Nov 4, 2010 - religion, Society, women    19 Comments

Women, not allowed


Women may not visit the mosques in Pakistan but they regularly go to shrines to seek divine intervention for things spiritual and trivial. The tomb of sufi saint Shah Jamal, in Lahore, is one such shrine which attracts a lot of devotees. Women are usually allowed to go to the general area and have a separate area where they can pray, sleep or eat. However, they are forbidden to enter the room which houses the grave of the saint. Shah Jamal is no exception. The entrance to the grave in the general area have this board which says: “Entrance of women is strictly forbidden.” I have seen such boards before but what I find humiliating is that now they have added the image of a young girl in pony tails with a red cross sign on it, really pushing the message that women are NOT welcome.

Sign of no entry in the general area
Sign of no entry in the segregated area for women. 

Interestingly, inside the segregated area, they have this sign which says: “This area is for women only, men are strictly forbidden to enter.” However I spotted a few men who were roaming inside. A couple of them were distributing mithaee (traditional sweets) but the rest were just loitering. I guess women do not enforce the edict as vigorously as men do.

I saw a lot of really young girls in the shrine and I was wondering what kind of message the silhouette of a young girl in in pony tails with a red cross sign on would they get. Not a nice one, methinks.  

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  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    All three monopolistic god religions
    Jewish, Christian, Islam) don’t like women. And this is one of the wonders of human species: in all three varieties women accept this and are generally important pillars of these phantasies.

    As to me, if I would be a woman, I would have bailed out since long.


  • How many Pakistani women/girls actually have pig tails? Also, I love that “aurton kaa andar aana SAKHT mana hai” are the words they use. Why not just “mana”? What’s what with the emphasis?

  • Reminds me of my befuddlement when my cousin stopped accompanying us for the Eid namaz because “ab woh badee ho gayee hai”.

    @Ahsan: To be “fair”, mardon ka ehatah mein aana bhi *sakth* mana hai.

  • Are goats allowed? Since those mullahs loathe women

  • Any idea when these signs started appearing, Tazeen. I don’t remember seeing or hearing about such signs when I lived in Pakistan. And are these now posted at each and every masjid?

  • Most religion are made by and for men. Even Communism only pays lip service to women. That’s how male centric humans are.

    As for the visual, it’s probably the an image downloaded from google image search.

  • I , myself have gone through such humiliation. Around seven years ago, I went to Lahore. It was my first and till the moment last visit to this city. There me and my friend, an indian converted muslim woman planned to visit Data Saheb’s shrine. It was a very cold day we were in full warm clothes and wearing afghani caps. We were in saint’s room and thought to offer fateha. As soon as we raised our hands, a stick hit us and a man ordered rudely women are not allowed here. It was really shocking.
    Before that, I visited Jalal-ud-Din Rumi’s shrine and everyone is allowed to go inside and do their prayers.
    Even later, I visited Shah Latif Bhitai’s shrine and there was nothing like this. We enjoyed faqir’s raag the whole night there. In fajar, the room was open for everyone.
    I asked many people why its so. Some told me that the shrine culture in upper Punjab is quite different. The People there are more under the influence of the Islam introduced by Mard-e- Haq, Zia-ul-Haq.
    Is it true, I feel kike to believe in it.

  • What is in it to read Tazeen?Havnt u read Quran,islamic jurispuredence,should we give your word more importance than Quran and Hadees???

  • Mr Yaseen ch, you did not support your statement with any of Quran reference. I wish you do it.
    As far as hadees are concerned and women are not supposed to go on graves. I do not know how strong these hadees are what is their background and if it is so, why muslim women visits Prophet’s shrine.

  • Miss Atiqa U Gave answer of ur query yourself.
    When it dont support our point we will question the strength of Hadees,its matter of belief i think.

  • This is so ridiculous. I don’t understand where they get the justification to do that and how people agree to it. Although I don’t live in Pakistan, I visited a couple years back and had no problem entering the main area of the shrine that I went to. I guess it is location specific?

  • i tell you what!i knew it will happen when every one will come and start ranting,we are not very responsible Muslims i find this behavior very irritating really,if you read carefully this post you will find some questions raised in your mind;

    1.Does Islam permits women to go and worship in mosque?
    2.Are women allowed to go to shrines?

    buddies go and read books and search related materials on the subjects and have knowledge instead of giving your lame comments without having even a clue about the subject.

    and one more thing its not necessary all the time that a blogger will write something just to get comments from all you guys but sometimes its for your brainstorming.
    please be all responsiable Muslims think even 10 times before saying something about Islam and religion. thanks

  • This is the case in one of South India’s major Temple, The Aiyappa Temple. Women are not allowed..

    But, it could change with the Court’s intervention. But, since Pakistan is a Islamic Republic, even the courts cant change this.

    When I look at the Religion most people in my Country follow, I realize that it is the only major Religion in the world where Female version of God is worshiped like Kali,Lakshmi, Saraswait,etc. Still, those temple folks follow the stupid ‘traditions’.

    I am sure this will change as it has to come to the courts someday.

    But, this cannot ever be solved with Pakistan’s present Constitution.

  • without going into the merits of this one particular instance, what’s wrong with telling others what to do?

  • There must never have been a Prophetess; because can you imagine a messenger of God not being allowed somewhere?

    Religion is a male conspiracy; I guess women had better things to do with their time – to make things a bit better on this earth perhaps – than to dream of heaven.

  • @ Arun: Love your comment.

    @ Tazeen: Us sign ke neeche ek aur sign lagao “Auraton ko yahaan se nikaal sakte ho, ghar par ek din bhi auraton ke bina rehna mushkil hai. Khaoge kya aur pehnoge kya?”

  • I’m sorry but the discussion above is almost taking a “STOOPID” turn. People who are saying that our religion says this and those who are saying that our religion does not allow this, both seem very ignorant and not at all learned about Islam.

    I am not saying that I’m the only smart one here, but please people stop taking everything to Islam. Try looking at something from common sense too.

    They made a picture of a girl so that people who do not know how to read can understand the message by looking at the image. There’s nothing offensive here. Whether it is right to prohibit them or not, lets not go in to that.

    Secondly, as far as image of a boy is concerned which is not present. Well you can see that it was painted and they might have missed it. No big deal. Please!!!

  • Women are allowed in Shah Faisal in Islamabad (at least in a second-story balcony overlook prayer area), and also in Badshahi in Lahore (at least in the courtyard and a small prayer section). I found one mosque in Karachi that allows women into some part for Friday services, but they wouldn’t allow me to come for Eid namaz. I’m still searching. Or maybe one day I can just build my own.

  • I know a few mosques in Karachi that allow women in the mosque, but not in the main prayer hall as women have separate prayer hall in these mosques with separate entrance and exit. One such mosque is Masjid-e-Ayesha on Khayaban-e-Ittehad right before the turn to Creek Club. Another one is near Sunday Market, I don’t know the name of it. Third one is at Tariq Road next to Dolmen Center. There are two at Sea View, one near Greenwich Uni and other next to McDonalds. These are the only ones that I know of, I am sure there are many more besides these as well.

    Malls such as Park Towers, Dolmen Mall have separate praying halls for women as well.

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