Ibn Hazm On The Lawfulness Of Women Attending Prayers In The Mosque
By Ibn Hazm Al-Andalusi
Presented, Translated & Annotated By Mohammad Akram Nadwi
Second Extended Edition (March 2018)
Paperback Booklet 99 Pages
ISBN : 9781999872106
Publisher : Interface Publications, Oxford
About The Book
Questions about the status of women, anti the evident injustice in Islamic societies of arrangements that claim to rest on the authority of the religion, are not only a 'modem' concern. The same questions can be, and were, asked from within the religion, and on its behalf. An example is the right of women to attend the prayers in the mosques, and what right (if any) others have to forbid that. 'All ibn Hazm (d. 1064), the great Andalusian jurist, poet, and intellectual champion of the Zahiri school, discussed this issue in his Muhalla. In the text translated here, he demonstrates, on the basis of sound Prophetic and Companion hadiths, that it is lawful and commended for women (young or old) to attend the prayers in the mosques, and unlawful (for any reason, private or public) to stop them doing so.
The introduction includes a brief review of Ibn Hazm's works and reputation, and a summary of the translated text. The notes identify the hadiths mentioned in it and report the hadith experts' assessment of their soundness. Readers can then judge for themselves the authoritativeness of Ibn Hazm's argument, and whether, if their local circumstances permit, to make others aware of it.
Questions challenging that argument are answered in this extended edition. Amon them: Why are only men, not women, commanded to attend prayers in the mosques? Why follow the rulings of a minority school that disappeared? How and why did the majority schools adopt the rulings that they do? Such questions are one indicator of how hard it is to accept that a custom so long and so widely practised could be a departure from the sunnah, a bid'ah). Dr Akram explains how, as the procedures of reasoning from the source-texts to fiqb rulings became institutionalised, scholars found authority in conformity with those procedures, allowing the sunnah to fade into the background. This discussion (implicit in the text from lbn Hazm) is taken up more fully in the author's forthcoming Women-only mosques and women imams: the feminist critique of qiwamah; Ibn taymiyyah's critique of bida'h.
The recent opening of the "Women Only Mosque" in the United States is but a reaction to the "Men Only Mosque" phenomenon that is common in the Muslim world, both in the East and as well as in the West, says Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi. In fact, the majority of mosques in the UK have no place for women. There are reports that on many occasions, travelling women have had to pray in a church building or neighbouring Hindu shop least they miss their prayers because the local mosque refused to allow them to enter and pray.
Why is it that some people are so vehemently opposed to women praying in the mosque when the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam himself declared that no one should stop women from praying in the mosque?
This question is dealt with head-on in the eye-opening work, "Ibn Hazm on the lawfulness of women attending prayers in the mosque," presented, translated, and annotated by Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi, author of Al-Muhaddithat - the 57-volume masterpiece on women scholars of Islam.
Ibn Hazm (d. 456/1064), the great Andalusian jurist, poet, and intellectual champion of the Zahiri school, discussed this issue comprehensively in his Muhalla. In the text translated, he asks and, after weighing the evidence, answers the following questions:
- Is it lawful for women to attend congregational prayers in the mosques? (Yes)
- Is it lawful for others to forbid this if, for some private or public reason, they happen to dislike it or disapprove of it? (No)
- Is the effort of attending the prayers with the congregation in the mosque more worthy for men than women? (No, it is the same)
- Is it lawful only for elderly women to attend the congregational prayers in the mosques? (No, it is equally lawful for old or young)
This book is an important step forward in unravelling the confusion of the ages and moving closer to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam to give women their due rights in worshipping Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.
- Preface to the second edition
- Preface to the first edition
- Ibn Hazm's argument: Synopsis
- Questions and answers
- Works cited
About Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi
Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Sa'id ibn Hazm, Abu Muhammad al-Farisi al-Andalusi al-Qurtubi al-Yazidi (d. 465), praised by al-Dhahabi as 'the peerless imam, the Ocean of sciences and disciplines, the jurist, hadith master, scholar of kalam, man of letters, Zahiri minister, and prolific author.' He was born into a princely family of Cordova where his education first centered on Arabic poetry, philosophy, and kalam.
Ibn Hazm is well known for following the Zahiriyya (literalist) school devised originally by Dawud ibn al Isfahani (d.270 AH) and became it's founding father in it's developed form.
He was opposed by many scholars of his time in Cordoba and Valencia. Some of his books were publicly burned as a mark of punishment by the command of al-Mu'tamid ibn Abbas in Seville.
During the brief period he spend in Almeira he engaged in active debates with Jews and Christians, and was very much involved in the study of other religion.
However even his enemies and critics acknowledged that his learning was vast and deep.
About The Translator
Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi is from the Indian city of Lucknow. He is a graduate of the world renowned Nadwatul 'Ulama (India) where he studied and taught shari'ah.
Shaykh Akram is a Muhaddith of the highest calibre who has specialised in 'Ilm ul Rijal [the study of the narrators of Hadith]. He has Ijaza (licenses) from many of the most renowned scholars of our time including Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Al-Nadwi, Shaykh Abdul-Fattah Abu Ghuddah and Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
He has a doctorate in Arabic Language and has authored and translated over 20 titles on Fiqh, Qur'an and Hadith including his monumental 40 volume work on the lives of female scholars of Hadith. His scholastic status is acknowledged internationally.
He is currently a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University.
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