Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
I pray this message reaches you in good health and iman.
Thank you for your question.
Why are women encouraged to pray at home?
The reasons you mentioned are correct.
However, the first and foremost reason is because there are rigorously authenticated traditions that specify that women should pray at home.
For example, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace said, "A woman's prayer in the depths of her house is better than her prayer in this masjid of mine."
Aisha, may Allah be well pleased with her, said, "Had the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) seen what women do now, he would have forbidden them the mosque as the women of Bani Isra'il were forbidden."
Women receive the same blessing for praying at home that men receive for going to the mosque.
Traditionally, Muslim women were encouraged to stay at home in order to create a peaceful, loving environment for their families. There is also the need to protect women from being exposed to negative influences and harassment outside the home.
Islam, being a practical religion, also understands that it would be difficult for women if they were required to go to the mosque. When a woman is busy running a home and taking care of her children, going to the mosque five times a day would become an undue hardship.
This is not to say that women may not visit the mosque. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, " Do not prevent the female slaves of Allah from coming to the mosques of Allah. When a wife of one of you asks for permission to go to the mosque, she should not be refused this permission." [Bukhari and Muslim]
In a previous answer on SunniPath, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani mentioned that it is permitted for a woman to go to the mosque particularly when she goes to seek knowledge or enjoy the fellowship of her Muslim sisters. This is especially relevant for Muslim women in the West whose only contact with other Muslims may be through the mosque.
Please see these related articles:
Women and Congregational Prayer
Women Praying at the Masjid & The Nature of Moral Responsibility
And Allah knows best.
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