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Womens prayer

That the womens prayer is different from mens is clear from the general nature of the shariah commands, as
women are supposed to be in veil. In all acts, they are supposed to adopt the way
that provides them maximum veilness (hijaab, satr). A large number of saheeh Visit
hadeeths from the Prophet , including hadeeths from Bukhaaree,
testify to the fact that the commands for women regarding prayer is not same as for more articles on Islaam.
those for men. Other dhaeef hadeeths further elaborate this principle. Here we
present a selection of some such hadeeths. It must be made clear in the
beginning itself that some people nowadays consider dhaeef hadeeths to be a non-hadeeth which is against the
truth. The dhaeef hadeeths are also a kind of hadeeths, but occupy a lower position in the hierarchy of
hadeeths. Only maudhoo hadeeths can be termed as non-hadeeths.

As for the hadeeth meaning, offer your prayer as you have seen me offering (Sunan
Daara Qutni 3/181/1079); it has no effect on the matter as it is a general command, addressed first to men.
According to Arabic grammar, the words
and are addressed to men, so the meaning of the hadeeth
would be pray, O men, as you men have seen me praying. Had there been no other hadeeth specifying that
women should pray differently from men, then only it could have been concluded that womens prayers should
be same as mens. As for a saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet specifying that men and women
should pray in the same manner, even the famous Ghair Muqallid scholar Shaikh Naasiruddeen Al Albaanee (d.
1999) could not find one.

Now let us first have a look at the meaning of some of the hadeeth terminologies.

Hadeeth and its major categories:

With respect to the authenticity, there are four major categories of hadeeths:
1. Saheeh 2. Hasan 3. Dha'eef 4. Mauzoo
2. Correct 2. Fair 3. Weak 4. Fabricated

1. Saheeh hadeeth (correct hadeeth) fulfills five conditions: its chain of narrators should be without break,
the narrators should be trustworthy, they should have good memory and preserving power, the hadeeth
should not contradict a stronger hadeeth, and it should be free from unapparent defects.
2. Hasan hadeeth (fair hadeeth) also fulfills these conditions except that one or more of its narrators is
somewhat weak in memory and preserving power. Also, a dhaeef hadeeth (weak hadeeth) becomes
hasan if it gets corroborated on account of possessing numerous chains of narrators.
3. Dhaeef hadeeth (weak hadeeth) is a hadeeth which is inferior to the above two. It lacks one or more of
the attributes described in hasan hadeeth.
4. Maudhoo hadeeth (fabricated hadeeth) is the one in which one or more of the narrators has been proved
to be a liar in narrating the Prophet's hadeeths.

There is no difference of opinion among the scholars regarding the ability of saheeh and hasan hadeeths to stand
as evidence in proving and deducing commands of the Islaamic shariah.
As for dhaeef hadeeths, the overwhelming majority of scholars hold the opinion that they cannot stand as
evidence in matters of rulings and commands of the shariah, but they can be taken as evidence in matters of:
1 Describing the excellence and rewards for good deeds
2 Inducing desire for good deeds and inducing fear over bad deeds
3 Stories
4 Battle-details
However, as will be clear from the following quotes, the majority of scholars follow dhaeef hadeeths to some
degree even in matters of commands of the shariah:
1 Imaam Abu Haneefah said: A weak hadeeth from Prophet is better than mere analogy
(qiyaas), and deducing commands on the basis of analogy is not permissible in presence of a dhaeef
hadeeth. (Al Muhallaa by Ibn Hazm 3/161, Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by Abdullaah Maroofi p.427)
2 Imaam Shaafiee considers a mursal hadeeth (whose chain of narrators is broken at the top) dhaeef, yet
if there is only mursal hadeeths available in an issue, then he makes it the basis for deducing commands.
(Fathul Mugheeth by Sakhaawi 1/270 quoting Maawurdi, Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by Abdullaah Maroofi p.428)
3 Imaam Shaafiee prefers a dhaeef hadeeth over analogy. (Ilaamul Muwaqqaeen by Ibn Qayyim 1/32, Hadeeth Aur Fahm e
Hadeeth by 'Abdullaah Maroofi p.428)
4 Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal said: I do not go against a dhaeef hadeeth if there is no other hadeeth on the
issue contradicting this dha'eef hadeeth. (Sharh Al Kaukab Al Muneer 2/573, Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by 'Abdullaah Maroofi
5 The correctness of a hadeeth is not a pre-condition (for following it) with regard to desirable (nafl) acts
and for describing the excellence and rewards of good deeds. (Al Mughnee by Ibn Qudaamah 2/88, 2/206, Hadeeth Aur Fahm
e Hadeeth by 'Abdullaah Maroofi p.429)
6 Imaam Auzhaaee used to base his deduction of commands on hadeeths with broken chain of narrators
(a kind of dha'eef hadeeth) and hadeeths by Syrians with broken chain at the top. (Siyar u Alaam An Nubalaa by
Imaam Zahabi 7/114, Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by 'Abdullaah Maroofi p.429)
7 Imaam Abu Dawood used to include dha'eef hadeeths in his book if he did not find any other hadeeth in
the matter because he considered them to be stronger than the opinions of other people, according to Ibn
Mundah. (Tadreebur Raawee by Ibn Mundah, Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by 'Abdullaah Maroofi p.429)
8 According to Imaam Nawawee, dha'eef hadeeths can be followed if it conforms to precaution in an
issue. For example, if there is a dha'eef hadeeth saying that some particular forms of business
transactions or marriages are detestable, then it is desirable to follow them and abstain from engaging in
those acts. (Sharh Al Azkaar by Ibn Allaan 1/68, 1/78; Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by 'Abdullaah Maroofi p.430)
9 If a Quraanic verse or saheeh hadeeth can have two or more meanings, or a few hadeeths contradict each
other, then the Islaamic scholars take the help of dha'eef hadeeths for giving preference to one above the
other. (Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by 'Abdullaah Maroofi p.430)
The great muhaddiths and dhaeef hadeeths
There are some great scholars of hadeeth about whom it is famously said that they do not approve of
dhaeef hadeeths even in matters of rewards for good deeds. Whatever is mentioned under this topic has been
taken from Hadeeth Aur Fahm e Hadeeth by Abdullaah Maroofee p.433-456.
Imaam Bukhaaree: He compiled a valuable collection of hadeeths related to etiquettes and moralities
Al Adab Al Mufrad. Naasiruddeen Al Albaanee recompiled it as Saheeh of Al Adab Al Mufrad and
Dhaeef of Al Adab Al Mufrad. According to Shaikh Abdul Fattaah Abu Ghuddah, the book has 52
weak narrators.
Imaam Muslim: In his preface, he categorized hadeeths into three: (1) hadeeths narrated by expert
memorizers, (2) hadeeths narrated by average memorizers and who are apparently safe from criticism,
and (3) hadeeths narrated by narrators who are weak or abandoned. Shamsuddeen Muhammad bin
Ahmad Az Zahabee says about him and his book Saheeh: He inludes the hadeeths of the third category
as support and confirmation which are not numerous, but he rarely includes them as the fundamental or
main hadeeth. Such (weak) narrators include Ataa bin Saaib, Laic bin Abee Sulaim, Yazeed bin Abee
Ziyaad, Abaan bin Samah, Muhammad bin Is-haaq, (Siyar u Alaam in Nubalaa 12/575)
Yahyaa bin Maeen: Ibn Maryam narrates: I heard Ibn Maeen say: Idrees bin Sinaans hadeeths
dealing with making the hearts tender may be written. (Al Kaamil by Ibn Adee 1/666) Thus, though Idrees bin
Sinaan is dhaeef, his hadeeths dealing with making the hearts tender (or more generally, excellence of
acts) are acceptable. Regarding Zhiyaad bin Abdullaah Al Bakkaaee, Ibn Maeen says: He is of no
value, is acceptable in the subject of the Prophets battles but in other subjects he is unacceptable. Thus
Ibn Maeen accepts the hadeeths of an otherwise zaeef narrator in the subject of the Prophets battles.
Shaikhul Islaam ibn Taimiyyah: His book Al Kalim At Tayyib contains many dhaeef hadeeths as is clear
from Naasiruddeen Al Albaanees book Dhaeef of Al Kalim At Tayyib.
Ibn Jauzhee
Ibn Hajar
Ibn Qayyim Al Jauzhiyyah

Hadeeths in which women are ordered to pray differently from men

Clapping for women

Saheeh Bukhaari 3/86/643
Hazrat Sahl bin Sad As Saaidi narrates that the holy Prophet said:
If something unusual happens during a (congregational) prayer then a prayer-offerer should say SubhaanAllaah.
When he says SubhaanAllaah, the imam and other prayer-offerers will turn their attention towards him. As for
clapping (during prayer to draw others attention), it is meant for women.
(Clapping means beating the left wrist with the right hand while standing during prayer)
(Also in Bukhaaree 4/425/1142, 4/452/1158; Muslim 2/404/639, Abu Daawood 3/126/805, Nasaaee 3/260/776).

Saheeh Bukhaaree 4/400/1128

Hazrat Abu Hurairah narrates that the holy Prophet said:
Saying SubhaanAllaah is for men and clapping is for women.
(Also in Nasaai 4/447/1192)

Ibn Maajah 3/323/1026

Ibn Umar said:
The Prophet has permitted clapping for women and saying SubhaanAllaah for men.

Headscarves for women

Abu Daawood 2/275/546
Hazrat Aaisha narrates that the holy Prophet said:
Allaah does not accept the prayer of a woman without headscarf.

Raising hands to the level of breasts for women

Ilaaus Sunan 2/181 Al Mujam Al Kabeer by Tabaraani 15/396/17497
Hazrat Waail bin Hujr narrates that the holy Prophet said:
Ibn Hujr! When you offer the prayer, raise your hands to the level of your ears, and a woman should raise her
hands to the level of her breast.
(Tabaraanee has narrated it through the chain of Maimoonah bint Hujr through her fathers sister Umm e Yahyaa bint Abdul Jabbaar and I do not know about her (the
latter). The rest of the narrators are reliable. Majmauz Zawaaid)

Ilaaus Sunan 2/181

The command that has been given in the hadeeth provides a woman more veil (hiding of body-parts) and more
veilness is demanded from her in the holy Shariah. Umme Dardaa, Ataa, Zuhri, Hammaad and others also hold
this view, according to Ainee in Sharhul Hidaayah (1/206). We have quoted this hadeeth to support our
unapparent analogy and not to base our argument on it as the hadeeth (being dhaeef) is not capable of being the
basis for argument.

Juz e Rafil Yadain by Imaam Bukhaaree 1/22/23

Abd Rabbihi bin Sulaimaan bin Umain narrates that he saw Umm e Dardaa raising her hands to the level of her
(The compiler of Ilaaus Sunan says: All the compilers of this chain are reliable. Umm e Dardaa is one of the
great Companion women (Sahaabiyyah). Her name was Khiyarah, according to Tahzeebut Tahzeeb.)

Ilaaus Sunan 2/199

There is a hadeeth in Saheeh Ibn e Khuzaimah narrated by Waail bin Hujr. He said:
I offered prayer with the Prophet . He kept his right hand over his left hand on his chest.
. As for a woman she should keep her hands over her breast as this position provides her
more veilness.

Women in menses
Ilaaus Sunan 1/372/353
Hazrat Muaazah narrates that she asked Hazrat Aaishah:
Whats the matter with a woman in her menses that she is supposed to do the qadhaa of her fasts and not of her
Hazrat Aaishah said: When the holy Prophet was alive, we used to undergo menses and then
we were commanded to do qadhaa of the fasts and not of the prayers. (A whole group of muhaddiths has quoted
this hadeeth, according to Nailul Awtaar 1/269.)

Ilaaus Sunan 1/372/354

Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudri narrates that the holy Prophet said:
Isnt it true that when a woman undergoes menses, she neither fasts nor offers prayers?
(Narrated by Bukhaaree and Muslim as part of a long hadeeth. Bulooghul Maraam 1/23)

Womens prayer at home is better than congregational prayer behind

the Prophet

in his mosque
Saheeh Bukhaaree 4/377/1116
Hazrat Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet said:
Prayer in my mosque is better than a thousand prayer in any other mosque except Masjid Haraam (of Makkah).

Saheeh Ibn e Khuzaimah 3/95/1689

Hazrat Abdullaah bin Suwaid Al Ansaari narrates from her fathers sister, the wife of Abu Humaid As Saaidi
saying: She came to the holy Prophet and said: O Allaahs Prophet ! I love
(congregational) prayer with you (in your mosque).
The Prophet said:
I know that you love (congregational) prayer with me. But your offering the prayer in your inner room is better
than your prayer in the outer room,
your prayer in the outer room is better than your prayer in the open courtyard of your house,
your prayer in the open courtyard of your house is better than your prayer in the mosque of your people
(locality), and
your prayer in the mosque of your people (locality) is better than your prayer in my mosque.

She then ordered the construction of a prayer-room in the innermost and darkest part of her house. She used to
say her prayers there till she met Allaah (died).

Albaanee says: Hadeethun hasan (meaning, a fairly reliable hadeeth).

(Also in Al Mujam Al Kabeer by Tabaraanee 8/233/9369, Musannaf Ibn Abee Shaibah 2/277, 2/384, Marifatus Sunan wal Aathaar 4/443)
Musannaf Ibn Abee Shaibah 2/276
Hazrat Aaishah says: Had the Prophet known what new things the women have started, he
would have prohibited them from coming to mosques as the women of Banu Israail were prohibited.

Womens prostration is different from mens

Maraaseel e Abu Daawood 1/107/84
Yazeed bin Abi Habeeb narrates that the Prophet passed by two women who were offering
prayer. The Prophet said:
When you prostrate, keep your fleshy hind part (hips) in touch with the ground as the woman is not like a man
in this matter.

Al Awsat by Ibn Munzir 7/166/2259

Naafi narrates that Hazrt Ibn Umar used to command his women to sit cross-legged during prayer.

Sharh Musnad Abee Haneefah 1/191

Naafi narrates that Ibn Umar was asked how the women used to offer prayer in the days of the Prophet
. He replied:
They used to sit cross-legged, then they were ordered to sit on their hips (keeping their body parts close

Musannaf Ibn Abee Shaibah 1/302

Hazrat Ali said: When a woman prostrates, she should keep her body parts close together and keep her thighs
close (to her lower legs).
Hazrat Ibn Abbaas was asked about a womans prayer. He said that she should keep her body parts close

Musannaf Ibn Abee Shaibah 1/303

Hazrat Ibraaheem (Nakhaee) said: When a woman prostrates, she should make her abdomen touch her thighs,
she should not raise her hips and (not) separate them from her lower legs like a man.

Notes: 1. Here prayer stands for namaaz (salaah)

2. dua = supplication
3. durood = blessing
4. References like 2/251/1024 mean volume no./page no./hadeeth no.
5. h=, h=, z=, z=, z=, dh=, c=, s=, sh=, s= ' or or =,, g=, t=, t=