Girls Madrasahs & Mastooraat Jamaat

Q: What is the status of women going out in masatooraat jamaat and girls attending girls’ madrasahs?

A: Before addressing the issue in question, it is vital that we understand certain important aspects relating to the topic in order for the issue to be understood in the correct perspective.

Apart from the general laws of Shariah which relate to both men and women, there are certain laws and injunctions that are exclusive to men, as well as certain laws and injunctions that are exclusive to women. In prescribing these laws and injunctions, Shariah has taken into consideration the temperament and nature of both males and females respectively.

As far as men are concerned, they are charged with the responsibility of earning and supporting their families, fulfilling their needs and providing them with security and protection. Hence, they are required to venture out of their homes and earn a livelihood.
Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’aan:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ﴿النساء 34﴾

‘’Men are maintainers and protectors of women by virtue of the excellence and superiority that Allah has given one over the other, and because they support them from their wealth.”

As far as women are concerned, they are tasked with the responsibility of serving their husbands, raising their children and attending to the affairs of the home.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا صلت المرأة خمسها وحصنت فرجها وأطاعت بعلها دخلت من أي أبواب الجنة شاءت رواه ابن حبان في صحيحه (الترغيب و الترهيب رقم 2970)

It is reported from Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When a woman performs her five daily salaah, protects her chastity and is obedient to her husband, she will be allowed to enter from any door of Jannah she wishes.”

وعن أبي أمامة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه يقول : ” ما استفاد المؤمن بعد تقوى الله خيرا له من زوجة صالحة إن أمرها أطاعته وإن نظر إليها سرته وإن أقسم عليها أبرته وإن غاب عنها نصحته في نفسها وماله”. رواه ابن ماجه (سنن ابن ماجة رقم 1857)

It is reported from Hazrat Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “After acquiring taqwa (the fear of Allah Ta’ala), there is no bounty that one could acquire greater than a pious wife. If her husband commands her, she obeys him. Whenever he looks at her, she pleases him. If he takes an oath regarding any matter, she helps him fulfil it. If he is absent, she fulfils the rights that she owes to him in protecting her chastity and looking after his wealth and belongings.”

It is recorded in the Mubaarak Hadith that Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) instructed Hazrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha) (at the time of her nikaah with Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu)) to fulfil the responsibilities within the home, while instructing Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to fulfil the responsibilities out of the home.[1] (Raddul Muhtaar 6/62)

As far as men are concerned, the Hadith instructs them to perform their salaah in the musjid and prohibits them from performing salaah at home without a valid reason.

عن عبد الله قال من سره أن يلقى الله غدا مسلما فليحافظ على هؤلاء الصلوات حيث ينادى بهن فإن الله شرع لنبيكم صلى الله عليه وسلم سنن الهدى وإنهن من سنن الهدى ولو أنكم صليتم في بيوتكم كما يصلي هذا المتخلف في بيته لتركتم سنة نبيكم ولو تركتم سنة نبيكم لضللتم وما من رجل يتطهر فيحسن الطهور ثم يعمد إلى مسجد من هذه المساجد إلا كتب الله له بكل خطوة يخطوها حسنة ويرفعه بها درجة ويحط عنه بها سيئة ولقد رأيتنا وما يتخلف عنها إلا منافق معلوم النفاق ولقد كان الرجل يؤتى به يهادى بين الرجلين حتى يقام في الصف (صحيح مسلم رقم 654)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood (radhiyallahu anhu) is reported to have said, “Whoever wishes to meet Allah Ta’ala tomorrow (i.e. on the Day of Qiyaamah) as a Muslim, he should guard his five daily Salaah through performing them at a place where the azaan is called out (i.e. the musjid). Allah Ta’ala has prescribed for His Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) Sunan-e-Huda (such acts of worship which are guidance for you through and through), and verily these (i.e. performing the fardh salaah in the musjid) are from the Sunan-e-Huda (i.e. the prescribed acts of worship in Deen). If you perform the Fardh Salaah in your homes, as so-and-so is doing, you will be discarding the emphasized Sunnah of your Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), and as soon as you will abandon his Mubaarak Sunnah, you will certainly go astray. There is no man who performs wudhu, and he ensures that he performs it in an excellent manner, and thereafter sets out to a Musjid from these Masaajid, except that for every step that he takes, Allah Ta’ala records for him one good deed, raises his rank by one stage and erases one of his (minor) sins. During the Mubaarak lifetime of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), none would omit the jamaat Salaah in the Musjid except an open munaafiq (an open hypocrite), to such an extent that even a sick person would not remain absent from the congregational Salaah in the Musjid. Rather, he would be taken to the musjid while being supported on the shoulders of two men.” (Muslim #654)

On the converse, women are exhorted and encouraged to perform their salaah within the confines of their homes.

عن عبد الله عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم قال صلاة المرأة فى بيتها أفضل من صلاتها فى حجرتها وصلاتها فى مخدعها أفضل من صلاتها فى بيتها. (سنن ابي داود رقم 570)

It is reported from Hazrat Abdullah bin Ma’sood (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “The salaah of a woman in her bedroom is more rewarding than her salaah in the courtyard of her house, and the salaah that she performs in the inner-most portion of her bedroom (i.e. a small room within the bedroom) is greater and more rewarding than her salaah in her bedroom.” [2]

عن عبد الله بن سويد الأنصاري عن عمته أم حميد امرأة أبي حميد الساعدي أنها جاءت الى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فقالت يا رسول الله إني أحب الصلاة معك قال : قد علمت أنك تحبين الصلاة معي وصلاتك في بيتك خير من صلاتك في حجرتك وصلاتك في حجرتك خير من صلاتك في دارك وصلاتك في دارك خير من صلاتك في مسجد قومك وصلاتك في مسجد قومك خير من صلاتك في مسجدي ) قال : فأمرت فبني لها مسجد في أقصى شيء من بيتها وأظلمه وكانت تصلي فيه حتى لقيت الله جل وعلا (صحيح ابن حبان رقم 2217)

Hazrat Ummu Humaid (Radhiallahu Anha), the wife of Hazrat Abu Humaid As-Saa’idi (Radhiallahu Anhu), once came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and said, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), I long to perform salaah behind you.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied, “I am aware that you long to perform salaah behind me. However, your salaah in your bedroom is more rewarding than your salaah in any other part of your home. Your salaah in any other part of your home is more rewarding than your salaah in your courtyard. Your salaah in your courtyard is more rewarding than your salaah in the musjid of your locality. Your salaah in the musjid of your locality is more rewarding than your salaah in my musjid (i.e. Musjid Nabawi). Hazrat Ummu Humaid (Radhiallahu Anha) (in compliance with the mubaarak desire of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)) instructed that a small place be reserved for her salaah in the innermost and darkest portion of her bedroom, and she would devotedly perform all her salaah there until the end of her life.

From the above, we understand that the laws of Shariah are in conformance to the nature and function of the respective genders.

After understanding that males and females are different and distinct in their roles and responsibilities, we will easily be able to comprehend that each one is required to fulfil that which is expected from him/her. If one imitates and emulates the other, then apart from it opposing the divine command of Allah Ta’ala, it goes contrary to the divine system that Allah Ta’ala designed for both (male and female) and hence disrupts the administration of worldly affairs, thereby creating havoc and chaos on the earth. This is clearly understood from the following Hadith:

عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المتشبهين من الرجال بالنساء والمتشبهات من النساء بالرجال رواه البخاري وأبو داود والترمذي والنسائي وابن ماجه والطبراني وعنده أن امرأة مرت على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم متقلدة قوسا فقال لعن الله المتشبهات من النساء بالرجال والمتشبهين من الرجال بالنساء (الترغيب والترهيب رقم 3139)

It is reported from Hazrat ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhuma) that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had cursed those men that emulate women and those women that emulate men (in their dressing and ways). It is reported that on one occasion, a woman passed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) carrying a bow around her neck (in the spirit to emulate the soldiers of Deen). Observing this scene, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “May Allah’s curse fall on those men that emulate women and those women that emulate men (in their dressing and ways).”

 

The command of Shariah exclusive to women

The command of Shariah exclusive to women is that they should remain within the confines of the home and should not leave the home except at the time of need. There are many injunctions recorded in the Qur’aan Majeed and Mubaarak Ahaadith of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) which explicitly instruct women to remain within their homes. A few are listed below:

Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’aan:

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ﴿الأحزاب: ٣٣﴾

“Remain in your homes and do not exit from your homes displaying your beauty as would be displayed (by the women) in the former times of ignorance.”

وعن أبي عمرو الشيباني أنه رأى عبد الله يخرج النساء من المسجد يوم الجمعة ويقول اخرجن إلى بيوتكن خير لكن رواه الطبراني في الكبير بإسناد لا بأس به (الترغيب والترهيب رقم 520)

It is reported from Hazrat Abu Amr As-Shaybaani (rahimahullah) that he had seen Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) remove the women from the musjid on the day of Jumu’ah while instructing them in the following manner, “O women! Return to your homes, for indeed remaining within your homes is better for you.”

عن أبي هريرة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لنسائه عام حجة الوداع هذه ثم ظهور الحصر قال فكن كلهن يحججن إلا زينب بنت جحش وسودة بنت زمعة وكانتا تقولان والله لا تحركنا دابة بعد أن سمعنا ذلك من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم (مسند احمد رقم 26751)

It is reported from Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), while addressing his Mubarak wives on the occasion of Hajjatul Wadaa, said, “After this (the rites of Hajj), remain in your homes (i.e. do not leave your homes without a valid need).” Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) mentions that it was on account of this statement of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) that Hazrat Zainab binte Jahsh and Hazrat Saudah (radhiyallahu anhuma) never left their homes for even nafl Hajj (though the other Azwaaj-e-Mutahharaat performed nafl Hajj). Hazrat Zainab and Hazrat Saudah (radhiyallahu anhuma) would say, “By Allah! We never mounted a conveyance after hearing this from Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).”

عن عبد الله ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إن المرأة عورة فإذا خرجت استشرفها الشيطان وأقرب ما تكون من وجه ربها وهي في قعر بيتها (مسند البزار رقم 1820)

It is reported from Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said that a woman should be concealed (from the eyes of strange men). When she exits from her home, Shaitaan stares at her. The time that she is closest to her Lord is when she is concealed within the recesses of her home.

عَن أَنَسٍ ، قال : جئن النساء إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلن : يارسول الله ذهب الرجال بالفضل والجهاد في سبيل الله فما لنا عمل ندرك به عمل المجاهدين في سبيل الله فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : من قعد -أو كلمة نحوها- منكن في بيتها فإنها تدرك عمل المجاهد في سبيل الله. وهذا الحديث لا نعلم رواه عن ثابتٍ إلاَّ روح بن المسيب وهو رجل من أهل البصرة مشهور. (مسند البزار رقم 6962)

It is reported from Hazrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) that a group of women came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) with the following complaint, “O Messenger of Allah, the men have excelled the women through the abundant virtues that they acquire (in your company) and through striving in the path of Allah in jihad. Could you show us a means whereby we could receive the same rewards of those fighting in the path of Allah?” Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) responded saying, “Those among you who remain within the confines of the home (worshipping Allah Ta’ala) will acquire the reward of those striving in the path of Allah Ta’ala.”

Nevertheless, permission has been granted for women to leave their homes at the time of need, [3] as was mentioned by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to Hazrat Saudah (radhiyallahu anha):

قد أذن لكن أن تخرجن لحاجتكن (صحيح مسلم رقم 2120)

“Permission has been granted for you to leave your homes at the time of need.”

Hence, we find in the books of Hadith that the Sahaabiyyaat (radhiyallahu anhun) were permitted to perform nafl hajj and ‘umrah, visit their parents, offer condolences at the time of death, participate in giving ghusl to the mayyit, offer assistance to the wounded mujaahideen in jihad, etc. Since all these actions fall within the scope of need, permission was granted for these actions, provided there was no fear of fitnah.

 

Two types of needs

In the noble era of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), women were allowed to exit from their homes for mainly two types of needs:

  1. Those needs that were subject to a certain time and place e.g. attending the congregational prayers in the musjid.
  2. Those needs that were not subject to any time and place e.g. meeting one’s parents, offering condolences to the bereaved, taking part in the ghusl of the mayyit, performing ‘umrah, etc.

As far as exiting the home to fulfill the first type of need is concerned (i.e. women attending the salaah), though it was allowed in the Mubarak era of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) due to the absence of fitnah, later on, in the era of Hazrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), women were prevented and discouraged on account of the increase in fitnah that was witnessed through women attending the salaah. The following Hadith of Hazrat ‘Aaisha (radhiyallahu anha) sufficiently explains the necessity of revoking the previous permission.

عن عمرة بنت عبد الرحمن أنها أخبرته أن عائشة زوج النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم قالت لو أدرك رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أحدث النساء لمنعهن المسجد كما منع نساء بنى إسرائيل. قال يحيى فقلت لعمرة أَمُنِعَ نساء بنى إسرائيل قالت نعم.) سنن ابي داود رقم 569)

It is reported by Hazrat ‘Amrah that Hazrat ‘Aaisha (radhiyallahu anha) said, “Had Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) been alive today and witnessed the fitnah being caused through the women exiting from their homes and attending the congregational prayer, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would have surely prohibited them just as the women of the Bani Israa’eel had been prohibited from attending the congregational prayer.”

When this was the condition in the era of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum), that due to fitnah, women were prohibited from attending the salaah in the musjid, then one can well imagine the need for not allowing women to participate in the congregational prayer in this time and age where the fitnah is rampant and widespread everywhere and has reached such proportions that controlling it is impossible.

As far as exiting the home to fulfil the second type of need is concerned, then just as it was permissible in that era, it is permitted in this time and age as well, provided there is no fear of fitnah. However, the Hadith has placed certain restrictions and conditions on women when exiting their homes to fulfil this need:

  1. They should exit from their homes in an unattractive state.
  2. They should not apply perfume.
  3. They should be fully covered with donning the veil
  4. They should not intermingle with males
  5. They should be transported to and from the destination by their husbands or mahrams.

 

Educating women

As far as educating women is concerned, the ideal approach (free from any fitnah) is for their Deeni education to be arranged and attended to within their homes so that they will not have to leave their homes for acquiring Deeni education. This was the method of education adopted for the women in the Mubaarak era of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum).

However, due to the sad and unfortunate plight of the ummah that is witnessed across the globe, where a decline and degeneration of Deeni morals and values is seen in women, to the extent that they openly frequent shopping centres and bazaars, halls and malls, occupy positions in shops and offices, drive about freely, go for morning walks and jogs in groups, take part in national and international sports and even the Olympics, attend schools and universities, get involved with or marry non Muslims, become influenced by anti Islamic beliefs and ideologies e.g. Darwin’s theory etc. and also intermingle and interact with the opposite sex without any sense of shame and modesty. Due to this sad and unfortunate plight, the need was perceived to use some other Halaal alternative which may perhaps not be the ideal but a means to acquire the ideal – a means through which a woman can once again come onto the path of the Sunnah and find her true place in her home and observe complete purdah. Hence the ‘Ulama have thought of ways (such as girls Madrasahs and Mastooraat Jamaat) to reform and rectify the epidemic of unimaginable maladies and uncontrollable ailments which has spread in the ummah.

 

The Tabligh Jamaat

The Tabligh Jamaats aim and goal is to revive the whole of Deen in the lives of the Muslims and to create within women a concern for their Deen which will compel them to understand and fulfil their Deeni responsibilities and duties. Since achieving the goal in one step is extremely difficult, as it is witnessed that most people are not prepared to make an immediate drastic change to their lifestyles, the Tabligh Jamaat have formulated a solution to gradually draw women who have been confused or lost closer to Deen and to bring them towards the real goal i.e. finding their true place in their homes and observing complete purdah.

Furthermore, the Tabligh Jamaat has detected an Imaani crisis in the Ummah. They have observed that the Imaani levels of the people have reached such a low ebb that if they are not taken through a remedial and reformative process, the coming generation will be totally lost. Hence, as the famous maxim goes, “When confronted with a crisis, one will adopt the lesser of the two evils (أهْوَنُ الْبَلِيَّتَيْن)”. Thus, through women leaving their homes to learn the basic teachings (Faraaidh) and the fundamentals of Deen, they will be able to save themselves and their families from greater destruction.

Furthermore, the ‘Ulama (of the Tabligh Jamaat) have analysed that when Shariah has granted women permission to leave their homes for a physical need, such as acquiring medical treatment or hospitalisation, then why would they not be allowed to leave their homes to attend to their Imaani need (through attending girls Madrasahs or joining the Mastooraat Jamaat). This Imaani need is extremely vital as it is a means of securing their Deen and the Deen of their families, and once again acquiring the values of Islam (modesty, Hayaa, etc.). Generally, it has been noticed that through the medium of coming out in this form, a Deeni realization and awareness is created within the women. Thousands of women’s lives have improved and those who were far from Deen have begun to observe the essentials of Deen and adopt purdah as well.

Currently, the Imaani spirit and Deeni enthusiasm in the ummah is extremely low on account of the western culture prevalent everywhere. Hence, they find it difficult to grasp basic Deeni concepts and Islamic values. Therefore, they have to be introduced to these values slowly and gradually. If we do not adopt the present method of inviting and introducing them to Deen, the chances are that let alone not being able to reach out to them; we will lose them completely through them leaving the fold of Islam.

 

Gradually Bringing People to the Ultimate Goal

Another analogy found in the Tabligh Jama’at of gradually bringing people to the ultimate goal, is that of creating the motivation and enthusiasm within people to perform their five daily salaah. At the onset, they begin inviting a person (who has no salaah in his life) towards performing the Jumu’ah salaah for a start. Thereafter, they gradually ask him to join them for one or two salaah daily. If one has to view this from a negative angle, he will raise objections against the Jamaat saying that they have reduced the number of salaah to only one or two salaah a day. However, the one who has a more comprehensive understanding will regard this action of the Tabligh Jamaat as a gradual but positive step towards the ultimate goal.

One common example of the method adopted by our senior ‘Ulama of the past as well as present (of gradually bringing people onto the path of Deen in a way that is manageable to them) is that if they had come across a person involved in some Haraam occupation (e.g. working for an insurance company or conventional bank, etc. and he does not have any other source of income), they would not instruct him to immediately abandon the occupation he is involved in. Instead, they would ask him to continuously make tawbah for the sin that he is involved in and to look for some other (Halaal) occupation. The obvious reason is that if they are going to instruct him to immediately abandon his current source of income, the chances are that he might not find any other source of income, and due to his Imaan being extremely weak, this could lead him to bidding farewell to Islam. Thus, viewing the extremely low level of this person’s Imaan, the ulama realized that he would not manage the original method of correction and rectification. Hence, if we command him to adopt the original method of correction and rectification, then instead of proving beneficial, we cause him to go from the frying pan to the fire. We thus understand that the ‘Ulama advising him to continue with his Haraam occupation cannot be construed as them sanctioning and endorsing it as Halaal or Shariah compliant. Instead, it is solely on account of the person’s personal condition and based on what is manageable to him. Similar is the case of a person involved in drugs. On account of his addiction and dependency on the drug, it is difficult and not manageable for him to kick the habit all at once. Hence, those treating him use the approach of gradually weaning him off the drug.

The crux of the matter

The crux of the matter is that the girls’ Madrasahs and the Tabligh Jamaat are gradually introducing Deen to the women in phases and in a way that is manageable to them, and are thus leading them to the ultimate goal i.e. creating the enthusiasm through which a woman can once again come onto the path of the Sunnah and find her true place in her home and observe complete purdah. This was certainly what Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) desired for the women of his ummah, as is clearly gauged from the abovementioned Ahaadith wherein women are exhorted to remain within the confines of their homes. Therefore, it is incumbent that those in charge of girls’ Madrasahs, as well as those overseeing the Jamaat periodically explain to the womenfolk that the girls’ Madrasahs or the Mastooraat Jamaat itself is not the real goal. Instead it is merely a means to acquire the ideal. Similarly, they should strive towards creating the spirit of the Sunnah within the womenfolk, whereby they will understand the importance of observing purdah as well as remaining within the confines of their homes and not leaving their homes except at the time of need.

Two Fatwas of Hazrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi Saheb (rahimahullah) regarding the Deeni education of women: 

1. “There is a great need for Tabligh to take place amongst the women (i.e. educating them in Deeni matters). In doing so, it is best that women be educated at home. Alternatively, a weekly gathering could be arranged in the locality so that the women of the locality could gather in Hijaab to learn Deen. If the need arises for women to travel to learn Deen, then they are permitted to do so in the company of their husbands or Mahrams so that they do not suffer loss in regard to their Deen together with them being saved from any type of fitnah. In this way, the purpose for travelling (i.e. women’s self reformation and correction) will also be achieved.” (Fataawa Mahmoodiyyah Farooqiyyah 4/265)

2. “It is the responsibility of every person to learn Deen and teach it to others according to his capability. If the menfolk of the home i.e. the father, grandfather, uncles, and brothers educate the womenfolk, then this need will be fulfilled. However, if the men do not teach their womenfolk nor are they (the womenfolk) knowledgeable in regard to the laws and injunctions of Deen, then it will be necessary for them to learn the Masaail regarding Aqeedah (beliefs) and other relevant Masaail from the women of the locality who will acquire it from their menfolk and explain it to these women. However, in acquiring Deeni education in this manner, strict purdah will have to be observed.

Women used to come to Hazrat Aaishah (radhiyallahu anha) to learn Deen. Similarly, it is reported that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would arrange a gathering (in Madinah Munawwarah) wherein he would address the womenfolk and teach them the relevant Masaail of Deen.

If they accompany their Mahrams or husbands during safar and they come into contact with other women with whom they discuss matters of Deen, then it will be permissible provided it is done in such a way that no Ghair Mahram hears their voice, there is no fear of any fitnah and strict purdah is observed. It will be impermissible for them to travel without a Mahram or husband. Similarly, if they travel without observing purdah, or if their voices reach Ghair Mahrams, or if there exists the fear of any other fitnah, travelling will be impermissible. Generally, some type of fitnah takes place when there is a gathering of women. Hence, if there is fear of any fitnah, it will be necessary to avoid attending such gatherings.” (Fataawa Mahmoodiyyah Farooqiyyah 4/268)

 

Fatwa of Hazrat Mufti Abdur Raheem Laajpoori Saheb (rahimahullah) regarding the Deeni education of women:

Women leaving their homes to attend Deeni gatherings is an extremely sensitive issue. Therefore, the ideal would be that their Deeni education be arranged within their homes. However, if educating them at home is not possible, then under the circumstances it will be permissible for them to leave their homes to acquire Deeni education. In doing so, special caution should be exercised to ensure that strict purdah be observed (at every step of the process) and that they be transported to and from the destination by their Mahrams. They should remain in the company of pious people through whom their respect will not be lost and they will be protected from fitnah. Thus, with the intention of acquiring Deeni benefit and saving themselves from falling into sin and getting involved in innovations and various wrongs, concession has been granted for them to leave their homes on the condition that they do not regard (this coming out to acquire Deen) as a Shar’ee injunction and a Sunnah of Deen (i.e. it is purely based on need). If at any time there is fear of fitnah (may Allah protect) in the place where the Deeni education is being acquired, then it will be necessary to refrain from such places. (Fataawa Raheemiyyah 2/244)

 

Fatwa of Hazrat Mufti Shafee’ Saheb (rahimahullah) and Hakeemul Ummah, Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (rahimahullah) regarding the Deeni education of women:

Hazrat Mufti Shafee’ Saheb (rahimahullah) writes in Ma’aariful Quraan under the verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا

O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from the fire of Jahannam.

In this verse the address is directed towards the Muslim Ummah in general. They are commanded to save themselves and their families from the burning fire of Jahannam. … The word أَهْلِيكُمْ encompasses the wife, children and those in one’s ownership from his male and female slaves. Similarly, it is not farfetched to include those staff who are in one’s employment under the purview of this verse. It is reported in one narration that at the time of the revelation of this verse, Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) enquired, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu alahi wasallam), we know how to save ourselves from the fire of Jahannam (i.e. by refraining from sins and fulfilling the orders of Allah Ta’ala), but how do we safeguard our families from the fire of Jahannam?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied, “Forbid them from carrying out such deeds which are displeasing to Allah Ta’ala and enjoin upon them to carry out the commandments of Allah Ta’ala. This will save them from the fire of Jahannam”. (Roohul Ma’aani)

From this verse of the Holy Quraan, the Fuqhaa (jurists) deduce that it is Fardh upon every individual to educate his family (wife and children) regarding the Faraaidh of Deen. Similarly, he should equip them with the knowledge of Halaal and Haraam and ensure that they practice Deen correctly. … Some Ulama have stated that on the Day of Qiyaamah, the one who neglected his Deeni responsibility and did not educate his family in matters of Deen will be punished most severely. (Roohul Ma’aani, Ma’aariful Quraan pg. 502 – 503, vol. 8)

This Mubaarak verse of the Holy Quraan clearly establishes that it is necessary upon every person to provide his family with the correct upbringing and Islamic education. The word ‘family’ in this verse is general. It includes both sons and daughters. Thus, as it is necessary for one to provide Deeni education and Islamic tarbiyah (upbringing) to his sons, it is equally important that he provides Deeni education and Islamic tarbiyah (upbringing) to his daughters as well.

Hakeemul Ummah, Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (rahimahullah), has written an extremely beneficial article (in his kitaab, ‘Islaahi Inqilaab’) on the topic of ‘Correcting the Wrongs in regard to Educating Women’. It is important that one studies this article. (Refer to Islaahi Inqilaab pg 190 – 201) Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) mentions:

“In essence, it is logically accepted and practically proven that without Deeni knowledge, it is not possible for one to reform his actions. Reforming one’s actions is Waajib and Fardh in Deen. Hence, we understand that acquiring Deeni knowledge (whereby one will be able to rectify his Aamaal and fulfil the Faraaidh) is also Fardh in Shariah.

Therefore, the claim made by some people that ‘Since women are not tasked with the responsibility of working, what is the need for educating them?’ is incorrect. … Similarly, it has been proven through experience that the mere presence of Ulama among the masses is insufficient in fulfilling the Deeni needs and requirements of women, and the reason for this is that it is compulsory that purdah be observed between men and women. Hence, it is not possible for women to go to the Ulama to acquire Deeni education. If we say that the Mahram menfolk present at home should seek Deeni guidance from the Ulama on behalf of the women and thereafter pass it on to them, then it should be borne in mind that some homes do not have any menfolk through which this need can be fulfilled. Over and above, in some situations (though Mahram menfolk are found), when the menfolk are totally disconcerned and negligent in regard to their own Deeni obligations, then what hope do we have that they will show importance to the Deeni needs and obligations of their womenfolk and refer them to the Ulama? It is therefore extremely difficult for such women to find out the Masaail regarding their Deen. If per chance, through some medium she is able to contact an Aalim or within her home there is an Aalim e.g. father, brother, son etc. then too there are certain personal and sensitive Deeni Masaail which she might not be able to easily refer to them. Generally, a woman feels most easy and comfortable in discussing her personal Deeni issues with her husband due to there being a degree of informality between them. However, finding this type of husband (who is educated Islamically and thus able to fulfil her Deeni requirements) is not normally possible in all cases. Therefore, the only practical solution to fulfil the Deeni needs and requirements of women is for the women of the locality to gather at some venue and learn from those women who possess the knowledge of Deen (e.g. girls’ madrasahs) thereby educating themselves in regard to the necessary Deeni Masaail and related issues. Hence, if there is no other alternative (i.e. to acquiring Deeni education within the confines of the home), then it is compulsory for women to to acquire the education of Deen through this means of Ta’leem (women learning from other women of the locality)”. (Islaahi Inqilaab pg. 194, Behishti Zewar 1/86-87)

(Hazrat Mufti Abdur Raheem Laajpoori Saheb (rahimahullah) mentions): From the above quotation, i.e. the article of Hazrat Mufti Shafi’ee Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Thaanwi Saheb (rahimahumallah), we understand the importance of women acquiring Deeni Ta’leem. Therefore, it is vital that due attention and paramount importance be shown to it. Accordingly (from the above quotations), we have understood the manner in which women should go about acquiring their Deeni education.

The best method for educating women (if it is not possible to educate them at home) is that arrangements be made for their Deeni ta’leem in their locality. They should leave their homes in complete purdah to attend the lessons and ensure that they remain in pious company throughout the way. In this manner, their respect will not be lost and their purity and chastity will be protected. They should return home before the night and their guardians should strictly supervise and oversee their education and transport to and from the destination. Through this manner of acquiring Deeni education, they will be saved from all types of fitnahs. (Fataawa Raheemiyyah pg.161 vol 3)

 

Fatwa of Hazrat Mufti Abdur Rasheed Ludhyaanwi (rahimahullah) regarding girls’ madrasahs: 

For women to attend girls’ madrasahs is permissible with the intention of acquiring the knowledge of Shariah as well as the spirit of Deen. However, it is vital that the following conditions be adhered to:

  1. The teachers should all be females. It is not permissible for women to study under na-mahram male teachers.
  2. The teachers should be conversant with the laws of Shariah and acquainted with aspects of social and domestic living.
  3. They should be committed to Deen and show a great amount of concern in creating the true morals and values within the students. They should not be involved in the innovations, wrongs and immorality prevalent and they should stop others from getting involved in these shameful and sinful acts e.g. not observing purdah, taking pictures, watching television, backbiting, etc.
  4. The main function and purpose for a girl studying Deen in girls’ madrasahs is as explained above i.e. acquiring the knowledge and spirit of Shariah as well as equipping herself with the knowledge a woman will require throughout her life. In other words, the primary object is creating the concern for the Aakhirat in the heart of the students. It is necessary to do away with the current system in vogue in many girls’ madrasahs and Islamic institutes where efforts are aimed towards producing Aalimahs, thus affording them big titles and worldly positions. Certainly, this incorrect practice has to be rectified and reformed. It is necessary to correct the mindset of those who pursue such titles.
  5. They should be accompanied by their mahrams when transported to and from the girls’ madrasahs.

(Ahsanul Fataawa pg, 59 vol 8)

 

Conclusion:

It is fardh for every Muslim to learn the correct Aqaaid (correct beliefs), Ibadaat (righteous and correct actions), Muaasharat (social etiquettes), Muaamalaat (mutual dealings and transactions) and Akhlaaq (good character and mannerisms). In the event where it is quite difficult or impractical for a woman to acquire this within the confines of her home, then it is necessary for her to leave her home to acquire this knowledge in order for her to practice upon her Deen correctly. Hence, in the interest of her Deen, leaving her home to fulfil this Deeni need will be permissible and akin to leaving her home to fulfil a valid worldly need.

The elders of the Tabligh Jamaat explain that mastooraat Jamaat is in actual fact a mobile madrasah and khaanqah which has been designed and structured to facilitate for those women who do not have the means or time to study at a girls’ madrasah nor can they acquire it within their homes. The only viable alternative for this class of women to acquire Deen and the spirit of Deen is for them to associate themselves with the Tabligh Jamaat. Just as permission is granted for women to attend girls’ madrasahs (with the above-mentioned conditions) to acquire Deen, they will similarly be allowed to attend Mastooraat Jamaats (a mobile madrasah) to acquire Deen if those very conditions are adhered to. Moreover, it has been clearly witnessed that the benefits of the mastooraat Jamaat are far greater than the girls’ madrasahs in creating the Islamic spirit and values (taqwa, modesty, Hayaa, etc.). The general observation is that the caution exercised in the mastooraat Jamaat (in terms of purdah as well as the strict supervision) exceeds the caution exercised in most of the girls’ madrasahs.

As we have seen above, many of our senior Ulama and Burzugaane Deen (pious predecessors), the likes of Hazrat Mufti Mahmood Saheb (rahmatullahi alaih), Hazrat Moulana Thaanwi (rahmatullahi alaih), Hazrat Mufti Laajpuri (rahmatullahi alaih), Hazrat Mufti Shafee Saheb (rahmatullahi alah) and Hazrat Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyaanwi (rahmatullahi alaih) have permitted women to leave their homes to acquire Deen in the situations where there was no other alternative. These Ulama certainly understood the need of the time as well as the temperament of Deen. Regarding Hazrat Moulana Thaanwi (rahmatullahi alaih), it is mentioned that he would allow women who were accompanied by their Mahrams and observing purdah to come to Thanabowan for bay’at. Hazratji Moulana Maseehullah (rahmatullahi alaih) used to hold a weekly programme conducted after the Jumuah salaah which women accompanied by their husbands used to attend (for which separate ladies’ facilities would be arranged). There are witnesses present till today who will bear testimony that certain women went out in mastooraat Jamaat with the permission of Hazrat Moulana Yusuf (rahmatullahi alaih).

We do understand that many senior Ulama’ have prohibited women from coming out in Jamaat. This prohibition is however with reference to women who go for gusht, arrange programmes and ijtimas, gather at public venues or conduct in a manner that is improper for women. This is obviously incorrect. However, when it comes to arranging a programme for women in a private residence where all precautionary measures in terms of purdah are adopted and upheld to a far greater extent than the purdah that is adopted in the girls’ madrasahs, then this is a separate issue altogether. Furthermore, this controversy is just a controversy of words. The reason is that although the Tabligh Jamaat has been named the “Tabligh Jamaat”, it is rightfully an “Islaahi Jamaat”, and there is approximate consensus among our senior Ulama’ kiraam that this movement has been initiated to teach the ummah their Deeni obligations and responsibilities. We hope that this will bring an end to all doubts and misgivings and will assist in understanding the true Deeni perspective with regards to women’s mastooraat Jamaat and girls’ madrasahs.

We earnestly make dua to Allah Ta’ala that He bless the mothers and sisters of this ummah with the tawfeeq (ability) to practice the complete sunnah as it was practised by the Sahaabiyyaat (radhiyallahu anhun) in the Mubaarak era of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.


[1]فروع استأجر امرأته لتخبز له خبزا للأكل لم يجز قال الشامي: قوله ( لم يجز ) لأن هذا العمل من الواجب عليها ديانة لأن النبي قسم الأعمال بين فاطمة وعلي فجعل عمل الداخل على فاطمة وعمل الخارج على علي (رد المحتار 6/62)

[2] صلوة المرأة في بيتها أي الداخلاني لكمال سترها أفضل من صلاتها في حجرتها اي صحن الدار قال ابن الملك اراد بالحجرة ما تكون ابواب البيوت اليها وهي ادني حالا من البيت وصلاتها في مخدعها بضم الميم وتفتح وتكسر مع فتح الدال في الكل وهو البيت الصغير الذي يكون داخل البيت الكبير يحفظ فيه الامتعة النفيسة من الخدع وهو اخفاء الشيء اي في خزانتها افضل من صلاتها في بيتها لان مبني امرها علي التستر (بذل المجهود في حل ابي داود 1/ 320)

[3] عن عائشة قالت خرجت سودة بعدما ضرب عليها الحجاب لتقضي حاجتها وكانت امرأة جسيمة تفرع النساء جسما لا تخفى على من يعرفها فرآها عمر بن الخطاب فقال يا سودة والله ما تخفين علينا فانظري كيف تخرجين قالت فانكفأت راجعة ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في بيتي وإنه ليتعشى وفي يده عرق فدخلت فقالت يا رسول الله إني خرجت فقال لي عمر كذا وكذا قالت فأوحى إليه ثم رفع عنه وإن العرق في يده ما وضعه فقال إنه قد أذن لكن أن تخرجن لحاجتكن (صحيح مسلم رقم 2120)

 

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

 

Source: http://muftionline.co.za

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