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Why wife pray behind man?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

why is that while praying namaaz in our respected houses do females have to pray behind the males of the house and not in the same line as them?


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




Why wife pray behind man?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Dear and Beloved Sister in Islam, there are two connotations to the question you have asked:

Why is it that the man has been honored with the role to lead the prayers and not the woman?

Why does the woman have to stand behind the man, and not beside him in congregational prayer?

We are not sure which of the two were implied, thus we will address both of them in light of the Quran and Sunnah, Insha Allah.


Q-1: Why is it that the man has been honored with the role to lead the prayers and not the woman?

Allah Subhanah, the Creator of everything in existence, created the man and the woman and gave them each their distinct nature, and Decreed and Prescribed for each their duties and their responsibilities according to their nature. The same Creator Decreed the responsibility and the duty upon the man to be the imaam or the leader of his household.


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 228 (part): And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.18 Narrated by Ibn Umar

I heard Allah's Messenger (saws) saying, 'All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care. The Imam (i.e. ruler) is the guardian of his subjects and is responsible for them; and a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is the guardian of her husband's house and is responsible for it; and a servant is the guardian of his master's belongings and is responsible for them.'


Allah Subhanah has Decreed and Prescribed the man to be the imaam or leader of the household, and thus it is his responsibility as the imaam or leader of the house to lead the prayer when praying in congregation.


Q-2: Why does the woman have to stand behind the man, and not beside him in congregational prayer?

Firstly, the Sunnah taught by the Messenger of Allah (saws) of praying congregational prayers is that one imaam leads the prayer, and the muktadis or those who follow the imaam in congregation prayer, regardless of whether they are men or women, must form a row or rows behind the imaam and follow the imaam in prayer. Thus the imaam would lead the prayer, the believing men offering the congregational prayers would form rows behind the imaam, and (preferably at a distance) behind the last row of the men would be the rows of the believing women.


The only exception to this formation of rows in a congregational prayer would be if there are only two people in the congregational prayer, one imaam and one muktadi. Then the formation would be as follows:

If both, the Imam and the muktadi are men, then the Sunnah is that one should stand a step behind and on the right side of the imaam who leads the congregational prayer.

If both, the Imam and the muktadi are women, then both should stand in the same line, with one woman on the left leading the congregational prayer.

But if the two people who wish to offer congregational prayer are one man and one woman, then the man would be the imaam and lead the prayer, and the woman would stand right behind the man and offer the prayer in congregation.


The most logical reason why a woman is required to stand behind the man and not beside him when offering congregation prayer has got to do with the nature that Allah Subhanah has bestowed upon the man. It is in the inherent nature of the man that he is easily and immediately physically attracted to the woman. Thus when one is in audience with the Lord of the Worlds when one is in prayer, there is a chance that his sight or glance might fall on the woman, and thus his natural attraction and thought towards the opposite sex might distract his attention, and that would effect his humility and sincerity required when in prayer. The deen of Islam, being perfect and in absolute accordance with nature has taken care of even the smallest of issues; and guided its followers that when a man and a woman pray in congregation alone, the woman must stand behind the man and not beside him.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your Brother in Islam,





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