Tuesday, 26 January 2016

REFLECTIONS ON WOMEN’S SPACE IN MOSQUES

 This is just unacceptable.
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It was early in the day, before dhur prayer. There was no prayer going on, but the imam was giving a lecture. There were maybe around 60 men in the main space, meaning it was mostly empty. I joined the few women who prayed in the back of the main hall, behind the small wooden rails where women usually pray. After a few minutes a man came and shooed at us, telling us to go upstairs. I ignored him the first time, then gave in on the third shooing and went up.
The stairs were narrow, cramped, steep, and circular. Treacherous really. I went up and there were about ten women on the balcony area. I started praying, asking God’s mercy and blessings for my family, friends, for Adnan’s hearing, for the health of loved ones, etc etc. Then I looked over and saw a woman emerge out of the stairway door. Except she wasn’t standing up. She was crawling.
She was the first of a number of very elderly women who crawled up those awful stairs on their hands and knees. One of them dragged her cane with her. They would get to the top, then have to be helped to stand up and wobble over to a place on the carpet to pray.
That pretty much broke me. I can’t remember the last time I wept, really wept. I had already been shooed away from a number of mosque doors that were the domain of men only, but this really broke me. What has happened to our men? Where is the mercy and compassion of our Prophet (saw)? How many would send their own elderly mothers up such stairs to sit away from…from what? From prayer?

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