Hyderabad-based Islamic seminary Jamia Nizamia issued a fatwa in which it described women congregating for taraweeh prayer as extremely undesirable.
A fatwa is an Islamic jurisprudential opinion. It is issued when a person asks questions on a particular subject in the light of the Sharia. The Darul Ifta of an Islamic seminary then issues the fatwa.
The fatwa, dated March 16, shows that the person who sought the fatwa had asked whether it was permissible in the light of the Sharia to designate a space in a mosque for women. taraweeh (special night prayers offered during Ramzan).
The fatwa states that women praying taraweeh in congregation is makruh tahrimi’. it also states that congregation for the five obligatory prayers is not prescribed for women, and, according to the Hanafi school, even elderly women should not go to the mosque for Namaz,
The Hanafi school is believed to be followed by most Muslims in India.
In a separate development, in February this year, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) filed an affidavit to the Supreme Court in a case pertaining to the entry of women in mosques. The AIMPLB, in a statement issued to the media, stated that “there is no prohibition on Muslim women entering mosques and offering Namaz or congregational prayers”.
The AIMPLB, however, did raise concern of “free intermixing genders in the same line or common space is not in conformity with the position prescribed in Islam”. This, the AIMPLB opined, should be addressed through segregation of space within the premises by managing committees of mosques.