View Full Version : correct way to read salah for women?
25-03-2005, 12:22 PM
i was reading salah the other day, when this 14 year old sister approached me and said i was reading incorrectly.
I was shocked and asked what i was doing wrong and she said that my elbows shouldn't be touching the floor and that my toes should not be facing the qiblah but they should be behind me. It came to mind that she could have a different madhab, but she didn't have a clue which madhab she was and only answered i am "sunni"
She really has messed my head up because the way i pray now is after i have perfected it and to think that i could still be wrong comes to mind evry time i read salah now. Am i reading wrong? I have noticed that a lot of women when going into sujood don't sit down fully and stay perched up like men do.Is this correct?
Could somebody give me a list of how hanafi women should perform each position in salah.So i can check with the way i read.
25-03-2005, 12:37 PM
What follows is a short summary of some of the reasoning used by the Hanafi mujtahid Imams as mentioned in "The Salah of a Believer in the Quran and Sunnah" by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq:
Difference in Salah Between Men and Women
Some people are of the view that all the laws of salah are common to both men and women, and that there is no difference between them. They also claim that the hadeeth "Pray as you have seen me praying " is general and, therefore, should be applied equally to both men and women. It should be realised, however, that our own interpretation and logical inference of this hadeeth cannot compare with the other ahadeeth of the Messenger of Allah salallahu alayhi wasalam, and the verdicts and practice of the Sahabah and Tabi'un quoted below.
The Shariah has ordained distinct rules for men and women in many important questions of salah. For example,
--Jumuah is fadh upon men but not on women, and the Eid prayer is wajib for men but again not for women.
1. Sayyiduna Tariqh bin Shihab ra reports that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam said, "Jumuah in congregation is an obligatory duty upon every Muslim except four people: a slave, a woman, a child, and one who is sick."
[Abu Dawood 1067, and Hakim 1062. Hakim declared it Saheeh and Dhahabi agreed]
2. Sayyidutuna Umm Atiyah says as part of a longer hadeeth, "We have been forbidden from following funerals and there is no Jummuah upon us."
[Ibn Khuzaimah 1722]
--The reward of congregational prayer for men is twenty seven times more than an individual prayer. Contrary to this, the more rewarding prayer of a woman is that which is most concealed and performed within the confines of her innermost living quarters.
3. Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud reports that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam said, "The prayer of a woman in her makhda (partition) is better than her prayer in her hujrah (chamber) and her prayer in her hujrah is better than her prayer in her bait (house).
[Abu Dawood 570 and Ibn Khuzaimah 1690]
4. Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalm said, "The most beloved salah to Allah of a woman is a one that she performs in the darkest spot of her home"
[Ibn Khuzaimah1691, and Tabarani in al M'ujam al Kabeer as mentioned by Hafidh Haitami 2/35. Hafidh Haitami also says that its narroators are authentic]
--Unlike men, women should not give adhan or say the iqamah.
5. Sayyidituna Asman ra narrates as part of a longer hadeeth that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam said, "There is no adhan, iqamah, or Jumah upon women"
6. Sayyidatuna Ibn Umar ra says, "There is no adhan or iqamah upon women"
--There is a great difference in the Awrah of a man and that of a woman in salah. Women must cover their entire body including the hair, leaving only the face, hands and feet exposed.
7. Ummul Mu'minned Aisha ra reports that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam said, "Allah does not accept the salah of a mature female without a scarf."
[Ahmad 24012, Ibn Majah 655, Abu Dawood 641, Timidhi 377, Ibn Khuzaimah 775, Hakim 917 and Bayhaqi 3254. Hakim declared it Saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.]
--Women cannot lead men in salah.
8. Abu Bakrah reports that the Prophet said, "Never will those people succeed who have appointed a woman over them."
[Ahmad 19507, Bukhari 4163, Tirmidhi 2262, and Nasai 5388]
9. Jabir bin Abdullah reports as part of a longer hadeeth that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam said, "Know that a woman should not lead a man in salah."
[Ibn Majah 1081, Bayhaqi 5131]
--For the purpose of correcting or deterring someon in salah men should say subhanallah loudly, whilst women are only allowed to clap their hands.
10. Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam said, "Tasbeeh is for men and clapping is for women"
--The different postures, poistions and rulings concerning the prayer of the female are not the invention of a group or an individual but the teaching of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam himself. He was the very first person to differentiate between the prayer of a man and woman.
11. Yazid bin Abi Habib reports that the Propeht passed by two women who were praying salah. He said, "When you prostate, let part of your body cling to the earth, for women are unlike men in this regard."
[Abu Dawood in his al Maraseel p18, and Bayhaqi 3201]
12. Sayyidiuna Ibn Umar ra narrates that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam, "When a woman sits in salah she should place one thigh over the other, and when she prostates she should press her stomach to her thighs in a manner that is most concealing to her. Indeed Allah looks at her saying, "Oh my angels! I make you witness that I have forgiven her."
[Bayhaqi 3199. He also declared it daeef]
13. Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr reports that the Prophet said, "Oh Ibn Hujr! When you pray make your hands level with your ears. And the woman shall raise her hands close to her bosom."
[Tabarani in al M'ujam al Kabeer 22/19 no. 28. Hafidh Haithami says 2/103, "Tabarani has narrated it as part of a long hadeeth on the virtue of Wail bin Hujr with a chain of Maimoorah bint Hujr narrating from her auntie Umm Yahya bin Abdul Jabbar. I have not identified her but the rest of the narrators are reliable"]
We derive some very important and fundamental principles about the prayer of a woman from all of the above ahadeeth.
-- The laws of salah are not always the same for men and women.
-- The sunnah posture of a female in any position of salah is that which is more concealing for her.
Imam Bayhaqi says,
"All the laws of Salah in which a woman differs from a man are based on the principle of satr (concealment). This means that the woman is instructed to do all that which is more concealing for her. The following chapters of hadeeth explain this in detail."
As mentioned earlier, this variation in the salah of a woman has been prescribed by none other than the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam himself. It has remained the practice of the whole Ummah until this day and is also reflected in the rulings of the Sahabah and Tabi'un. The Ulama and fuqaha of all four schools have always recognised this difference and, as is evident in their books of fiqh, have always obverved the above principles whenever making a ruling about the salah of a woman.
Following are a few narrations dealing with the verdicts of the Sahabah ra together with the verdicts of some of the Tabi'un and the Ulama of the different schools of fiqh.
25-03-2005, 12:38 PM
Verdicts and Practice of the Sahabah RA
Khalid bin al Lajlaaj reports as part of a longer hadeeth that women were ordered to do tarabb'u [i.e. to draw out one's right leg towards the right side of the body and to place the left leg beneath the right leg] when sitting in salah.
[Ibn Abi Shaibah 2783]
Nafi narrates that Safiyyah ra would pray and do tarabb'u.
[Abdul Razzaq 5074 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2784]
Nafi also narrates that the womenfolk of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar's ra family would do tarabb'u.
[Ibn Abi Shaibah 2789]
Sayyiduna Ibn Umar ra was once asked, "How did women pray their salah during the time of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam?" He replied, "They used to sit cross legged until they were told to practice ihtifaz [Ihtifaz is to lean to one side and rest on the posterior. It is more or less the same as sadl.]
[Narrated by all three, Abu Muhammad al Bukhari, Qadhi Umar bin al Hasan al Ashnani, and Ibn Khusruw in their Musnads of Imam Abu Hanifah's ahadeeth.]
Sayyiduna Ali ra says, "When a woman prostates she should do ihtifaz and press her thighs tightly together." and in Abdul Razzaq's narration "press her thighs against her stomach".
[Abdul Razzaq 5072 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2777. Muhadith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani 3/32 has declared it hasan]
Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas ra was asked about the prayer of a woman. He replied, "She should pull herself close together and do ihtifaz."
[Ibn Abi Shaibah 2778]
25-03-2005, 12:38 PM
Verdicts of the Tabi'un and other Ulema
Ibn Jujayj reports, "I asked Ataa: "Should a woman motion with her hands at the time of takbeer as a man dose?" he replied, "She should not raise her hands with takbeer in the manner of men." Ataa then demonstrated (the way in which she should.) He placed his hands very low and then pulled them towards him. He then said, "The posture of a woman in salah is not that of a man."
[Abdul Razzaq 5066 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2474]
Ataa also says, "A woman should pull herself together when she bows down into ruku: she should bring her arms to her stomach and pull herself together as much as possible. When she prostates she should bring up her arms close to her and press her bosom and stomach against her thighs: she should pull herself together as possible."
[Abdul Razzaq 5069]
Hasan al Basri says, "A woman should pull herself close together in sujud."
[Ibn Abi Shaibah 2781]
Hasan and Qatadah both say, "When a woman prostates she should pull herself together as much as possible. She should not allow for any space between her limbs so that her posterior is not raised."
[Abdul Razzaq 5068]
25-03-2005, 12:39 PM
One certain author has argued that all the descriptions of the Prophet's prayer are equally applicaple to both men and women and there is nothing in the Sunnah that excludes women from any of them. InshaAllah the contents of this chapter answer this claim.
The author then goes on to say that this is the view of Ibrahim al Nakhai who said, "A woman's actions in prayer are the same as a man's" - transmitted by Ibn Abi Shaibah (1/75/2), with a sahih sanad from him.
This is NOT what Ibrahim al Nakhai said nor is it his view.
His narration transmitted by Ibn Abi Shaibah actually reads, " A woman will sit in salah just as a man does."
[Ibn Abi Shaibah 1/242 no 2788]
This somehow has been misquoted as "A woman's actions in prayer are the same as a man's"!!
In fact, Ibrahim al Nakhai's other narrations quite clearly contradict the above report. His view about the prayer of a woman as reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah and other is as follows:
Ibrahim al Nakhai says, "When a woman prostates she should press her stomach against her thighs. She should not raise her posterior nor should she allow for any space or distance between the limbs of her body as a man does."
[Abdul Razzaq 5071 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2782]
He also says, "When a woman prostates she should bring her thighs together and press her abdomen to them."
[Ibn Abi Shaibah 2779]
He also says, "A woman should sit to one side in salah."
[Abdul Razzaq 5077 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2792]
Imam Bayhaqi says,
"All of the laws of salah in which a woman differs from a man are based on the principle of satr (concealment). This means that the woman is instructed to do all that which is more concealing for her. The following chapters of hadeeth explain this in detail."
Ibn Qudamah al Maqdisi al Hanbali quotes Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in his al Mughni as saying, "I consider sadl [to draw out the right leg to one side of the body and place the left leg beneath one's right thigh. In this way the posterior will come to rest on the ground rather than the left leg. She would, therfore, not be resting on her legs, but on her posterior as mentioned in the narration of Sayyiduna Ali ra.] to be better for a woman." He also quotes the narration of Sayyiduna Ali ra who says, "When a woman prays salah she should do ihtifaz and press her thighs together"
[Ibn Qudamah in al Mughni 2/135]
Imam Ahmad was asked about how a woman should prostate and sit for tashahud. He replied, "She should do whatever is more concealing for her". he added, "She should do tarabbbu in tashahudd and draw her legs to one side (sadl)."
[Masail of Imam Ahmad narrated by his son Abdullah 373]
According to the narration of Abu Dawood, Imam Ahmad was asked about how a woman should sit in salah. He replied, "She should press her thighs together"
[Masail of Imam Ahmad narrated by Abu Dawood p51]
Qadhi Iyadh has also quoted from salaf that the sunnah for women is tarabbu'.
[Awjaz al Masalik 2/119]
All of the above quite clearly demonstrates that the prayer of a woman is different in some aspects from that of a man, and that this distinction was fist made by none other than the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam and then maintained by the prominent Sahabah and Tabi'un. Furthermore, as can be seen in their works, there is almost universal agreement amongst the scholars of fiqh on this issue.
25-03-2005, 01:06 PM
The above was for the HANAFI Madhab.
The following relates to the Madhab of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal and would not apply to your case specifically but I am just adding it here for reference, inshaAllah:
1. Differences Between The Way Men And Women Pray
Yes, there are minor differences between the physical actions of a man's prayer in comparison to a woman's prayer. Al-Hajjawi and Al-Buhuti write that
A woman prays like a man except that she bunches herself together and sits with her legs slightly slid underneath her to her right. (b: If there is a non-mahram male who can hear her, it is obligatory for her to conceal her recitation so that only she hears it.) (Al-Raud al-murbi`, p74)
M ar`i bin Yusuf writes the same, though a bit clearer and with a few additional details
Women are like men in all that was previously mention--even concerning raising the hands. However, she bunches herself together when bowing and prostrating and does not unbunch herself [like a man]; she sits with her legs slightly slid underneath her on the right--and this is best--or cross-legged; and she must conceal her recitation when non-marhman men hear it, and otherwise there is no harm in making it audible. (Ghayat al-muntaha, 1.132-33)
Please note that the only obligatory difference concerns recitation, and that even though it would be unlawful for a woman to raise her recitation where non-mahram men hear it, the prayer would still be valid. The other differences fall under the category of recommended actions during prayer.
The general topic of general related differences associated to prayer is found in hadith literature known as the musannafat. The musannafat include accounts from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), his Companions (Allah be pleased with them), and the first few generations of Successors. The discussion is in the Musannaf of Abu Bakr `Abd al-Razzaq bin Hammam al-San`ani right before the chapter on Friday Prayer, or more precisely 3.126-51.
And Allah knows best.
25-03-2005, 01:14 PM
Maliki Madhab -
Can Mossy or shayks-pir-sahib post up something from their fiqh texts regarding what their Madhab says on this?
25-03-2005, 01:16 PM
jazakallah khair brother you have just made life a lot easier for me, i'll do a sincere dua for u in my next prayer.
It seems i was actually correct, all the sisters i read with read like men in some way, i used to think maybe their madhab told them to read like that, but now i know they read incorrectly. Now my mission is to correct all their salahs. May allah help me!
25-03-2005, 01:22 PM
Thank you for your du'as!
Just a word of advice, if the sisters in question do not understand the necessity of following sound qualified Islamic scholarship as found in the four Sunni Madhabs then your discussion with them on this topic will probably not have its desired effect. You'd be better off letting them to get on with their own way. In addition, there may be some slight differences in the four sunni schools on this issue so perhaps their prayer is within one of the other schools and your criticism would be unnecessary. I posted the above so that you could feel secure in your own prayer as delineated by the Hanafi school of thought. If we start trying to correct everyone else's prayer we will end up annoying people like they annoy us when they try to "correct" our prayer. Do you get what I mean?
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