Questioner: As for the rows for the women (during prayer), we said that the last one is the best especially if men are praying with them. If one of the women enters (the Masjid) and stands on the first row, then another one enters knowing that the last row is the best; can she (the latter) pray alone on the last row or should she join the one who is already standing on the first row?
Dr Sharof: All (perfect) praise is for Allaah (alone). A woman enters a Masjid wherein men are praying alongside women without a barrier between them and sees a person (a woman) standing on the first row, and she knows that standing on the last row is the best, should she stand alone on the last row, or stand with the one who entered before her, or pull her backwards?
What she should do is “Amr bil Ma’ruuf” (Enjoining what is right). She should pull her backwards so that both of them will stand on the back row, and she (the one standing on the first row) should not be obstinate to follow suit; then she should explain to her after the prayer.
But if she forbears and becomes obstinate, then there is no problem if the one who is knowledgeable acts upon her knowledge by standing alone on the last row. This is because (the hadeeth), “There is no prayer for the one who stands on his own behind the row” is only applicable to the men and not the women. (This is because) it was reported in the hadeeth of Anas Ibn Maalik (rodiyaLloohu ‘anhu) that the Prophet led Anas, a young boy who was with him, and ‘Umm Sulaym in prayer. ‘Umm Sulaym was standing alone (on a row) while Anas and the young boy stood behind the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam); ‘Umm Sulaym was standing (alone) behind them. So the statement regarding the nullification of the prayer of the one who stands on his own behind a row is applicable to the men and not the women. For this reason, the one who understands it should stand alone on the last row if the one praying on the first row does not comply with her.
[SOURCE: QA session during the explanation of Zaadul Ma’ad at Olohunsogo Masjid Ogbomoso; 2013]
Transcribed by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey