Are The Prayer Positions Different For Women Than Men? | About Islam
Home > Ask About Islam > Are The Prayer Positions Different For Women Than Men?

Are The Prayer Positions Different For Women Than Men?



Reply Date

Oct 10, 2017


Asalam walaikum. Recently I got married. In my mom's place, every lady recited namaz in a very decent and compressed manner while going in sajdah and coming back, unlike men. But at my in-laws place, they are saying that there is no difference in men and women reciting namaz process. Their ladies, while reciting namaz, sit and go in sajdah (leg posture and touching forearm elbow on ground) like men. They said I recite namaz like a dog, which was very embarrassing but for me knowing correct way of a lady namaz is important. Please guide me.



prayer positions

Short answer: No. There is no difference. Women and men are both commanded to pray exactly like Prophet Muhammad did. There should be no added compression in the body when going into sujood, or in any other position. This idea comes from culture, not religion.

Salam dear sister,

Thank you for your question. We highly appreciate your concern about offering our prayer properly.

Women are equal to men in all religious rulings

The Prophet is reported to have said: “Women are the twin halves of men.” (Ahmad)

If there is evidence for a specific ruling for women, it has to be authentic and unanimous.

Malik ibn Al-Huwairith narrated:

“We came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and we were (a few) young men of approximately equal age and stayed with him for twenty nights.

Then he thought that we were anxious for our families, and he asked us whom we had left behind to look after our families, and we told him.

He was kindhearted and merciful, so he said,

‘Return to your families and teach them (religious knowledge) and order them (to do good deeds) and offer your prayers in the way you saw me offering my prayers, and when the stated time for the prayer becomes due, then one of you should pronounce its call (i.e. the Adhan), and the eldest of you should lead you in prayer.’” (Al-Bukhari)

According to this hadith, we are ordered to pray as the Prophet offered his prayer without any additions or omissions.

The rules of prayers are common to both men and women. Therefore, women should perform prayers exactly as men do.

Sheikh Al-Albani said:

“Everything that we have said above about the way in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed applies equally to men and women. There is nothing narrated in the Sunnah which implies that women are exempted from any of that. Rather the general meaning of the words of the Prophet “Pray as you have seen me praying,” include women too.” (Sifat Salat al-Nabi, p. 189)

False Notions, Weak Hadiths

Some scholars said that a woman should not sit as a man sits (in prayer), and they quoted three weak hadiths.

  • “Abu Sa`id al-Khudri narrated that the Prophet used to command the men to spread out their arms in their prostration and he used to tell women to keep their arms close to their sides in their prostration. He used to tell men to spread their left foot along the ground (and sit on it) and place the right foot upright during the tashahhud and he used to tell women to sit, kneeling, on their heels.”

Al-Bayyhaqi said: This is a munkar (rejected) hadith.

  • “`Abdullah ibn `Umar narrated that the Prophet said: “When a woman sits during the prayer, she should place one thigh against the other, and when she prostrates, she should press her stomach against her thighs, compressing herself in the most concealing manner, for Allah looks at her and says: ‘O My angels, I call you to bear witness that I have forgiven her.’” (Al-Bayhaqi)

This narration is weak because it was narrated by Abu Muti` al-Balkhi.

  • “Yazid ibn Abi Habib said the Prophet passed by two women who were praying. He said: “When you prostrate, press some of your flesh to the ground, for women are not like men in that.”

This narration is mursal, which is a category of weak.

To the contrary, Imam Al-Bukhari said: “Umm Al-Darda’ used to sit in prayer as a man sits and she was a scholarly woman.”

Finally, we have to take knowledge from the knowledgeable.

Sometimes culture is confused with religion. So, we have to be aware of what is cultural and what is religion.

I hope this answers your query.

Read more…

Women and Men in Islam as Allies – (Interview with Prof. Ingrid Mattson)

Are Women Welcome in the Mosque?

Are Women Equal to Men in Reward and Punishment?

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy

Dr. Mohsen Haredy: Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait

find out more!