*NOTE – 1:* Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
That is because a woman may be a source of fitnah, a donkey may bray and a dog may be frightening, and the one who thinks about that may become so distracted that his prayer is interrupted and spoiled. Because these things could lead to interruption of the prayer, they are described as interrupting it.
End quote from al-Mufhim lima ashkala min Talkhees Saheeh Muslim (2/109)
Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said, after mentioning a similar interpretation:
It would be more correct to say, instead of this interpretation: because the worshipper is focusing on conversing with Allah, and he is very close to Him, the worshipper is instructed to take precautions against the Shaytaan interfering in this private conversation and closeness to Allah. Therefore it is prescribed to use a sutrah (screen) to guard against the interference of the Shaytaan when praying, because, in this situation, he will try to interrupt the worshipper who is conversing with his Lord. As the Shaytaan is cursed and expelled far away from the Divine presence, if he comes close to the worshippers, that would lead to taking the worshipper away from his Lord and interrupt his conversing with his Lord.
It is for this reason – and Allah knows best – that these three are singled out for taking precautions against them. They are:
Women – because women are the traps of the Shaytaan, and when a woman goes out of her house, the hopes of the Shaytaan are raised; the Shaytaan sought to bring about the expulsion of Adam from Paradise by means of women.
The black dog is a devil, as is stated in the hadeeth.
The same applies to donkeys, hence one is to seek refuge with Allah when hearing the voice of a donkey in the night, because it has seen the Shaytaan.
Hence the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed the worshipper to draw close to the sutrah (screen), lest the Shaytaan interrupt his prayer. But that does not necessarily mean that the prayer is invalidated and must be repeated, and Allah knows best. Rather it detracts from the prayer, as was stated by the Sahaabah such as ‘Umar and Ibn Mas‘ood – as is mentioned above about a man passing in front of a worshipper: the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed him to shove him and fight him, and he said, “for he is nothing but a devil”; according to another report, he said: “for he has the qareen with him.” But the interruption that is caused by the passing of these animals which are particularly associated with the Shaytaan is greater. This is what is meant by interrupting the prayer; it does not mean that it is rendered invalid and must be repeated. And Allah knows best.
End quote from Fath al-Baari by Ibn Rajab (4/135)
*NOTE – 2:*
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Women are the twin halves of men.”
Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (113); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood (234).
Al-Khattaabi said: The words “Women are the twin halves of men” mean they are their peers and are like them in physical makeup and attitude, so it as if they are the twins of men.
In terms of fiqh, this indicates that whenever something is stated in the masculine, it is also addressed to women, except in specific cases where there is evidence to indicate that they are exclusive (to men).
End quote from Ma‘aalim as-Sunan (1/79)