therefore, the ideal would be that their Deeni education be arranged within their homes. However if educating them at home is not possible, then under the circumstances it will be permissible for them to leave their homes to acquire Deeni education. In doing so special caution should be exercised to ensure that strict purdah be observed (throughout the way) and that they be transported to and from the destination by their Mahrams. They should remain in pious company through whom their respect will not be lost and they will be protected from fitnah. Thus, with the intention of acquiring Deeni benefit and saving themselves from falling into sin and getting involved in innovations and various wrongs, concession has been granted for them to leave their homes on condition that they do not regard (this coming out to acquire Deen) as a Shari’ injunction and a Sunnah of Deen (i.e. it is based on need). If at any time there is fear of fitnah (may Allah protect) in the place where the Deeni education is being acquired, then it will be necessary to refrain from such places. (Fataawaa Raheemiyyah 2/244)
Fatwa of Hazrat Mufti Shafee’ Saheb Rahimahullah and Hakeemul Ummah, Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahimahullah regarding educating women:
Hazrat Mufti Shafee’ Saheb Rahimahullah writes in Ma’aariful Quraan under the verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا
O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from the fire of Jahannam.
In this verse the address is directed towards the Muslim Ummah in general. They are commanded to save themselves and their families from the burning fire of Jahannam . . . The word أَهْلِيكُمْ encompasses the wife, children and those in one’s ownership from his male and female slaves. Similarly it is not surprising that those employees who are in one’s employment also be included under the purview of this verse. It is reported in one narration that at the time of the revelation of this verse, Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) inquired: “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu alahi wasallam), we know how to save ourselves from the fire of Jahannam (i.e. by refraining from sins and fulfilling the orders of Allah Ta’ala), but how do we safeguard our families from the fire of Jahannam?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied, “Forbid them from carrying out such deeds which are displeasing to Allah Ta’ala and enjoin upon them to carry out the commandments of Allah Ta’ala. This will save them from the fire of Jahannam”. (Roohul Ma’aani)
From this verse of the Holy Quraan the Fuqhaa (jurists) deduce that it is Farz upon every individual to educate his family (wife and children) regarding the Faraaiz of Deen. Similarly he should equip them with the knowledge of Halaal and Haraam and ensure that they practice Deen correctly . . . Some Ulamaa have stated that on the Day of Qiyaamah, the one who neglected his Deeni responsibility and did not educate his family in matters of Deen will be punished most severely. (Roohul Ma’aani, Ma’aariful Quraan pg. 502 – 503, vol. 8)
It is proven from this Mubaarak verse of the Holy Quraan that it is necessary upon every person to provide his family with the correct upbringing and Islaamic education. The word ‘family’ in this verse is general. It includes both; sons and daughters. Thus, as it is necessary for one to provide Deeni education and Islaamic tarbiyat (upbringing) to his sons, it is equally important that he provides Deeni education and Islaamic tarbiyat (upbringing) to his daughters.
Hakeemul Ummah, Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahimahullah has written an extremely beneficial article (in his kitaab ‘Islaahi Inqilab’) on the topic of: ‘Correcting the Wrongs in regard to Educating Women’. It is important that one studies this article. (Refer to Islaahi Inqilaab pg 190 – 201) Hazrat Thanwi (Rahimahullah) mentions:
“In essence, it is logically accepted and practically proven that without Deeni knowledge it is not possible for one to reform his actions. Reforming ones actions is Waajib and Farz in Deen. Hence we understand that acquiring Deeni knowledge (whereby one will be able to rectify his Aamaal and fulfil the Faraaiz) is also Farz in Shariah.
Therefore the claim made by some people that ‘Since women are not tasked with the responsibility of working, what is the need for educating them?’ is incorrect . . . Similarly this has been proven through experience that the mere fact that Ulamaa are present among the masses is insufficient in fulfilling the Deeni needs and requirements of women. There are two reasons through which we will understand why the presence of the Ulamaa among the masses is insufficient in fulfilling the Deeni needs and requirements of women. Firstly, it is compulsory that purdah be observed between men and women, hence it is not possible for women to go to the Ulamaa to acquire Deeni education. If we say that the Mahram men folk present at home should seek Deeni guidance from the Ulamaa on behalf of the women and thereafter pass it on to them, then in some situations Mahram men folk are not found in some homes through which this need can be fulfilled. Over and above in some situations (though Mahram men folk are found) the men folk are totally disconcerned and negligent in regard to their own Deeni obligations, hence what hope do we have that they will show importance to the Deeni needs and obligations of their women folk and refer it to the Ulamaa. It is therefore extremely difficult for such women to find out the Masaail regarding their Deen. If per chance, through some medium she is able to contact an Aalim or within her home there is an Aalim e.g. father, brother, son etc. then too there are certain personal and sensitive Deeni Masaail which she might not be able to easily refer to them. Generally a woman feels most easy and comfortable to discuss her personal Deeni issues with her husband due to there being a degree of informality between the both. However finding this type of husband (who is educated Islaamically and thus able to fulfil the Deeni requirements) in all cases is not normally possible. Therefore, the only practical solution to fulfil the Deeni needs and requirements of women is that the women of the locality gather at some venue and learn from those women who possess the knowledge of Deen (e.g. girls’ madrasahs) thereby educating themselves in regard to the necessary Deeni Masaail and related issues. Hence if there is no other alternative (i.e. through acquiring Deeni education within the confines of the home) then through this means of Ta’leem (women learning from the women of the locality) it is compulsory for women to acquire the education of Deen”. (Islaahi Inqilaab pg. 194, Behishti Zewar pg. 99 part1)
(Hadhrat Mufti Abdur Raheem Laajpoori Saheb (rahimahullah) mentions): From the above quotations, i.e. the article of Hazrat Mufti Shafi’ Sahib and Hazrat Moulana Thanwi Saheb (rahimahumallah) we understand the importance of women acquiring Deeni Ta’leem. Therefore it is vital that due attention and paramount importance be shown to it. Accordingly (from the above quotations) we have understood the manner in which women should go about acquiring their Deeni education.
The best method for educating women (if it is not possible to educate them at home) is that arrangements be made for their Deeni ta’leem in their locality. They should leave their homes in complete purdah to attend the lessons and ensure that they remain in pious company throughout the way. In this way their respect will not be lost and their purity and chastity will be protected. They should return home before the night and their guardians should strictly supervise and oversee their education and their being transported to and from the destination. In this manner of acquiring Deeni education, they will be saved from all types of fitnahs. (Faataawa Raheemiyyah pg.161 vol 3)
Fatwa of Hazrat Mufti Abdur Rasheed Ludhiyaanwi Rahimahullah regarding girls’ madrasahs:
For women to attend girls madrasahs is permissible with the intention of acquiring the knowledge of Shariah as well as the spirit of Deen. However it is vital that the following conditions be adhered to:
- The teachers should all be females. It is not permissible for women to study under na-mahram male teachers.
- The teachers should be conversant with the laws of Shariah and acquainted with aspects of social and domestic living.
- They should be committed to Deen and show great amount of concern in creating the true morals and values within the students. They should not be involved in the innovations, wrongs and immorality prevalent and they should stop others from getting involved in these shameful and sinful acts, e.g. not observing purdah, taking pictures, watching television and ghibat etc.
- The main function and purpose for girls’ studying Deen in girls’ madrasahs is as explained above, i.e. acquiring the knowledge and spirit of Shariah as well as equipping herself with the knowledge a woman would require throughout her life. In other words, the primary object is creating the concern for the Aakhirat in the heart of the students. It is necessary to do away with the current system in vogue in many girls’ madrasahs and Islaamic institutes where efforts are aimed towards producing A’alimahs thus affording them big titles and worldly positions. Certainly this incorrect practice has to be rectified and reformed. It is necessary to correct the mindset of those who pursue such titles.
- They should be transported to and from girls’ madrasahs accompanied by their Mahrams.
(Ahsanul Fataawa pg, 59 vol 8)
It is farz for every Muslim to learn correct Aqaaid (correct beliefs), Ibadaat (righteous and correct actions), Muaasharat (social etiquettes), Muaamalaat (mutual dealings and transactions) and Akhlaaq (good character and mannerisms). In the event where it is quite difficult or impractical for a woman to acquire this within the confines of her home, then it is necessary for her to leave her home to acquire this knowledge in order for her to practice upon her Deen correctly. Hence, in the interest of her Deen, leaving her home to fulfil this Deeni need will be permissible and akin to leaving her home to fulfil a valid worldly need.
The elders of the Tabligh Jamaat explain that mastooraat Jamaat is in actual fact a mobile madrasah and khaanqah which has been designed and structured to facilitate for those women who do not have the means or time to study at a girls’ madrasah nor can they acquire it within their homes. The only alternative for this class of women in acquiring Deen and the spirit of Deen is that they associate themselves with the Tabligh Jamaat. Just as permission is granted to women for attending girls’ madrasahs (with the above-mentioned conditions) to acquire Deen, similarly they would be allowed to attend Mastooraat Jamaats (a mobile madrasah) to acquire Deen if those very conditions are adhered to. Moreover, it has been clearly witnessed that the benefits of the mastooraat Jamaat are far greater than the girls’ madrasahs in creating the Islaamic spirit and values (taqwa, modesty, Hayaa, etc.). The general observation is that the caution exercised in the mastooraat Jamaat (in terms of purdah as well as the strict supervision) exceeds the caution exercised in most of the girls’ madrasahs.
As we have seen above, many of our senior Ulama and burzugaane Deen of the past, the likes of Mufti Mahmood Saheb (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), Moulana Thaanwi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), Mufti Laajpuri (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), Mufti Shafee Saheb (Rahmatullahi Alahi) and Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyaanwi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) have all permitted women to leave their homes to acquire Deen in those situations where there was no other alternative. Certainly these Ulama understood the need of the time as well as the temperament of Deen. Regarding Hazrat Moulana Thaanwi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) it is mentioned that he would allow women accompanied by their Mahrams with observing purdah to come to Thanabowan for bay’at. Hazratji Moulana Maseehullah (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) used to hold a weekly gathering conducted after Jumuah salaah where women accompanied by their husbands used to attend (for which separate facilities for women used to be arranged). There are witnesses present till today who will bear testimony that certain women went out in mastooraat Jamaat with the permission of Hazrat Moulana Yusuf (Rahmatullahi Alaihi).
We do understand that many senior Ulama’ have prohibited women from coming out in Jamaat. This prohibition is however with reference to women who go for ghush, arrange programmes and ijtimas, gather at public venues or who conduct in a way that is improper for women. This is obviously incorrect. However, arranging a programme for women in a private residence where all precautionary measures in terms of purdah are adopted and are seen far more greater than the purdah that is adopted in the girls’ madrasahs, then this is a separate issue altogether. Furthermore, this controversy is just a controversy of words, the reason being that the Tabligh Jamaat has been named as the “Tabligh Jamaat”, however rightfully it is an “Islaahi Jamaat” for which there is approximate consensus among our senior Ulama’ kiraam that this movement has been initiated to teach the Ummat their Deeni obligations and responsibilities. We hope that this will end all doubts and misgivings and will assist in understanding the true Deeni perspective with regards to women’s mastooraat Jamaat and girls’ madrasahs.
We earnestly make dua to Allah Ta’ala that He bless the mothers and sisters of this ummah with the Tawfeeq (ability) to practice the complete Sunnah in the manner it was practiced by the Sahaabiyyaat in the Mubaarak era of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
فروع استأجر امرأته لتخبز له خبزا للأكل لم يجز قال الشامي: قوله ( لم يجز ) لأن هذا العمل من الواجب عليها ديانة لأن النبي قسم الأعمال بين فاطمة وعلي فجعل عمل الداخل على فاطمة وعمل الخارج على علي (رد المحتار 6/62)
 صلوة المرأة في بيتها أي الداخلاني لكمال سترها أفضل من صلاتها في حجرتها اي صحن الدار قال ابن الملك اراد بالحجرة ما تكون ابواب البيوت اليها وهي ادني حالا من البيت وصلاتها في مخدعها بضم الميم وتفتح وتكسر مع فتح الدال في الكل وهو البيت الصغير الذي يكون داخل البيت الكبير يحفظ فيه الامتعة النفيسة من الخدع وهو اخفاء الشيء اي في خزانتها افضل من صلاتها في بيتها لان مبني امرها علي التستر (بذل المجهود في حل ابي داود 1/ 320)
 عن عائشة قالت خرجت سودة بعدما ضرب عليها الحجاب لتقضي حاجتها وكانت امرأة جسيمة تفرع النساء جسما لا تخفى على من يعرفها فرآها عمر بن الخطاب فقال يا سودة والله ما تخفين علينا فانظري كيف تخرجين قالت فانكفأت راجعة ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في بيتي وإنه ليتعشى وفي يده عرق فدخلت فقالت يا رسول الله إني خرجت فقال لي عمر كذا وكذا قالت فأوحى إليه ثم رفع عنه وإن العرق في يده ما وضعه فقال إنه قد أذن لكن أن تخرجن لحاجتكن (صحيح مسلم رقم 2120)
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)