Muslims pray five times a day, using this time to remind themselves of God's presence. Prayer, known as Salaat in Arabic, serves as a reminder for Muslims to act righteously and to avoid evil. As such, this is a custom that is opened to both men and women alike.
Benefits of Prayer
While not an obligation as it is for men, pray is considered a holy act that is encouraged for women to participate in as well. Muslim women are asked to pray as a daily exercise of gratitude, thanking God for the abundance of goodness in their lives. Muslims believe they can glean guidance during difficult times in their lives, and they can seek help in making complicated decisions through the prayer service as well.
When Women Should Not Pray
Seen as a holy endeavor, prayer is discouraged during a woman's monthly cycle. This is because Muslims believe that the woman is spiritually unclean during this time and not in the appropriate state for addressing God in his holiness. Muslim women do not enter a house of prayer during menstruation. The same holds true for a woman after childbirth. Opinions vary as to the length of time after childbirth a woman has to wait. The two most common opinions are 40 or 60 days. If bleeding ceases before this, she can ritually cleanse and offer prayer.
Prayer is separate for men and women in Muslim services. Women general sit in the back rows, while men sit in the front. During the prayer service, women cover their heads and bodies entirely except the hands and face. These coverings are meant to conceal the color of the skin and the shape of the body at all times during prayer as an act of modesty. Women are allowed but are not obligated to pray the Friday prayer due to their many household obligations on this day.
Differences Between Men And Women In Prayer
The Islamic religion has many differences between men and women, but prayer is not one of those areas. Aside from a few minor alternations, the mode of prayer for women is similar to men's in the Islamic culture, varying only in posture and concealment. Women must conceal their entire bodies except the hands and face, while men must cover from their navels until below the knees. Coverings must be opaque so the skin and hair color is fully concealed. Women only bow enough so their hands reach their knees, and limbs should be kept close to their bodies for modesty. Women stand behind men when praying in the same area, not in line with them, and women do not lead prayers in any congregation.
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