Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth, best who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (Qur'an 16:125)
1.There is not a single verse in the Qur’an which prohibits women from entering the mosque and there is no single authen tic Hadith which I know of which states that the Prophet (pbuh) prevented or forbade women from going to the mosque.
There is only one Hadith which could be misunderstood to mean that women should not go to the mosque. That Hadith is as follows: ‘The prayer of women is better in their house than in the mosque and the prayer of women is better in their rooms than in their house.’
If you base your conclusion only on this single Hadith, then you may wrongly conclude that it is not advisable or preferable for women to go tothe mosque. As I mentioned earlier, your conclusion cannot be based only on one Hadith neglecting or ignoring all the other Ahadith. The context of the Hadith is also very important.
The Prophet (pbuh) said that if a person prays in the mosque he gets 27 times more blessings (Sawab). Some women argued that they had infants at home and other household work and therefore could not go to the mosque. Thus the men have a greater advantage than women for receiving such blessings. It is then that the Prophet said the above Hadith that ‘The prayer of women is better in their house than in the mosque and the prayer of women is better in their rooms than in their house’.
Hence, the conclusion is that in situations where women have infants and household work, which too is an important duty that cannot be neglected, women would not be deprived of the sawab (blessings) if they pray in their own house.
2.Thereare several Ahadith which prove that both men and women went to the mosque during the life of the prophet:
(i)The Prophet said, ‘Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from going to the mosque of Allah.’
(ii)And husbands were specifically told by him, “ When your women folk ask you for permission to attend the mosque, do not prevent them.”
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book of Salaah, Chapter 80, Hadith No. 832)
(iii)From the time the Prophet (pbuh) entered Madinah, after Hijra, till his demise, he never prevented women from entering the mosque.
(iv)During the time of the Prophet (pbuh), women not only went to the mosque for prayer but also for religious education and liter ary discussions as the mosque was the centre of community. Several Ahadith tell us that the Prophet (pbuh) addressed people in the mosque, and the audience consisted of both Muslim men and women, and women many a times asked questions to the Prophet (pbuh) in the mosque.
(v)Even at the time of Hazrat Umar (R) women went to the mosque. The famous incident in which a lady from the back seat of the mosque objected to Hazrat Umar(R) considering an upper limit to meher, is very well known.
(vi)During the Prophet’s (pbuh) time, mosques had separate entrances for ladies. Women filled the mosques from behind while men had separate entrances and filled the mosques from the front. In between the two sections were children who acted as a buffer zone.
(vii)It is reported by Abu Husainah that the Prophet (Pbuh) said: “The best row for men is the first, and the worst for them is the last. The best row for women is the last, and the worst is the first.” (Muslim)
3.Islam permits women to pray in mosques. Ladies should have separate and equal facilities. Islam does not permit the inter mingling of sexes. Otherwise there will be a similar scene in mosques like other places of worship where some people even come for ‘bird watching’ and eve teasing.
4.In recent times,women are not allowed in mosques in a very few countries especially in India and the neighbouring countries. Otherwise in most of the other countries, women are allowed in mosques. Women are allowed in mosques in Saudi Arabia, in U.A.E, in Egypt, in U.S.A, in England, etc. They are also allowed in the Haram Shareef in Makkah and in Masjid - e - Nabawi in Madinah.
Allahamdulillah, the trend is now changing in India . We have several mosques in India and a few in Mumbai which allow women to pray in mosques (masjid).