(Part 1)

Are Women Welcome in the Mosque?

When it comes to the question of women’s access to mosques, the reality is painful. Despite the primary importance of the mosque for every Muslim, no matter whether he/she lives in a Muslim majority country or in countries where Muslims constitute a minority, a significant percentage of mosques, in the East and the West alike, have no room for women at all.

Such point is quite strange! When a Muslim, let alone a non-Muslim, woman thinks of entering any of many mosques in London, Johannesburg, Delhi or any other major capital city, she would find a man by the door reproachfully preventing her from entering or a sign reading, “No room for women” or “Women are not allowed”.

What makes things worse is that satellite channels widely watched in Britain, America, and other countries, every now and then film investigations about banning Muslim women from entering mosques and maltreatment of women who attempt to do, which causes great damages to the message of Islam and disgraces it by practices that are not approved by Islam itself.

As judging something is a consequence of conceiving it, some people conceive of the issue differently. To them, Muslims are being exposed to ordeal and conspiracies and, therefore, they should return to mosques and stick to them.

To spare men temptations and help them fully dedicate their time to worship and good deeds, women should be completely denied access to mosques or, in case they are allowed in, they should be confined to very limited, secluded area in the mosque.

In fact, such conception is far from the reality of both Muslims and non-Muslims; it is a consequence of failure to recognize women’s genuine right, just like men, to Allah’s Houses and the significant role women can play in the mosque in service of their religion, their Muslim community and the Islamic Da`wah.

Furthermore, such conception reveals lack of awareness of the serious repercussions, on both religious and worldly levels, of women abandoning this role.

I believe this matter requires no reasoning, since mosques are the (worship) houses of Allah, Who is the Lord of both men and women. It is too clear to require a proof indeed.

Yet, the following discussion is meant to offer solid and detailed argument in favor of Muslim women and to eliminate the serious phenomenon of banning them from mosque which constitutes an obnoxious invention in a religious matter (Bid`ah).

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About Dr. Jasser Auda
Jasser Auda is a Professor and Al-Shatibi Chair of Maqasid Studies at the International Peace College South Africa, the Executive Director of the Maqasid Institute, a global think tank based in London, and a Visiting Professor of Islamic Law at Carleton University in Canada. He is a Founding and Board Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Fellow of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India, and General Secretary of Yaqazat Feker, a popular youth organization in Egypt. He has a PhD in the philosophy of Islamic law from University of Wales in the UK, and a PhD in systems analysis from University of Waterloo in Canada. Early in his life, he memorized the Quran and studied Fiqh, Usul and Hadith in the halaqas of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. He previously worked as: Founding Director of the Maqasid Center in the Philosophy of Islamic Law in London; Founding Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Ethics in Doha; professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Alexandria University in Egypt, Islamic University of Novi Pazar in Sanjaq, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the American University of Sharjah. He lectured and trained on Islam, its law, spirituality and ethics in dozens of other universities and organizations around the world. He wrote 25 books in Arabic and English, some of which were translated to 25 languages.