The other day, I was praying fajr in a local masjid and I saw a sign that had been left over from the previous week.
Update: I just came back from the masjid and the signs were still there so I took them down as Ramadan is now over and I didn’t see the imam but I’ll try again tomorrow in sha Allah.
The sign read:
“For Sisters performing I’tkaf,
May Allah reward your intention and bless you for your actions.
In sha Allah, please remember that the small musalah will be used as the Brother’s overflow during Jumaah today.
Please fold your items and store them in classroom #6 by 11Am until after Jummah.
May Allah reward you for your cooperation with this request. Jazakum Allah khayran!
The sign doesn’t seem like much of a request, it’s more like a command. Requests can be refused, I wonder what would have happened had the sisters declined that “request”.
I stopped going to one masjid because it was their habit to kick the sisters out of the entire masjid and make us pray in an adjacent building. Alhamdulillah, the sisters fought back and took half of the masjid on both the upper and lower levels, which is more than we had before.
I was a bit surprised by this sign at this particular masjid because it is well-known to have one of the nicer prayer areas for sisters, in fact it is much nicer then the men’s section, which is rare especially as anyone who has been to the Islamic Center in DC for jumu’ah knows. I refuse to go to the Islamic Center for jumu’ah because the prayer area for women is so limited.
I don’t see why women should be asked or rather forced to give up their space in the masjid if we are truly valued as everyone especially those involved in public speaking or dawah love to give lectures and make a big fuss about the status of women in Islam and quote this or that ayah or hadeeth about the equality between men and women.
There is no reason why the overflow from the brother’s section could not pray in the rooms they set aside for the sisters and left the sisters both those coming for the salaah and those making itikaf unmolested.
In sha Allah, I’m going to try to speak to the imam of the masjid about this issue because it’s a bad sign when a masjid treats women as second-class believers. I hope there are some brothers and sisters of conscience that will stand up and refuse to accept or be an accomplice to the poor treatment of women at the masajid.
Umar Lee has a post on a masjid he went to in Fort Washington, MD that serves women before men at iftar, which is quite a surprise for a number of people. The masajid I frequent serve both men and women at the same time, usually in separate areas.
Being a girl in an Ibo Christian family, a black woman in America, a black girl with African parents in blackAmerica, a black girl growing up in a mostly white town and school, a black convert in the Muslim community, I’m used to being treated differently than some of my peers and counterparts but my parents instilled in us a sense of justice and to not accept or be afraid of challenging unfair and inferior treatment from anyone.
Alhamdulillah, that I didn’t know any Muslims or know about the idiosyncrasies of our communities until well after I had read the Quran, believed in Allah, and began studying the religion so that incidents that happened later after my conversion and continue to happen where I am treated as a second class believer have not affected my love of Islam or my emaan. I’ve seen other converts or potential converts flee from Islam but mostly they are just fleeing from the way some Muslims treat their co-religionists.
From the Storehouse:
Women’s Jihad: Praying in the Masjid
Dispatches: Women only Jihad