Pune: Masjids and eidgahs should welcome women to pray during the upcoming festival of Eid ul Azha (Bakrid), demanded Zubair Pirzade, Secretary of Pune District Congress Committee (PDCC) on Monday.
Though it is a issue which involves Muslim women, many people wondered why the political party is racking up the issue now, when they did nothing during their decades of ruling the country.
Pirzade was addressing a press conference about the issue at Patrakar Bhavan in Pune. “Islam treats both men and women equally when it comes to offering prayers. Since the time of Prophet Muhammed, women had been going to mosques and eidgahs in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. In many parts of the world, it is common practice that women offer namaz in masjids.
But there is an undeclared ban on entry of women in mosques and eidgahs. We have appealed to Ulema (Muslim scholars) and trustees of mosques to allow women to pray there. We have also given a letter to the government that while giving permissions for new mosques and eidgahs, they should make sure there is space for women to offer prayers there,” said Pirzade.
Women are allowed to enter mosques that have a separate space for them, but most mosques in India do not. Socially, Indian women are not encouraged to regularly pray at mosques even if they do have separate enclosures.
Social activists blamed male chauvinists in the community for barring women from many smaller mosques. Traditionally, the local committees have never allowed women to enter mosques.
Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of the Mumbai-based Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, blamed the patriarchal mindset of a group of clerics and local masjid committees.
“Islam allows women to enter and pray inside mosques but members of some local committees discourage women and prevent them to enter inside,” she said.
“But now things are changing. Many mosques have got space for women to pray and some of them have got separate prayer timings. It should become the norm to allow women to pray inside mosques,” she said.
Pune-based social activist Razia Patel added, “Though it is matter of equality for women to pray in mosques like men. But the political party must prioritise what are issues which are plaguing the community even after several years of their rule.”
“Islam treats both men and women equally when it comes to offering prayers. Since the time of Prophet Muhammed, women had been going to mosques and eidgahs in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. In many parts of the world, it is common practice that women offer namaz in masjids.”