Islamic scholars say Islam allows women to pray in mosque, ask Muslims to avoid offering namaz in public places

Islamic scholars at a seminar in Nadwatul Ulema in Lucknow recently.

Anwarulhaq Baig

NEW DELHI—Indian Muslim scholars and Islamic jurists have advised Muslims to avoid offering Namaz in public places and also permitted women to pray in mosques.

Both issues have been bothering the Muslim community for quite some time. While the problem regarding offering namaz in public places arose owing to the lack of mosques and prayer houses in new urban areas, the issue of Muslim women’s entry into mosques came to limelight due to increasing demand from women themselves coupled with inadequate response from the Muslim clergy most of whom are not well-informed about various provisions of Islam concerning whether women could be permitted to pray inside mosques.

Muslim scholars and Muftis from across the country belonging to different Islamic schools of thought recently participated in an Islamic jurisprudence seminar at the Lucknow-based renowned Islamic seminary – Nadwatul Ulama – to comprehensively examine the Sharia ruling regarding Islamic prayer (Namaz) at public places in the current challenging situation in the country, including its legal aspects and the entry of women into mosques.

The seminar was organized by Nadwatul Ulama’s Sharia Academy for Research and Studies, which was formed by world-renowned Islamic scholar Moulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi in 1963.

After the seminar, the Sharia Academy issued a joint statement based on the recommendations given by Islamic scholars. While admitting that timely prayer is essential during travel, even at public places such as parks, railway stations, airports, trains, and buses, the statement asked Muslims to avoid inconveniencing others when praying in public places. Otherwise, it suggested, “they can delay the prayer if it causes harm, discomfort, or is not feasible to pray appropriately.”

Raising concerns about recent incidents of violence and harassment against Muslims during public prayers, the scholars called on the government to not allow anyone to obstruct those who want to pray peacefully in public places without causing inconvenience to others.

It also appeals to non-Muslim fellow citizens to uphold the age-old tradition of mutual respect, amity, and understanding and to oppose those who undermine it by harassing Muslims during public prayer.

While stating that women should pray at home, the scholars allowed women to pray in mosques when they were away for some necessity and fear that they would miss the prayer time.

Scholars also suggested to reserve a corner in a mosque for women to perform their obligatory prayers if they were out of their homes due to some necessity.

In response to a petition filed by a Pune-based activist, seeking to declare any prohibition on women’s entry into mosques illegal and a violation of gender justice laws, in February 2023, the AIMPLB had told the Supreme Court that there was no prohibition in Islam on women offering prayer in segregated spaces in mosques.

Speaking with India Tomorrow, well-known Islamic scholar and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) secretary Dr. Mohammad Razi-ul-Islam Nadwi, informed that during his speech as a special guest at the seminar, he had urged Islamic jurists and muftis to pay greater attention on providing easier solutions to common people for their emerging problems. Asking muftis and scholars to select the easier option for the common people if a problem has multiple solutions, Dr. Nadwi, who is also associated with Nadwatul Ulama, said, “In such a challenging situation, if ordinary Muslims want to practice and solve their problems according to Islamic teachings, the instructions of Sharia should not be presented in a way that makes it difficult for people to follow them.” He also urged them to respect differences of opinion among scholars and different Islamic schools of thought.

Maulana Bilal Abdul Hai Hasani, head of the Nadwatul Ulama, presided over the inaugural session. Dr. Moulana Saeedur Rahman Azmi Nadwi, the principal of the Islamic seminary, chaired the final session.

The seminar hosted over one hundred delegates, including Maulana Rahmatullah Nadwi, Maulana Kamal Akhtar Nadwi, and Maulana Mohammad Zakariya Sambhali, Maulana Atiq Ahmad Bastawi, the secretary of the Sharia Academy, Mufti Abdur Razzaq Qasmi, Darul Uloom Deoband; Maulana Ubaidullah Asadi, Maulana Rahmatullah Kashmiri, Mufti Habibullah Qasmi, Mufti Anwar Ali Azmi, Mufti Nazeer Ahmed Kashmiri, Mufti Amanat Ali Qasmi, Mufti Tanzeem Alam, Qasmi, Dr. Faheem Akhtar Nadvi, Dr. Kaleemullah Umari, and Maulana Munnawar Sultan Nadwi.

Emphasizing the importance of collective “ijtihad”, the seminar concluded with a commitment to try to find practical solutions within the framework of Islamic jurisprudence.


  1. [26/11, 2:34 pm] Tanveer A Jafri: This indeed is a very good Directive. I feel that it will , history will record , have a very big impact on Muslims economical and social uplifting.
    [26/11, 2:37 pm] Tanveer A Jafri: By allowing women to praying in Mosque we are allowing them to move out freely frequently and interact with fellow believers. Which will have exponential impact on the awareness among Muslim women which will in turn improve the economic status of each family.
    [26/11, 2:41 pm] Tanveer A Jafri: Only worry is the army of poorly educated maulana’s can give it a turn such that the community goes the way Punjabi Zamindars have slided themselves.


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