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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Muslim failures that births an all women's mosque in Pico Union, Los Angeles

Jan 30, 2015 marks the inaugural of the first All Women’s mosque in Pico Union, Los Angeles. We have always appreciated contributing factors that bring people together and encourage independence.  Although we welcome the new  mosque, we have to consider the failures it denotes;

1. Failure on part of men; instead of working on a gender neutral mosque, they have denied equal access and equal caliber space to women in most Mosques.

2. Failure on part of women; instead of asserting their right, they caved in and created their own space – an unwanted chasm will be trending.

3. Failure on our part to recognize that it is not good for families to pray in different places regularly or on the day of Eid. 
Mosque is not just a place to worship, it is a community center, we need to remember this.

The new generation’s aspiration for a non-discriminatory mosque (the likes of Haram shariff) where men and women can pray and lead the prayers in the same space is harmed with this mosque. One of the many ways to rectify is for us to go to all places of worship and create a gender neutral space.  The first generation immigrants may have difficulty with that, but that is what will happen in a decade or two. America is about equality, and so is Islam.

In fact Prophet Muhammad may be called the first women's libber for restoring their due rights for the first time in human history - by declaring that they are not men's chattel, (which was the case even in the United States up to the late 19th century), they can initiate divorce, and marriage, own their own property and business.... and more. After his death, societies went back to their old ways, it is time for correction.

As an example of what we can do to bring that sense of community , we started out in the month of Ramadan, a few of us have done our iftaars in Ahmadiyya, Shia, Sunni and WD Muhammad mosques and the various derivatives from these denominations.  Who leads the prayer does not matter, but it is our Niyya that matters. We are there to pray and the Imam is just an instrument for that prayer. Thank God, we go to different mosques for Friday prayers, and have recorded diverse prayer formats and fast breaking practices for us to learn and respect instead of being dumbfounded. We have to respect the otherness of others and not look to it as right or wrong. Refer tohttp://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/

If we talk about Unity of the community, we need to do things that brings the unity.
Next time I am in DC, I will look for a progressive Muslim mosque where a woman Imam will lead the prayers to complete the full diversity cycle in Islam.  I have prayed behind Imam of every denomination (yes!) and have led prayers for all denominations together in Mulberry Florida on the day of Quran burning event on 9/11/2013; which will be a part of the scene in the upcoming film; Sacred.

Let us peacefully do the things that unite us, if not, the chasm will get deeper and deeper, taking away from unity to disunity and separation of the same family members. Mosque is not just a place to worship, it is a community center, we need to remember this.

Welcoming the Women’s Mosque of America

1 comment:


    The Quran says in 62:9 O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! Will anyone argue that this verse of the Quran is only for Muslim men and not for women. If the Prophet advised women to pray in their homes, it was due to cultural and social reasons rather that spiritual or religious reasons, otherwise it would be perceived that a group of Muslims is excluded from this act because of their gender. Allah does not give preference to one gender over the other because both are created by him and how can he be discriminatory against his own creation