Can women perform Friday and eid prayers?

Details of the Question

Can women perform Friday and eid prayers?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Friday prayer is fard al-ayn; eid prayers are wajib; janazah prayer is fard al-kifayah. Friday and eid prayers can be performed only in congregation. It is not necessary to perform janazah prayer in congregation; when only one person, whether a man or a woman, performs it, the duty of fard al-kifayah is fulfilled. As it is seen, there is no difference between a woman and a man related to janazah prayer in terms of responsibility and decree.

The general decree of the verse regarding Friday prayer including women and men (al-Jumua, 62/9) was limited by the Sunnah; therefore, only free, resident and healthy (who are not too ill or too old to join Friday prayer) men have to perform Friday prayers. As a matter of fact, it is understood from the general decree of the verse that Friday prayer is fard for the people who are not free, resident or unhealthy; the decree of the verse is also limited in this aspect by the verse. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a hadith:

"Friday prayer in congregation is fard for every Muslim except for slaves, women, children, and ill people." (Abu Dawud, Salat, 168, Hadith No: 1067; Bayhaqi, III/172)

Accordingly, women do not have to perform Friday prayer. There is consensus that Friday prayer is not fard for women. No Islamic mujtahid or scholar has stated the opposite since the Era of Bliss; this practice was applied in all Islamic countries in all periods.

Although women do not have to perform Friday and eid prayers, they can perform them if they wish.In that case, when a person who does not have to perform Friday prayer (for instance, a traveler) performs Friday prayer, he does not have to perform the noon prayer that day; similarly, the women who perform Friday prayer in congregation do not have to perform the noon prayer that day. As a matter of fact, in the Era of Bliss and in the periods after that, many women performed Friday and eid prayers in the mosque like the women who perform daily prayers and tarawih prayer in congregation in the mosque today. However, not all women performed Friday and eid prayers in congregation in the period of the Prophet (pbuh) and the following periods. Today, it is permissible for the women who wish to perform Friday and eid prayers in the parts that are allocated to them in mosques by paying attention to the manners of mosque.

The Arrangement of the Ranks (Saff)

According to Islamic decrees, it is more appropriate for women to remain in a separate place and not to enter into the presence of men not only during prayers but also at other times unless there is a necessity and obligation. Therefore, when women perform prayers with men, whether it is eid, Friday, janazah or any prayer, they need to stand in a suitable place separated from men. As a matter of fact, Hz. Prophet (pbuh) arranged the ranks of prayer as men at the front, boys behind them and women at the back. He said,

"The most virtuous rank of men in prayer is the first rank and the least virtuous rank is the last one. The most virtuous rank of women in prayer is the last rank and the least virtuous rank is the first one." (Muslim, Salat , 132; Abu Dawud, Salat, 97; Tirmidhi, Mawaqit, 52; Nasai, Imama, 32; Ibn Majah, Iqama, 52)

That is the sunnah way of arranging ranks. If women do not follow the Sunnah and perform prayers among the ranks of men, the prayers of men, except ,the prayers that have ruku’ and sajdah, who are behind and at the same line as women are invalidated according to Hanafi madhhab; the women who cause this commit sins. If this happens in janazah prayer, whichhas no ruku’ and sajdah,the prayers of menare not invalidated but it is makruh since it is contrary to the Sunnah.

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