Page url: http://www.soundvision.com/info/women/womeninmasjid.asp
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Sarah Al-Marri, Tacoma WA - wrote on 9/16/2004 3:12:29 PM
Comment:This was a very wonderful article. It adressed all of my concerns. The mosque i attend in Tacoma is extremely segregated and sexest! On the commity their it is all men and the men are not willing to talk to the women and if they do they do they don't take us seriousaly. I want to make a change at this mosque but i don't know how to start! I will really appreciate some feedback.
S.E., Raleigh NC - wrote on 9/2/2004 3:56:19 PM
Comment:The article is very good. I just want to suggest that woman should take more responsibility for controlling themselves and their children in the mosque. I get frustrated with the noise the women and children make when I am trying to hear a khutba, and yes, it discourages me from going to the masjid. Another suggestion is to have a muslim women's gym in the community. I know alot of women who would love something like that.
Khulud, Toronto - wrote on 8/28/2004 10:15:37 PM
Comment:Masha Allah this is a wonderful article, and I like two of the suggestions made by the Shaikh. One being to re-establish the mosques like the way they were during the prophet's time. Obviously, rasulullah(saw) did not seclude the women from the community and he was more than ready to hear their complaints and take their suggestions into consideration. The secluding of women has more to do with people's interpretations, the overemphasis placed on sexuality in Islam and the desire for men to dominate. Second if the women feel that not enough space is allocated to them then they should get their own spaces where they can lead their own prayers. The mosques that I attended in Toronto, were very clean and there was reasonable space for the sisters, but the one that I went to the most often did not have any women in the shura. There was active segregation and exclusion. The sisters were told their voices were 'awrah, so obviously no one would be able to complain like the way some of the sisters who commented here did. There were also times were the women were encouraged to stay at home rather than coming to the mosque, and walahu alam.
medina sadiq, NYC - wrote on 8/25/2004 4:42:42 PM
Comment:this was one of the most comprehensive articles I have seen on this issue-ever. I am sending it to many of my sister friends to see if we can do something more than just remove ourselves from these environments that many of us have just given up on. thank you for this wonderful article.
Shymaa, Gig Harbor - wrote on 8/24/2004 7:14:36 PM
Comment:as salaamu aleikum
Jazak Allah khair brother Abdul Malik Mujahid and sister Munira.
One aspect of the seperate women's quarters is LACK OF ACCOUNTABLITY...and people wonder why sisters talk, wear perfume, don't dress property and let their kids run rampant...
May Allah guide us all and forgive us our shortcomings. Ameen.
We are left to feel forgotten, swept under the carpet, put aside, excluded from the Ummah.
Another issue is the sense of hearing. I'm a visual person. Not all of us have perfect hearing. With any type of background noise, I can't hear conversations. Even with the dreaded sound-systems that sisters are often subject to, I often NEED to SEE the imam, so that I can read his lips and see his body gestures.
What if I was totally deaf? Then what? CCTV? I can stay home and watch a kutbah on the internet if I wanted to see one on a screen.
One time I got fed up. In the mosque, I opened the curtain. A brother actually came by and shut it on me! I immediately popped up and opened it again.
I have never attended another Jummah Khutbah since. I have cut myself off from the Ummah because of the way I, as a woman, have been treated at the Jummah Salat and in general.
Had I known Muslims before becoming one myself, had I known what happens to women in mosques, I probably, and Allah knows Best, never would have said the shahada.
Munira, Seattle - wrote on 8/21/2004 3:46:20 PM
Comment:All sisters who wish to organize and participate in a Seattle Sister's Caucus based on Adbul Malik Mujahid's below recommendations - and our own additions - please email me. I wish to organize such an event, with the precursor a gathering or series of gatherings of our nearby Sisters where wecan compile a document that can, insha'allah, serve as a basis for dialogue with the greater Seattle communities and those-in-charge of masajid organization, for the realization of shared participation in governance ofour affairs, to the end of facilitating for our local women a holy and refreshing masjid experience.
This is the first khutba, in my five years of being a Muslim, that resonates with me, an American convert to Islam. With a tender heart towards all people and things Muslim, at first I attended Jummah, maybe for eight months or so at a foreign-based masjid, surrounded by ceiling height soiled old cast-off drapes - in a space that faced the entrance to the women's restroom, and then stopped because of the miserable conditions of the masjid: women sprawled all over the floor during khutba, women talking,
children playing (even with adults) loudly and walking over us as we prayed (not babies,, but older preschoolers), dirty carpet, abandoned vehicle stuffed with goods parked on the lawn which wasn't mowed until a sister brought her own lawnmower and cut the grass herself.
There were dirty and water stained walls, horrible old stuffed office dividers that cut off air circulation in a small space, one prayer line that extends right *over the 3' in-the-floor air vent so in Winter it blows a wind of hot air right in one's face (especially in sujud), not even a television screen, but often a speaker that malfunctioned so we guessed when we were supposed to move.
One masjid had cockroaches on the wall during Iftar. Women's bathrooms were locked so a sister had to go find a brother in charge to unlock it. If a woman needed a chair it was a big deal to find a brother who would even listen to her request.
Khutbas, for the most part, have covered simple basic topics that one would expect Muslims to have learned long ago. Khutbas are geared for immigrants, often referencing "we" and "us" to the foreigners in America, totally leaving out American converts, and ignoring current living situations and political affairs. Occasionally a shiny khutba would emerge from the mouth of a fluent English speaker with profound awareness of the contemporary life in America and abroad.
This can be a treacherous time for Muslim women to walk along the sidewalks, stand in grocery lines, attend public events held in the evening. Just this past Sunday an American man came rapidly up to me with his finger
outstretched - his arm thrust as if to poke me in the eye right through my sunglasses - this, in a peaceful public space populated by crowds of apparently happy people. He did it once (it shocked me so much I didn't react at all) and circled around and did it again. He didn't say a word, but
the threat was implicit in the action. If I were truly a part of the local masjid (nearly every, and maybe every, woman speaks a foreign language in common and they talk among themselves; I introduce myself, we greet, and they resume their other conversation with what is obviously a tight ethnic group) there would be a natural place where I would convey to others this miserable experience on Sunday.
I feel rejected in the masjid as a women of scant import,
as long as the Khutbas don't touch me, and the facilities are separate and unequal during prayers which are sometimes silent, and the people in charge maintain third world standards of building hygiene, and many of my sisters fail to show respect for salat *and let their children trample the peace;
as long as I am handed a soiled plate and sticky jug of soda at Iftar as an afterthought because the men forgot about the women waiting to eat - all the food was on the men's side - and the entry to the masjid is clogged by a 4' x 5' solid tumble of shoes -my heart aches for the respectful and cleansurrounds of former places of worship.
I need at least a large hook on the wall so I can hang my long raincoat and my umbrella; I need enough secure space so I can deposit my purse or bag or books before prayer, confident that it will remain untouched during salat.
The whole concept of being a single Muslim woman in America is something that appears to be outside the realm of consciousness of so many a masjid leadership. I am an educated woman; I have a terminal degree in my field. I
support Abdul Malik Mujahid's call for a Muslim Women's Caucus; I'm ready to climb aboard the bus. I am tired of being a stranger in my own land, yet yearn for the connectedness, for the soil of respect for my
decision-making/input capabilities, to hold the roots of my Islam, so the tree of my journey to The Path will grow strong and true with consistent and regular doses of the just-right-fertilizer from jummahs and community salat
and khutbas and strategizing in tune with this life we lead right here in America.
Haya, MA, USA - wrote on 8/18/2004 4:28:39 PM
i really like the core of the article which addresses the concerns of women not having enough space in the masjid. it's true that most places do not allocate enough space, dont deem it important and dont care if the women are comfortable or not. it's not just a secondary concern, it's not a concern at all. they are there to help out after the occassions and take care of the children. the women dont get to hear anything because of the noise of the children and after sometime they just dont want to attend the sermons. thats what happened to me. while i'm all for better sound system, a bigger space and more involvement in the community matters i am not so happy about the suggestion that men and women pray together without any barriers. i am sorry but we cannot compare the men of today with the like of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the sahaaba. or the women of today with those of the early times of Islam. We have to admit that theres a difference. a big one.
I am an educated muslim woman with a job and family and with a good moral character but i do not adhere to the islamic dress code for women, ie. the hijab which is mandatory. just because i dont do it does not mean that it isnt an obligation. i have been to the mosques in the USA. i only moved here a couple of years ago and i havent been so thrilled at the no barrier mosques. the women wear full makeup,chiffon and goergette dresses, short sleeves, dont cover their heads, and are loud. very very loud. one cant hear anything at the back. in these cases men dont get to benefit either.
i understand the need to show that women's rights are upheld in Islam but this isnt the only way. all over middle east there are seperate sections for women and i havent seen anyone complain. in the US people are just trying too hard to please the westerners and in doing so are forgetting the true essence of Islam.
abc, east coast - wrote on 8/18/2004 1:22:45 PM
Comment:Assalam'alyakum, I think many legitimate issues were brought up, such as when the women are totally cordoned off, soemtimes that raises the noise level because women arent' really participating, which then causes tension to rise when the women are asked to be 'quiet' please as if 'gosh they always talk so much'. And yes its true, if they have a queston or feedback, they are then automatically intmidated to say anything. And its quite annoying for the sisters who were trying to listen from the very beginning.
However, I think sometimes 'having no separation' etc can go too far in the sense that while having no separation is fine, what needs to be stressed also is the dress code of men and women and their behavior because the Prophet's (saw) mosque had no separation but the men and women also acted much differently than today. So the coin has two sides and both need to be stressed. We cannot stress the 'no separation' and then have people dress and behave very inappropriately in the mosque and never really address that issue.
Cuz if the men and women continue to behave and dress inappropriately, and we still stress 'no separation', that is just going to further fitna in the mosque, and not necessarily the sunnah.
Fatimah, Fayetteville,NC - wrote on 8/18/2004 10:49:23 AM
Comment:Asalamu-alakum brother,may Allah bless you for your khutba.I agreed with you,even you didn`t say what Hadidh and Narrow you were talking about in your Khutba. you talked about one side of the story,You shoud pay attention when you go to a Mosque were women pray in the same place with men,and see women dressed and sitting in an unrespectful manner ,atractting the men atention
Sonya, Birmingham, AL - wrote on 8/10/2004 10:18:59 AM
Comment:As Salaam Alaikum. I enjoyed this article. I was born in this country, and I was raised to believe that women are just as talented and gifted as men. Women can offer a greater service to our families and society when we are educated and allowed to express the gifts that Allah gave us to glorify Him. It is also hard for Muslim mothers to really teach love of Islam to our children, when deep inside we are treated as second class human beings in the name of Islam. As women, we have to demand our rights from the men. We must not allow anyone to take from us what Allah has already given us. Brother, May Allah bless you for your courage and sincere concern for women.
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