A South African Muslimah's Blog

Constructing Identity: Loud Whispers, Lasting Echoes

Hypocrites and the Jumuah Before Kick-off June 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Safiyyah @ 2:49 pm

Everyone who knows me – knows that I have a crusade against sexist/misogynist/chauvinist men (and women for that matter), especially that kind that tries to bar women from Islam’s places of worship – mosques. If you know this about me, you will know that I was initially extremely irate, then quite hopeful at the well organized salaah facility at the World Cup Opening match.

It was Friday, an auspicious day for Muslims and the facility was packed, before the 2010 Fifa World Cup Opening Match which would make history for being the first on African soil.

At said salaah facility (generously organized and well executed by Muslim donors and volunteers) I witnessed with rising anger, so many men and women who normally “oppose” women’s participation in the mosque, quickly adapt their positions to suit their soccer frenzy.

I would like to pose a question to everyone who attended – did you notice any women luring and seducing men before, during or after the Salaah? I personally did not. What I did witness, was men and women who wanted to pray. Period.

After a long and very informative chat with Imam Wadee, who led the salaah before the kick-off, I realized that small steps like these, taken by organizers and community leaders like himself, are the only way to ultimately show people, realistically, that the skies will not open up and rain down punishment on men and women who pray in congregation in the masjid or other public places. Imam Wadee explained to me, that although a separate tent was set up for the women, he took the initiative to designate the space behind the men for the women. The whole barrier/partition, in his words – did not exist during the Prophet’s (PBUH) time, and is an innovation.

South African Muslims are amongst the most free to practice their religion in the world, and to engage to all sorts of other social, political and economic activities…yet women in Johannesburg and other Deobandi-run masaajid are not allowed to attend, or are allowed to do so “conditionally”.

I don’t believe there are any conditions for a women’s attendance and participation in the masjid, which is the pivotal center of a Muslim community. It should be open and welcoming to every human being. Its time we started living up to the Sunnah we are so quick to defend…the Prophet (PBUH) allowed a Christian man to complete urinating in his mosque…and some Muslims, in this day and age, bar believers from the house of worship.

So – let me get this straight – under normal circumstances, religiously-committed women who desire to benefit from the sanctity of the masjid and the unity of prayers in congregation cannot do so because they will distract and seduce men, but in other circumstances, such as a certain important soccer match, men and women can pray together, with no walls/curtains/partitions/barriers – do you not see the hypocrisy in this??

There were many in attendance at the World Cup Jumuah who support women’s participation in the masjid, and I hope they realize the importance of fighting hard for it. There were also many there, who I personally have come to loggerheads with on this issue, especially regarding the Eid Salaah – I would like to say to these people who stop their wives/mothers/daughters and other believing women from Allah’s house to stop being such hypocrites – if you truly believe that women have no place praying together with men, that a womens place “is in the home”, then you should not have been there, but since you were, please do some serious introspection and ask yourself that if women are so inherently evil and shameful, why did you stand with them in prayer to Allah?

I would also like to commend the organizers, the Imam and the participants for making it a successful Jumuah, and showing the community, practically, that men are not lust-hungry animals and women not evil-temptresses.


11 Responses to “Hypocrites and the Jumuah Before Kick-off”

  1. Salma Says:

    Shukran, Safiyyah for voicing this so strongly!

    I was (un)fortunately not a witness to the salaah gathering in Joburg ahead of the opening match, but am certain seeing countless faces/voices who on other ocassions scream ‘fitnah’, now performing salaah conveniently amidst purdah-less facilities, would have also left me really frustrated!

    Able to transfer this blogpost to Facebook (if not already?), so that I may share it across the FB platform?


  2. Tell dem, tell dem Saffiyah tell dem!
    Alhamdulillah all big Sunnhi Mosques have ladies section. To name a few, in JHB: Sultan Bahu Masjid Mayfair (www.sultanbahu.org.za), Saaberie Chishty Mosque and Jamia Razvia in Lenasia.

    Zaynul Abideen

  3. Ify Okoye Says:

    Salaam alaykum,

    Good to hear of the experience at the World Cup, I hope and pray it helps opens minds and hearts, and plant seeds that we will help our masajid and communities become more inclusive.

  4. charouchick Says:

    There has been a long history of Muslim women standing up for their rights in South African mosques and other religious spaces. We just have to keep at it…alhamdullilah, this is a new generation of young women not prepared to take crap… : )

  5. Ridwaan Says:

    “I don’t believe there are any conditions for a women’s attendance and participation in the masjid,”

    Hijaab maybe? I think there very much need to be conditions imposed, I’m not an advocate of barring women from the musjid at all, or even the purdah between them, but we seriously need to encourage some modesty on the behalf of both brothers AND sisters.
    I attend mouloods/other prog’s etc where purdah is not implemented and they pretty much become a meeting ground for young girls/boys. Its pretty appalling and the last thing we’d want is for Musjids to lose that feeling of tranquility…

    • At the Mosques mentioned above the women’s section is totally separated from the men’s section as it is a floor above the men’s section. So Shari’ Hijab is successfully implemented and Alhamdulillah the feeling of tranquility and modesty is maintained.

      The Shari’ limit of Hijab for women is that they must cover the whole body besides the face, both hands and feet. Their hair must be covered and the clothes must not be so thin that the colour of the body may be seen. In the light of the Holy Quraan, Hadith and Fiqh it is not compulsory for woman to cover the face, hands and feet from a Ghair Mahram. (N.B.: It is Mustahab for women to cover the whole face and not Waajib) For further reference consult “Tafseer Mazhari”, Vol. 6, pg. 493; “Tafseer Kabeer”, Vol. 23, pg. 203; ” Roohul Ma’aani”, Vol. 18, pg. 128; “Khazin”, Vol. 6, pg. 68; “Abu Dawood”, Vol. 2, pg. 211; “Mishkaat”, pg. 377; “Muslim”, Vol. 2, pg. 212; “Mu’atta Imam Malik”, pg. 708; “Quduri”, pg. 246; “Kanzud Daqa’iq”, pg. 424; “Mabsoot”, Vol. 10, pg. 152-153; “Badaai-us-Sanaai’”, Vol. 5, pg.121-122″

      “If the women attend the Meelad functions with Shar’i Hijab, which they do, and sit separately from the men, surely this is not called “inter-mingling of sexes”. Even if in a Meelad function, inter-mingling of sexes does occur, the actual Meelad celebration still will not become Haraam or an evil Bid’at. In this case, if such a thing happens then the people should be taught the correct manners.”

      “Allama Shaami (radi Allahu anhu) states: “One must not leave visiting the graves just because some illegal activities are taking place, for example, inter-mingling of sexes. Mustahabbaat (recommended acts) should not be left out because of this type of illegal activities. It is necessary for the people to visit the graves and stop the Bid’at”. (Fatawa Shaami: Kitabul Jana’iz – Discussion on visiting the graves)”

      “Allama Shaami (radi Allahu anhu) has stated categorically that inter-mingling of sexes will not make any Mustahab act Haraam or avoided. There were idols in the Kaaba before Makkah was conquered, but Muslims did not leave out performing the Tawaaf (circumbulation) or Umrah because of the idols. Yes, when Almighty Allah gave them the power, they eventually destroyed the idols.”

      “When people go for Haj, there is inter-mingling of sexes at the airport, in the plane, during Tawaaf, at Mina and at Muzdalifah, yet no one puts a stop to Hajj. In Meelad gatherings, at least men and women sit separately and women are with Hijab. In the Nikah assembly, inter-mingling of sexes occurs and most of the women do not come with Shari’ Hijab. Will the Majlisul Ulama issue Fatwas condemning Nikah gathering to be Haraam? If not, why then is your entire effort spent to make Meelaad functions Haraam?”

      The above are quotations from a book written by Mufti Abdun Nabi Hamidi at:

      • Ooops. Sorry I thought my previous post got deleted so I put up the above one. Please delete this one and the above one and leave up the reply I posted to brother Ridwaan. JazakAllah
        Sorry for the inconvenience.

  6. Shahid Says:

    Perhaps I am naive but is there a genuine agenda by men excluding women from mosques? or is it merely a question of economics? Most of the older mosques do not have female facilitiies but so too they do not have facilities for wheelchairs. so the same argument could be made for the impaired of our society no? The newer mosques certainly cater for females or am i mistaken. As for not wearing a scarf, my dear sisters it is Haraam for you not to cover up. From your brother and son in Islam who remembers you in his du’aas and only prays for that which is good for you. 🙂

  7. Feroza Says:

    Safiyyah – most Masjids have ladies facilities, so that should not be an issue…the ladies and men reading their Jumma together so that they dont miss the opening ceremony/kick off match…what is wrong with that? in Mecca they all read together, shoulder to shoulder, men and women….while you are reading your salaah you dont really care to look at who is doing or wearing what, you just become one group facing Allah, performing your obligatory duty..Alhamdolillah, these muslims showed the world how much they love Allah and also their country, they showed their support for this huge sport event and they also showed the world how beautiful our Religion is. I did not get to see it, but i am sure if i did, it would have brought tears of pride and joy streaming down my face to see our Muslims brothers and sisters reading their Salaah together. I did get to hear about it from my non muslim co-workers who spoke so proudly of us Muslims..now that is what we have achieved…but what do we do? Find something wrong with it, and shout it out from the roof tops to expose our negative opinions, at a time when we should use these little things to unite and make people aware of how special we Allah loving and fearing people are. Our weak Muslims will be so happy with your article, because now they have one more reason to justify their weakness. Use your platform to unite our Muslims and make them feel special, pick on the good point from an action and make a big deal about it, this will make the weak muslims think. A “hypocrite”..thats a harsh word to use for someone who made sure they read their Salaah…With your platform, you can make such a difference to our country and then the world!! Just give it a try.

  8. Appreciating the fact that men and women prayed together on that day and pointing out the hypocrisy of the fact that they did so on that particular occasion are not at odds with each other. What Safiyya is doing is making people see the hypocrisy in people being willing to ‘sacrifice their principles’ for a soccer match, but being unable to do so on ‘lesser occasions’. It is not clear to me how ‘weak Muslims’ will use Safiyya’s argument to justify their weakness. In fact, Safiyya may be helping those ‘weak Muslims’ to better understand what changes need to be made within the ways in which deen is practiced. They may better understand why they have so little inclination to make common cause with hypocrisy. And that may not be a bad thing……..

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