Women Praying Under or Above the Mosque
By Shaykh Muhammad Naasirud Deen al-Albaanee
there are some mosques where the women pray under the mosque, in a
basement level or above the mosque on another floor. And we women
sometimes pray in these mosques, following the imaam from where we cannot see the imaam,
nor the followers, and sometimes there is a large empty space in the
area where the men pray. Is such praying of ours acceptable, especially
when we cannot see the imaam, nor any of the followers? Sometimes when we enter the mosque we do not know which raka'ah (unit of prayer) he is in. So is it permissible in this situation to follow the takbeer by the voice only? Is it permissible for us to follow the imaam while we are on a lower or upper floor, knowing that there is sometimes space remaining in the mosque itself?
The answer consists of two parts:
in such circumstances is acceptable wherever the women pray in the
mosque, whether that is in an upper or lower floor. As long as they
hear the takbeeraat of the imaam in the standing position, in the bowing position and in the prostration.
is no reason for the women to have to perform their prayer like this,
except when the area of the men is too crowded and there is no room for
the women's prayer behind them. In this case, it is allowed for them to
pray on an upper or lower floor. But when this mosque, where the imaam,
prays with the men behind him, has a lot of space left in it, then it
is not permissible for the women to go to up to an upper floor or to go
down to a lower floor where they will not see the movement of the imaam, nor the movements of the followers. There are two reasons for this:
The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam)
said: "The best lines for the men are those in the front, the worst
lines are the last and the best lines for the women are at the rear and
the worst are at the front." Here he means the ground upon which the
Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions prayed, whereas the women were not on an upper or lower floor.
reason for this is that the voice could sometimes be soft and at other
times completely unheard so that the prayer of the followers on the
upper or lower floor who cannot see the people behind the imaam praying in vulnerable to becoming void.
to summarise this answer, the prayer in an upper or lower level is
acceptable, but it is not allowed to designate such a place for prayer
when there is clearly enough space in the men's musallaa (designated place of prayer) that the women can pray in the back behind them.