Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Remedying the Female Mosque Experience

I imagine an event where the men sit in the women's room and the women sit in the men's room. An event where women may go to the mosque and worship in huge halls while men are crowded together into back rooms. An event where women can sit and read quran or make dhikr in peace while men contend with hyperactive children and screaming babies.

I imagine an event where the most knowledgeable woman in the community ascends the membar and delivers a lecture on the rights of women in Islam while men sit behind the wall and listen through an intermittent sound system. An event where sisters gather around free to voice their questions, and their concerns while the men pass their questions foreword on hand written notes.

I imagine an event where women sit around and sip tea and socialize while men prepare the meal.


Omar said...

As a Muslim brother, I am very thankful for how you described in acute and detailed manner what you Muslim sisters put up with day in day out. You hit it bulls eye, but with a humorous tone. When I originally read your blog, I kept saying to myself "well, we outnumber the women by 20:1, what you expect us to do?" However, I sincerely appreciate your effort in changing my perception FOREVER :) Keep up the good writing. Salaam.

Anonymous said...

Sister you put it so well. Not to mention on days when the weather is topping 100 degrees and there is no windows or fans for women while the men sit with breezes from the doors being open. I think it boils down to ADAB. The world is watching, and its not good feedback. People always want to know if Muslim women are abused not abused but perhaps neglected?

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Great post! This is a really big issue, and I think it stops a lot of women from going to the mosque regularly. Loving your blog :)

Brooke said...

In two words, you're right. The system should be improved. But in defense of the Muslim community, men do outnumber women and they are the ones required to attend the mosque on Fridays if not daily. Perhaps the real problem is that most mosques don't seem to be large enough (good problem?).

The thing about the kids is true for sure but I've really only noticed it being disturbing during Ramadan and such. But what can you do? I know a lot of the kids do wander into the men's section at times.

As far as women being behind a wall... in a lot of ways I don't like it. I think it would be sufficient for us to simply be behind the brothers. However, it does insure some privacy if we want to do things that can't be done around men i.e. relax the hijab, etc. But some mosques have balcanies or two way mirrors for sisters which works really well.

And lastly, the cooking. Yeah... that's culture and for sure messed up but I know at my mosque back home the men and women take turns and/or share the work.
Also, for what it's worth when I was a Christian the women were almost always exclusively the only ones doing the cooking for events as well so I think it's definitely a world-wide cultural phenomenon.

Just my 2 cents (actually this might have been more like $1.50 but whatever).

Thanks for your post :)

Anonymous said...

About time! Thank God someone has finally mentioned this. As a Muslim women, I sometimes get a sub-concious vibe as if the community is doing the females a huge favor by having them enter the premises of mosques. As if religious activity should be subservient to our roles as homemakers.