Muhammad Raziul Islam Nadvi/New Delhi
Today, after performing my Asar (evening) prayers my wife and I decided to go to the market. It was a busy street and so much so that it took us a while before we were in the main market. It was already dusk and that meant I had to offer my Maghrib (dusk) prayers. I requested my wife to wait for me in a known shop whereas I went to a nearby mosque to offer Namaz (prayer).
After strolling the market and shopping all the esentials for the month we came back home, the conversation that took place between us at that time is as follows.
She: You somehow managed to offer the Maghrib prayers, but I missed them.
I: Tell me how can I help you? There aren't any arrangements in mosques for women to offer namaz.
She: Do men have the sole right to worship Allah? Do women not have this right?
I: It is said that if women go to the mosque to offer prayers, there is a strong fear of unrest.
She: Who is responsible for this unrest? Women or Men?
I:It is said that because of women, men and young boys are more likely to go astray
She: Then those who are likely to go astray must take measures to correct them. Why are women kept away from mosques?
In: It is said that mosques are sacred places and their sanctity would be disturbed if women go there.
She: Didn't women go to the mosque in the time of Prophet?
I: They did, but then later youngest wife of the prophet lady Ayesha had said that if Prophet had seen women on that day, he would have stopped them from going to the mosques.
She: Did the women stop going to the mosque after lady Ayesha said this?
I: No, they kept going
She: Then why were they banned from going in later times?
I: It is said that Umar, senior companion of the Prophet, forbade women from going to the mosque for fear of unrest.
She: But I know this that during the deadly attack on Umar, senior companion of the Prophet, his wife lady Ateka along with other women were present inside the mosque.
I: The Prophet has clearly stated that it is better for women to offer prayers in their homes than to offer prayers in their mosques.
She: Did the Prophet stop the women who used to go to the mosque?
I: No, it is not mentioned anywhere, women continued continued going to the mosques.
She: If it is not good for women to go to the mosque, then why didn't the Prophet order men to stop women from going to the mosque and force them to offer prayers at home?
I: The Prophet had clearly commanded men not to stop women if they wanted to go to the mosque.
She: Then why do men disobey the clear commandments of the Prophet?
I: It is said that now the times are very bad, people's morals are scattered, thus is safe for women to offer prayers at home.
She: Wasn't the time bad in the times of the Prophet? Were not the morals of the polytheists and hypocrites scattered? Wasn't the dignity of women at risk? Despite this, the Prophet gave them a chance to go to the mosque and made arrangements for it. I have even read that a woman was going to the mosque to offer prayers. A young man molested her, but the Prophet did not ban women from going to the mosque even after this incident.
I: Do women really have to go to the mosque?
She: In addition to the five daily prayers in the mosque, there are also Friday and Eid prayers and sermons. Do only men have the right to use them? Women do not need any grooming?
I: It is very difficult to make arrangements for women in mosques
She: I missed the evening prayer Who is to be blame for this? I wanted to pray - I also had ablutions. There would be many like me in the market who'd have wanted to pray, if there was an arrangement for them in the mosques, their prayers would not have been lined up. You men, you think that religion is your monopoly, worship is your only right, women are created to serve men only and they do not have the freedom to worship or draw near to God.
My wife is very straightforward, even if a statement is offensive she'll calmly present all her logic. After this conversations, I realized that no matter how hard I tried to talk her into understanding and agreeing to my facts, my logics made no sense.
But this made me ponder on her logics what if there isn't any solid platform to stop women from going to the mosques?
Someone who reads this article should help me and give me strong arguments to stop women from going to the mosque, so that next time when I talk to my wife on this subject, I can answer her.
Dr.Muhammad Raziul Islam Nadvi is a reknowned urdu author