Topic #14: Is there any difference between the way men and women should offer salah (namaaz)?
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, refuting the view of the fuqaha’ that “women should not spread their arms out, rather they should keep them close to their sides and when they prostrate they should press their stomachs to their thighs and their thighs to their calves (The calf is the back portion of the lower leg) because they should conceal themselves, and compressing themselves is more concealing than spreading out.”
However, the majority of scholars have suggested that the way in which women pray is the same as the way in which men pray in every part of the prayer, prostration, sitting, and so on.
This is based on the following evidence:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Pray as you have seen me praying.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari.
This is addressed to both men and women.
Some of the scholars are of the view that men and women should pray differently, and they quote a number of hadiths as evidence for that, but these are all da’eef (weak) and cannot be taken as evidence.
If we assume that a woman is praying in a public place where men may see her, such as in the Haram in Makkah, or in a park – if she has to pray there – then she should be careful with regard to every action that may lead to uncovering any part of her, and take extra precautions in this case.
And Allah knows best!