Why do men and women pray together around the Kaaba?


Someone from the USA wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa and asked to what extent one was allowed to raise questions about Islam, the Holy Quran and the Jamaat. He also added that he had asked the local murabbi about the prohibition of usury before Islam, as well as about men and women praying together on the occasion of Hajj, but he had not received a satisfactory answer to his questions.

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 26 November 2021, provided the following guidance:

“[…] There are designated areas for men and women to pray around the Kaaba. In early Islam, even during the blessed era of the Holy Prophetsa, women used to pray apart from men in such a way that their rows were at the end of the mosque, children were in front of them, and men were in front of the children.

“Similarly, at the time of the circumambulation [tawaf] of the Kaaba, men and women used to perform tawaf in the same place but the women stayed apart from men. Hence, it is mentioned in a hadith that when Ibn Hisham (the governor of Mecca) forbade women from performing tawaf with men, Ata bin Abi Rabah said to him, ‘How do you forbid them while the wives of the Prophetsa used to perform tawaf with the men?’ (Ibn Juraij states), ‘I said, ‘Was this before decreeing of the use of the hijab or after it? Ata took an oath and said, ‘I saw it after the revelation of the commandment regarding hijab.’ I said, ‘How did they mix with the men?’ Ata said, ‘The women never mixed with the men, and Aishara used to perform tawaf separately, at a distance, and never mixed with men. Once it so happened that Aishara was performing the tawaf and a woman said to her, ‘O Mother of Believers! Let us kiss the Black Stone.’ Aishara said to her, ‘Go yourself,’ and she herself refused to do so. (The ladies) used to come out at night in disguise and used to perform tawaf with men (without being recognised). However, whenever they intended to enter the Kaaba, they would stay outside until the men had gone out.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-hajj, Bab tawafi n-nisa’i ma‘a r-rijal)

“Apart from this, there also seems to have been this wisdom in the condition that the sharia had initially set for a woman to have a mahram [close male relative] with her during Hajj and ‘umrah, that when there is a large crowd of people, a lady’s mahram may assist her by clasping her hand, and may shield her from the throng.”

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