Answered by Shaykh Muhammad al-Hassan al-Dado | Translated and Abridged by SuhaibWebb.com
Some jurists say that the increased reward for praying in the masjid does not apply to women because of the known hadith, “A woman’s prayer in her house is better than in her courtyard, and her prayer in her own room is better than her prayer in the rest of the house” (reported by Abu Dawud). Does this hadith apply to all women?
The more favorable opinion is that it does not apply to every woman. The Prophet (ﷺ) told this to Umm Humayd Al-Sa`idiyyah, and it appears to be specifically pertaining to her because other women would pray Fajr and all the other prayers with the Prophet (ﷺ).
It is also confirmed that he said: “Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from (entering) the Houses of Allah and they should go out unadorned.” He also said: “If any woman puts perfume on, she should not pray with us the last `Isha’.” And, from the hadith of `Aisha in al-Muwatta’, “The women would pray Fajr with the Prophet (ﷺ), and they would return wrapped in their garments, unknown in the darkness.”
The Prophet would order the men not to leave the masjid until the women did, and he ordered the women not to rise up (after prostrating) until the men had sat down in case the men’s privates became uncovered (many of the Prophet’s companions were poor and only wore garments that covered their navel to their knees). He also left the last rows in the masjid for the women, and said that the best of the men’s rows are the first ones, and the worst are the last; and the best of the women’s rows are the last and the worst are the first.
So, all this indicates that women also gain more reward for praying in the masjid, just like men. This is especially true when the masajid in our times have designated areas for women. During the Prophet’s (ﷺ) time the men and women were not separated in the masjid; the women simply prayed in rows behind the men.