Does the hadith "a woman's prayer in her home is better..." apply to all women? Shaykh Muhammad al-Dado answers:
The more favorable opinion is that it does not apply to every woman. The Prophet peace be upon him 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 peace be upon him.
Authenticated hadiths tell us the Prophet peace be upon him said:
1) “Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from (entering) the Houses of Allah and they should go out unadorned.”
2) “If any woman puts perfume on, she should not pray with us the last 'Isha” (so as not to attract the attention of on-lookers). This indicates that it was their norm to pray 'Isha in the mosque.
3) 'Aisha said, “The women would pray Fajr with the Prophet peace be upon him, and they would return wrapped in their garments, unknown in the darkness” (Muwatta).
4)The Prophet peace be upon him ordered the men not to leave the masjid until the women did, indicating women were there praying.
5) He peace be upon him ordered the women not to rise form prostration until the men had risen in case the men’s privates became uncovered because many of the Prophet’s companions were poor and only wore garments that covered their navel to their knees. This indicates that they were there on a regular basis with no barrier between the men and women.
6) The Prophet peace be upon him 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, while the best of the women’s rows are the last and the worst are the first.
All these sound and confirmed narrations indicate that women also gain reward for praying in the masjid, as the men do. This is especially true when the masajid in our times have designated areas for women. During the Prophet’s peace be upon him time the men and women were not separated in the masjid; the women simply prayed in rows behind the men.
However, if going to and from the masjid or regularly being in a masjid alone with men would result in vulnerabilities, then praying at home becomes superior.