Q.    A shaikh who follows the tareeqah of Hadhrat Maulana Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh), but who is not  an Aalim, encourages females to attend university. He also invites women to attend his majaalis. He says that Hadhrat Thanvi also used to give bayaans to women. He points out that there are many benefits for women in his talks. Are his views  valid?

A. Regardless of the  perceived ‘benefits’ of the majaalis for females, it is not permissible to lure women from their homes to attend gatherings of any kind whatsoever. There is benefit in liquor and gambling as well. Everything on earth has both benefits and harms, advantages and disadvantages. Our criterion is the Shariah. The Fuqaha have emphasized this prohibition with clarity on the basis of the prohibition of females attending the Musjid despite the fact that  during the era of our Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) women were allowed to attend the Musjid.

The shaikh sahib lacks foresight and baseerat. Assuming that Hadhrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) did have  majaalis for women, then too, it in no way whatsoever cancels what the Fuqaha have ruled. The personal  amal  of Hadhrat Maulana Thanvi  does not abrogate any tenet of the Shariah. The  personal practice of Hadhrat Thanvi may not be presented as a daleel for  an act which is in conflict with the Shar’i view  which has reached us from the age of the Sahaabah.

A conflicting view/practice of an accepted Aalim/Wali shall be given a suitable interpretation, if possible, to reconcile it with the Shariah. If such an interpretation is not possible, it shall be set aside and not propagated   nor acted on. But never is it permissible to cite it as a daleel for any practice  which is in conflict with the Shariah.

The argument of “women would also come to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)” was better understood by the Sahaabah and the Aimmah Mujtahideen. Despite their awareness, they decreed that it is not permissible for women to emerge from their homes to participate in even the best and noblest gathering, namely, the Fardh Salaat, and at the best and noblest venue, namely the Musjid.

    We  are not aware  if women would attend the majaalis of Hadhrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh). Nevertheless, the final word is the Shariah, not the amal of any Wali/Buzrug/Mufti, which happens to be in conflict with the Shariah.

Even if there are separate facilities, women may not attend any majaalis. Furthermore, in our present age, almost all the women are able to read and write. There is literature available in abundance for Islamic learning. Almost all of them are experts with the computer. They write to Ulama for masaa-il. We as well as other Ulama receive innumerable letters from females on Deeni issues.


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