Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Eid Prayer is a confirmed Sunnah that Muslims, males and females, should be eager to attend.
2- It is also highly recommended for women to participate and listen to the khutbah (sermon).
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Eid Prayer must be performed in congregation. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered women of all ages, including those who were menstruating, to come out for Eid gathering, even though it is well known that those who are menstruating are not supposed to pray.
Therefore, his intention was to stress that no one should be prevented from participating in the joyous experience and celebration of `Eid.
Therefore, there is no doubt that women should come out for Eid Prayer to the mosque if it is held in a mosque. That is the sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
To bar women from praying in the mosque goes directly against the explicit and categorical statement of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), for he said, “Do not bar the maids of Allah from attending mosques of Allah.”
As for Eid, the Prophet’s ideal practice was to hold the Prayer not inside mosque, but in an open space. He did so in order to facilitate for the largest number of people to attend the Eid Prayer and listen to the sermon.
Thus we read in the authentic report from Umm `Atiyyah (may Allah have mercy on her) that “the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered us to bring out every woman, including those who were menstruating, in order to witness things that are beneficial for them and the mammoth congregation of Muslims.”
In conclusion: You are supposed to pray Eid Prayer only with the jama`ah (in congregation). You should do so even if it is held in a mosque; however, you should pray only if you are eligible to pray.
May Allah bless us all to reap the benefits of Eid, and may He grant us success and felicity in both worlds, amen.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.