Concerns with artificial limits being placed on a women’s right to participate in the activities of a believer are not of modern origin. This is clear from this work, a medieval treatise asserting the right of women to attend the congregational prayers in the mosque, in response to widespread opposition to this right.
‘Ali ibn Hazm (d456/1064), the great Andalusian jurist, poet and intellectual champion of the Zahiri school, discussed this issue comprehensively in his al-Muhalla. In the section translated here, he discusses the following questions.
Is it lawful for women to attend congregational prayers in the mosque?
Is it lawful for others to forbid this if, for some private of public reason, they happen to disapprove of It?
Is the effort of attending the prayers with the congregation in the mosque more worthy for men than women?
Is it lawful only for elderly women to attend the congregational prayers in the mosques?
The text is preceded by an introduction written by the translator, Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi, containing a brief review of Ibn Hazm’s works and reputation and a summary of the translated text. Throughout the translated work, there are notes which identify the hadiths mentioned by Ibn Hazm.
Ibn Hazm al Andalusi - Original author
bn Hazm (d. 456/1064) was famed for his literary productivity, breadth of learning, and mastery of the Arabic language. One of the leading exponents of the Zahiri (Literalist) school of jurisprudence he produced some 400 works, covering jurisprudence, logic, history, ethics, comparative religion and theology, as well as Tawq al-Hammama (The Ring of the Dove), an intriguing book on the art of love.
Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi - Translated the work from Arabic into English
Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi is a world-renowned scholar of Indian origin, who received in-depth training in the traditional Islamic disciplines at Nadwat al-Ulama (Lucknow, India) alongside a PhD in Arabic literature from Lucknow University. He spent several years as a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies where he conducted research on a number of topics including hadith and Sufi orders in India. He is the author of close to 30 books across the full range of the Islamic Sciences.