[Q-ID0630] Can fully veiled women participate in Dhikr gatherings where men are present?

QUESTION:

What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Can a woman go to such a Dhikr gathering where both males and females are doing Dhikr together, and the woman be in full veiling? It would be great if you could please bless us with proofs alongside the answer.

Questioner: Zubair from India

ANSWER:

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

It is not permissible to attend such a Dhikr gathering in which males and females are performing Dhikr in the same place. Yes, if the area for men is separate to that of the females, such that the voice of the females does not reach the males, thus there is no problem in going to such gathering. This is because there is a veil in the eyes of Sharī’ah between mature girls [i.e. those of the age of puberty] and non-Mahram men, and likewise, there is a veil according to Sharī’ah between mature boys and mature non-Mahram females; it is impermissible to look at a non-Mahram female. The Noble Prophet ﷺ has regarded this as one of the arrows amongst the poisoned arrows of Satan.

“نَظَرُ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِلَى مَحَاسِنِ الْمَرْأَةِ سَهْمٌ مِنْ سِهَامِ إِبْلِيسَ مَسْمُومٌ، مَنْ تَرَكَهَا مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللهِ وَرَجَاءَ مَا عِنْدَهُ أَثَابَهُ اللهُ بِذَلِكَ عِبَادَةً تَبْلُغُهُ لَذَّتُهَا”

“A believer looking towards the beauties of a woman is one of arrows from the poisoned arrows of Satan. Whosoever refrains from looking at women out of the fear of Allāh Almighty and the hope of reward, so Allāh Almighty will bestow upon him such worship whose joy he will attain.”

[Hilyah al-Awliyā’, vol 6, pg 101]

When it is impermissible for women to go to the mosque for salāh so that there is no intermingling of males and females there, so how can it be permitted to go to a mixed Dhikr gathering. Even though women would pray [the 5 daily] salāh with congregation in the mosque during the blessed era of the physical life of the Master of Madīnah ﷺ, however the respected scholars prohibited the going of women to mosques to the situation of society.

Just as my master, Imām e Ahle Sunnat, Alā-Hazrat Imām Ahmad Razā Khān, may Allāh shower mercy upon him, states that how is a Masjid not better than normal gatherings! (Meaning, if women have been prohibited from going to the Masjid, which is such a revered place, then why would normal gatherings not be prohibited). And (in relation to the Masjid during Salāh) what a great protocol has been undertaken regarding the matter of sitr, (meaning, how brilliant is the arrangement regarding veiling), that (during Salāh) the men have their backs facing that way that they can’t even face (towards them women), and they (i.e. the men also) are commanded not to stand up after performing salām, until the women have left (the Masjid). However, the scholars specified (i.e. set certain conditions) from the onset (meaning, from the beginning of Islām), (however) when the time (i.e. the era) of fitnah [trials & tribulations, etc] came, it (the going of women to the Masjid) was generally regarded as impermissible.

[Fatāwā Ridawiyyah, vol 22, pg 229]

It is stated in ‘Ināyah’ Imām Akmal al-Dīn Bābartī that the Leader of the believers, Sayyidunā Fãrūq Āzham, may Allāh Almighty be pleased with him, prohibited women going to the mosque. They complained to the Mother of the believers, Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah Siddīqah, may Allāh be pleased content with her, and she said in reply that,

“لَوْ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَأَى مَا أَحْدَثَ النِّسَاءُ لَمَنَعَهُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ كَمَا مُنِعَتْ نِسَاءُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ”

“Were the Holy Prophet ﷺ to see the matters which the women of this era have brought about, he ﷺ would definitely have prevented the women from coming to the Masjid, just like the women of Banī Isrā’īl were prevented.”

[Sahīh Muslim, pg 183, Hadīth no 445]

When women have been prevented from going to the mosque due to men, even though salāh is the most important Fard [obligation], so, seeing as Dhikr is a Mutahabb [recommended] act, how can it be permitted for women to attend Dhikr gatherings for a Mustahhab act.

Women should pray Salāh in their homes only, and the more hidden & secretive they pray, the better it is, just as it has been mentioned in Hadīth,

“عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ:‏‏‏‏”صَلَاةُ الْمَرْأَةِ فِي بَيْتِهَا أَفْضَلُ مِنْ صَلَاتِهَا فِي حُجْرَتِهَا، وَصَلَاتُهَا فِي مَخْدَعِهَا أَفْضَلُ مِنْ صَلَاتِهَا فِي بَيْتِهَا”

“It is narrated from (Sayyidunā ‘Abdullāh bin Mas’ūd, may Allāh be pleased with him, that) the Noble Prophet ﷺ that he ﷺ stated that, ‘It is better for a woman to pray Salāh in her home than for her to pray Salāh in her courtyard, and it is better for her to pray Salāh in a private room than for her to pray Salāh in her home.’”

[Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Hadīth no 570]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Haider Ali

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0630] Can fully veiled women participate in Dhikr gatherings where men are present?

Also see:

[Q-ID0582] Why were women forbidden from praying in the Masjid?

[Q-ID0290] Can I attend a Mawlid gathering in the Masjid if I am on my menstruation cycle (periods)?

[Q-ID0151] Can women enter the Masjid if on their menstrual cycle?

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