Malegaon: In a welcome change from its earlier stand, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Saturday said it was not opposed if the doors of mosques were thrown open to women for prayers.
“The board is not against if mosques are opened for Muslim women for offering prayers. But, it is the duty of the trustees of the respective mosques to make appropriate and suitable provision for them”, Abdur Raheem Qureshi, Asst Gen Secretary and spokesperson of the Muslim panel, said while speaking to ummid.com ahead of the board’s national convention in Jalgaon.
This is the first time the Muslim panel is meeting in this North Maharashtra city.
Qureshi was replying to a question why Muslim women in India are denied permission to pray in mosques when almost at all places in the world they have privilege to offer prayers inside mosques like their male counterparts.
In many Muslim and non-Muslim countries and the entire Arab world, there are provisions for women and they are allowed entry and prayers inside the mosques. However, except for the few mosques belonging to Shias, Ahl-e-Hadees and Shafees, India which has predominantly Deobandi and Barelvi Muslims has still not opened doors of mosques for women.
Regional divide is also clearly visible vis-a-vis entry of women into the mosques. A quick look in India reveals that in South one can find a good number of mosques with provision for women whereas in North and Western Indian there are very few such mosques.
Women activists and progressive thinkers, including some forward-looking clerics are of the view that, like other parts of country, and as also was the case during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life, Indian mosques should also be thrown open for women.
They also observed that throwing open the mosques for women will not only create a sense of equality among the women but the mosques could also be used for educating and creating awareness among them on social and other issues.
“Islam has given a perfect model for gender equality. But, very unfortunately, due to obstinate attitude of some, we do not see that in practice at least in India. The network of mosques spread across the country if are accessible for women could very effectively be used for educating them”, Zehra Shakeb, a woman activist, said.