Salat of Women

By Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf
Posted: 20 Rabi-u-Thani 1424, 29 May 2005

Q.) I know that during Sajda, the women are supposed to have their fore arms including the elbow flat on the ground, according to the Hanafis. Could you provide some hadith supporting this view and explain how this came about. Could you also offer an explanation of how the admonition that keeping elbows on the ground is like imitating a dog is pertaining to men. Jazakullah Khair for your time. [Sanzid Rabby]

A.) Woman have been told to contract during the prostration. It is related from Ali, Radi-Allahu anhu, that when a woman prostrates, she should contract and join her thighs together (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq). Ibn 'Abbas, Radi-Allahu anhu, was asked about the prayer of a woman. He said, "She should contract and come together" (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba). It is related from Hasan Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) that a woman should contract in prostration" (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba). Likewise, Ibrahim Nakh'ay said, "When a woman prostrates she should join her stomach to her thighs and not raise her buttocks and she should not separate [her limbs] as men do. Imam Abu Dawud relates in his Marasil from Yazid ibn Habib that the Messenger of Allah passed by two woman who were praying. He said to them, "When you pray join part of your body to the ground, for women are not like men in this regard. Imam Shafi'i writes in Al-Umm "A man and woman in regards to remembrance and salat are the same, except that I instruct that they be more concealing than men in ruku' and prostration by joining their limbs together. A similar opinion has been related from Imam Ahmad, and such is also the Hanafi opinion.

As far as the following hadith is concerned in which the Messenger of Allah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Be reposeful in prostration and do not rest your forearms on the ground as a dog does," (Bukhari, Muslim), this prohibition does not extend to women since they have been instructed to contract in prostration, which includes placing the arms on the ground. This is further supported by a version of this narration in Sahih Muslim, which states that "the Messenger of Allah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam prohibited that a man spread his forearms like a beast" -hence, excluding women (see Radd al-muhtar 1:432).

And Allah knows best.