In Allah’s Home At Last

Written by P.K. Surendran | Published on: April 22, 2016
discourse in Malayalam. They said it was “un-Islamic”.

(Incidentally. the Palayam mosque is the only one that engages in a regular discourse in Malayalam rather than Arabic. “If I talk in our mother tongue, people will understand. If I use a  foreign language flocks will not realise and will remain ignorant though obedient.
Q. How is that you are not in the imams' council?
A. The so-called council is formed just to rein in me. How can I be included in a fight against me?
Q. You opponents have passed a fatwa restraining women from praying in masques.What do you say to that?

A.May God pardon them. What can I say of those whose intention is not honest. Gender parity is a cardinal principal of Islam. Misusing and misinterpretation have rendered this great faith suspicious in others' eyes. We are not only going to stick to our decision but we are also going to make permanent facility for women to come and pray daily if they want. I am sure others will have to follow us because we are right.

Combat had then sought widespread opinions from a cross-section of people:     


‘Re – entry in mosques will mean true equality for women in Islam’: Zeenat Shaukatali, Professor of Islamic studies 
I think that women should and must be allowed to go and pray inside the mosques. Where is the question of any controversy? AS a matter of fact, during the Prophet's lifetime, women went and prayed inside mosques always. There is one particular hadith (from Bukhari) that recounts how the Prophet himself used to say his own evening prayer a little shorter to enable women to participate and thereafter go home early.
Even today, in every part of the Muslim world this right exists for Muslim women. So why not here? In the Kabaa (which is the first mosque of Islam) women and men pray together, at the Masjid Nabvi (Prophet's Mosque) in Medina, women pray inside mosque with just separate arrangements: not side by side together inside the mosque.
And in every part of Jeddah that I have visited women pray inside mosques. Maybe, they have separate places to enter, they pray separately: behind, side by side or behind a curtain). But the moot point is that they enter mosques and can pray there. The right to entry inside the place of worship is very important. We must gain this right of re-entry. And permanently.
It is particularly important because we need to ask why, when something has been permitted by the Prophet, by Islam, why has a restriction been imposed on this basic right in India? Re-entry inside the place of worship is particularly important because it is one way of establishing equality, between men and women in Islam.
Initially Islam gave women all rights without restriction: on activities of prayers, other social or economic activities. Women participated even in wars.  Yet we are at such a regressive stage, for Muslim women here in India because of restrictions imposed at a much later stage.
It is time for us to make a renaissance and get back to the roots of Islam. On this question of entering, as equals, into the House of Worship, why should the question of controversy arise?

Recently, there was an All India Muslim Women’s Education Conference, 1996 organised by Seethakathi Trust in Madras. At this conference, several of us put forward a proposal of a similar nature about equal participation in prayer. We also suggested that after the khutba (sermon) after namaaz every Friday, an announcement must be made repeatedly exhorting Muslim parents to educate their girl children. This proposal received wide acceptance.
In the words of the Prophet, it is the "duty of every man and women to seek knowledge even if it be in China”. The Prophet also said that "the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr."  Based on these hadiths, we argued that it is the duty of religious leaders and Muslim parents to improve