Participation of Sisters in Prayer from an adjoining Hall

Mar 2, 2024 | Salat (Prayer)


Respected Muftiyan Kiraam,
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, We pray our Istiftaa find you in the best of all things
We are writing to seek your esteemed guidance on a matter concerning the participation of sisters in congregational prayers held in a new hall adjoining our mosque premises. With Ramadan beginning in just a few days, the matter in question has arisen and made it difficult for us to plan for the blessed month.
The hall is leased (on a 125-year lease) and therefore may not be considered formally part of the Masjid from a Fiqh perspective and we are under the impression this may have a bearing on some rulings. We will provide some details below.
Our mosque recently acquired a new hall adjoining to our current premises. For the month of Ramadan, we wish to designate that hall for the women. The only alternative space for them would be the upstairs of the Masjid but many of the women who attend are elderly and find it difficult to climb up stairs.
For most of the prayer, the men’s rows are unlikely to reach the back of the Masjid premises and there is hence likely to be a gap of several metres between the final men’s row and the first women’s row. The first women’s row will be in the new, adjoining building.
We have attached an annotated satellite image to help you understand the scenario. You can find the Masjid on maps using the following link. Google has it listed as “Enfield Islamic Centre”, although the legal name is Jalalia Jamme Masjeed Enfield
– On the bottom right, you have the 3-storey original Masjid building in which the imam and the majority of the congregation stand.
– Thereafter, circled in blue, is an outdoor yard which the Masjid recently purchased as freehold. There are plans for there to be an extension build on this land in the future with new washing facilities and some prayer space. For the month of Ramadan, a temporary marquee will be placed upon this land which is likely to have men praying in it during the Isha Fard and during the first 8 Rakats of Tarawih. For the remainder of the Tarawih, and the rest of the daily prayers, it’s not likely there will be anyone praying in that area as it is likely to be cold and there will be space inside for people to pray.
– On the left-hand side, adjoining that land, is a building mainly consisting of flats. Part of the ground floor is a hall which the Masjid has purchased a 125-year lease for. This is the area which the main question is related to. The Masjid’s outdoor yard (which it owns freehold) adjoins the new hall, but there is a gap of more than 13 metres between the existing building and the new hall which, in Ramadan, will be covered by a tent.

In light of this situation, we humbly request your expert opinion on the following:
1. Can this leased hall be considered part of the Shar’iyy Masjid
2. Is it permissible for sisters to join the congregation from the new, adjoining hall, even if the prayer rows have not extended up to where the new hall begins (i.e.,
when the marquee area is empty or only has limited rows?
3. What would be the criteria for the prayers in the new hall to be valid in congregation
with the masjid Jama’ah?
4. Would it be permissible for people in I’tikaf to enter the new hall to, for example,
consume iftar?
We kindly seek your guidance and scholarly expertise to help us understand the Islamic rulings and principles applicable to this matter. Your insights will greatly assist us in ensuring that our congregational prayers adhere to the teachings of Islam while accommodating the needs of our community.
We will be very grateful if you can guide us on this matter with some urgency so we may prepare for Ramadan in good time.


As you rightly mention, the leased hall is not formally part of the masjid, rather it is considered a generic prayer hall (musalla), and so the rulings of a masjid do not apply to it. The people performing i’tikaf in the masjid cannot exit it to eat in the new hall. They must eat in the masjid and this should be facilitated for them.[1]

The criteria to validly pray behind the imam is that the follower must be in the same place (ittihad al-makan) as the imam either actually by the rows being directly behind him, or effectively, such as the followers in an adjacent room to where the imam is standing. Another condition is that they must be able to follow the imam whether that is directly or indirectly, i.e., they are able to hear or see the imam, or they are able to hear or see the rows behind the imam.[2]

In the scenario in question, because the new hall and the masjid are two separate buildings, in order for the women and the imam to be considered in the same place, the rows must connect from the imam and extend outside to the new hall; only then will their following of the imam be valid.[3] Thus, if the rows do not connect to the hall, it would not be valid for them to follow the imam from there, even if they are able to hear and see the imam via a speaker and screen, and this is the view held by the majority of scholars across the schools of Islamic law, with the exception of the Maliki school.

[1] البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق (2/ 326): (قوله: وأكله ‌وشربه ‌ونومه ‌ومبايعته فيه) يعني يفعل المعتكف هذه الأشياء في المسجد فإن خرج لأجلها بطل اعتكافه؛ لأنه لا ضرورة إلى الخروج حيث جازت فيه

[2] الدر المختار شرح تنوير الأبصار (ص80): (‌والحائل ‌لا ‌يمنع) ‌الاقتداء (‌إن ‌لم ‌يشتبه ‌حال ‌إمامه) ‌بسماع أو رؤية، ولو من باب مشبك يمنع الوصول في الاصح (ولم يختلف المكان) حقيقة كمسجد وبيت في الاصح، قنية. ولا حكما عند اتصال الصفوف، ولو اقتدى من سطح داره المتصلة بالمسجد لم يجز لاختلاف المكان، درر وبحر وغيرهما، وأقره المصنف لكن تعقبه في الشرنبلالية، ونقل عن البرهان وغيره أن الصحيح اعتبار الاشتباه فقط. قلت: وفي الاشباه وزواهر الجواهر ومفتاح السعادة أنه الاصح. وفي النهر عن الزاد أنه اختيار جماعة من المتأخرين

رد المحتار (1/ 586): (قوله ولم يختلف المكان) أي مكان المقتدي والإمام. وحاصله أنه اشترط عدم الاشتباه وعدم اختلاف المكان، ومفهومه أنه لو وجد كل من الاشتباه والاختلاف أو أحدهما فقط منع الاقتداء، لكن المنع باختلاف المكان

[3] رد المحتار (1/ 586): (قوله عند اتصال الصفوف) أي في الطريق أو على جسر النهر، فإنه مع وجود النهر أو الطريق يختلف المكان، وعند اتصال الصفوف يصير المكان واحدا حكما فلا يمنع

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel