Is it preferable for women to attend congregational prayers in the mosque?

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Allah says in the chapter that is called “The Day of Congregation” or “Friday”: “O believers, when a call is made for prayer on the Day of Congregation, hasten to God's remembrance.” (62:9) This verse, and other verses that mentioned believers and mosques, did not differentiate between men and women.

However, it is quite established in the tradition of the Islamic jurisprudence that women, unlike men, are not required to attend the Friday prayer. Some authentic hadiths are narrated from the Prophet (s) to this effect. For example, “Women are not required to attend the Friday prayer in congregation.”[1]Nevertheless, despite this unanimous agreement, it is a recommendation for women to attend the Friday congregational prayers whenever they can.[2]

Other congregational prayers are recommended for men and women alike, and there is no proof that indicates otherwise. Women are included within the general implication of the Prophet’s (s) hadith,

“Prayer in congregation is 27 times superior to the prayer offered by a person alone.”[3]

Abu Hurairah (r) also narrated that the Prophet (s) said,

“The prayer offered in congregation by anyone of you is twenty-some degrees superior to the prayer offered alone in one’s house or in the market. This is because when you perform ablution and do it perfectly, and go out to the mosque having no intention other than offering the prayer and motivated only by the prayer, then every step you take elevates your rank by one degree and causes one sin to be removed. And the angels will keep invoking blessing on any of you so long as you remain in the place of prayer, saying, ‘O Allah, forgive him; O Allah, have mercy on him; O Allah, accept this repentance,’ so long as you do not get your ablution nullified or harm anyone … You will be reckoned as praying so long as waiting for the next prayer and did not leave the mosque."[4]

 


[1] Al-Hakim’s Al-Mustadrak `Ala As-Sahihayn, the author states, "it is authentic according to the criterion set by Ash-Shaykhayn, though they did not report it" (1/425), Abu Dawud’s Sunan, 2/295, Abu Shaybah’s Musannaf, 2/109, and Ash-Shafi`i’s Musnad, 1/61.

[2] Subul As-Salam, 2/58.

[3] Bukhari, 131/1.

[4] Bukhari, 66/3.