Save the Sisters!


By AbdelRahman Murphy

I get some interesting looks when I suggest that the physical barrier that was recently put up between brothers and sisters for Jum`ah at my school be taken down. They probably think it is odd that a bearded, refreshingly conservative, practicing Muslim brother would dare suggest that there be nothing but chairs separating the brothers and sisters during the khutbah and salah. But I have good reasons.

It began last year, when the older generation of our MSA was completely phased out when the last few students who participated in the “glory years” finished their degrees and graduated. Then, a new group of brothers and sisters took the reins and inherited the responsibility of leading one of the largest Muslim student organizations in the State, if not the country.

For the most part, the new Shura (Council) kept with tradition in most practices of the previous MSA. The prior Council’s success with establishing such a large Muslim body on campus was proof that they were doing things right. So, it was a no-brainer to stick with what they did. There were a few things, however, that changed. One of them was the issue of setting up a barrier for our Friday prayer to physically separate the men from the women. This barrier, I was told, was to protect the khateeb from seeing the women while he was speaking, so he can focus and control his gaze. This was a more intense measure than what the previous MSA Council did; they usually lined up a row of chairs to designate and distinguish the men’s section from the women’s.

“Modesty,” you say, “is an important value in Islam, AbdelRahman. Shouldn’t you be a proponent of a tall physical barrier to promote ideals of modesty?”

That’s a great question, reader. I definitely support modesty between men and women in Islam, most definitely. But this situation is a bit different.

Anyone who has taken a speech class – scratch that, anyone who has ever talked to another human being knows that not all aspects of communication are verbal. When we talk, we may or may not make facial gestures, hand motions, and other physical movements to help get our point across. In fact, studies show that 70% of communication is rooted in something called paralanguage: an auxiliary form of communication that includes everything except speech. In this specific example, the aspect of paralanguage that is most important is called kinesics — more commonly referred to as body language. Putting it in simple terms, the motions a speaker makes during his speech directly improves or worsens the delivery of his message.

Do you see where I am going with this?

When I had presented this concern to the brothers who coordinate the Jum`ah khutbahs at my school, one of their responses was a small retort that shocked my ears and saddened my heart. With an uninterested face, he replied, “it’s not even obligatory for them to come anyways.”

In an event as important and essential as the Friday khutbah, we cannot compromise the effectiveness and impact that it can have on any of the attendees, and that includes the sisters. In fact, the sisters may be more important attendees in certain cases than the brothers. The average brother, though he may not realize it, has many more opportunities to interact with Islamic scholars, teachers, and personalities than the average sister does. For most sisters, the Jum`ah khutbah is the only time they can attend a direct discourse from a respected speaker, outside of conventions and special programs that come every so often.

Why have we adopted this mentality that “the sisters don’t matter, because they don’ t have to come anyways”? Just cover them up and let them stay in the kitchen and give birth to children. The message we are sending our sisters — the mothers of our kids, the mothers of our Ummah –- is that their jobs are menial at best. These same brothers who feel the need to unnecessarily force women behind a blanket are also those who complain most about the onslaught of liberalism and feminism against our sisters. If they would only realize that their unnecessary repression of Muslim women is a direct cause of the future mothers of our Ummah lashing out in rebellion. There is a balance we must achieve, however fine the line may be.

Living in America — and now more than ever — it is essential that we provide as many educational and social opportunities to our sisters as possible, and this includes the Friday khutbah. Do not let our sisters be spiritually handicapped by not allowing them to have the full heart-changing experience of a good khutbah. We need to make sure they have full access to receive the complete message on Fridays, to be able to see what is happening so their hearts are energized for the next week — whether it is at home or at work.

But more importantly, let us be careful not to reinforce the idea that sisters are second-class citizens in Islam; that a room with a garbled sound system and terrible ventilation is sufficient for their educational needs. Even more importantly, let us refrain from strengthening the notion that they should not even come to the masjid — because if we do not have strong, educated, spiritual and active sisters in this Ummah, we are in deep trouble.

May Allah guide us towards what is best, and He knows best.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Do you agree? Disagree? I would especially like to get the sisters’ feedback (both for and against the barrier).

Print Friendly

354 Comments

  1. Muslimah says:

    And isn’t it sad that some of the ones who hold the opinion of “that they don’t have to come anyway” so aggressively are women!

  2. Muslimah says:

    His proof was the hadith where Ayesha(RA) said that if the Prophet(SAW)
    had known about how things turned out, he (SAW) would not have
    permitted women to come to the mosque.

    This is not a hadith since it is not something that the Prophet (PBUH) himself said, rather it is an observation or an assumption, which should be well taken as it is being given by one of the most knowledgeable women in our history. However, as we all know the Quran was sent down for all times, and places. Allah knew, no doubt, all that was to come. And as it is said in the Quran to follow Allah (Quran) and the rasool (The Sunnah), we must recognize that since it was not done at the time of the Prophet that it is something that we are really arguing for no apparent use. If they had wanted they could have used bricks, or rocks and stones to create a barrier os the argument of materials not being available is invalid. Furthermore, the observation that Aisha (ra) made should be recognized in correcting the behavior not the collective practice. What i believe was intended by her remark was to make the women aware that their behavior was not becoming of the beliveing women and one that the Prophet would not have approved, so that the women should realize and correct their behavior, not to stop them from coming all together. It is like in some places if you go to the mosque in Ramadan for Taraweeh you will find many youn men just lounging around and goofing around, does that mean that the mosque should stop holding Tatrweeh prayers? That would be ridiculous, rather it should deal with these issues in other manners.

  3. Umm Bilal says:

    Furthermore, I may have a comment which my be a little controversial, but one of the things I read was that people were saying that sometimes a man might inquire about one of the women he saw, because he found her attractive or whatever. Let me say this cautiously, so what is wrong with that? What I mean to say is that, obviously people do need to get married, and it is the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) to see the person and to see them properly. What is a better place to see someone than the mosque. i would argue its better than hanging out at the mall and flirting. if a man happens to see a sister, whom he finds appealing at the mosque, and then he inquires about her, i think this is a rather respectable manner. At least he or she knows that the other person is connected to the mosque, and is religious.

    Of course i do not mean that they should let this all interfere with their prayer or ibadat, but i want to also touch upon the othe point of prayer in congrgation and for Jumah. Why is it after all obligatory upn men to attend Jumah prayer and even rest of prayers in congregation. One of the reasons is also so that the muslim brothers will continue to meet each other on a regular basis. it is for a healthy apprpriate social interaction as well. Especially living in the West where most of the time is consumed with others things of a routine which is so busy surrounding, work, school, kids, family, etc. Jumah also gives the opportunity for the Muslims to come together and meet each other and spend time with each other.

    It is not obligatory on women. this does not mean that they don’t need to come. rather it is a mercy upon women that it is not obligatory for them to attend because if they are married they might have small children, or they are menstruating, or they are not feeling well enough. So it has been made easier for them. So they get the extra reward even if they prayed at home, But lets say they arrange their schedule and complete their chores in such a way so that they they could attend the congrgation then they would also get the reward of praying in congrgation, as well as the reward for making the extra effort to do so.

  4. Armine says:

    “And isn’t it sad that some of the ones who hold the opinion of “that they don’t have to come anyway” so aggressively are women!”

    Indeed, though not as sad as the multitude of men only mosques here in the UK.

    One thought, what about the 4 to 10% of Muslims who are Gay or Lesbian? Ok they aren’t supposed to exist but they do believe me and you’ve all probably prayed alongside them many times in your lives without even realising it…

    At the end of the day we are all human beings and there will always be a barrier missing somewhere for someone and anyway as Muslimah correctly states – “The barrier is not necessary according to the Sunnah so why bother?”

  5. d says:

    salaams completely agree with umm bilal,

  6. a.b says:

    Juma should be about about strenghting your iman and if you are making it into a “checking each other out session”, work to change it. During the prophets age, women would go to him and ask him questions in search of knowledge and truth. Us women should concentate more on the khutba then on the men. Its true that this day in age we might be “distracted” by eachother more but why cant we change our mindset and go for the sake of allah. Maybe by just chairs, our modesty will grow.

  7. khateeb says:

    I’m giving khutbah at a local MSA and they take foldable tables and set them up long-wise across the front of the sisters as a “barrier.” As I give khutbah here, I can see the sisters, but at the same time I can’t. Kinda “symbolic.”

    Just gotta remember to look out for them by not looking at them. Not a big deal either way.

  8. NurIman says:

    Salaams,
    Since it is a Friday prayer khutbah, I would suggest a barrier be present but with a tv monitor placed at a height in the sisters area so that all can see the speaker clearly.
    I have been to a few mosques that practice this and so far everyone seems to be satisfied.
    Usually after the prayer/khutbah, sisters and brothers can be seen interacting outside the mosque for whatever reasons (all good & minimal of course ;) ) so there isn’t any weird culture of sister-brother talking & healthy interaction being forbidden at Islamic centres.

    However if it is an Islamic workshop or class lecture, then I would suggest no physical barriers be made because interaction by asking questions is an important part of group learning and of course the sisters are expected to be given equal opportunities as the brothers.

    Jazakallah for bringing up this topic. May Allah reward your good intentions.

  9. NurIman says:

    After reading the comments- I remembered the mosques I visited that had partial barriers (with a tv monitor too lol) and a small space separated by curtains & a mirror inside for when sisters need to take off their hijab or breastfeed. They can still hear the khutbah from there. This is all located on the second story though and when I say partial barrier, it is because some sisters can look below & see the brothers area clearly (bird’s eye view).

    Also, the mosques I wrote about in my last comment had sister areas that are well lit, well ventilated, carpeted and as beautiful as the brothers area (in terms of furnishing & materials provided like tasbih, quran, prayer mats etc). I guess maybe that is why there were no complaints and the sisters seemed satisfied with the arrangement despite there being a barrier.

    I think solutions differ depending on the community you are addressing. it might be good to hand out surveys to the brothers & sisters at MSA with specific questions to see what they want & decide from there.

    However the attitude of
    “they don’t even have to come to jumuah anyway,” definitely needs correcting.

  10. K.G. says:

    I could only take the argument that “it’s not a part of the Sunnah anyway” seriously if I had more knowledge about the adherence to the Sunnah of that individual making the argument.

    Basically, if people who fervently adhered to the Sunnah, all of it, did not worry about a barrier for that reason, then it’s a valid point to me. I have not yet met such a people. All the people I have seen who live by the Sunnah, anywhere in the world, erect barriers between the men and women if they are side by side or in small areas, otherwise the women are situated at some distance behind the men in larger Masjids.

    “What i believe was intended by her remark was to make the women aware that their behavior was not becoming of the beliveing women and one that the Prophet would not have approved, so that the women should realize and correct their behavior, not to stop them from coming all together.”

    Here’s the thing, nobody in the world would admit that any Muslim women today are more religious than the women of the first few generations, the very same women about whom Hazrat Aisha (ra) was speaking. We know we (men and women) are far worse off in our religion than they were.

    Islam is truth and truth isn’t graded on a curve.

    I bet if Hazrat Aisha (ra) could see women today, then she’d probably panic and do what she could to ban them from coming to the Masjid altogether. That would be the logical extrapolation of her position. She was upset enough at people who are light years above us in religious and spiritual station, how would she be towards us? She probably wouldn’t stop there and do something about the men too!

    Heck, I’m not sure the Sahaba would even qualify many of us as Muslims or our buildings as Masjids except that we label them as such. Wasn’t there a hadith to the effect that Masjids towards the endtime would be full of people but little believers?

    We should stop trying to equate ourselves with the righteous generations of Muslims before we’ve mastered the Deen. If I find people who avoid areas of doubt because they’re scared of the consequences (from Allah) and worry about their Deen sincerely, I follow them. If I find people who are busy drawing extravagant parallels between our generation and the first generations, using brilliant reasoning to write thesis papers about stuff all to that effect, I proceed with caution.

    I have found much more of the latter in my lifetime.

  11. Abu Majeed says:

    Just want to note that according to many major scholars from the different madhahib said that lowering the gaze is only an obligation when there is desire aroused. Many others said that it is only allowed with necessity. This is well known to the student of comparative fiqh.
    For Arabic Speakers- http://www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=3751&version=1&template_id=226&parent_id=17

  12. Um Hana says:

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    Ramadan Kareem.

    Generally, I like the barrier concept as it defines and demarcates a separate space. By having it, it can mean that there is a definite space created for the sisters (not the opposite, that she is not welcome).

    On the issue of not seeing, even in masajid where I have attended jumuahs — unless you are man in front row, I think there are issues with being able to see the khateeb and all his gestures and movements anyway. It’s not like we’re in theatre sitting — I often cannot see the khatib because there are numerous heads and backs in front of me, he may be on the short side, etc.

    We are not used to having/expected to have the khateeb’s gestures visible as it would be in a one on one conversation or as a televised address. That is not the format of most masajid, certainly not historically.

    I think in general our culture is over visual. We need to listen with our hearts more.

    I tend to look down while listening to a khutbah. I don’t know if that’s my own way; but I find it helps me concentrate on what I’m hearing, plus it helps me avoid eye contact with people around me who might find it an invitation to talk.

    An effect of the barrier I don’t like is that the women tend to misbehave more. That is an intra-sister issue that they need to resolve. They need to behave and listen to the khatib whether men are around or not. They need to have self-respect and respect for each other. In separate room masajid and upper balcony masajid, even where sound quality was excellent, my experience has been many women break out into loud conversations during the khutbah, walk around in disorder, lie down, etc.

    Does this change if in same room without barrier? I’m not so sure. I’ve seen a sister taking a cell phone call and talking for a few minutes in the middle of the khutbah in a masjid where she was sitting on a chair in full view of the khatib.

    Another consideration is the type of barrier. Is it a low lattice structure, high fence, curtain, separate room? Are any masajid using one-way mirrors or similar material? I think the way the barrier is designed can have an impact.

  13. Amatullah says:

    Not having a barrier is not very accommodating to sisters in niqaab.

  14. Muslimah says:

    In response to K.G. I am always surprised by those ho make these arguments, when it comes to women issues. First of all, most Muslims do strive to follow the sunnah in religious matters. Obviously there is a difference. The way all Muslims around the world over generations make wudu, is a sunnah, it was taught to us by the Prophet. The way we make Hajj, the way we break our fast, the way we pray, etc. these are all actions we follow basically based on what the Prophet taught us and showed us. Now the Prophet used his hands to eat, now does that mean we must eat with our hands, if we do, that is very good because we are doing out of love of the Prophet, but if we don’t that is not to count against us. In matters of religous practice is where we must follow the sunnah. Think about it, there is no act of orship which is dones which does not follwo the Sunnah. There might be differences as to the Sunnah, even for minor things such as the placement of our hands while in prayer, but the differences are based on what the Prophet did, now everyone agrees that during the Prophet’s time there was no barrier between the Men and women duing prayer, Prophet Muhammad taught us that the men line up in rows in the front behind them imam, and the women line up in rows behind the men. This is the only aspect of religious act in which there is a need for people to change what the Prophet did.

    Why are we all so obsessed with the “sexy” issues, are so small minded and immature that we can not get past these issues? This is why there is so much rebellion and aversion that sets in on young peoples mind, because we make it so obvious to them, by being so obsessed with these issues. Imagine i we never made this an issue, and we did it simply like the everything else, went to mosques prayed like the Prophet did, there would be so much harmony in the minds of everyone. No feelings of resentment in women, and maturity in the minds of men, and the young would never wonder as to what is it actually they are afraid that even prayer is senationalized.

    And K.G., while no doubt there was something totally unique about the people of the prophetic period, especially the Sahabas, I think that is a very subjective observation for you to make that the women from the earlier years were mor religous. I would say that no one has a right to make that assumption. Because we do not know that, only Allah knows what are in the hearts of the people. And persnally I know many , many women, whom I think are extremely religous, Allah loving and fearing woen. I disagree with you whole heartedly, I may be mistaken and if I am please someone let me know, but there is no proof that although Aisha (ra) made that statement, that she ever actually made any attempts to stop women coming to the mosque. She (ra) was a strict follower of the Prophet’s ways, furthermore, she was a woman herself and she did not stop going to the mosque.

    It’s interesting that you simply say that she would do something about the men, but you don’t say she would stop them from coming to the mosque. When specifically and clearly the Prophet made it clear that not even the husband of a woman can stop her from going to the mosque, then who are we to stop them. Who is anyone to stop them, when the Prophet made this clear. Do you think that if such was the case that we are making the argument of that there is a difference in the behaviors that Allah did not know this. And when Allah was guiding, taching and relaying his message to teh Prophet (saw) that he did no know of this and could not have relayed this message to his Prophet os that he could told us. See we need to understand and be clear, the Prophet’s sunnah of what he did and how in ibadat and guidance he relayed upon is was from the direction and approval of Allah, how can we forget the ultimate point. When initially womn dressed openly, Allah relayed to the Prophet in directing as to how we should appear in public. In the beginning drinking was allowed, and then forbidden, Muslims prayed in direction of Jerusalem, and then changed back to Mecca. See how laws were layed out. Many a times it happened that during a conversation, speech, act that the Prophet was engaged in that it happened that he would receive revelation about that specific act, or words, or situation.

    The argument that has been layed out then could then be applied however one chose. People aste too much water while making wudu, htey splash and make such a mess that often the masjid bthrooms are really a mess, so lets stop washing our arms, and feet three times, lets only do it once. Or lets stop women from going to school altogether, becasue many of them go just for an outing, or lets stp them from getting higher edcation or professional degrees, because they put their marrige off and then many of them can’t get married, or hey like K.G. said many people go to mosques for socializing and it might be a sign of the akhirat, so lets not build anymore mosques, and lets just pray in open air in a park instead.

    It is rather absurd, instead of changing the behavior we are trying to change the rules and ways. A question I have is what about all those women who really do go to the mosque for reflection and peace and prayer, and listening to good speecehs, and in imprving themselves spirtually, what about them and the harm you will have casued them. Becasue in my humble opinion and observation, most women Alhamdulillah do come to the mosque for that.

    Oh, and while we’re at it maybe seeing all the fuss and noise the children cause (especially when there are a lot of them) the Prophet (SAW) may have banned children too from the mosque.

  15. Muslimah says:

    Furthermore. let me also clarify, that when I wrote :
    The barrier is not necessary according to the Sunnah so why bother?

    This was a retort in respnse to the one who made the comment to Brother A.R. Murphy that:
    “it’s not even obligatory for them to come anyways.

    Also Brother Murphy tells us that: “they usually lined up a row of chairs to designate and distinguish the men’s section from the women’s.”

    This is fine and makes sense. But Notice that Brother Murphy was told that the barrier was told that ”
    “This barrier, I was told, was to protect the khateeb from seeing the women while he was speaking, so as to help him focus and control his gaze.”
    My respnse to this was “WHAT!!!” So when he looks at the men he does not lose his focus and can control his gaze, so he has a problem simply in making a khutbah to control his gaze and to help him focus??? Now i am sure this was not for any specific khateeb, but rather something that the organizers thought of, but what are these people thinking and on what grounds and with what reasoning. The Prophet Muhammad and the sahabas interacted with women normally. And here these people are suggesting that a khateeb would not be able to focus and control his gaze while making khutbah!!! I’m sorry but I don’t even want to waste my energy and bain cells trying to decpehr, and make an argument gainst this, but does this seem rationale to anyone out there?

  16. Um Hana says:

    Abu Majeed on lowering gaze only when desire aroused:

    so if a brother i’m working with lowers his gaze only after we’ve been talking for 10 minutes, I’m on notice he got aroused during the conversation? Yuck.

    by the way, how does that work exactly? how exactly is he checking on his desire meter? Double yuck.

    i’ve posted on this before. it really bothers me. as a muslim woman, i don’t want to have to deal with or have in any way on my mental or physical landscape any man’s arousal or non-arousal or potential arousal other than my husband’s.

    i take the preventive actions – hijab, being business-like, etc. – to divert that kind of staring. yet some men apparently on going to INSIST on that. subhan Allah.

  17. Mohammad says:

    I have given a khutbah before at the school that (I believe) ARM is talking about, and I don’t even think that the “khateeb getting distracted” is an issue.

    1. The sisters are far enough (behind at least 4/5 rows of brothers) where you can’t identify any features.
    2. The points I would look at while I was speaking were a) above the sister’s heads, b) the leftmost brother in the last row, c) the rightmost brother in the last row, d) brothers in the front
    3. I was too busy focusing on remembering what I had to say next, then to try to make out what the sisters looked like.

    I don’t think that should be the reason for the barrier going up.

    Now what might be an issue, is when brothers walk in, it’s easy for them to take a glance at the sisters (as well as the sisters). So I think the sisters should have a vote amongst themselves if they want a barrier.

    I myself would not have a problem with a barrier, but these days any conservative opinion is looked as “ultra-conservative”. I’m afraid this might be a step towards the possibility of the MSA splitting up into 2 groups (as has happened in other schools!) if enough people are upset about it.

  18. ? says:

    ARM brings up a good point which has been brought up many times and it’s sad that we still have to argue about this. Barriers should have been done with a long time ago.
    However, I don’t believe the sisters need to be ‘saved’. Maybe you didn’t mean it to come off that way…by stating we need to be saved comes off a bit degrading. Sisters/brothers need to work together to have these issues resolved or any other problem(which again, the barrier is a symbol against this kind of attitude).

    This is a whole other issue in itself, but;
    “(no i am not a feminist nor am i a liberal Muslim- Alhamdulillah)” -quoted from …’s comment.
    What’s wrong with being a feminist or liberal? As if it is a sin and you are thanking God you’re not one of them. Everyone should be a feminist. True feminism is just the fight for equality and the promotion of women’s rights and interests. It emerged because of oppression. Movements don’t just come about for nothing. Feminism only exists because it does have an opposing force.

  19. Student of knowledge says:

    I think an important point mentioned earlier is the Da’wa factor and having the masjid or prayer area inviting to the women who are not really practicing, who’s faith might be weaker, who may already preconceived notions of women being treated unfairly. This isn’t a small group, there are many women in the community who feel this way, often the only time they are seen is during the Eid prayer. Maybe if we were more inviting more of them would come. However, this also has to do with the all-important mentality issue mentioned, we have to go out of our ways to welcome and invite and bring our women to the masjids. Subhan Allah, I know some brothers whose wives are out shopping or wasting time during the prayer time because of this very reason.

    Another thing I wanted to comment upon is the mentioning of how the barrier is more convenient for the niqabi sisters. With all my respect to these dear sisters, they are a small minority of our community, we must also look at the benefit of the entire community and not just those who already visit the masjid. We should ask ourselves: where are the other sisters? Especially considering the unfortunate fact of the sisters who don’t understand the adab of the khutba, as the Prophet (pbuh) forbade speech when the imam is on the minbar; the Hanafis went as far as saying even sending praise upon the Prophet (pbuh) is forbidden except in the heart. Maybe they should be taught this.

  20. Hassan says:

    whats wrong with a barrier. I’m sorry to say but a lot of the comments mentioned above are of a defeated nation. Why are we being apologetic and modernist in attitude. Why do we have to always follow what the west does.

  21. AbdulSattar says:

    The concern has nothing to do with being apologetic or doing what the west does. If one reads the article carefully, one will find that it has to do with catering to the needs of a significant part of the our community, sisters – half of our community; many of whom are struggling to hold on to their deen. And this isn’t about whether or not its Fard for them…its that their Islam is hanging on by a thread and Jumu’ah is what is keeping that thread strong.

    If Jumu’ah is the only Islamic connection for many sisters, and the rest of their week is spent partying, clubbing, or doing other things, and THEN you come and tell them that they have to sit behind a screen – they will feel excluded, and rightfully so and stop coming – and this has happened.

    Thus in order to have precaution by putting up the screen, you now would have turned away Muslims from the remembrance of Allah. A greater evil – based on an ignorance of the Sacred Law and an overzealousness with implementing rules and laws with no respect to their effects.

    ws
    AS

  22. Thus in order to have precaution by putting up the screen, you now would have turned away Muslims from the remembrance of Allah. A greater evil – based on an ignorance of the Sacred Law and an overzealousness with implementing rules and laws with no respect to their effects.

    Is that a fact or an assumption?

    Siraaj

  23. Muslimah says:

    And if one would red the comments carefully and completely they would see that we are not trying to follow the west. Astghfirillah, please read and understnd, in fact we are saying the opposite, and that is that we are urging the need to follow the way of the prophetic period, the suunah of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). THERE WAS NO BARRIER IN DURING TH PROPHETIC PERIOD!!!

  24. Khalid says:

    One thing we have to keep in mind, as Muslims, is that guidance comes from Allah (swt), not a passionate speaker with a fiery lecture. Going against the will of Allah (swt) does not bring His guidance.
    Now, what I’m saying should not be misconstrued as the brother’s comment on which this entire article is based has been misconstrued. It is true, that the prophetic period had no physical barrier, but if you read the accounts of the time, the women came for the night prayers when it was dark, and when Rasoolullah (saw) finished prayer, he would sit, facing the qiblah, and wait for the women to leave before he would turn around himself, and this is our Prophet (saw) who was a model for us to learn from, and was cleansed of these illicit desires.
    Also, another insight into the women of the time: when the ayah of hijab came down (yes, there is an ayah of hijab in the Qur’an that applies to all Muslims, not just “fundamentalists”), the Sahabiah turned towards the wall and walked home sideways, so as to cover themselves as much as they could before putting on proper hijabs from home. And those who could not buy more cloth to cover themselves properly, as in their hair, they would rip the extra cloth from their clothing to cover themselves because THAT was the commandment of Rasoolullah (saw), and those were the women of the time, the models for the women of today. So if people don’t feel the pardah is necessary, then they should reform their lives to fit with the people of time when there was no pardah.
    If we go and look at the Prophet (saw)’s masjid itself in Madinah (thus proving it’s not desi culture to have a physical barrier), no one would think of checking the opposite gender or looking at them lustfully, as one would think. Thus, the Saudi government should feel complacent with a mere separation, yet they still put up a physical barrier between the men and the women, and have designated times in which only the women come.
    The masajid are supposed to be fortresses for the believers, a bastion of Din in which people must concentrate on their Salahs, and thus Allah (swt). In this day and age, it has transformed into any ordinary hotspot, or for the lack of a better term, a breeding ground for young Muslim men and women.
    One final thing must be kept in mind, as one of the shuyukh said quite appropriately: The basis of all hikmah is the fear of Allah (swt).

  25. Khalid (The Extremist^) says:

    Look, as human beings, we all have opinions that we can argue out in discussion such as this. In the end, however, there is only one correct opinion, and that is the will of Allah (swt). In the Qur’an, in Surah Nur, it commands the men AND women to lower their gazes, so the entire idea of having an open space so that the sisters can see the khateeb is invalid. So the view of the professors of these speech classes or these psychology classes who emphasize the need to see the speaker to understand the speaker goes against the view of the Qur’an, and that, I believe is where the conversation ends.
    The important point here is the mindset we must have. If the social climates in these colleges, mainly in the Muslim organizations, are not conducive to a physical barrier, that does not mean the physical barrier itself is wrong. It means there is a problem with the environment and the mindset we have towards it. Maybe the ‘baby-step’ method needs to be adopted to address this issue and work towards the higher goal, but just because a large group of Muslims disagree with the higher goal does not make the goal wrong.
    It’s all a matter of mindset. We can align our opinions with the opinions of Allah (swt) in the Qur’an, or we can be so audacious, and consequentially foolish, to disagree with it. Regardless of our course of action, the opinion of Allah (swt) is always right.

  26. Read me says:

    The women in this society are so desensitized that it makes no difference whether a man woman sit next to them or they sit next to. If I am sitting in a classroom, a lady who is a pure product of this society, muslima or not, won’t really mind sitting next to me. However, a woman who has been raised as a good muslima won’t sit next to me and will probably sit next to another female. There would be more fitna if she had sat next to me compared to the amount of fitnah if a non-muslima sat next to me. The Muslima isn’t used to that type of immodest interaction. Alhumdulilah, we, the people who attend Jumua and are attempting to attain Allah, have been blessed with this gift of modesty. lets not get our logic interfering with islam. Sure, some may think that in order for the sisters to benefit, it would logically be more productive for their to be no barrier. but, then again, it was the logic of Shaytaan not to bow before Adam (alayhis Salam) when he said “I will not bow since I am made from a superior thing, fire, and he is made from something inferior, mud”. Our logic will most likely be fused with our desires and our absence of knowledge. Going to college makes everyone think they are scholars and really knowledgeable people. However, we aren’t and no matter how much we won’t want to accept, we are subject to Allah’s rule. True logic would say that “hmm, if the Lord of all the worlds ordered the veil, and the prophet(alayhis salam) did not permit the mixing of genders in anyway, it would do me best to follow their orders and methods to attain jannah”. In the end, the point is jannah, and no khutbah will get us that. Only the barakah and rahmah of of Allah can get us jannat as Khalid said. Also, the issue isn’t only about the khateeb looking at the girls, but about the girls looking in the guys section, even accidentally. Even the accidental glance can cause havoc upon havoc. A girl who normally used to lower her gaze, once just saw a man accidentally and she gave up her studies, her family, her young daughter, her husband, and her future chasing that man and chasing hell by being in illicit intimate relations with him. I think there should be a barrier. Actually, they should have salah in seperate rooms. There is more barakah for a woman to pray at home than in the masjid aren’t ordered to go to i’tikaaf unlike the men. Their i’tikaaf is at home. There is hikmah in that because the Hakeem said it. Also, whoever wants it, remember one thing leads to another. no matter how much we reject, the story of how people in the past starting worshipping idols started just by remembering their dead pious. This thing can lead to another in the future. Have some sense and understand that not every guy is a “good” guy. he is almost beastly inside and is really lustful. All that can be released by the glance of one woman. lets not get to ahead of ourselves and make our own fatawa. people love being important and giving their opinions. In reality, it only matters what Allah and His rasul (alayhis salam) have said. I am sure that if the girls really care about islam and getting some knowledge, they wouldn’t be spending so much time wasting it, as for the guys. Listen to a speech or two, and have a coke, i’m sure that’ll help.

    Inna Allah ya’lamu al haq, innahu Al Haq. Inna Allah ya’lamu anna zalika an nissa fitna lil rijaal. wa li man qala ayyi shay ghair zalik, inna hu la ya’lamu ayy shay. Inni a’lam anna zalik la a’lamu ayy shay.

  27. Abdallah says:

    Salam,

    @Khalid:

    You are right in saying that it is only correct to follow the will of Allah (swt) and that it is INcorrect to follow those opinions that are opposed to the will of Allah (swt). However, this issue isn’t about following the will of Allah (swt) versus not following the will of Allah (swt). This issue has to do with differences in opinions between LEGITIMATE scholars (all of whom, we’re going to assume follow Allah,swt). Please recognize that there are a multitude of legitimate scholars out there that follow a variety of different yet legitimate opinions. Just because your favorite Mufti/Shakyh/Maulana doesn’t happen to agree with them, doesn’t make them wrong. Also, please stop pointing fingers; No one here is being “audacious” enough to go against the will of Allah (swt). Like I stated before, this is about a DIFFERENCE of opinions between LEGITIMATE scholars. Also, I think that it’s absurd for you to assume that the opinions you favor yourself are Islamic and all opposing opinions (that you don’t favor) are un-Islamic. The “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality is ridiculous and leads to widespread fitnah. Please be tolerant enough to accept opposing opinions and not brand them as being un-Islamic. And please stop imposing your view of Islam upon everyone else.

    @Read me:
    You seem to be a classic example of the mentality that this article is critical of. You think it’s a good idea to stuff the sisters into separate rooms. However, let me ask you, have you talked to any sister? Have you asked them for their opinions to see how they feel? The sisters don’t need a brother like you deciding what’s best for them and what’s not. They are old enough and mature enough to decide for themselves so if decide to do something that’ll affect them, ASK THEM ABOUT IT and DON’T DECIDE ON YOUR OWN WHAT YOU THINK IS BEST FOR THEM!!

    Also, you seem to talk about the dangers of not having a barrier. According to you it’ll lead to fitnah and everything will go wrong. However, have you considered the opposing view? Have you thought about all the negative issues that HAVING A BARRIER could possible lead to? Please sit down and think about it. There are already issues with sisters being left alienated and not feeling welcome inside Masajid. There are issues with them not having the same opportunity to gain knowledge as the brothers do. Like some of the people above said, the Ju’maa khutbah is one of the few opportunities that sisters have to learn something Islamic. If we hamper their experience, then where will they go? Will we send them back to the kitchen to prepare a meal of biryani? Will we stuff them in a hot stuffy room where they can barely hear the khateeb? Please don’t forget that we are talking about the mothers of our Ummah here.

  28. Read me says:

    Ok, please don’t take our words out of context I am not at all a proponent of putting women in a hot, sticky room and away from knowledge. We can put them in a room with ac. I kid, I kid. Seriously though, don’t misconstrue our words. Women are deserving of education and some may argue that it is more important. An African proverb goes something like “educate a man, educate a person. educate a woman, educate a community”. There is a necessity to educate women, especially this society where a Muslim doesn’t know whether he follows Isa or Jesus (alayhis salam). Anyways, the point is the that is necissary. however, we should never go against the Shariah or prophetic way to accomplish that. Islamically, as stated in hadith, the curse of Allah is upon the looker and looked upon. It is vital for both genders to lower their gazes, not just one. Also, if you really care about the sisters, you who care to make sure that the eyes of no pervert falls on the faces or bodies of our sisters. This goes for everyone. The bigger the barrier, the less the ability of lustful men to gaze upon the beauty of our sisters. I hope that no desire builds up and enflames the hearts of anyone for a haraam and illicit relationship. I mean we get to come to the masjid and listen to the Khutbah of such great people, we might as well, at least for one day, obey Allah fully. That is a blessed way and in no way should that status be degraded by such foul ideas of taking down the barrier. Basically, for every person who has a view other that the view of the quran and Ahadith is wrong. He/she should look inside his heart and figure out the logic is of no use and probab;y that logic is tangled with desire and shytaan. Allah knows best and that is why He said the quran, not any random “cool dude”. These rules are here for us to follow. Look, all this argument is going nowhere. we are just being broken apart over some issue. Look, lets let the girls decide. I am sure that they will make the correct decision. If they have enough intellect to come to a University, the should have enough to know right from wrong. The brothers also have a say because they are the ones giving khutbah, unless some of the brothers want the girls to give khutbah. I think that would be an awesome way to empower them and give them the knowledge of spreading the message.

    Anyways, we speak from our whims. Let us get a truthful scholar on the topic. Respected Shaykh Suhaib (DB), what have you to say on this topic. Please, lets not just talk. please decide something so that all this argument can finally end and we can go back to being brothers and sisters.

    JazakAllah hu khairan

  29. Latif says:

    Assalumu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

    @ Brother Read me:
    You’re doing the same thing again that the brother above pointed out. Please stop assuming that the opinions that you subscribe to are Islamic and that everything else is unIslamic. It is highly disrespectful of you to do so and indicative of the lack of Adab. Also, You stated that you want everyone to back to being brother and sisters. However, let me tell you, everything was fine in this thread until you came and started openly disrespecting everyone else. There was an open discussion going going on where everyone was talking about the issue in a civilized manner. But then you and that other brother came and started accusing people of going against Islam and the Sunnah. And now you suggest that this discussion is going nowhere.

    Also, If you’re going to talk about unity, then look into yourself please. In your own post, you denounced the idea of taking down the barrier as “foul.” Let me ask you, is this respect? How are you going to achieve unity of you consider everyone else’s ideas as being “foul”. Brother, please learn what the word Adab means and please put it into practice.

    Also, you talk about the intellect of the sisters. According to you, they should have the intellect to decide and come to the correct opinion, which in your case means that there should be a barrier. Well, lets just say that they don’t happen to arrive at your opinion. Then in your case, would you say that they don’t have enough intellect, huh? Once again Brother, please have some Adab for those that disagree with you.

    And Allah (SWT) knows best.
    May Allah (SWT) shower his blessings upon us, ameen.
    May Allah (SWT) give us the true understanding of Islam, ameen.
    May Allah (SWT) give guidance to this Ummah, ameen.

  30. Read me says:

    Truly brother Abdul Latif, you have said correct. I ask pardon form those on the thread for being so “disrespectful” on the thread. Ok, I’ll be respectful. Please take put up the barrier and please utilize proper intellect in deciding whether to put the barrier up.

    C’mon brother. I mean, you incorrectly analyzed what I was saying. I was actually being respectful when said stop arguing. Also, stop disrespecting me. I feel my rights are at stake. Don’t judge me. And, if you want to judge my comment, please do so appropriately. Aren’t you being a little harsh pointing out my harshness? Look, all of this is going nowhere. I can sit here and write a huge rebuttal to your rebuttal but I won’t. Lets stop arguing, seriously. Instead of finding faults in others opinions, lets come to a conclusion on what to do.

    And in no way am I saying that my way is right and all others are wrong. i said the Quran is right and all who oppose it it are wrong. I am more open to sin and error than this economy is open to an even deeper economic drop. I really hope that I didn’t come off as offensive or vindictive. And I really hope I am not giving a bad image of muslims in general

    What do you say brother Abdel Rahman? Lets stop this nonsense and come to a proper judgment. Alhumdulilah we are all adults here, no?

    I ask forgiveness from the brothers and sisters that i offended. Please forgive me.Latif man, I am just playing. You guys are getting too worked up. Lets just get together an eat soem Giordanos or something.

  31. Muslimah says:

    Brother Read me….dear muslim brother, I am a little disturbed by your views and comments—let me first say that, I had decided not to particpate in this debate anymore, because really, barrier or no barrier is really a petty issue, there are so many more–much more important issues, but what troubles me is that as long as we have these type of attitudes how can we move beyond and get to the important issues, these are the attitudes which believe have kept us back and contributed to Muslims be held back—

    With all due respect you say that do not take your words out of content, but this is what you said:

    —“Sure, some may think that in order for the sisters to benefit, it would logically be more productive for their to be no barrier. but, then again, it was the logic of Shaytaan not to bow before Adam (alayhis Salam) when he said “I will not bow since I am made from a superior thing, fire, and he is made from something inferior, mud”. Our logic will most likely be fused with our desires and our absence of knowledge.”

    How can you analogizing the logic of a barrier with the that of Iblis/Shaytaan’s–I am very much at a loss of how could you do that?

    —–“true logic would say that “hmm, if the Lord of all the worlds ordered the veil, and the prophet(alayhis salam) did not permit the mixing of genders in anyway, it would do me best to follow their orders and methods to attain jannah”. In the end, the point is jannah, and no khutbah will get us that. Only the barakah and rahmah of of Allah can get us jannat as Khalid said. Also, the issue isn’t only about the khateeb looking at the girls, but about the girls looking in the guys section, even accidentally. Even the accidental glance can cause havoc upon havoc. A girl who normally used to lower her gaze, once just saw a man accidentally and she gave up her studies, her family, her young daughter, her husband, and her future chasing that man and chasing hell by being in illicit intimate relations with him”

    there is so many such thing as this above that you said, which disturbs me…would you then say that we should not allow the women to even go to university, attend classes, to shopping, pretty much any where, because like you said and it is in the quote above, even an accidental glance can cause havoc, so in order to keep that from happening shouldn’t we just keep the women home?

    Secondly , dear Muslim brother with all due respect one simple question……did not the Prophet (saw) say that all women and children must come for Eid prayer and these prayers were held in open air area, during daylight, did not the Prophet (saw) even permit a woman to live in the mosque for some time….
    did not the Prophet Muhammad (saw) prohibit even the husband of woman from forbidding her to go to the mosque, so brother logically, i ask you who are you to tell a woman where she should pray or not, or to say any of these things you have said, which may Allah forgive me, but i find to be very destructive and troubling, and i pray to Allah that such attitudes are not held by any of our leaders or great sheikhs and scholars.

    Recently we have been talking a great deal about getting involved in public service (politics, government) in the US and how imperative it is for Muslims to active, your viewpoint would eliminate women from this completely.

    Having had the honor of hearing Imam Webb recently, I am pretty sure he does not hold such attitudes.

  32. J says:

    At our university in London, women would just pray behind the men without a barrier. However, in certain instances there were so many men that we were praying so close together my head almost touched the foot of the brother in front of me! After this, we had a curtain separating the women’s section from the men’s section, which I personally felt was more appropriate. We could not see the khatib but it was ok because he was always very vocal and passionate in his khutbas, mashAllah. We benefitted greatly with the comfort of being in our sisters’ only environment.

    I think this sort of thing really depends on the circumstance.

  33. Abdallah H. says:

    Asalamo alaykom,

    I totally agree that our sisters need to be not only allowed but also welcomed to attend khutbas , especially at this point of time and in this country where Muslims need the very same fuel of Iman and taqwa that the Sahaba (RAA) acquired for 13 years before the haram and halal came down,

    but i think we if were to put the mentality issue on the side and look at the barrier thing, there is one issue that needs to be addressed, which is the fact that many sisters come to the musallah area dressed not appropriately -at least not from an Islamic perspective -a problem that the Muslim community at the time of the propohet SAAW didn’t face… if there is a way that all the sisters can comply with the Muslim dress code, then there is no need for a barrier -in my opinion- just like the time of the prophet SAAW, but if not, then a problem still persist whose potential solution is a barrier!

  34. AbdelRahman says:

    I know that brother “Readme” is a very knowledgeable brother, so I have utmost respect for him and his thoughts and opinions, but I do have one correction to make:

    aren’t ordered to go to i’tikaaf unlike the men. Their i’tikaaf is at home. There is hikmah in that because the Hakeem said it.

    This is another example of cultural views of women holding them from their rights, in my opinion.

    Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef answered the question “can women make ‘itikaaf?” on the AlMaghrib forums:

    When the Prophet’s wives would request from him to perform i’tikaaf in the masjid, he gave them permission. If it was better or permissible to do i’tikaaf in one’s home, he could have told them that, but he did not. Sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

    http://forums.almaghrib.org/showpost.php?p=163458&postcount=2

    Also, on Shaykh Salman al-Oadah’s website IslamToday, in the fatwa section:

    Question: What is the ruling on i`tikâf for women? Can they observe i`tikâf in their homes, or must they go to the mosque?

    Answered by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî, former professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh

    I`tikâf is Sunnah for both men and women. It is authentically established that the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed i`tikâf in Ramadan and specifically during the last ten days of Ramadan, and some of his wives used to join him in i`tikâf. They continued to perform i`tikâf after he died.

    However, a woman may not perform i`tikâf in her house, since i`tikâf is by definition a devotional retreat in the mosque. She may observe i`tikâf in the mosque if the mosque has an area set aside for women and she knows that she will not be confronted by any dangers, trials, or temptations.

    And Allah knows best.

    http://islamtoday.com/show_detail_section.cfm?q_id=228&main_cat_id=9

    Let’s be careful not to let our cultural traditions debilitate the rights of half of the Ummah.

  35. Ali says:

    Priorities people, priorities. In fact, someone should write a book about the Fiqh of Priorities. I’m ignorant so I don’t know if one exists.

    Prophet (S) changed people based on priority. We need to make sure we remember that. Before we start talking about why we should put barriers up, please examine the seerah of the Prophet. Examine and analyze how he dealt with people, how he changed society in a manner of 23 years. It is absolutely crucial that every single Muslim has a correct understanding of how the Prophet changed society, why he made the decisions he made.

    Islam is not a male dominated religion, it is deen for all human beings, men and women, to follow.

  36. Read me says:

    Ok, I still see rebuttals and thoughts but no ideas. C’mon people, think. Think of a way to end this problem. Make your brains bleed. What should we do. I think we should raise some money and build a hot, stuffy room for the sisters in the back. Any others?
    I kid, but seriously, what should we do with the problem? The whole point of this article was to give us some benefit fro the words of Br.Abdel Rahman and give some ideas…

  37. Latif says:

    Assalumu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

    Brother Read me, I apologize if I came across as harsh but the only reason I may have seemed so was because there were some things that you stated the seemed, for the lack of better word, disturbing. Also, I was responding to your second post. You had a particular attitude to this that was prevalent in your first post and you seemed to repeat it even when another brother had alerted you. Also, I apologize if you felt judged. What I had done was merely point out certain parts of your argument where I felt that the principles of adab had been compromised. Also, I apologize if you felt that “your rights were at stake,” however, this statement made me chuckle more than anything, especially considering that we’re communicating across the internet, and unless someone bans you from posting or something, your rights aren’t exactly “at stake.” But anyways, I apologize brother.

    Also, with regards to rebuttals and thoughts–that was the whole point of this article–to discuss this issue and contribute our thoughts. In the last paragraph of the article, Brother AbdelRahman was asking people to contribute with their thoughts on this issue and that is what they did here. Things may have gotten slightly out hand at times, but for the most part, this has been a civilized discussion, mashAllah.

    With regards to your last question, Br. AbdelRahman has already stated what he wants to do with the “problem.” The whole article was written in support of taking the barriers down at the Jumah prayer for his MSA. Also, he was trying to point out a certain mentality that exists among some brothers in his MSA. It is good that he brought it to attention.

  38. AbdelRahman says:

    Br. AbdelRahman has already stated what he wants to do with the “problem.” The whole article was written in support of taking the barriers down at the Jumah prayer for his MSA.

    Not quite – I was trying to convey the message that we should let the sisters decide, depending on how they feel (outcasted, isolated, just fine with a barrier). But I definitely did want to highlight the detrimental attitude towards sister. JAK for the discussion.

  39. Muslimah says:

    Ok I recognize that some people have various ways as to how they reach a ruling on a certain issue, I personally believe that if it is something connected with ibadaah, then we should follow the way Prophet Muhammad (saw) went about in performing and organizing the ibadaat. This is not an issue which is to change…it is not something that has just come up now and did not exist before.

    In any case i agree with Abdelrahman that let the women decide. However to offer an example of my masjid, we have some wooden moveable screens which we put up accross half of the masjid and the second half is left open, so whatever area a sister wants to sit she can do so. I like this very much, and compared to other masjids i have been to, i really love our masjid environment. i have been to many masjid across the United States and it is this masjid that honestly I have felt the best at, I literally and honestly feel so at peace spiritually and internally. i have been to masjids which were huge and big with plenty of space to hold weddings and events, however the room they set aside for the women to pray, is small, and has the monitor which doesn’t work sometimes.

    To me, if a woman or anyone coming to the masjid, is a very positive sign, especially for those living in the United States where one would think so easy to deviate. For them to come to the masjid is a sign that they do want to be close to Allah, that they do believe and that they are looking to come closer to Allah and their Muslim brothers and sisters. The wisdom behind making jamaat (praying congregation) and Juma so important, is that it keeps the people connected, so that they meet each other and care for each other and maintain a social connection and the community is strong which is so very important. The mercy Allah bestowed upon Women for vaious reason for example; having to care for children, pregnancy hardships, etc, in that Allah made it easy for women by not making it obligatory for them to pray in congregation, however if they want to take advantage of the benefits of doing so, it is available to them also.

    i agree with all those who have said;
    1. All women don’t dress appropriately
    2. Women will talk a lot
    3. Some young people will fool around

    However, this means that we need to teach them and show them so that they can correct themselves, instead of taking away the one good thing they are doing, which is coming to the masjid.

    Most women who don’t dress appropriately, mostly are those who don’t wear hijab…many of these women come from cultures for countries which although are Muslim countries, they do not emphasize the coverin of the head. So these women should people kindly taught about the importance and hukm of hijab.
    Young people who fool around should be reprimanded and should instructed by their parents how to behave.
    Parents need to take responsibility of their children, I would argue that if they weren’t allowed to come to the masjid, they would probably be fooling around at the mall, at least while you have them at the masjid you can get them and teach them.
    There are so many issues here that need to be addressed and maybe this article may help us in recognizing and trying to comeup with ways to solve those issus, and maybe we should leave this issue of barrier or no barrier, because honestly and i am sure most of you will agree that grown women who come to the masjid are doing so just to come closer to their Creator, they may be doing some things incorrectly, but just like when a non-Muslim becomes Muslim, and you teach them slowly and gently not expecting them to know everything right away, we should take the opportunity to show them the right way gently.

  40. Amna says:

    Assalamu Alaykum,

    I see some being are taking this to the heart :)

    The biggest masjid in Columbus if not in Ohio has glass barrier between the sisters and brothers. MashaAllah I really like this idea because it makes me concentrate. At the same time I am not very comfortable praying behind the brothers because they can see me and at times they can stare. There have been times when you can actually see them checking you or the sister next to you out after they finish their prayer. Now in order for us to have khushu’ we need to have separate room where we can’t see one another.

    The fitnah doesn’t only come from the brothers but it also comes from the sisters. I remember this past ramadan during taraweeh when sisters would fight over who sits near the glass. Subha’Allah it’s really scary. Sometimes sisters would actually come 1 hour early so they can get a good spot.

    Now I understand why you (AbdelRahman) would think it’s good idea but at the same time there are more reasons why it would be a very very bad idea. I hope you understand where I am getting at.

    So to make things easier for everyone and less fitna it’s better if the sisters and brother were separated. I understand why the sisters wouldn’t focus if there are barriers. But for me it’s the other way around. I can’t focus if I can see the brother are visible when they’re praying. Now if there are only chairs between the sisters and brothers some will be busy looking at one another or even talking to one another after or before salah.

    That’s just my opinion and also we can agree to disagree people so don’t jump to conclusion please :)

  41. Amna says:

    Oh yeah lets not talk about the dress code now. Some sisters won’t be dressed Islamic but at the same time they come there so there is even more fitnah and let’s not mention the fact that some wear perfume. All I am trying to say is it’ll be safe if we kept everyone separated.

  42. Muslimah says:

    Just a food for thought…at the time of the Prophet Muhammad as we all know there was no barrier…(and women prayed during all times of the day, so let’s not go to the point that it was dark when they would pray, and also there were the munafiqs and those whose iman was weak at that time too,)
    But leave that for a minute…as an anology, women (and men)were told theat they should cover and dress modestly before going out, but they were not stopped from going out, and at the same time both men and women were also told to lower the gaze, now we cant stop people from going out and about their business in school, shopping, work, etc. so how they behave and how they act is the test, now how about in prayer, what was ordered was that men will pray in front of the women, even a husband prays in front of his wife (if I am not mistaken), so that their gaze will not fall on them so as to distract their prayer, now if Allah arranged the way men and women would stand and pray, he could have ordered that their be barrier separation in their prayer, and so therefore anything beyond that is the test for all us individually as to how we behave….I understand that some people follow the concept to stop anything that may lead to haram, but I can’t help but find it hard to believe that one doesn’t stop from going about to the mall, or park or anywhere else, where she may have a much more greater chance that someone may make some inappropriate advance or that she herself or her sister in Islam may act inappropriately, however at the masjid, where your very presence is saying something about where you are in your iman, you want to shut them out.

    Remember the Prophet Muhammad said that whoever changes or adds to the religion that which he has added or changed will be rejected, and that the acts of worship should performed as it was instructed

  43. Muslimah says:

    Oh and don’t worry, I am not at all upset, this is all just discussion, I understand that people have difference of opinion and I respect that, so this all just a discussion , and maybe a chance to learn from each other, and for us to learn too.

  44. Muslimah says:

    Giving a detailed answer to the question posed, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Fiqh Council of North America , states:

    Both men and women are allowed to pray in the Mosque in the same Jama`ah (congregational prayer). When men and women are together in the Masjid then we should have first men’s lines behind the Imam, then children and then women. This is the way Muslims used to pray behind the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He did not make or ask his Companions to have a curtain or wall between the lines of men and women. (See Al-Sindi’s Commentary on Sunan An-Nasa’i, p. 798)

    According to the Shari`ah, it is not required to have a partition, neither of temporary nor of permanent nature, between men and women in the Masjid.

    It is perfectly Islamic to hold meetings of men and women inside the Masjid, whether for prayers or for any other Islamic purpose, without separating them with a curtain, partition or wall.

    It is, however, very important that Muslim women come to public gatherings wearing proper Islamic dress, for it is Haram (forbidden) for a Muslim woman to attend a public gathering without a full Islamic dress. She must cover her hair and neck with a scarf, which should also go over her bosom. Her dress should be modest and loose enough in order not to reveal the shape of her body.

    It stands to reason that partitions were introduced inside the Masajid later in Islamic history. This was done, perhaps, because some women began coming to Mosques without observing proper Islamic dress, or perhaps, some men wanted to discourage them from coming to Mosques. In the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) there was no curtain or partition in his Masjid, although women used to come to the Masjid almost for every prayer and for many other gatherings. It is, however, reported that they used to come to the Masjid dressed up in long clothes. `A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the believing women used to attend the Dawn prayer with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They used to come wrapped up in their long garments and then they used to return to their homes after the prayer, no one could recognize them because of the darkness. (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    Jama`ah means a congregation of people who are praying behind one Imam in continuous lines without any barrier or interruption. As for people who pray behind the Imam, they should either see the Imam or see those who are in front of them. There is no Jama`ah when a person is in one room and his/her Imam in another room, the lines are not continuous and the people behind the Imam are also not visible, otherwise people would not have to come to the Masjid for Jama`ah prayer. They would stay home and pray listening to the loudspeakers from their Masjid or through intercoms. They could nowadays even pray Jama`ah prayer in this way in their own homes listening to the prayer broadcasts coming from Makkah and Madinah on their radios, television sets or through the Internet. But no jurists have ever allowed a Jama`ah prayer in this way.

    The definition of Jama`ah that I gave above is a general one and it is applicable to both men and women. Only in the case of necessity this rule can be relaxed. For example, if the Masjid was too small and people had to pray on different levels or in different rooms to accommodate every person then this would be permissible because of necessity. Muslims should not deliberately and for no reason bifurcate their congregation in their Masajid.

    If there is a concern that the lines of men and women will mix inside the Masajid, then there is no harm in putting a lower barrier, only to demarcate the separate area for women. But women should not be put in a totally separate room in the Masajid unless there is a shortage of space and no other proper arrangement can be done for them.

  45. Muslimah says:

    Responding to the question, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, states the following:

    Women used to attend the jama`ah or congregational Prayers and the Friday Prayers in the Prophet’s Mosque. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to urge them to stand in the last rows behind men.

    At the beginning, men and women used to enter through the same door. When this caused overcrowding on entrances and exits, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him, said: “(It would be better) if this door is left for women.” Upon saying so, the men made that door for women, and it became known up until today as “The Women’s Door”.

    Moreover, women, at the time of the Prophet, used to attend the Friday Prayer; they used to perform the Prayer regularly and listen to the khutbah to the extent that one of them could recite Surat Qaf as she heard the Prophet recite it several times in the Friday khutbah. Women also used to attend the `Eid Prayers and participate in that big Islamic festival that included the old and the young, men as well as women, out in the open, all worshipping Allah.

    Umm `Attiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, “We used to be ordered to come out on the Day of the `Eid and even bring out the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say takbir along with them and invoke Allah along with them and hope for the blessings of that day and for purification from sins.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    Moreover, women used to attend religious sermons with men at the Prophet’s house and they used to inquire about religious matters that many women nowadays would find embarrassing to ask about. For instance, `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) praised the women of Al-Ansar for trying to understand their religion without being held back by bashfulness for they used to ask about such matters as major ritual impurity, wet dream, purificatory bath, menstruation, chronic vaginal discharge, etc.

    And when women found that men’s questions were taking most of the Prophet’s time, they plainly requested the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to make a special day for women. So the Prophet dedicated a day for them when he used to give them lessons and sermons. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)

    Shedding more light on the issue, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Fiqh Council of North America, adds:

    The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explicitly told men not to exclude women from going to the Mosque. It is reported that the wife of `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to attend the congregational Prayer in the Mosque at Fajr and `Ishaa’ Prayers. It was said to her, “Why do you leave home, you know that `Umar does not like that and he feels ashamed (that you leave home at that time)?” She said, “So what prevents him from stopping Me?” The person said, “It is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ‘Do not prevent the she-servants of Allah from Allah’s Mosques.'” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    It is not obligatory for women to attend the jama`ah or congregational Prayers at the Mosque, because they have other obligations as regards their home and children. However, if they have time and feel safe to attend the Mosque, in proper Islamic dress, then they should not be stopped.

    We should rather make our Mosques in such a way that men and women both have equal chance to pray there observing the rules of Prayers.

    Some people, in voicing objection against women going to the Mosque, rely on what `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said in this regard. She is quoted to have said, sometime after the Prophet’s death: “If the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would have seen what the women do now, he would have stopped them from coming to Mosques.”

    But the great scholar of Hadith Ibn Hajar states: “This statement does not say very clearly that `A’ishah gave the Fatwa that women are forbidden to come to Mosques.” (Fath Al-Bari, p. 928).

    It is not known that any Companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or a prominent jurist forbade women from attending the prayers in the Mosque. The custom of preventing women from attending the Mosques started later in times. This unfortunately has negative impact on many of our sisters, drawing them backward and making them ignorant of their faith.

    Women in the West go everywhere. They are in the markets, in malls, in restaurants, and in offices. It is ironic that some men allow them to go to all the places of temptation, but they want to stop them from coming to the places where they can pray to their Lord and learn about their faith.

  46. student says:

    assalamu ‘alaykum,

    I have been following this thread for quite some time and just wanted to add a comment myself.

    Personally, I don’t think women should ever, ever, ever, be stopped from gaining knowledge or from going to the masjid. As some of the other brothers and sisters mentioned above, I agree that just the fact that someone wants to come to the masjid nowadays is a huge deal. There have been many great Islamic civilizations and centers of learning in the past. The men were remarkable scholars, but women barely got the chance to study deen. As a result, there was no one to teach the children, and slowly the deen faded away from even those places where now it is just an echo of the past. When women study deen and have a love for it, they pass it on to their children in a way no one else can. Therefore, it is my humble opinion that women should never be stopped or even discouraged from coming to the masjid. Sometimes, we are not discouraged openly. Things like a smelly, stuffy room filled with crying babies can be discouraging.

    Also, at the same time, I believe there should be some sort of a practical barrier. By practical, I mean there could be a wall, but there could be a glass with a view from the women’s side for those who need to see the Imam. Or a television arrangement for those who chose to watch. Some may argue and ask what the big deal is when we see men all the time anyways at the mall, work, etc. But I personally believe that the masjid is a place we should be able to concentrate and not have to struggle to lower our gaze. We have to do that all the times anyways. To me, the masjid is like a safe haven, a sanctuary, where I like to go to revive and strengthen my Iman. I don’t want to have to concentrate on lowering my gaze. Therefore, I think we should have a choice when we go to the masjid as to whether we want to see the men or not.

  47. Ali says:

    We’re talking about MSAs here. The fact of the matter is this: if the barrier weakens the tarbiyah of the Muslim Sister, it should not be there at all. If it doesn’t AND the sisters don’t mind, then a barrier could be put up.

    Otherwise, chairs suffice to be a “barrier” during Jumah Salah.

  48. Inspired says:

    Jumahs at highschools and colleges should be used as dawah tools to bring in the 95% of Muslims that do not practice, pray 5x/day, etc.

    We have been using jumahs in Ottawa, Canada as well as a few select areas in the Bay Area, CA to bring in Muslims you would never have dreamed of coming to jumah.

    In fact, some of the biggest DRUG DEALERS started coming to jumah and they changed their lives to the point where they started giving khutbas.

    We had sisters coming in in mini skirts eating food…and we let them simply because it’s dawah…and lo and behold these same people are the ones who would leave weeping and making tawbah and eventually deening.

    The jumah is simply a dawah tool to bring Muslims in and address topics that really matter to youth and students. You can’t do that at vast majority of masajid.

    O Youth of Islam…we have lots of dawah to do so let’s get started!

  49. Inspired says:

    …I forgot to add: We never, ever, ever have barriers at our jumahs because we’re trying to do dawah to the 95% of non practicing Muslims including women…these are the same women who hate masjids and have been castigated by their own communities for their dress, etc.

    So we need to reach out to them with mercy…take down the barrier…don’t treat jumah as simply your obligatory prayer but as a dawah tool.

  50. Zubair says:

    Interesting discussion, mashaAllah. (sorry, I Just wanted to have the 100th comment on this post :-) )

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

More in Islamic Studies (898 of 1169 articles)