Sep 4, 2012 - religion, women    19 Comments

Women in the mosques and khutbas

We had a few relatives over during this Eid and post lunch discussion veered towards eid khutbas that my relatives attended. Someone I know was singing praises of a certain maulana sahib who delivered an awesome khutba during the Eid namaz. As a rule, I have not seen people getting this excited over a khutba so I asked my cousin what it was all about. I was quite taken aback when I heard what the topic was. 

Considering we have had that awful incident where Shiaswere taken off the bus and brutally killed just a week before the Eid, I thought the khutba must have denounced that heinous act and had something about Muslim unity and how shedding the blood of another brother would earn the killers a spot in hell. Turned out that the khutba was about women’s place in the society, how important a woman’s piety is to the fabric of society, how important it is for future generations that they are raised by stay at home moms and how important purdah is to avoid fitna and fasad (chaos) in this society. He also said that women should be kept busy (by keeping them pregnant or lactating) so that they would not stray. There was a lot more to it but I don’t want to repeat it here. I want this blog to be a misogyny free space.

Not only was I flabbergasted that my vilayat educated cousin was mesmerized by the profundity of an obviously misogynist khutba which doubted women’s ability to either earn or make any independent decisions or remain faithful to their husbands but I was also lost in the peculiarity of it all.

For starters, a khutba like this on Eid!!! It was Eid, not a bloody women’s day when men feel threatened! Secondly, it was unnecessary because I have not seen any women leaving their husbands and children and running  away with hot lovers who look like Abercrombie and Fitch models and last but most important point to be pondered  was why the maulvi was giving a khutba about women when he had none in his audience? Women are not allowed to attend prayers in the mosques and their absence makes it impossible for them question any such pearls of wisdom which basically deny their right to movement, education, employment and family planning.  Looks like misogyny is so rampant that women are not even worth preaching directly, they are given sermons indirectly through their sons, husbands, fathers and brothers about the virtues of a pious Muslim woman. There is no public space for women to speak out in any case, looks like it will soon shrink into nothing. 

PS: Everyone who is sending me threatening messages, leaving abusive comments here (I moderate them so they will never be published here, this blog is PG 13) and on twitter saying that there are some mosques in Pakistan where women are “allowed” to attend prayers, I just want to say that yes, there are exceptions to the rule but that does not mean that we stop questioning the questionable norms because of those few exceptions.

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  • Chalo! foran shadi karo shabash! foran utho moulvi sahab ne kaha hai tum musroof raho.

  • I so agree. I will not go back to my local mosque until the women can pray side by side with the men and can participate in leading the service.

  • Women go t mosques especially more so on occasion such as Eid.

    As for what is discussed, its quite childish of you to want to run a censorship board?


  • I understand your frustration, even when women are allowed in the masjid they are separated and cannot speak freely to the whole congregation if she wanted to 🙁

  • thanks for venting out the agony of women,especially in Islamic society, and in generAL. You deserve all kudos for unorthodox, reformist ideas, that is rarely found in South Asian muslim intellectuals. Your audacitylike Taslima Nasrin is not welcome but will pave along way to empowerment of women.
    In Turky, i undestand, women are allowed in Masjid and prayers!
    is it true that Islam keeps women in the periphery??? NO NO!!!

  • women in Islam are always at receiving end nowdays! Prophet always paid high respect to women but modern mullas and maulis have scant regard for women!

  • assalamalaikum,
    if women are not allowed in masjids ,it does not mean discrimination in this aspect .Women are not allowed as men are distracted from praying ,their concentration and focus will be lost.imagine a beautiful hairs and beautiful legs when you are praying.
    I agree there can be separate rooms for women for praying

  • Well, that is really appreciating that how desperate you are to go to mosque
    And let me tell you that the main obligation is to offer pray and women are totally allowed
    To do so in home by Prophet MUHAMMAD even they are fully exempt of offering prayer
    In their wet days
    And 2ndly I am dying to know that getting pregnant and lactating
    Is your on version of getting busy or moulana said it precisely

    And 3rdly don’t u think that u r a kind of hypocrite by saying that
    Comments would be moderate because vice versa any moulana can
    Easily say that ur blog is abusive but for that u would never mercy him and say that he sabotage the freedom of speech

    So plz
    Get a life !!!

  • Haters gonna be haters. You keep on writing!

  • @farah,even women can be distract by Abercrombie and Fitch type models

    ask a reluctant mind if you don’t agree 😉

  • Women want to pray side by side men in the mosque but don’t pray at home.

    As pseudo nym says, did the maulvi specifically define what he meant by busy or did you somehow come to the conclusion that you have written.

    There is nothing wrong if women stay at home and do tarbiyah of their children and make them religious.

    Please listen to bayans of Maulana Tariq Jameel.

    May Allah SWT give us all hidayah. Ameen.

  • (Assuming that my previous comment will be deleted as I posted as anonymous, I am re-posting my comment).

    Women don’t want to pray at home but are eager to engage in debates about how they should be allowed to pray beside men in mosques.

    As pseudo nym said, is the definition of busy your own or specified by the maulvi?

    There is nothing wrong is women sty at home and do tarbiyah of their children and make then religious.

    Please listen to bayans of Maulana Tariq Jameel.

    May Allah (SWT) give us all hidayah. Ameen.

  • @Farah: Beautiful hair and legs? In a mosque???

  • A woman who would have not been out of her home, have little knowledge and no exposure how on earth she can train her children well.
    We can see the children of that woman in our society, no wonder, moulvi saheb’ would have got the same training from his ideal woman.

  • A woman who would have not been out of her home, have little knowledge and no exposure how on earth she can train her children well.
    We can see the children of that woman in our society, no wonder, moulvi saheb’ would have got the same training from his ideal woman.

  • @عنیقہ ناز: baby need mama, not Socrates and BTW which baby born with the concept of idealism

  • @عنیقہ ناز: Women who are at home actually have time to train their kids, whereas the women at work leave their children to be trained by the TV.

  • Womens used to come to Ahmadiyya mosques in Pakistan as they do in all over world, but due to continued threats from terrorists they were asked not to come, now it has been 3 years that womens dont come to Mosques in Pakistan. Reason to share was that not all school of thoughts bar women to say prayers in Mosques.

  • Dear Tazeen,
    you have just highlighted a dichotomy among our religious teachers/Mullas on role of women. I dont find it written anywhere in Quran that women have to stay in four walls of a house and be kept deprived of freedom of education, movement, profession, etc. I fully second you that women are not to be kept busy by making them pregnant/lactating. The prophet and his followers never displayed or preached this kind of virtues.
    I feel pity on the nation which listens to such Mullahs without any reactions. Actually we are hostage to this unscrupulous lot of idiots in the name of Islam/deen. They are the one responsible for isolation of Ummah today among comity of nations.
    I stand by you and request you to keep raising such issues:may we muslims be freed of this illusion and learn to live like a true Muslim as defined by prophet and the book.

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