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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Musalla Nisa' - Prayer Room for Women

Mosque in Riaydh.
There is always a sign on prayer room for women. Here it was quite nice calligraphy :).
You will find there AC, copies of Quran, water dispensers, chairs for women who cannot pray standing.
Sometimes there will be a sign on the wall of the room showing qibla (direction of Kaba in Mecca) towards which Muslims direct their faces during prayers. 




Although in times of the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is was a norm for men and women to pray in one musalla - prayer room in the mosque, women always stood at the far end - this division was (and still is) to help worshippers to concentrate on the acts of worship, not on the other gender, also - to create perfect raws worshippers have to stay very close to each other - touching themselves with their sides, and any form of touch with opposite gender is forbidden in Islam.

Nowadays, in many of mosques around the world, there is a separate room for women to pray in. It allows more privacy for those women who cover their faces - during prayer a woman should not cover her face (unless there are strange men around her), as well as these rooms can be used as resting places.

In a typical Saudi mosque, there is always separate musalla nisa' - prayer room for women. In very old buildings it may be missing - women were not going out of their houses so often, towns were smaller - distances were not big and they were always managing to catch prayer time at their houses.  Even though there is plenty of mosques with prayer rooms for women, sometimes they are closed - and as it is consider "not appropriate" for a women to enter the men praying area ("quite" un-Islamic if you go back to the times of the Prophet), you may see a women praying just outside the mosque on the ground.  On the other hand, you may also see a woman praying near the mosque, even though there is a "musalla nisaa" there. It is not obligatory in Islam for a women to perform prayers at mosques.

Woman performing prayer at a sports field for boys. It was empty then.
The mosque with a prayer room for women was nearby (100 meters away).  

3 comments:

Um Karoomi said...
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Um Karoomi said...

Salam aleikum. Nice post. I was always wondering why I see women here in Riyadh praying in the hallways of the malls during salat time when there is always a Women's Prayer Area in the malls. Thanks for sharing your pictures uhkti

UMM LATIFA (in Saudi Kingdom) said...

@ Um Karoomi: You are welcome. Also there is a hadith of a Prophet in which he said, that Allah made the whole earth a prayer place for a Muslim. We may pray everywhere then :)(apart form unclean places). I do sometimes pray outside musalla at malls - I always have 3 small kids with me and a trolley :) - it is quite difficult to manage with them in ladies prayer area... When I pray at musalla, kids go crazy and disturb other ladies, when I pray outside - they keep close to me, and the little one is strangled in her troley ;).

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