All Women Mosque Can Provide a New Experience/Opportunity for Women

Someone messaged me recently and asked me what I think about the ALL WOMEN MOSQUE in California.

I do not know anyone involved in this organization, and all I know if what I have been reading online.  With that said, I think it’s a great idea. It gives women the space to feel respected, comfortable and have access to Islamic knowledge from female scholars. Most importantly it will give women a sacred space to build a relationship with their lord which they have access to any time. This is something that other mosque don’t provide.

Recently I was ready “The Commentary of The Forty Hadith of Al-Nawawi by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo and he writes in reference the “Hadith of Gabriel”

“He [came and] sat next to the Prophet [peace be upon him].  He supported his knees up against the knees of the Prophet [peace be upon him]”

This should be the attitude of those who are truly seeing knowledge.  They should try to get close to the teacher so that they can understand and hear everything he says correctly.” [page 192]

A women can’t just go up to the male Imam and sit with him anytime she wants. She has to compete with the men, she has to make special arrangements. Even the mosque that allow women in “the brothers area” women don’t feel comfortable to just sit there all day if they want.  And if they do she has to get a corner and pass a note to ask questions or raise her hand and wait to be seen.  I see this mosque as an opportunity for women to learn in a more welcoming environment than a traditional mosque provides.

I remember sitting in the mosque with my then 14yr old daughter after a 90 minute tawareeh prayer during Ramadan and she said to me “The imam’s recitation is so memorizing, it makes you forget how long you are in salat”.  I also remember thinking I wish she could have this experience everyday.

Muslim women kneel for the prayer service at the Women's Mosque of America in downtown Los Angeles, January 30, 2015. (Reuters/Lori Shepler)
Muslim women kneel for the prayer service at the Women’s Mosque of America in downtown Los Angeles, January 30, 2015. (Reuters/Lori Shepler)

But the mosque are not designed for girls to attend prayers multiple times a day. The access to the Imam for women is not created in a way that allows you just to sit with him and learn. Yes my husband and I could call him, make special arrangements and he would be more than happy to teach her. But it’s not the same. Explaining you need special arrangements during “that time of the month” because you can’t sit on the masallamah floor is a bit embarrassing when you have to tell a man than having that conversation with a woman.

The truth is asking or discussing issues specific to Muslim women in America is difficult when talking to men. Even the most progressive American born scholars really try to listen and respond to issues like, hijab and being in a professional environment with male colleagues with empathy but they will never understand the way a woman will. They won’t understand not just the religious pressure of doing “what’s right” but the social pressure in Muslim communities and women circles.

The opportunity and benefit a all women’s “mosque” can provide can’t be summed up this quick blog post.  It will provide an entirely different experience for a generation of Muslim women. Not just for the opportunity attaining knowledge but the experience Islam in a different way.

What makes people go all “up in arms” is they are using words like Imam and Juma. People are taking those words in the context that they are familiar with. But an “Imam” is simply a leader and ever group of people who gathers needs an imam.

Juma cannot be done in the religious since of the word without men. So what they are doing on Friday isn’t Juma but to me that’s insignificant because women don’t have an obligation to go to “Juma” anyway. The service they offer on Friday in a religious since is a Halaka and that too is great. When a group of people gather to remember Allah, He sends the angles to gather with them.

Abu Hurairah and Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said,When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah, the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah’s) mercy envelops them, Sakinah, or tranquillity descends upon them and Allah makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.”
[Sahih Muslim].

I think this is a wonderful solution to both our lack of female scholarship in America and helping young Muslim women experience the spiritual fulfillment of a sacred space designed with their spiritual development at it’s core.- I hope that we open more around the US.

May Allah accept this from them and make it successful and a means of beneficial knowledge and spiritual growth – Ameen

By Mubarakah Ibrahim

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