During the 52nd Annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) convention in Chicago, the inclusive Mosque initiative was launched.
The ISNA statement on the Inclusion of Women in Mosques included three main points:
1. Masjids should be welcoming Women.
2. Women should have prayer space in main musalla (hall) without barriers.
3. Women should participate in the Mosque decision-making process.
During the ISNA convention, that ran from September 4-7, there was a session highlighting the Inclusive Mosque initiative.
Hazem Bata, the Secretary General of ISNA, felt the biggest problem facing the Muslim community was the lack of inclusion of women in Masjids.
He said; “Half of our community is Women, if excluded from the Mosque, you have lost half the population and they are the half that usually raise the kids – so you have lost the future generation, also.”
The key point made throughout the session was the amount of talent among the Muslim sisters, yet they don’t feel welcomed in their own Mosque.
The Prophetic teaching on the topic of Women’s inclusion in Masjids was also mentioned during the session by Sarah Sayeed from New York.
She said; “Mosques were made open to women by the Prophet (pbuh). Women had opportunity to engage the Imam from the musalla, this is the prophetic practice”
This was also emphasised by Muzammil Siddiqui who said; “This statement is neither conservative nor liberal. It is based on the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh)”.
Also on the panel was Shaykh Dr Yasir Qadhi, who believed that the year 2015 was too late to be having this discussion on women being in the masjid.
He is not wrong, if women were welcomed in the Mosque during the Prophets time and were encouraged to participate, then how have we digressed 1,400 years later?
“Our sisters are our twin halves. We cannot as a community deprive half the community coming to the holiest place of Islam. If a woman does not want to come to the Masjid, that is her prerogative – but this decision cannot be made by the community or the masjid!” he said.
Dr Ingrid Mattson summed up the discussion very well by saying; “The one who makes fitna is the one who deprives someone of their rights”.
The ISNA statement on the inclusion of Women in Mosques (Read here: http://www.isna.net/isna-statement.html)