Women in the Masjid…Apartheid Revisited

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Picture this…

It was Friday and I was excited. The brother had picked me up from the house at 11:30am sharp. I know. In the winter, Jumu`ah will begin at 12:30pm so I’m going to be really early; but still, I want to be there early and get the reward. Maybe sit down and read the Qur’an.

It was the busiest day of the week and the brother driving and I were giddy with the great worship we would soon indulge in at the new local masjid. It had just been built so not only were we wearing fresh Jumu`ah clothes, but we had also bought new clothes for the occasion.

Although it was a fifteen minute car ride, I imagined it as merely five when we had now approached the masjid after stepping from the still warm car. I smiled instinctively. Now we were at the front door and I immediately walked inside.

A sister dashed over and confronted us. “As-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah.” I looked expectantly at the prayer area. There was a pause where the salam should have been and then I received a hard stare. “What did you want?”

“We came to pray. I wanted to…” She waved me off and left for a moment behind an ajar door at the office. “Yeah…is there a brothers section? There is a brother that came to pray.” She looked back at us and glanced back quickly. “Wait, there’s two of them.” I heard the alarm in her voice.

I looked at my watch and after about 15 minutes, the sister returned. “Yes, we have a brothers section. You come with me,” she called us with her index finger shaking, as if coaxing a goat. We both followed behind through the prayer area, to have piercing stares peel the flesh under our clothes.

We were relieved until we saw the broom closet that the attendant sister cleared out. “Okay, this is the area. Here you are. We don’t use it often. It’s better for brothers to pray at home.” We knew that but at the prospect of praying in congregation, we could only be but hopeful.

We sat down with the door ajar to the broom closet, the speaker on the wall so ancient that every time the Friday preacher spoke the tweeter crackled and the woofer didn’t so much as whimper.

The khutbah was a warning against lust and evil and all of a sudden brothers were brought up when I coughed with the brother that drove me to the masjid. “Can we keep quiet, brothers,” the sister bellowed into the mic.

“You have to look out for sin and alluring sisters with your voices. Brothers, perfuming their beards, jalabiyyahs too bright and their `imamahs wrapped where they reveal the neck.”

She then went through a catalogue of statements – some of them drawing peels of laughter from the sisters in the congregation – when she discussed the clothing that the brothers wore that were impermissible and unacceptable.

“If the brothers wear clothes any tighter, I’ll be able to see what’s in their stomachs,” the preacher half chuckled along with the other sisters that guffawed. We felt stupid sitting there and checked our clothes.

Then the time for prayer came. We stood up, hoping that there would be enough bark in the woofer and chirp in the tweeter to hear the sister leading. The door was open so any ayat we missed would be accounted for by the live recitation.

Then the unimaginable happened. Another sister, thinking it was purer for us to be completely isolated, went and closed the door. Now we were at the mercy of the ancient speaker. We heard maybe 16% of the prayer.

When we finished, sisters prayed additional prayers and the situation was exacerbated by the fact that they were blocking the door while praying and we could not come out to get to the car. It would not be until 30 minutes later that we could finally leave and dagger stares pierced through our clothes.

This might have to be our last Jumu`ah. I know. You’re shaking your head right now. Such a thing is laughable and unimaginable. Brothers would never put up with that; but perhaps as much as 60% of the Muslims in the UK, US and Canada have had to deal with this issue.

It is our sisters, the “fairer sex” that have had to carry this burden. I did not fully understand this type of religious apartheid until I war married and I went to take my wife to Jumu`ah. Not a single place for her.

“Jumu`ah isn’t compulsory for sisters,” the brothers would counsel me, cooing their words as if trying to lullaby me from further inquiry. “Neither is meat for brothers, but it’s still available in case you want to have it, right?” I received only a scowl.

There were no places for her to pray and the places that had a “sister’s section” did not have it opened that day because the amount of brothers ran over and they had to “maximise the space” (why is it that accommodation for brothers in these communities involves pushing sisters out?).

Figure 1A: An example of a sisters only entrance at an event.

Figure 1A: An example of a sisters only entrance at an event.

I grew up in a segregated West Coast in the United States, was forcibly bussed to schools only to be later segregated at school. At that point, lunch time was to be spent with your own race.

Figure 1B: An example of a segregation sign based on race.

Figure 1B: An example of a segregation sign based on race.

I remember walks home filled with this same behaviour. I remember Port Orford, Oregon and its’ sun down downs (“Nigger, don’t let the sun set on your ass”) and now I see the same thing among some people in my faith.

This type of asexual apartheid has occurred in three main areas: the masjid, lectures and learning and social gatherings outside of the first two. Slaves of Allah seeking to glorify Allah have not been spared this harassment in their day to day lives.

Sisters cannot be left to grow and learn their faith without being relegated, new converts have to choose a gang (read “group” among the Muslims), born Muslims who were wayward and are returning to the faith have to submit to the group think of their parents even if they don’t want to (“We were all Ahl –i – Hadith and damn it so are you”).

Rather than teaching people about the fundamentals and then building on that, we must terrorise with ancillaries and obfuscate the obvious.

The Masjid

I always fondly remember the statement of the Messenger of Allah,

“The most beloved of places to Allah are the masjids and the most disliked places of Allah are the markets.”[1]

The masjid was a place of enjoyment of the faith and when I found one that carried out the faith in a systematic way I was finally home. Masjids on the West Coast of the United States like Dar us-Salam, At-Taqwa, El-Ekhlas, Al-Ikhwah and others that were store fronts and had no name but were in no short supply of righteousness.

When I prayed behind them after listening to their khutbah, the desire to please Allah was apparent. They might not have been scholars, but what they knew they knew and they acted on it consistently.

Imams such as Jamil Al-Amin and his satellite masjids and communities, Luqman Amin `Abdullah, Ramee Muhammad, `Abdul `Alim Musa and so many others filled me with great pride about Islam and being a Muslim.

Brothers prayed in the front and sisters prayed in the back. This was just how it was done. When I was wayward from the faith, the few times I entered my Arab masjids, I saw the same thing but was not there long enough to know what it meant.

Now I had adulthood to understand the power of this public declaration. When there were community meetings, the sisters had their own semi-circle right behind that of the brothers and offered feedback, food for thought and often gave stinging criticisms – as bitter as the vinegar was to drink, we had to and it made us better men – and when we were on the right track we received glowing complements.

Things that we often missed the women of our communities brought to our attention, i.e. inclusion of women and including activities for them, making sure that the brother’s rows don’t spill into the sisters rows on Jumu`ah,

The imam in Ramadan recites loud enough in Tarawih so that we can all hear him, the imam had to represent convert sisters as their wali when they wanted to get married, new converts with terminal illnesses needed visits organised and so many other things.

So when I came in and the brothers were praying in the front and the sisters in the back, I was proud of the fact. When the imam made a mistake, one of the sisters would make a solitary clap for him to know.

During the jumu`ah khutbah, the imam forgot the ayah that he was elucidating and the brothers did not remember; but the sisters did. It is that dedication and fearlessness that I never forgot in my life.

And when people “upon Qur’an and Sunnah,” came to “correct” our having women in the masjid (“Brother, what are they doing here?” He motioned to the sisters as if there were termites gnawing at the foundation of the House of Allah), brother `Abdur-Raheem fought them like a good imam and with the Book and Sunnah.

“You better get that cultural stuff outta here, man. If ya’ll want to keep that ‘back home’ crap going, you go ahead. You don’t feel comfortable or think that you might have some perverted fantasies, then get out; but this masjid is firmly based on the Sunnah.

And that’s the real and that’s what’s up.” And for good measure, he showed them ahadith in the collections in Al-Bukhari and Muslim that froze the Pharisees in their tracks. Let’s look first at the evidence in the collection of Imam Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj:

(#440) Zuheir bin Harb related [1] to us, Jarir bin Suheil related to us, from his father, from Abu Huraira, who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, said: “The best row for the men is the first, and the worst of them is the last. The best row for the women is the last, and the worst of them is the first.”

Now look at the commentary of Imam Yahya an-Nawawi, may Allah be pleased with him, that was translated by one of our brothers in faith,

Imam an-Nawawi: Regarding the rows of the men, generally speaking, the best is always the first and the worst is always the last. As for the rows of the women, this hadith is referring to the rows of the women that pray with the men. If [the women] pray by themselves, without the men, then they become like men in the sense that their best row would be the first and the worst one would be the last. What is meant by ‘the worst row’ for men and women is the row that has the least reward and virtue, and is the furthest from what is sought by legislation. The best row is the opposite. The only virtue of the last row of the women, who pray with the men, is their distance from mixing with the men, seeing them and their hearts being attached to them upon seeing their movement and hearing their speech and so forth. The dispraise of the first row is the opposite of that, and Allah knows best.

(#441) Abu Bakr bin Abi Shaibah related to us, Waki’ related to us from Sufyan from Abu Hazim, from Sahl bin Sa’d, who said: ‘ I saw the men tying their lower garments around their necks, like children, because of the shortage of cloth, behind the Prophet may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, so someone said: “ O women! Don’t raise your heads until the men have gotten up.”

Imam an-Nawawi: (‘I saw the men tying their lower garments’). This means that they tied them because of their inadequacy, so that none of their nakedness would be revealed. This is a caution to cover nakedness and to be firm in maintaining that cover.

(‘O women! Don’t raise your heads until the men have gotten up’). This is so that no woman would see the nakedness of any of the men being revealed, and so forth.

(#442) ‘Amr an-Naqid and Zuheir bin Harb related to me, and both of them from Ibn ‘Uyainah. Zuheir said: ‘Sufyan bin ‘Uyainah related to us, from az-Zuhri, that he heard Salim narrate from his father. The Prophet, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, came to him and said: “If any of your women should seek permission to go to the masjid then don’t prevent them.”

I remember these and other cases of arguments in favour of the popular “sisters section” but never accepted them. This was especially in light of two sexual assaults against Muslim sisters in masjids while residing in the “sisters section.”

Yes, indeed. There were cases of sisters being raped in the “sister’s section,” as they were completely isolated and cut off from the rest of the masjid.

No one heard their screams (“Akhi, what are they screaming for? You know the woman’s voice is `awrah. She should have put her hand over her mouth so that her scream did not allure anyone, like in the hadith of `A’ishah”).

It was close to home as well as my own sister had to face the Pharisees of the Ummah.“I don’t understand why I can’t come in and why I was turned away,” my younger sister of 5’1’’-5’4’’ (with or without burgundy Chuck Taylors on) mused, herself holding a degree.

“This is what it is…this is why you were turned away,” I showed her the 1995 commissioned Islamic Encyclopaedia which argued that the reason why women were commanded to wear hijab and other laws is due to the fact that they were more “fragile.”

Following that were discussions and diagrams showing comparison studies between the skeleton and brain of a woman and that of a five year old child. They had the brain structure and bone structure of a child so that’s why we had to take care of her (insert Jew or black in that section and read it out in a university setting and I wonder how far you would get before arrest).

“What?!” My pint sized sister sent the book sailing through the air past the kitchen table and onto the floor. “You don’t have male plumbing. That’s your problem!” For some reason she did not find this facetious declaration humorous.

But she did understand the logic of what I was saying. This was the reasoning. You poor little thing with the cranial capacity of a five year old child and the bone structure of an adolescent! Let us “take care of you (read pity you)” and “protect you from harm.”

The women in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to pray in Al-Masjid un-Nabawi behind him, including the Fajr and `Isha’ times no matter the weather.

This is established in the collection of Imam Muslim and can be seen with the quote from the article that I quoted form the brother. The translation coincides definitely with the original Arabic (I know as many nights we discussed how important a matter this was together at my house).

Further to this, we want to know what the scholars of Muslim Orthodoxy have said of this matter. Read the words of these scholars – some of whom were known for their strictness – as well as the principles they deduce for us.

Women have always prayed behind the men and there has never been any difference in this point. Men were in front, then the children and smaller males and then the women came after that. This is demonstrable from so many texts.

Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la al-Baghdadi (d. 458 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, remarked about women praying in congregation,

“It is praiseworthy for the men that when they gather together to pray their compulsory prayers that they do so in congregation in one narration; although in another narration it is stated that is not praiseworthy.”[2]

Imam Mahfuz al-Kalwadhani (d. 513 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, stated forthrightly,

“It is disliked for the Imam to lead prayer when there are woman that are strangers to him with no mahram behind him or when there is no other man or men to pray with the Imam. The same thing holds when he is leading these women and other people dislike it.” [3]

Imam Fakhr ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 622 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned that women,

“…are in the rows behind the men when praying in congregation in the masjid.[4]

Imam Muhy ud-Din Yusuf ibn al-Jawzi (d. 656 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, said of the woman’s prayer in congregation,

“If there is a woman praying in congregation, she prays behind the imam. The order of rows in the prayer is men first, then children after that, then hermaphrodites and then the women behind them.” [5]

Imam Shams ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 682 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, said of women attending the masjid and praying behind the men,

“If the woman should ask permission to attend the masjid, her husband should not prevent her although her home is better for her.

This is due to the statement of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, ‘Do not forbid the maiden slaves of Allah from the masjid while if they do go out, they should come out without any perfume.’ This is collected by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan.

So the women should come to the masjid while not wearing any perfume and the hadith aforementioned mentions this point. It is praiseworthy for them to attend the congregational prayers with the men based upon the statement of `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her,

‘The women would attend the congregational prayer with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

When the prayer completed, the women would leave wrapped in the garments and could not be recognised due to the darkness.’ This is collected by Imams al-Bukhari and Muslim and agreed upon in authenticity.

Prayer in their homes is better for them based upon what the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, ‘The prayer of a woman in her home is better than the prayer in her chamber. The prayer in the solitude and quiet of her room secluded away is better than the prayer in her home.’ This is collected by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan.” [6]

Imam Abu Talib al-Basri (d. 684 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned congregational prayer,

“Praying in congregation is sunnah for women and they are to pray behind another woman, or a hermaphrodite or a man that is from their direct family when other men are not present; but it has also been said that praying behind the hermaphrodite is disliked.

It is disliked to forbide one’s wife from praying in the masjid when she is safe from tribulation and there is no harm; if there is tribulation or harm, then he may stop her from attending. The old or the young women may attend the congregational prayer with the men in the masjid.

Imam Ahmad mentioned that they are to be present for the compulsory prayer in congregation only. Their houses are better for them and this is more emphasised.” [7]

Imam Badr ud-Din Asbaasalaar al-Ba`li (d. 777 AH) said the following:

“It is disliked for the Imam to lead prayer when there are woman that are strangers to him with no mahram behind him or when there is no other man or men to pray with the Imam. The same thing holds when he is leading these women and other people dislike it.

It is the sunnah to have ranks set up for the prayer and for them to pray behind the Imam while the woman is to pray behind the rows.”[8]

He further said, “The order of the prayer is that the men are behind the Imam, then after that the children, then hermaphrodites form their own row and the women form their row after them.” [9]

“And it is disliked to forbid the woman from the masjid although her prayer in her home is better for her.” [10]

Imam `Ala’ ud-Din al-Mardawi (d. 884 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, stated the following,

“Women praying in congregation is praiseworthy according to the depended upon position in the madhhab. This is also the position of the vast majority.” [11]

Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi (d. 1033 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, the great Palestinian authority, mentioned this issue with a simple pithy remark,

“It is sunnah to pray the compulsory prayer in congregation in the masjid and the women may do this but have to be separate from the men.” [12]

Imam Mansur ibn Yunus al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH), may Allah have mercy on him, the great Egyptian scholar, stated,

“It is sunnah for the women to pray in congregation in the masjid separate from the men; but in the case of women bearing much beauty, her presence is disliked with the men while it is not for women other than that. The same ruling holds for the women that attend circles of preaching and admonition and the uppermost is the position mentioned.” [13]

The Imam went on further to say,

“It is disliked that a man act as an Imam for a stranger that is a women. The same thing holds when there are a large number of women and there is no man to pray with the Imam or male relative for them.

This is due to the fact that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, forbade a man from being alone with a strange woman. If the leader in the prayer was leading his mahram relatives or a number of strangers that are women but there is a man with them, then this is not disliked .

The reason for that not being disliked is that women used to attend the prayer with the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and this was known. It is also disliked for the man to lead the prayer with strange women behind him while most of the people dislike it due to some right or reason.

An example of a right or reason they might have is a flaw in his religion or his virtue, just as the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, ‘There are three people that will not have their prayer ascend past his ears: 1) he rebellious servant until he returns, 2) a woman whose husband is angry with her and 3) one who leads the prayer for the people and they dislike him to do it.’ This is collected by Imam at-Tirmidhi.

Imam Burhan ud-Din Ibn Muflih, may Allah have mercy on him, said of this matter, ‘The hadith in At-Tirmidhi on this topic is authentic but strange in wording and form and it has some flimsiness in the transmission. If the leader of the prayer is someone of religion and sunnah and the people dislike him to be the imam due to him leading women, there is no ruling of it being disliked for him.’ ” [14]

Imam `Abdul Qadir at-Taghlabi ash-Shaibani (d. 1133 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, gave a strong ruling,

“It is sunnah for the women to pray in congregation in the masjid but to be separate from the men. The women are from the people who have been commanded to pray the compulsory prayer so they are like the men in that regard.” [15]

Imam `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Abdullah al-Ba`li (d. 1192 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned that women in congregational prayer are to,

“…pray behind the imam as this is praiseworthy.” [16]

Imam Mustafa ar-Ruhaibani (d. 1243 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, said the same thing and concurred with past authorities on this point. [17]

Some diehards, worn down by the constant “pestering” (read: challenging with evidence) of women, allowed to include a section for the women but still maintain the same structure as had previously been. Let the sisters have their section but it is nice and far away where they cannot contribute, ask questions, correct mistakes or be a direct part of the community.

Their favourite was to create two possible areas to keep women out of the picture:

a. A balcony to keep the women far enough away where they could “do not harm” but in the masjid where they could not cry foul. The birds had a beautiful cage but their wings were clipped.

Figure 2A: An example of a sisters balcony in the masjid. Notice how far this is from the rest of the congregation.

Figure 2A: An example of a sisters balcony in the masjid. Notice how far this is from the rest of the congregation.

This is also the practice of Orthodox Jews (who did it first and have been followed by Muslims since that time)

Figure 2B: An example of a balcony in an Orthodox synagogue. Please compare between this image and the one in Figure 2A.

Figure 2B: An example of a balcony in an Orthodox synagogue. Please compare between this image and the one in Figure 2A.

b. The curtain. By having this curtain, it was purer for them.

Figure 3A: An example of a curtain in a masjid with sisters facilities. Please compare this with the mechitza picture in Figure 2C

Figure 2C: An example of a curtain in a masjid with sisters facilities. Please compare this with the mechitza picture in Figure 3A

I remembered this statement being told to me by my school chum Chanan (Hassidic Jewish) but instead of the curtain, he referred to a mechitzah. Diagrams have been recorded for you to consider and reflect on the matter.

Figure 2C: An example of the mechitza veil used in Orthodox synagogues to keep people pure.

Figure 3A: An example of the mechitza veil used in Orthodox synagogues to keep people pure.

All of this made me think about the time the second khalifah, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, called for a reduction of the bridal gift for the women (ar. mahr) but the woman protested (“What was the sister doing outside of the sister’s section and who told her to use her voice?” The Pharisees would probably ask in shock, wholly ignorant of the first three generations).

The lady stated that whatever extravagances he might fear, this was not his affair and the bridal gift could not be reduced when it was agreed by both parties nor could it be taken back. She then promptly recited

And if you should give one of them a chest of gold as a gift, then do not take any of it back. If you were to take any of it back, it would be a grave and open sin. [18]

This triggered a response from Sayyiduna `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, “Well, then the woman is right and `Umar is wrong.” [19] You will not find that in your “Islamic Studies” curriculum purchased from the local bookstore with phallic leanings.

Even more so is the case of the woman who stood up when the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, stated that a large proportion of women will be in the Fire due to ungratefulness to their husbands and rebellion.[20]

“She was wearing hijab,” the kneejerk reaction is brought (question: what on Earth does that have to do with whether or not the women are in the masjid? The point is they were there). “Yes and there were in the masjid,” we answered in the verbal volley.

Lectures, Learning and other Social Gatherings

Not satisfied with trying to destroy their faith in such a matter as accommodation in the masjid, our segregation guardians also have to guard the sisters from learning anything about Islam.

“Look out for free-mixing, akee. In this day and age, it’s just safer to not have it. We’re not as pure as the times before. It’s just much worse now. Oh, Astaghfirullah!”

One of the famous refrains of the intellectually indigent, this style of reasoning is often used to stop any forward momentum with sisters in their faith. Now ask this same scion of the faith whether he and his sisters have been to college (which really do have free-mixing and men sitting directly next to women), university or any other settings.

“Yeah…I mean it’s difficult cause we kinda gotta get an education. We can’t do anything about that…” You’re nodding your head right now aren’t you? You have heard this one before. So have I…

“So women completely uncovered sitting next to you (with perms, perfume and full make up) and men sitting next to your sister (with crew cuts, cologne and caps), doing PE with them, square dancing, sex education, spending lunch period and about eight hours of your day, that’s alright…gotta do it.

When you are coming to an event and sisters might be selling things from stalls or in the market…gotta put a stop to this?”

Brother `Abdul Karim, from Watts and not with as many social graces as I possess, gave the only reply he could, “Man, get outta here with that oppression stuff! Do this look like Oklahoma from the 1960s?!”Slang aside, he is right.

If matters are that serious, then what do we do about the fact that women such as Khawla bint Qais, mentioned that they used to sometimes loiter around the masjid and flirt with the men and the second khalifah, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, broke up the practice but did not stop women coming to the masjid? [21]

I came to know of a shaikhah who was Turkish in origin that was a hadith scholar in the United States and brothers invited me and some other Slaves of Allah to listen to Tabarani in chunks from her.

“Akee, don’t do it. It’s haram to do that ‘cause it could be freemixing.” I attempted to explain that the class will be men in the front and women in the back and that the teacher will not be fondling any other class mates and no orgy has been listed in the class programme.

In loving manner, I ignored the brother like nobody’s business and went. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear hadith narrated real time and to ask questions and take knowledge. A much older women, perhaps her fifties or sixties (as I was told by one of the organisers), she was stern on class participation by way of writing and stated that if anyone felt tired to go as she wanted everyone attentive to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Then we have other gatherings. Sisters are told that they must make hajj and `umrah just like the brothers and afterward to visit Madinah but then they are treated like cattle when they do arrive to try to collect benefits.

Brothers have full access to walk the line and give their blessings to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Abu Bakr and `Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them.

Figure 3B: A direct camera view of the grave of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as seen from the brothers section. Notice the unfettered access.

Figure 3B: A direct camera view of the grave of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as seen from the brothers section. Notice the unfettered access.

But if you are bearing the X chromosome?! Don’t worry ladies. Gotta keep you pure…we’re gonna look after you. We have kept a cage near the tunnel on the way to the Rawdah that you can just look though.

Check that view out! Now you really have something to write out and crow about when you get home. Years from now, bearers of oestrogen can tell their grandchildren, “You know grandma got to go to the cage near the grave and look!”

Others with even more honour can say that they have been a bit closer behind a partition and had the honour of signing their names, those of their children and a prayer to come again next year addressed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

(This is suspiciously similar to the Shi`ii practice of doing the same thing when notes are signed off to the 12th imam in the location he is believed to have gone into major occultation; but these innovations are taking place when we are leaving the Revealed Law and mocking our women)

Figure 3C: An innovated practice that has begun in Madinah due to barring sisters from visiting the normal Rawdah section of Al-Masjid un-Nabawi.

Figure 3C: An innovated practice that has begun in Madinah due to barring sisters from visiting the normal Rawdah section of Al-Masjid un-Nabawi.

“You see, akee,” one street level Islamic pamphleteer told me, “We’re not like these kafirs. Our women are like precious jewels. We keep ‘em covered up and safe, at home and not all out in public.” I looked at him and followed the logic. “Yes, but Zales Jewellers still allow the diamonds to be put out on display and they are protected with bullet proof glass and guards.”

“Akee, don’t contend wit’ the Rasool after the dahlil has been made clear,” he offered his only defense from a bankrupt mind.

When we first started praying according to the Sunnah with brothers in the front and sisters in the back, the Pharisees were out in full force. I was accused of encouraging free-mixing as “Brothers had heard,” as well as, “It has been said” and the more worthy, “It’s become well known.”

Around this same time, I was approached by a distraught father. He was fraught with anxiety that his daughter was going to Qur’an classes and other lectures at the local masjid a great deal and he wanted to do something to encourage her to stay at home more.

Figure 3D: A Clear Contradiction. Please look at the name of the Masjid and observe the caption at the bottom. A phobia of the X chromosome leads to gross follies such as these in the picture.

Figure 3D: A Clear Contradiction. Please look at the name of the Masjid and observe the caption at the bottom. A phobia of the X chromosome leads to gross follies such as these in the picture.

Upon enquiry, I found that the girl was going to a school that was co-ed, with men in tight jeans and gelled hair sashaying around and gazing at his daughter along with people sitting directly next to each other, in front and in back of “daddy’s little sunshine.”

I then stated that if he was concerned and wanted his daughter to once and for all come home, I would help him but I would need a translator. I found a brother who translated to Urdu the words I said.

I gave directs to a local hardware store and told him to pick up some lumber and nails. After that time, I guided him through the process of making a T-frame and nailing it together.

After that, I stated that he would need to nail his daughter down through the wrist joints and the ankle bones and this would support her weight. Once the T-frame was hoisted upright, she would die in two to three days.

Our friend did not understand. So I helped him. “You want to annihilate your daughter or kill her? Do it right.”

Figure 3D

Figure 4A: Young girls killed in Gaza. Some locals in the English speaking countries are looking to do the same thing over a longer period of time with our women. If something is not done, circumstances can only be more drastic.

Let me tell you what I am not saying. In no way am I commanding women and men to sit directly next to each other, to spend time alone as couples in secluded areas and get involved with the dating scene and other social ills.

I am also not calling for men and women, young or old, as couples, to act as familiar as a married couple when they are not married; nor would I advocate promiscuous behaviour or its’ antecedents as a healthy way for young people to “let their feelings flow.”

The infallible texts against this are clearly known and obvious as well as the fact that the rulings can be referenced in all the reliable books of fiqh (i.e. those of Imams Yahya an-Nawawi, Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah and the great scholars of North Africa, Sudan and the Muslim heartlands).

Here is what I am stating unequivocally. This attitude of religious apartheid has led to a number of things:

Firstly, by leaving women out of the masjids –which has no basis in Revealed Law – and chasing them from the Houses of Allah, they are not part of the community, cannot contribute and level valid criticisms when necessary.

Secondly, by trying to create a segregated society (which did not exist in the first three generations and we know this as the markets had both men and women in them), we have created more severe outcomes.

When men and women are not able to go to markets and other places, they do not learn what is permitted and not permitted in social interaction. Here is an example.

While on Hajj, Al-Fadl ibn `Abbas was with the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, on camelback. A woman approached to ask a question and he was answering her when he noticed that Al-Fadl was staring at the young lady and her at him.

So he took his face and turned it away. This is a direct demonstration of how you are to treat women. You must not stare or canoodle them. You are not to do these things. You cannot learn social lessons like this except by experience and teaching.

Balance this with my cousins, particular Hatim, who came to the US out of an environment of complete social segregation. We were driving through Malibu and his words out of his limousine window were, “I love you! I love you all!” These words were directed to the bikini clad women on the beach.

We rightly corrected him but it became apparent to us that he had not learned any social graces and did not know how to carry himself in such situations.

Thirdly, I have dealt with a large number of apostates from Islam since arriving in the United Kingdom and a good chunk of them are women. All the apostate women give inclusion as one of the greatest reasons for leaving after the fact of “never being taught anything.”

In East Sussex, I spoke at the masjid about the 50 hadith of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s (d. 795 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, collection and suddenly sisters barged in past the curtain and sat down behind the brothers to take notes.

I was later told (by sisters who had lots of questions and also clarifications on points they thought I should have elucidated more) that this had been brewing all week and that they along with their children had been told that it is not permissible to come to the masjid.

Armed only with the ahadith from Al-Bukhari and Muslim mentioned above, they challenged the leadership and came right into the masjid. Sisters demanded their respect and they received it.

Fourthly, when we do want the women to become engaged, there is such a sense of apathy that perhaps the same amount of force that was used to push them out has to be utilised to encourage them to come back into the community.

Fifthly, the amount of cases of women running away with pagan men and men doing the same thing with pagan women (although it is seen by these cultural dinosaurs as more disgraceful for women as the men are just “young and that’s what you do when you’re that age.” If you add to the dynamic in either case that the chosen lover is black, then everything equals out because all are agreed that this is one of the unforgivable sins, perhaps next to idolatry).

Why wouldn’t they run off with them? There is no opportunity to understand what a Muslim man/woman is like in a context of the masjid, lectures or public discourse and there is no social construct.

They spend eight hours of their day, five days a week, going to school with unbelievers and pagans and another eight at night dreaming about them in their sleep. The eight hours that they are conscious, you spend arguing with them and trying to de-programme or programme them along with their eating, drinking and emptying the bowels and such.

They laugh, joke, play, eat, drink, square dance, jump rope, annoy their teachers and do all other forms of social discourse with these people. Why are we then surprised that they have run away and adopted their customs?

Y Chromosome Avengers have done nothing to create an environment to safeguard against this issue. In fact, they encourage it by telling them that when they finish this round of brainwashing, they have to do it again at college and university.

If we want to really help Slaves of Allah in this difficult time and in these trying situations, we will need to caste this cultural filth behind our backs and really adhere to that which has been passed down infallibly.

Figure 4B: An example of women praying, sisters in the front - brothers in the back in a normal masjid. If we are to return to the Sunnah in a more meaningful way, more masjids like this are incumbent.

Figure 4B: An example of women praying, brothers in the front – sisters in the back in a normal masjid. If we are to return to the Sunnah in a more meaningful way, more masjids like this are incumbent.


[1] Mentioned by Imam as-Suyuti in his Al-Jami` us-Saghir waz-Ziyadah, hadith #167

[2] Al-Jami` us-Saghir, pp. 50-51

[3] Al-Hidayah fi Furu` il-Fiqh il-Hanbali, vol.1, pp. 49-50

[4] Bulghat us-Saghib , Bughyat ur-Raghib, pp. 82-83

[5] Al-Madhhab ul-Ahmad fi Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad, pp. 31-32

[6] Ash-Shafi fi Sharh il-Muqni`: Ash-Sharh ul-Kabir (3 text combined work), vol.4, pp. 332-334

[7] Al-Hawi fil Fiqh fil Fiqhi `ala Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol.1, pp. 396-397

[8] At-Tashil fil-Fiqh `ala Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal ash-Shaibani, pp. 43-44

[9] At-Tashil fil-Fiqh `ala Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal ash-Shaibani, pp. 43-44

[10] At-Tashil fil-Fiqh `ala Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal ash-Shaibani, pp. 42-43

[11] Al-Insaf fi Ma`rifat ar-Rajih Min al-Khilafi fi Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (3 text combined work), vol.4, pp. 332-334.

[12] Dalil ut-Talib Li-Nail il-Matalib, pp. 89-90

[13] Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi` Bi Sharhi Zad il-Mustaqni`, pp. 106-107

[14] Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi` Bi Sharhi Zad il-Mustaqni`, pp. 113-114

[15] Nail ul-Maarib bi-Sharhi Dalil it-Talib Li-Nail il-Matalib, pp.74-75

[16] Bulugh ul-Qasid Jull al-Maqasid Li Sharhi Bidayat ul-`Abid, pp.87-88

[17] Matalib Uwl in-Nuha fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.1, pp. 468-470.

[18] Surat un-Nisa’ (4), ayah 20.

[19] This is mentioned in Tafsir ul-Qur’an il-`Azim by Imam `Imad ud-Din Ibn Kathir (d. 774 AH), pp. 455-456, Dar ul-Hazm edition (4 vols in 1). Although this is coming from one weak chain, there are a number of others (four in some accounts) with different wordings but putting across the same point and the main one classed by Imam Ibn Kathir as strong. Now picture this: the testosterone avengers will often use this as evidence when trying to lure women into conversions to Islam in order to trot them out on their televangelist programmes, chanting, “It is the fastest growing religion!” However, once the cattle have come in past the gate, now the narration is “really weak” and cannot be used. The Y chromosome gangsters have to make up their mind. Is it weak or not?

[20] This is collected by Imam Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj in his Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Prayer under the chapter of the Two `Eid Prayers and classed by him as authentic.

[21] Tabaqat Ibn Sa`d, vol.1, pp. 235-238 #23131.

One response to “Women in the Masjid…Apartheid Revisited

  1. assalaamu alaikum

    It’s a bit of extreme to condemn those who prohibit. The likes of Ibn Hajr al-Haytmai (fatawal kubra 1/204) of the shafi school for example, has at length discussed this issue and arrived at the strong conclusions against it. In fact, the opinion of Imam Shafi himself (Kitab al Umm- Ikhtilaf ul hadith (7/176)) is clear cut negative, where he says that a man has no right to give women permission to go to the masjid.

    Then we have the narration directly taking us back to the action of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him:

    Umm Humayd the wife of Abu Humayd al-Sa`id once said to the Prophet: “Messenger of Allah, I long to pray with you.” He replied: “I know that you love to say prayer with me but the prayer you offer in your chamber is more excellent than the prayer you offer in your courtyard, and the prayer which you offer in your courtyard is more excellent than the one your observe in the mosque of your tribe [i.e. the mosque nearest to your home], and your prayer in the mosque of your tribe is better than the one you offer in my mosque [in Madina].” After this she ordered a mosque built in the farthest and darkest quarter of her house and did all her prayers in it until she met Allah the Glorious and the Exalted. (Ahmad)

    In fact, Allah (SWT) prohibited Jewish women because of their fitna:

    It is related that ‘A’isha said, “If the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had known what the women were going to do, he would have forbidden them as the women of the Children of Isra’il were forbidden.” Yahya ibn Sa’id said to ‘Amra, “Were they forbidden?” She said, “Yes.” (Sahih Bukhari)

    And so to declare such prohibitions as anti-women and all of such themes is to actually condemn, in the least, a past law of Allah.

    You raise important points are which to be addressed and solutions to be found with highest concerns, without a doubt. But there is a missing element here which is the context of the society a person is living in. Western society’s where free mixing is already rampant and morality decadent to the core and where even homes are no longer safe, cannot be compared with conservative country’s like Yemen for example.

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