Are women allowed in mosques?
Yes. Mosques are for both men and women but they pray in separate areas, most often in separate halls.
The reason for this is that during worship nothing should distract them from focusing on God. Also the postures during prayer in Islam mean that it makes sense for men and women not to pray together so that everyone can stay focused on God.
A very good example of a mosque with prayer halls for both men and women is the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London. It was designed to ensure that the men’s prayer hall in the mosque was equal in size to the women’s prayer hall – so welcoming men and women to the mosque without distinction. It also includes baby changing facilities and even a sound proof crèche so that everyone can attend the mosque with little distraction. The Holy Prophet of Islam(sa) is reported to have instructed Muslim men that they are not to stop their wives from attending the mosques, even at night:
‘Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet(saw) said, “Allow women to go to the Mosques at night.” ’ (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 22)
It is important to remember that in Islam the mosque is an important centre of learning for the community and plays an important role in the spiritual and social life of Muslim men and women. It is therefore for all to use and benefit from.