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Author Topic: S. African sisters petition to be allowed to attend Eid prayer!  (Read 3335 times)
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« on: Sep 27, 2009 06:01 AM »


We must get sister shahida to join these women!! mashaAllah go them... how can a fatwa committee bar women from eid salah anyway?? unbelievable. -- J.

Muslim female activists in South Africa lodged an appeal to allow more women to attend the Eid prayer

Muslim female activists who lodged an appeal in the last month to allow more women to attend the Eid salaah on Sunday have tasted some success after several months in the north of the country acceded to the request. Speaking to the Tuesday Debate, director of Ilm South Africa, Fatima Asmal, said the prohibition of women at the majority of mosques in the north did more harm than good. Her comments came after an outcry over the opinion of the Darul Igshan Islamic Service Society's Fatwa Department, deeming it impermissible for women to attend any congregational prayers, including the Eid salaah.     

The KZN perspective

"It would be incorrect to say that all mosques in Durban do not allow women to attend the salaah, but the majority of the masajied do not cater for women. I say to each sister her own, because there are women who don't believe they should be going to the mosque and prefer to stay at home, but there are also sisters who want to go to the mosque and find that they can't- and this is where the problem arises," said Asmal.

While there are limited mosques that do cater for Jumah salaah, Asmal said the major issue comes into play for the Eid salaah. "Here we have Eidgha's - which are open air salaahs held on the day of Eid. We have two major ones in Durban and neither of them caters for women. But, what is so strange is that this is the one salaah where the Rasool (SAW) said that all women, including the virgins and the ones without a jilbab - who should make a plan to borrow one from a sister - should be attending."

She added that even in the case of a traveller who has to break their travels to make salaah, in most cases the husband is allowed to go into the mosque and pray, but the women would have to wait in the car. According to Asmal, "a kind of Islamic revolution" is currently taking place, where a new generation of sisters are becoming more involved publicly in their deen and are beginning to speak out over issues such as this one.

"There is a new generation of sisters, especially post 9/11 where women are becoming very passionate and involved in their deen." The major problem with women not being allowed to frequent the mosques, Asmal said, was that the mosque was meant to be a community centre for all Muslims, "but if women do not go to the mosque, the needs of the women will more than likely not be catered for and they will only cater for men."

The main reasoning given by the Fatwa Committee for prohibiting the women from congregational salaah was the inappropriate dress and behaviour of most women. To this, Asmal said the opposite was true in the Masjid. "When it comes to Eid, I have found the opposite to be true. Whatever clothes that we have bought for the day of Eid, they might be bright and beautiful but we do not wear them to the salaah, we dress in ordinary clothes when going to the mosque. There seems to be a trend here in Durban that women who want to attend the salaah are dubbed as being immoral. I really don't think that any woman who wants to attend the masjid can be seen as immoral or wanting to cause fitna."

The Gauteng Experience

Quraysha Yousuf, an author and motivational speaker now residing in Pretoria, agreed with Asmal's views. She states that women who do attend the mosque are in fact the ones who are dressing correctly. "I have never seen women attend a mosque inappropriately dressed, but there are women who dress inappropriately and if they were to be encouraged to attend the mosque they would be better influenced into wearing the scarf and dressing modestly. If you bring them to good places you would get nothing but good from them."

Yousuf said she was first alerted to enormity of the trend in the north to not allow women to attend the Eid salaah, after giving a series of motivational talks to women during Ramadan. As the end of Ramadan drew to a close, she began to remind women about the importance of the Eid salaah. "Many women came up to me and said that various muftis and maulanas had said that it was not permissible and that's when I began to do my own research."

She added that the tone and manner in which the issues were addressed by the ulema had left much to be desired. "Instead of them saying the women are always wonton and wearing tight clothes so we don't want them to come to the mosque, encourage them to come, but educate them on the etiquette of dress and behaviour."   

A positive outcome

After creating awareness around the issue, she said the mosques that do accommodate women on the day of Eid were packed to capacity. "We managed to get through to a lot of women. The Eid salaah was a success and, the people in Mafikeng allowed women for the Eidgha for the first time in the history of the mosques existence. The brothers on the organising committee were exemplary in arranging the ladies' section and considered all aspects of their needs and hijab."

Following the media coverage on this the issue and the high turn out of women in the mosques on the day of Eid, Yousuf made a special thanks to the male support in this cause. "We salute our brothers for their faith in the honour and rights of the Muslim women! A society that honours and educates its women is a society that is protected.

"As  journalist Safiyyah Surtee wrote: ‘We had both fasted, we had both stood for the long nightly prayers, we had both increased our adhkaar (remembrance of God), we had both read the Quran, we had both helped each other try to gain nearness to Allah. And so we both deserved to come out on Eid morning, and thank Allah for the day, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers, men and women did a century and half ago'." VOC (Aisha Mouneimne)


Muslim female activists who lodged an appeal in the last month to allow more women to attend the Eid salaah on Sunday have tasted some success after several months in the north of the country acceded to the request. Speaking to the Tuesday Debate, director of Ilm South Africa, Fatima Asmal, said the prohibition of women at the majority of mosques in the north did more harm than good. Her comments came after an outcry over the opinion of the Darul Igshan Islamic Service Society's Fatwa Department, deeming it impermissible for women to attend any congregational prayers, including the Eid salaah.     

The KZN perspective

"It would be incorrect to say that all mosques in Durban do not allow women to attend the salaah, but the majority of the masajied do not cater for women. I say to each sister her own, because there are women who don't believe they should be going to the mosque and prefer to stay at home, but there are also sisters who want to go to the mosque and find that they can't- and this is where the problem arises," said Asmal.

While there are limited mosques that do cater for Jumah salaah, Asmal said the major issue comes into play for the Eid salaah. "Here we have Eidgha's - which are open air salaahs held on the day of Eid. We have two major ones in Durban and neither of them caters for women. But, what is so strange is that this is the one salaah where the Rasool (SAW) said that all women, including the virgins and the ones without a jilbab - who should make a plan to borrow one from a sister - should be attending."

She added that even in the case of a traveller who has to break their travels to make salaah, in most cases the husband is allowed to go into the mosque and pray, but the women would have to wait in the car. According to Asmal, "a kind of Islamic revolution" is currently taking place, where a new generation of sisters are becoming more involved publicly in their deen and are beginning to speak out over issues such as this one.

"There is a new generation of sisters, especially post 9/11 where women are becoming very passionate and involved in their deen." The major problem with women not being allowed to frequent the mosques, Asmal said, was that the mosque was meant to be a community centre for all Muslims, "but if women do not go to the mosque, the needs of the women will more than likely not be catered for and they will only cater for men."

The main reasoning given by the Fatwa Committee for prohibiting the women from congregational salaah was the inappropriate dress and behaviour of most women. To this, Asmal said the opposite was true in the Masjid. "When it comes to Eid, I have found the opposite to be true. Whatever clothes that we have bought for the day of Eid, they might be bright and beautiful but we do not wear them to the salaah, we dress in ordinary clothes when going to the mosque. There seems to be a trend here in Durban that women who want to attend the salaah are dubbed as being immoral. I really don't think that any woman who wants to attend the masjid can be seen as immoral or wanting to cause fitna."

The Gauteng Experience

Quraysha Yousuf, an author and motivational speaker now residing in Pretoria, agreed with Asmal's views. She states that women who do attend the mosque are in fact the ones who are dressing correctly. "I have never seen women attend a mosque inappropriately dressed, but there are women who dress inappropriately and if they were to be encouraged to attend the mosque they would be better influenced into wearing the scarf and dressing modestly. If you bring them to good places you would get nothing but good from them."

Yousuf said she was first alerted to enormity of the trend in the north to not allow women to attend the Eid salaah, after giving a series of motivational talks to women during Ramadan. As the end of Ramadan drew to a close, she began to remind women about the importance of the Eid salaah. "Many women came up to me and said that various muftis and maulanas had said that it was not permissible and that's when I began to do my own research."

She added that the tone and manner in which the issues were addressed by the ulema had left much to be desired. "Instead of them saying the women are always wonton and wearing tight clothes so we don't want them to come to the mosque, encourage them to come, but educate them on the etiquette of dress and behaviour."   

A positive outcome

After creating awareness around the issue, she said the mosques that do accommodate women on the day of Eid were packed to capacity. "We managed to get through to a lot of women. The Eid salaah was a success and, the people in Mafikeng allowed women for the Eidgha for the first time in the history of the mosques existence. The brothers on the organising committee were exemplary in arranging the ladies' section and considered all aspects of their needs and hijab."

Following the media coverage on this the issue and the high turn out of women in the mosques on the day of Eid, Yousuf made a special thanks to the male support in this cause. "We salute our brothers for their faith in the honour and rights of the Muslim women! A society that honours and educates its women is a society that is protected.

"As  journalist Safiyyah Surtee wrote: ‘We had both fasted, we had both stood for the long nightly prayers, we had both increased our adhkaar (remembrance of God), we had both read the Quran, we had both helped each other try to gain nearness to Allah. And so we both deserved to come out on Eid morning, and thank Allah for the day, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers, men and women did a century and half ago'." VOC (Aisha Mouneimne)
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 27, 2009 06:03 AM »

Another interesting article...

=================

Hide the pretty women

by FARHANA ISMAIL: BODY LANGUAGE



There's an amazing story about a gentle creature that we hope still lives in the muddy waters of China’s Yangtze River.

It is the story of an endangered dolphin with bad eyesight. But it has highly evolved radar to compensate. I first heard this story about 10 years ago. Since then, because of over-fishing and noise interference from too many ships, China’s Baiji dolphin was declared extinct -- until recently, when one was spotted.

I had never thought about a species becoming extinct in my lifetime. Instead, “endangered” is today’s catchphrase. “Extinct” applies to dodos, but surely not to dolphins? I also never thought I’d wish for the extinction of any creature -- until now.

A creature that says it can see, but is limited in its vision. I’m talking about the person who regards women’s presence in mosques as an anomaly. The person who says it is makrooh (highly disliked) for women to attend mosque and places the responsibility of fitna (corruption) squarely on their shoulders.

An imam in a Johannesburg mosque angered many men and women this Ramadaan by making remarks that discouraged young, attractive women who have reached maturity from attending the night prayers lest “they” cause fitna. The imam’s X-ray vision into the completely secluded women’s section is truly astonishing -- as, too, is his analysis that the cause of fitna is pretty women.

The message was simple -- ugly women can rest assured. They are welcome. Good-for-nothing men can also relax -- good-looking women are to be blamed for your moral lapses. And what of the women themselves?

Centuries of cultural conditioning and exclusion have ensured that for many, even limited and discouraged access to the mosque is a new and exciting experience -- and an empowering one. But it wasn’t always so.

In early Islam, this access was taken for granted. It was one of the many freedoms Muslim women exercised without a second thought. It was acknowledged, protected and promoted by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

It was a freedom derived from an active taqwa (true submission) to the one god that is rooted in action and attitude over mere passive belief and ritual. It was a freedom that, when exercised, was like the Baiji dolphins’ sophisticated radar.

It helped Muslim women to navigate the muddy waters of a post-jahiliyyah (age of ignorance) society on the brink of greatness. And with this radar, women challenged authority figures and set forth arguments and opinions within the realm of not just public space, but also the sacred space of the mosque.

It also compelled women in Johannesburg, more than 15 years ago, to be unwavering in their struggle to access the sacred space. Even in the face of death threats, guntoting men and complicit men of religion, Muslim women in Johannesburg continued the struggle.

I remember the days when we were locked out of the mosque because, we were told, the imam had lost the key to the upstairs section. Women and their young children continued their prayers in the outside courtyard while it rained.

I recall pamphlet campaigns that culminated in the biggest-ever gathering in Johannesburg of Muslim men and women praying side by side on the festival of Eid. I mostly recall how women took their arguments to the men of religion.

Even today, they continue to engage with classical and religious texts and their arguments are clear and logical. As for the Johannesburg mosque in question, it is adjacent to a café that has been used as a meeting point for drug dealing.

Some young Muslim men attending the night prayers have been known to loiter outside.

It begs the question: would the imam say it is now makrooh for young men who may be buying drugs to attend the mosque?

Some of us women are weary of the endless battle around our space, our bodies and our freedoms.

The muddy waters we now wish to navigate are the new challenges of our rapidly changing world: the challenges of social and economic justice and a disconnected youth.

It appears that, in the early days of Islam, a woman’s freedom to challenge authority figures, speak out loudly in the mosque and participate in all its activities was as simple as swimming is to a dolphin. But those were the days when dodos were heading towards extinction and Baiji dolphins still roamed freely.

mg.co.za/article/2009-09-24-hide-the-pretty-women
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 27, 2009 11:00 AM »

Salam alaikum

I am happy that some more sisters have been allowed access to the masajid and the Eid musallahs.  Thats great, mashaAllah.

I remember hearing about the huge protests that occurred about 15 years ago (I was too young to know much about them), and remember one particular sister who was quite active (Allah yar7amha) in campaigning for access for us to the masajid.  It has been quite quiet since then though, as more ppl join a movement which does not allow women to pray outside of the home...even, as I mentioned in my Ramadaan diary, not in the Haramain...

And yes, most sisters coming to the masjid are indeed NOT a fitna, they are all properly dressed, mashaAllah.  More so that they are in everyday life (I have not recognised several sisters from the masjid, when we met in the shopping centres!)

The main problem will always be, that there are just those sisters (and more by the day), who truly believe that they should never enter a masjid!!! How can you achieve anything major, when the majority of those who should be active are against the particular action??

So I read this with a bit of skepticism. But a few small victories are victories nevertheless, alhamdulillah.

It is a case of taking and leaving what pleases/does not please you of Islam as you wish, and how it serves your own selfish purposes, AND  not accepting Islam as a way of life in each and every situation. always!

may Allah swt guide the Ummah, ameen.

Salam
S.
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 24, 2010 10:55 PM »

as salaamu alaykum,

I came across this article and thought immediately of Sr. Shahida!

(btw One of my teachers said something very similar about women attending Jumu'ah Prayer - that we are living in a day and age where women are very independent and mobile and go to school, work, shopping, etc on their own, so they should treat Jumu'ah as an obligation for themselves also!)

Sheikh Qardawi Stands Up for Womens' Rights

Qatar-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi yesterday slammed the practice of denying women access to mosques by Muslims of South Africa as well as of the Indian subcontinent and said that he was surprised that women were not allowed to attend any of his lectures in Johannesburg during his recent visit there.


In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Qaradawi said that during his visit to South Africa, he was surprised by the "unreasonable practice" of not allowing women from entering mosques as well as by the ban to videotape his lectures in Johannesburg.

"It was my first visit to South Africa and I was impressed with its Muslim community's commitment to Islamic rules as well as its unity, but it was the ban on women's entry into mosques which drew my attention. I told the (community members) that this was un-Islamic and they should stop it," he told a congregation in a mosque at Khalifa South.

"I know they did that because they follow the Abu Hanifa school of thought but they should know that time has changed. If Abu Hanifa himself were with us today, he would have changed his mind. It is unreasonable that women could now go to universities, markets and travel, but are not allowed to enter a mosque in some countries."

Gulf Times, 23 April 2010
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 25, 2010 08:17 AM »

Salam alaikum

As you all know, i live in Johannesburg...and I was sooo sad that he was giving his lectures in that particular mosque (which is 5 minutes from my home), because they would never allow women to attend!!! Sad my first opportunity to hear him *live* and it was dead before he even set foot on our soil...

So there was huge uproar about this, and in a way I am so glad he addressed the problem right then and there.  there was apparently a point in his speech, where he said that he cannot continue because half of the society is not present...!

Our ulama shrugged it off and said something like Sh. Qardawi has a right to his opinion, but he is not infallible, and we will do as we see fit. No women in the mosques, ever, period.

He had a better time down in Cape Town, where the majority of masajid have facilities (and nice ones at that) for the women.

I think we dont make the Dua enough: oh Allah swt guide our leaders, and leave not those as a power over us who have no mercy and would oppress us...


So yeah, very happy Sh Qardawi even mentioned this back home!!!

Salam alaikm
S.
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 25, 2010 08:55 AM »


wa alaykum as salaam wa rahmatullah,

SubhanAllah, I just can't imagine my life without the masjid... it has been such a vital part of my upbringing and shaping my understanding about Islam and the world.  What a loss... I really feel for the sisters in S. Africa, Pakistan, and other places that are like this and can only pray that Allah (swt) opens people's eyes and gives them a broader, more open minded perspective free of ta'assub [partisanship or extreme loyalty to one school of thought/opinion]

The full article can be found here: http://gulf-times.com/site/topics/printArticle.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=357216&version=1&template_id=57&parent_id=56

salaam,
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