Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Separate But Equal?

Imagine an eager student anticipating a lecture by a prominent expert. This student, equipped with a notebook and pen, arrives early to ensure a place in the front row. Now imagine that the student is prohibited from entering the lecture hall; she needs to go to an adjacent, smaller room, where she will be able to watch the lecture from a grainy projection screen.

The disappointment, indignation and injustice felt by this enthusiastic student is exactly what I feel each time I go to the local mosque. I wish I could refer to it as “my mosque”; but the possessive pronoun implies a sense of ownership I cannot claim.


Aneebaba said...

Salaam Sis -

Yeah I here this from a lot of sisters online at least. During my recent trip home over the holidays, I asked one of the few sisters I know (family friend) about the condition of the women's section and just in brief, she they have the same carpet, etc and that she has not complaints.

But in the bigger picture, I do here lots of negative comments or calls for improvement. I know some ladies' sections have a TV screen so they can at least see the the Khateeb. The mosque I attend, the women's room is to our side, with a connecting door. I think they just hear the audio if I'm not mistaken.

I do feel that maybe with future generations, we can just all be in the same room - I would hope my fellow men are mature enough to deal with that. After all, in the Holiest of Mosques, men and women are together as we make the Tawaaf, as we are souls before Allah (swt).

I think the one issue that makes it tough for sisters is that they are the ones who have to deal with the little ones, running around and making noise, so I think that is one thing that will have to be taken into consideration if the one room plan is to reemerge as the standard. I think it is a worthwhile project for us next generation, and though I realize the sacrifice our parents' generation has made when they came to America, some of the cultural traditions need to go, in my opinion at least, in terms of the masjid and other aspects of life.

That is all. :-)

Jazak'Allahu Khairan for sharing this piece.

Meinhaj Hussain said...

Sallam sister,

I think that originally, during the time of the prophet (peace be upon him), women and men were in the same room with the women in the back rows during prayer. Women and men would meet in the masjid to do shared community work. I think (and Allah knows best) in this extra separation of the sexes. But I think that this is merely a symptom of a bigger problem. I think we need serious research in looking at what we did wrong in history to end up were we have.

Omar Rehmane said...

Looking at what we did wrong in order to improve?

Not exactly our strong point as Muslims...