بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
More recently, Daniel made a post in praise of his wife for choosing to pray in her closet. Daniel correctly identified a classical position based on an explicit hadith, which encourages women to pray in the innermost part of their homes.
I am writing this in response to a comment that was made on his most recent clarification thread, where he essentially doubled down on everything he had said. I feel that the sentiment in this comment is perhaps more widespread amongst well-intentioned believing women who want to be submissive to Allah.
The sister writes as follows:
Nice to see all the men backing up your chauvinism. You really make us sisters feel like second class citizens in this religion. Do you not believe in making qiyas so to apply it in today’s situations. I agree with some of your points, that women should be careful to not expose themselves and take care in trying their best to follow Sunnah. But again, it doesn’t sound like you are realistically meeting people where they are. For alot of sisters in the US, going to the masjid is our lifeline. My masjid is literally my second home and there are instances when I’ve spent nights there trying to gain nearness to Allah. Again, I know your post wasn’t an attack on sisters attending the masjid , but please try to be sensitive to the nature of the discourse as some of you brothers take this hadith about women receiving reward for staying home as as a green light to bann women and shun us from attending the masjid and being part of the fabric of the mosque. I dont understand why you feel the need to remind us that prayer is better at home, when there are also new Muslim women who don’t even know how to pray. I think it’s a goal to keep in mind to do prayers at home or in the closet , but people have to grow into that ideology and it’s not where we are this society. Most of us are like New Muslims and need to go to the masjid to hold on to our Deen since many of us dont have even have practicing Muslim family members.
I think the sister makes a good point regarding our present-day circumstances, and there is certainly an argument to be made given that Muslims are in the minority and the masjid functions as a community center as well. Furthermore, women are already attending school, work and other functions such that if they are not praying and socializing in the masjid, they are likely to gather in other, perhaps more questionable locations. What the sister needs is the fatawaa of reputable contemporary ulema to make this case because it is in contrast to a major historical opinion in all schools of fiqh.
However, I think the sister is misunderstanding Daniel’s intention and point in these kinds of posts.
The Point of Daniel’s Posts (Generally Speaking)
Daniel is concerned with principles. With ideas. With standards. With values. Forget about issues like “what’s better” between two permissible things (i.e. praying at home or at the masjid), the situation in terms of the Muslim community as a whole – men and women – is that we all sin! And abundantly if you’re living in the West.
The point of Daniel’s post is not to beat people over the head and make them feel like they’re doing something wrong. It is about preserving standards and values.
Let me give you an example: right now we have a crisis in the Muslim community with young men not lowering their gaze. It is a sin. It is wrong. We know it is wrong. We understand that the Quran prohibits this. We feel bad when we fail and we look at a woman with lust. We do tawbah. This is as it should be.
But imagine a group of young brothers started saying that looking at a woman with lust was “not really a sin.” In fact, the Quran tells us to observe the creation of God and reflect upon its beauty. After all, Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty doesn’t He? Suppose this group of young men started justifying the sin and changing and corrupting the interpretation of set principles in the scripture, and this began to gain widespread traction. Imagine imams being deadly silent on the issue, or when they did speak, they spoke in support of this new bid’ah! And imagine that anyone who tried to point out the classical interpretation of the ayaat was shouted down and met with outrage!
In such a situation the point is not to guilt trip and beat over the head the people who are sinning. The point is to set our standards correctly so that we can try, with our very human and limited effort, to conform to those standards. It’s about having correct goals, as the sister put it. It’s about recognizing that we might be fallible and make mistakes but the door of tawbah is always open and we don’t change the deen just because we can’t live up to its lofty standards.
The situation with feminism is that it is obfuscating the Deen. That’s what’s at stake here. That’s why Daniel presses on the hot button issues which get to the root of the foundational differences between Islam and feminism. It’s not about what you or I or anyone personally chooses to do – it’s about keeping the Deen clear.