Browsing "islam op-eds"
Dec 14, 2012 - islam op-eds    Comments Off



I read this little essay/love letter/epiphany/reflection-not sure what it is really… going around the interwebs recently: The interesting thing is all the comments were like ‘this is a fantasy’ ‘what is this garbage’ ‘no one has relationships like this’. Well perhaps true. But I like the sentiment and feeling evoked. Perhaps not everyone will achieve this romantic kind of love, but they feel kinds of it from their parents, their friends, their children, even from Allah (swt). Everyone deserves love. And everyone should believe they DESERVE love.

Allah has love for each person, regardless of the gravity of their sins. Regardless of their actions and thoughts toward Him. Every day we say ‘Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem’. Many scholars believe one of the names here is a general Rahma translated as MERCY, COMPASSION _AND_ LOVE towards ALL creatures, Muslim or non-Muslim. The other is a specific love He has for the Believers.

So Allah (swt) does love us. How happy is He when we turn to Him, even in our darkest hours of despair. We are showing our dependence and trust in Him. And that is returning our love to Him.

Reading about Muslims and non-Muslims who have committed suicide recently is truly heartbreaking.

Both Reem and Jacintha lost the faith they both should have had as a Muslim and Catholic respectively. I am sure mental illness and extremely desolate circumstances added to their despair.

We always need to remind ourselves that Allah does not test us more than we can bear. That there is relief with every hardship and that this life is only temporary. Allah does love us despite any horrible things we have done or have thought or the difficult circumstances of our life. We need to hold on to that love and never let go.

As Sh. Suhaib Webb recently tweeted, “While there’s life there’s hope.”


Jun 2, 2012 - islam op-eds    11 Comments

Equal access to Mosques

One thing that I never understand is why brothers don’t get why sisters want to be in the Mosque. Why do we want equal access? Why do we want to go there to pray? Why do we want to hold classes there? Or do learning or social things there? It’s like Duh? Why do we even have to explain this? Just like for men, the Mosque is the center of our spirituality, the center of our learning, the center of our community. Why do brothers want to cut us off from this?

And then in the same breath they will criticize sisters for ‘causing fitnah’, ‘not dressing appropriately’, ‘hanging out with non-muslims’, ‘being feminists’ and whatever blah blah myriad of a million complaints.

I would like just for one day, every Mosque in the US to actually do a switch and have the men go to the ‘women’s section’ and the women go to the men’s! I wonder if they’d find it irritating to find parking in the back and look for the right back door to enter. And then going down maze like hallways to a tiny stuffed room usually in a basement (with no a/c) filled with a ton of kids and ppl with (if you’re lucky) a tv screen with sub-par speaker system blaring the prayer or dars. Then they should also endeavor to have an iftar for 100+ women and kids in there and then pray in the same place on top of dropped rice and salan for taraweeh with a ton of screaming kids and distractions.

And YET STILL women love to go to the Mosque! How amazing is that.

I wonder if this would change any of their perspectives? Probably not for most. They’d still believe “women don’t need to go to the Mosque” and if they do go “they’re a fitnah”.

Sometimes it *is* just easier to stay at home and watch TV or go to the Mall or a restaurant or basically any other place in the world. Everything in every other place is open to everyone equally. Every other place has our convenience in mind, not just men’s.

Some of the best Mosques I’ve been to were built in the late 70s or early 80s. These were our fresh faced parents who came here to study or as young professionals who built these mosques with their families and their kids in mind. There was usually ONE door that everyone would enter through as a family including ONE door to the Musallah area which would be divided by something very simple. Seating in the dining area might be gender based but it would be open to everyone and you could see everyone. All the rooms were open and shared. And the Mosque was thought of as a community space.

Today in most Mosques, even the mega Mosques being built for the future, everything is so carefully divided, huge walls are built, separate entrances, separate doors, separate rooms, separate eating areas, completely separate prayer areas even with big screen tvs or balconies separate us from the worship going on. There is such heightened segregation as a reaction to I’m not sure what? Fears of oversexualization? That we’ll turn into beasts? That people will come to the Mosques for the wrong reasons – like to meet someone for marriage? I mean I don’t even know what they’re trying to prevent here.

They want to make it so you don’t even ever SEE a woman at the Mosque.

It just makes me sad. Most women are extremely intimidated by all these barriers. Why should they come to the Mosque to hear a class through tiny speakers that are competing with crying babies. Why should they come to pray when they just see the tiny back of the Imam through a TV screen. (They can sit at home and watch an even better prayer at the Haram on Saudi channel1!) An entrance in a back alley, one sister told me, is the reason she never comes to the Mosque. They can’t even change their babies or find a place to nurse them or a safe place where their kids can play. Why is a woman going to the Mosque to pray Maghrib seen as a ‘feminist’ or ‘loose’ or something!

Really I’m going to just straight up ask, why should women even go to the Mosque? Cuz there’s just nothing there for them.

It’s not “ours”. It belongs to someone else and we’re not welcome there is the message most Mosques are giving women. Let’s ask ourselves if this is right, and not just “right” but is this something that would please Allah?