As commonly stated in the jurisprudence literature, the concept of shaf arrangement that is recommended in congregational prayer is sequentially starting from adult men, small children, and the last shaf occupied by women. So, when the provisions of the arrangement of the shaf with such formations are violated, then punishable makruh which will affect the loss of worshipers from the prayer rituals conducted in congregation.
Explanation of women occupying the last shaf position based on hadith:
خير صفوف الرجال أولها وشرها آخرها وخير صفوف النساء آخرها وشرها أولها (رواه مسلم) ـ
“The best shaf for men is the earliest shaf, while the shaf which is the worst for them is the last shaf. And the best shaf for women is the last shaf, while the worst shaf for them is the earliest shaf. “(Narrated by Muslim)
The meaning of the” worst shaf “editor in the hadith above is that occupy the shaf get the least reward and are considered to keep away from the recommendations of syara.
But the proper thing to look more deeply at, is the meaning of the hadith above is general and whole of all the shaf that apply in prayer in congregation? Or is it only special, because there is a certain illat (cause or basic reason) underlying the woman is recommended to be in the back of the shaf? Given the reality that is often done in society, the position of the female shaf is on the right or left side of male worshipers who occupy different spaces or are separated by satirical [barrier] (barrier) between female worshipers and male worshipers, so that pilgrims this woman parallels the male prayer line in prayer in congregation.
After being examined in depth, it turns out that the thing that underlies the placement of female shaf at the end is due to the context of the prayer congregation in the hadith above when men and women are in one and the same place (ikhtilath). So when women are in the initial shaf, they are automatically side by side with male worshipers and this is clearly considered inappropriate. Therefore, women are encouraged to stay away from male worshipers by occupying the backmost shaf in order to avoid slander and prohibition of mixing men and women in one room.
So that when women pray in congregation they are in a separate room or separated by a barrier that prevents the view of male worshipers from female worshipers, so in such circumstances, the position of the most important shaf for women is the earliest shaf, because illat (the underlying reason for a law) kesunnahan occupies the backmost shaf for women in the form of avoiding slander and mixing with men in one place, in this situation the illat has not existed, so the resulting law is different. Such provisions as described in the book of Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan :
خير صفوف الرجال أولها وشرها آخرها وخير صفوف النساء آخرها وشرها أولها قال في فتح القريب هذا ليس على عمومه بل محمول على ما إذا اختلطن بالرجال فإذا صلين متميزات لا مع الرجال فهن كالرجال ومن صلى منهن في جانب بعيد عن الرجال فأول صفوفهن خير لزوال العلة والمراد بشر الصفوف في الرجال والنساء كونها أقل ثوابا وفضلا وأبعدها عن مطلوب الشرع وخيرها بعكسه
“Shaf is best for men are rows the earliest, while the worst shaf for them is the last shaf. And the best shaf for women is the last shaf, while the worst shaf for them is the earliest shaf. In the Fath al-Qarib book, it is explained that this hadith is not as meaningful as its generality but is directed when women gather together with men (in congregational prayers). When women pray separately, they are not with men, so in this case they are like men (in the case of the most important shaf is the shaf in front).
Women who pray in places far from the reach of worshipers men then the initial shaf for the woman is the best shaf, because of the loss of god (the reason underlying a law). the meaning of “as bad as the shaf for men and women” that occupying the shaf gets the least reward and is considered to be far from the syara recommendation, while the best thing is the opposite. “(Sheikh Isma'il Haqi bin Mushtafa al-Hanafi , Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan juz 4, p. 303)
Based on these references, the tradition that is often carried out in the community in the form of placement of shaf for women who are at the beginning of prayer in congregation is the right thing and not to be blamed, it is even recommended.
Thus it can be concluded that the origin of the female congregation's shaf in prayer in congregation occupies the last position of the shaf, according to the explanation contained in the hadith. However, this recommendation only applies when men and women are in one place without separators. So that when female worshipers are in a different place and separate from male worshipers, the initial shaf is the most recommended shaf for them, as well as the shaf provisions recommended for men. Allah knows .
(Ustadz Ali Zainal Abidin)
This Article was Published On: NU Online
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