The Prayer of Womankind
This article shall be based on overwhelming ahadith which establish from Prophet (Peace be upon him), Sahaba, Tabiyeen and great Fuqaha that prayer of woman is different in many ways from prayer of man.
Proof # 1
عن عبد الله بن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا جلست المرأة في الصلوة وضعت فخذها على فخذها الاخرى وإذا سجدت الصقت بطنها في فخذيها كالستر ما يكون لها وان الله تعالى ينظر إليها ويقول يا ملائكتى اشهدكم انى قد غفرت لها
Translation: Ibn Umar (ra) narrates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: When a woman sits in prayer then she should place her one thigh upon the other and attach the stomach to her thighs so that it is more concealing for her. Indeed, Allah looks at her and informs the angels by saying: "O Angels! Be witness that I have forgiven her! [Sunnan al Bayhaqi al-Kubra (3/74)]
This hadith is reliable and also corroborated by many ahadith [I’laal al Sunnan (3/33)]
Note: This article is composed on the basis of "Sound Principle" that even if some hadith is weak in it's chain then it can become "Hasan (fair) or Sahih (correct)" due to many corroborating evidences, hence If some people dispute over a certain hadith then they would be wrong principally as the same matter is proven from many different Turaq which strengthen eachother, hence whole article with all ahadith with different turaq (ways) have to be understood. This is amongst the great principles in science of Hadith classification.
Proof # 2
عن يزيدَ بن أبي حبيب أنَّ رسولَ الله مَرَّ عَلَى امرأتينِ تصليانِ، فقال : «إذَا سَجَدْتُمَا فَضُمَّا بعضَ اللحمِ إلى الأرضِ، فإنَّ المرأةَ لَيْسَتْ في ذلِكَ كالرجلِ
Translation: Narrated by Yazid bin Abi Habib (ra) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed by two women while they were performing prayer. He said: When you make prostration “KEEP YOUR BODY ATTACHED TO THE GROUND BECAUSE WOMEN ARE NOT LIKE MEN IN THIS CASE” [Sunnan al Bayhaqi al-Kubra (3/74)]
In I’laal al Sunnan (3/26) it is said that narrators of this hadith are relied upon and not rejected
Proven from Many Sahaba and Tabiyeen
Proof # 3
عن عليّ قال: إذا سجدت المرأة فلتحتفر ولتضم فخذيها.
Translation: Ameer ul Momineen Sayyidna Ali (RA) said: When a woman goes in prostration then she should “Lean on one side while sitting on her buttocks” and keep her thighs close to eachother [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba, (1/302, Hadith # 2773)]
Note: فخذيها means to lean on side while sitting on the buttocks.
Plus this Athar is narrated with many routes. In Musannaf Abdur Razzaq it comes via route of Isra’il whereas in Ibn Abi Shaybah it came from Abul Ahwaas
Proof # 4
عن خالد بن اللجلاج قال: كن النساء يؤمرن أن يتربعن إذا جلسن في الصلاة ولا يجلسن جلوس الرجال على أوراكهن
Translation: Khalid ibn Lajlaaj (RA) narrates: Women have been ordered to do “TARABBU” while sitting during prayer and they “SHOULD NOT SIT LIKE MEN” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayban (1/303)]
Note: Tarabbu means to sit cross legged, remember doing Tarrabu was abrogated later, please see Proof # 7 for more details.
Proof # 5
حدّثنا أبو بكر قال نا أبو خالد عن محمد بن عجلان عن نافع أن صفية كانت تصلي وهي متربعة.
Translation: Nafi’ narrates that Sayyidah Safiyah (RA) used to pray in state of “TARABBU” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayban (1/303)]
Proof # 6
حدّثنا أبو بكر قال نا وكيع عن العمري عن نافع قال: كن نساء ابن عمر يتربعن في الصلاة.
Translation: Nafi’ narrates that the women of Ibn Umar (ra) i.e. his family used to do “TARABBU” during prayer [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayban (1/303)]
Proven from Leading Tabiyeen
Proof # 7
(عن نافع، عن ابن عمر أنه سئل كيف كن النساء يصلين على عهد رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وسلم أي في زمانه صلى اللّه عليه وسلم (قال: كن يتربعن) أي في حال قعودهن (ثم أمرن أن يحتفزن
Translation: Ibn Umar (ra) was questioned about how women used to sit during the times of Prophet (Peace be upon him)? He said: In the beginning they used to perform “Tarabbu” but later they were commanded to do “IHTIFAAZ” [Musnad Imam Abu Hanifa (1/120)]
Note: Tarabbu became abrogated and Ihtifaaz (i.e. sitting on one side upon buttocks) became the latter practice, even this abrogation itself proves difference of prayer between men and women.
Proof # 8
عن إبراهيم قال: إذا سجدت المرأة فلتلزق بطنها بفخذيها ولا ترفع عجيزتها ولا تجافي كما يجافي الرجل
Translation: Ibrahim (rah) said: When a woman goes in Sajdah she should join the thighs to her stomach and also not raise her posterior and also “NOT STRETCH HER LIMBS OUT LIKE A MALE” [Mussanaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (1/303)]
Proof # 9
عن مجاهد أنه كان يكره أن يضع الرجل بطنه على فخذيه إذا سجد كما تضع المرأة.
Translation: Imam Mujahid (rah) considered it “MAKRUH” for a man to attach his stomach to the thighs “LIKE A WOMAN DOES” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (1/303)]
Proof # 10
حدّثنا أبو بكر قال نا ابن مبارك عن هشام عن الحسن قال: المرأة تضم في السجود
Translation: Hasan al Basri (rah) said: A woman should draw herself close together in sajdah [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayban (1/270)]
Proof # 11
وعن وائلِ بنِ حجرٍ قالَ: قالَ لي رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم : «يا وائلُ بنَ حجرٍ إِذَا صَلَّيْتَ فَاجْعَلْ يَدَيْكَ حِذَاءَ أُذُنَيْكَ، والمَرْأَةُ تَجْعَلُ يَدَيْهَا حِذَاءَ ثَدْيَيْهَا».
Translation: It is narrated by Wa’il bin Hujr (ra) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to him:..O Wai’l bin Hujr when you (men) start the prayer then raise your hands till your ears”WHEREAS A WOMAN SHOULD RAISE THEM TILL HER SHOULDERS (ONLY)” [Tabrani in his Mu'jam al Kabeer (22/19), I’laa as-Sunnan (2/156)]
So It is established from Prophet (Peace be upon him), leading Sahaba like Ibn Umar (ra), Ibn Abbas (ra), Hadrat Ali (ra) also leading Tabiyeen like Mujahid (rah), Ibrahim al Nakha’i (rah), Hasan al Basri (rah) that a women should not pray like men do and their prayer is that which is more concealing.
There are many proofs from Fuqaha in this regard including that of Hanafi school which are not mentioned in this article due to brevity issues.
Refuting the misuse of hadith by Albani
A scholar in recent past with the name of Nasir ud-din Albani, who was known for his spurious and off tangent fatwas, he tried to claim that Prayer of woman is exactly similar to that of men, he misused the hadith of Bukhari which states: “PRAY AS YOU HAVE SEEN ME PRAYING” [Sahih Bukhari (1/606)]
This is in actual a gross misinterpretation of the hadith because here the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was referring to men, If we do not accept this condition then Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying that "Pray as you have SEEN me praying" would become illogical because Prophet (Peace be upon him) was “SEEN” praying with turban, so should the women also start wearing turbans? The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was also “SEEN” praying with his ankles exposed, so should women also start exposing their ankels? The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was “SEEN” leading men in prayer, so should women also lead men in prayer? etc… This proves that Albani was ill-mastered in the science of hadith and he gave illogical verdicts by looking at ahadith just apparently.
Here are more proofs which refute the claim that women should also pray just like men
Proof # 1
عن أبي موسى ، عن النبيّ قال : «الْجُمُعَةُ حَقٌ واجِبٌ على كلِّ مُسْلِمٍ في جَماعَةٍ، إِلا أَرْبَعَةٌ عَبْدٌ مَمْلُوكٌ أَوِ امْرأَةٌ أَوْ صَبِيٌّ أَوْ مَريضٌ».
... هذا حديث صحيح على شرط الشيخين،
Translation: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Jummah in congregation is Wajib upon every Muslim “EXCEPT”for four (1) A Slave (2) “A WOMAN” (3) a child (4) and one who is sick (Imam Hakim narrated it in his al-Mustadrak ala Sahihayn where Imam Hakim declared it “SAHIH ON CRITERIA OF BUKHARI AND MUSLIM” and Imam Dhahabi“AGREED” with him (1/423 Hadith#1062)]
Had the hadith of Bukhari been mutlaq then according to Salafis the Prophet (Peace be upon him) has Naudhobillah contradicted himself by not making Jummah in mosque to be Wajib upon women.
Proof # 2
Also remember that men should say “Subhan Allah” loudly in order to correct the Imam whereas women should clap their hands.
عن أبي هريرةَ رضيَ اللهُ عنهُ عنِ النبيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلّم قال «التسبيحُ للرجالِ والتَّصفيقُ للنساءِ»
Translation: It is narrated by Abu Hurraira (ra) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Tasbeeh is for men whereas clapping is for women [Jami us-Sahih al-Bukhari, (1/402)]
So the LA Madhabiyyah people whose thinking works in reverse order, they should from tomorrow start clapping hands just like women.
Proof # 3
ما صلَّتِ امرأَةٌ مِنْ صَلاةٍ أَحَبَّ إِلى الله مِنْ أَشدَّ مكانٍ في بَيْتِها ظُلْمةً.
رواه الطبراني في الكبير ورجاله موثقون.
Translation: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: The beloved prayer of woman in sight of Allah, is the one which she performs in the darkest place in her house [Al-Haythami in Majmz az-Zawaid (2/156)]
Imam al-Haythami (rah) says after narrating it: It is narrated by At-Tabarani (rah) in his Al-Kabeer and the Rijaal of it are (all)“THIQA” [ibid]
Proof # 4
عن نافع عن ابن عُمَرَ أنَّهُ قَالَ: لَيْسَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ أَذَانٌ وَلاَ إِقَامَةٌ
Translation: Nafi narrates from Ibn Umar (ra) who narrates that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Both Azan and Iqamah (for prayer) are not binding upon women[Sunnan al-Bayhaqi al-Kubra (2/169)
Regarding the Athar of Tabi'i Umm ad-Darda (rah)
So all these proofs are also corroborating evidences that prayer of woman is different in many issues from that of men, however Nasir ud-din Albani also misused this Athar as proof
It is narrated in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: Umm e Darda (rah) used to sit like males in prayer [Musannnaf (1/270)]
Albani showed as if Umm ad-Darda (rah) was amongst the Sahabiyah, which is nothing short of deception
However it is incorrect to use this report for the following 3 reasons:
(a) First of all it “contradicts” another report from Umm ad-Darda (rah) in which Ibrahim Abi Ablah (rah) narrates that he saw: Umm ad-Darda (rah) praying cross legged (ورأيتُ أُمَّ الدَّرْداء تُصلِّـي مُتَربِّعة.) [Imam al-Mizzi in Tahdhib ul Kamaal, (22/468)]
(b) Secondly Imam al Mizzi (rah) has said that this Umm ad-Darda was amongst “Tabi’in [Refer to Tahdhib ul Kamaal (22/64)]. Plus Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani (rah) has proven that the narrator of this hadith i.e. Makhul only narrated from Umm al-Darda –As-Sughra (which refers to Tabi’i not Sahabi) Hence practice of a lone Tab’i is not hujjat and Albani had spread deception in this regard.
(c) Third: Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani (rah) has also said in his Fath ul Bari: The practice of a Tabi’i alone is “NOT HUJJAT” even if it “DOES NOT GO AGAINST ANY PRINCIPLE” [Fath ul Bari, Sharh Sahih ul Bukhari (2/243)
Imam Badr ud-din Ayni (rah) the great commentator of Bukhari said:
هذه هي الصغرى التابعية، لا أم الدرداء الكبرى الصحابية، لأن مكحولاً أدرك الصغرى دون الكبرى
Translation: This is Umm ad-Darda “AS-SUGHRA” not the Umm ad-Darda “AL KUBRA” who was a Sahabiyah, and Makhul only met As-Sughra (Tabi’i) not the Al-Kubra (i.e. Sahabiyyah)[Umdat ul Qari, Sharh Sahih ul Bukhari (6/101)]
Conclusion with verdict from Imam al-Bayhaqi (rah)
So even If practice of some lone Tabi’i does not go against any principle still it is not hujjat, but the reality is that, this practice goes against known principle amongst Muslim world i.e. Women have to pray in a manner which is “MORE CONCEALING” for her which is proven from many ahadith.
Above all, regarding the hadith of “PRAY AS YOU HAVE SEEN ME PRAYING” none of the major commentators of Bukhari such as Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani (rah), Imam Badr ud-din Ayni (rah), Imam Ibn Bataal (rah) etc… have given the pseudo interpretation like Albani did in order to misuse the hadith for his personal agenda.
If some people are still stubborn and do not accept contradiction in reports of Umm ad-Darda, then even the former report “ITSELF” proves that practice of other Muslim women was clearly different from Umm ad-Darda because had they all sat like men then this report would not have specified her.
Hence we would like to conclude this article with this beautiful verdict of Imam al-Bayhaqi (rah)
ما يفارق المرأة فيه الرجل من أحكأم الصلاة راجع إلى الستر
Translation: The “distinction” in ruling regarding prayer of men and women is that the woman prays in a way which is more “CONCEALING" for her [Al-Bayhaqi in As-Sunnan al Kubra (2/222)]