The Salaat of Women

Fiqh, Women & Family / Saturday, September 13th, 2008

In the Shariat, although certain forms of Ibaadat (worship) are done both by men and women, yet the manner in which these forms of Ibaadat are fulfilled differ. This is especially apparent in Salaat. Many postures of the Salaat of women differ to that of men in order to maintain the very important principle of modesty and concealment. Many narrations substantiate this fact.

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “When a woman sits in Salaat, she should place the thighs (of one leg) upon the other and when she makes sajdah, she should attach her belly to her thigh so that it is as concealing as possible. For indeed Allah Ta’ala looks at her saying: ‘O my angels I make you witness that I have indeed forgiven her’.” (Baihaqi Vol.2 Pg.223)

Waail bin Hujr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) says that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “O Waail, when you commence the Salaat, lift your hands in line with your ears and women should (only) lift it in line with the chest (shoulders).” (Kanzul Umaal Vol.7 Pg.307)

In another narration, it is stated that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) passed by two women who were performing Salaat. He said: “When you make sajdah, attach your body to the ground. Indeed women are not like men in this matter.” (i.e. they differ in the posture of sajdah). (Maraasil of Imaam Abu Dawood (R.A))

The Imaams of all four Mazaahib (schools of thought) attest to the differences between the Salaat of men and women.

Thus, we will now discuss a few aspects pertaining exclusively to the Salaat of women.

* Before commencing the Salaat, a woman must ensure that besides her face and wrists, all other parts of her body should be concealed. Some women perform Salaat with their hair exposed, others with their ears exposed, while the forearms of others are completely open. Some wear such a thin (see-through) burqa’ (head covering) that the hair can be seen through it. All this is incorrect and not permissible

* If any limb, besides the face and wrists are exposed for the duration it takes to read thrice, the Salaat will be rendered null and void. If it is exposed less than that, the Salaat will be valid. However it will be makrooh and she will be sinful.

* It is best for women to perform Salaat in a place that is most concealing. Thus to perform Salaat in an inner room of the house will be better than performing it in the front room or lounge etc. Similarly performing the Salaat in the lounge will be preferred to performing it in the courtyard of the house.

* Whilst saying the Takbeer-a-Tahrima (Allahu Akbar), women will only lift their hands till the shoulders and not till the ears like men. They will lift the hands under the burqa (veil). They should not take their hands out of the burqa.

* Women will put their hands on the chest by placing the palm of the right hand over the back of the left wrist. The fingers should be kept close together. Women will not adopt the method of men in placing of the hands. (Tahtawi Pg.141)

* Women should stand with both feet close together. There should be no gap between the two feet. In ruku also, the same position of the feet should be maintained. (Bahishti Zewar & Mufti Taqi Uthmani)

* First make the intention, then say Allahu Akbar. Thereafter place the hands on the chest. Then read Thanaa, A’uzu, and Bismillah after which you will commence with Surah Fateha. On completing Surah Fateha, say A’meen. After that, read Bismillah again and read a Surah. After completing the Surah, say Allahu Akbar and go into ruku.

* A woman should only bend so much in ruku that she is able to place the hands on the knees. Women will not make ruku like men by straightening the back. Their bending for ruku should be less than that of men. Place both hands on the knees while keeping the fingers closed together. Do not spread the fingers apart. (Tahtawi Pg.141 & Bahishti Zewar)

* Keep the forearms close to the sides and keep the ankles together in ruku. (Ibid)

* In ruku, women will not keep the feet completely upright, but rather they will bend the knees slightly forward. (Shaami & Mufti Taqi Uthmani)

* Read three or five times in ruku. Ensure that the ‘dh’ is pronounced correctly.

* After saying , lift the head and stand with ease and read or

* Sahih Muslim

* Women will make sajdah in such a way that the belly will touch the thighs and the forearms will touch the sides. The forearms will be placed on the ground. Bahishti Zewar

* Place the head between the hands in sajdah. Place the forehead and the nose on the ground. The fingers should be kept close together, facing the Qibla. The thumb should also face the Qibla.

* In sajdah both feet will be placed on the ground facing the right. The feet should not be kept upright. However, the toes should face the Qibla. should be read three or five times.

* Thereafter say Allahu Akbar and sit with ease. Sit on the left posterior with both feet protruding to the right. Place the right thigh on the left thigh and the right shin on the left one. (Tahtawi Bahishti Zewar)

* Place both hands on the thighs with the fingers closed together. This is the method for women. In ruku, sajdah and qa’adah, the fingers will be kept close together without any gap in between, while the law for men is that in ruku they will keep the fingers apart and in sajdah they will keep it closed together. In all the other postures, the fingers will be kept in their natural position.

* In jalsah the following duaa should be read, whether performing a fardh, sunnah or nafl Salaat.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to read this duaa. (Tirmizi & Abu Dawood & Haakim)

* Thereafter the second sajdah should be made in the same manner as the first sajdah was done. Thereafter stand up whilst saying Allahu Akbar. Do not take support with the hands while standing up. Then read Bismillah and Surah Fateha. Upon ending Surah Fateha, say A’ameen. Thereafter Bismillah and a Surah will be read. (Behishti Zewar)

* Sit in the qa’adah posture after completing two raka’ats. The manner of sitting is the same as that of jalsah. Read At-Tahiyat and when reaching Ash-hadu-al laailaaha illallaahu, join the small and ring finger and and attach their tips to the palms and form a ring with the middle finger and the thumb. Lift the index finger, indicating to the oneness of Allah Ta’ala. Drop the index finger when reaching illallaahu. However the other fingers will remain as is

* If it is a Salaat of two raka’at, then maintain this posture till the end. Read the Salawaat (durood) and duaa and thereafter make salaam. If it is a Salaat of four raka’at, stand up immediately after completing the At-Tahiyaat.

* In the third and fourth raka’at also, read Bismillah before commencing Surah Fateha. If it is a Fardh Salaat, go into ruku after completing Surah Fateha. However in the Witr, Sunnat or Nafl Salaat one will read a Surah after Surah Fateha.

* After completing the final qa’adah, say the salaam while turning the head towards the right. Commence the salaam with the face in the direction of the Qibla. Complete the salaam when the face is fully turned to the right. Then bring the face back towards the Qibla and commence the second salaam from there. Turn the face towards the left as you say the second salaam. Do not commence the second salaam whilst the head is turned towards the right. Face the Qibla, then commence the second salaam. Whilst making both the salaams, make the intention of greeting the angels.

* It is Makrooh (reprehensible) for women to perform Salaat in jamaat (congregation). They should perform their Salaat individually. However if the Mahram males (i.e. those men with whom one cannot get married eg. brothers, father, grandfather etc.) are performing Salaat with jamaat in the house, a woman can join that jamaat. She will stand behind the men. She should not stand in line with the men. (Mufti Taqi Uthmaani)

Women should read their five daily Salaat, Taraweeh and Witr Salaat individually. It is Maakrooh Tahrimi for them to perform Salaat with jamaat. (Shaami Vol.1 Pg.418 & Fataawa Rahimia Vol.1 Pg.347)

by Shaykhul Hadith Mawlana Fadhlur Rahmaan Azmi

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