What Are the Differences between Men and Women in Prayer? (Hanafi)

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


What is the difference between a man’s and a woman’s prayer in the Hanafi school? Would it be invalid for a man to pray like a woman or vice versa?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The differences between men and women in prayer relate to optimality, not validity.

In short:

  • When standing, women place their hands on their chests;
  • In bowing, they bow only slightly, enough for their hands to reach their knees while keeping arms close to their bodies;
  • In prostration, they keep their body close together, rather than spreading out, with arms on the ground;
  • In the sitting, it is best for them to keep both legs on the right of the body.

And Allah alone gives success.

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.