An abridged version of this article was published at Muslimah Media Watch

By Safiyyah Surtee

Several weeks after Eid al Fitr and before Eid al-Adha, it's a good time to analyze the recent media embroglio about women and Eid prayers in South Africa. The ways in which South African Muslims interact with the media has changed drastically in the last few years with the rise of social media, and this has reflected itself especially in what has been called “the desktop gender jihad” (women using the internet to fight, lobby and advocate for their rights).

The masjid-ul-Islam Eid prayer. Photo via Farhana Ismail.

In the weeks following Eid al-Fitr, a group of South African women from different cities and affiliated with different groups put their heads together to make a statement: Women have the right to attend Eid prayers. Traditionally, South African Muslim women in the north have been barred from attending the prayers, as part of the dominant mindset of women as a source “temptation” and “distraction.” Muslims in the South, especially in the Cape, have always had women as part of their congregations. These differences are sometimes attributed to ethnicity and sometimes to madhab (school of law).The campaign to attend Eid prayer was carried out using various media channels, including radio and television interviews, newspaper articles, blog posts and social media updates.  I'd like to look at how Muslim women used the media to further their campaign, as well the counter-attacks launched by a number of Muslim media agencies.

South African Muslims love pamphleteering. The first pamphlet was undertaken by members of the masjid-ul-Islam (a Johannesburg-based mosque that is inclusive to both men and women), entitled “Eid Bytes,” consisting of a number of prophetic traditions relating to women and the Eid prayer. Here it is interesting to note the way in which women use tradition to empower themselves. Then, numerous articles appeared in small but widely read community newspapers in Johannesburg, such as the Fordsburg Independent and The Rising Sun, putting out a message in the public space: Muslim women will not sit back and accept a status quo that usurps their right to participation in religious life.

Another significant highlight in the campaign is the contribution by journalist and Islamic scholar Quraysha Sooliman, who wrote extensively about the matter during Ramadan using both traditional knowledge and journalistic know-how to educate as many women as possible. She and Farhana Ismail, another community journalist, were catalysts in giving the campaign momentum through their community paper articles, radio and television interviews. For me, these are Muslim women with voices, loud voices, speaking for themselves.

Sooliman, who writes with power and confidence, routinely asks pressing questions in the media about the logic of some of the scholars.  In one article, she responds to a fatwa  by Mufti Abdul-Qadir Hussein on the Channel Islam International (CII) radio station:

We would like to ask the Mufti if all the scholars and muftis and Imams in all the other parts of the world are wrong in allowing women to attend the mosques and in demanding that they participate in the Eid salah, and only Indian-Pakistani and a handful of South African scholars are right? And by the same token is the Mufti suggesting that all South African women have no morals and respect for the etiquette of the mosque? Is it correct to make such sweeping generalizations, or should the scholars rather focus on teaching the community the correct etiquette through encouraging them to attend?

Ismail was on the receiving end of the said mufti's ire when she went live on CII after securing an interview to discuss the matter. Hussein was outraged that she had been allowed to air her views, and immediately went on a rampage, calling all women involved in the matter “the party of Satan.”

The Booklet

Another jarring example of public libel is the booklet making its rounds, entitled “A Dumb Woman's View and its Refutation.” (pictured right) To make matters worse, the booklet is pink! It serves as an attack on Sooliman's work, and repeatedly calls her “dumb,” “stupid,” “intellectually deficient,” “corrupt,” and a number of other expletives. The level of engagement is shocking, and speaks of frightened and injured male egos.

It has become common for men to target women who question, think independently and make informed decisions, and attack their personalities, their faith and their morality. This was quite apparent when the radio station allowed the mufti to slur women involved in the campaign. The station even went as far as to include the story in their news bulletin as a headline! To their credit, however, the station did open their lines the next morning for the listeners to voice their opinions, and the results were roughly equal in those for and against women's inclusion.

The Voice of the Cape, a Cape Town-based radio station, a voice of sanity amidst the chaos, featured an article on their website delving into the issue. The article looks at the history of Northern Muslims and asserts that the dominant narrative has been one of women's exclusion because of patriarchy and not religious tradition. The station is part of the Cape scene, where Muslim women are always accommodated in ritual life, and their support for Muslim women in the North has always been received graciously.

While Muslims consider Islam to be a religion that promotes the equal rights of both men and women, there remains a dominant patriarchal ideology among local ulema—one of the main stumbling blocks to elevating the status of women in society. This is the view of Professor Abdulkader Tayob from the Centre for Contemporary Islam at the University of Cape Town (UCT), in his analysis of an academic debate on the permissibility of women attending the Eid salah:

The sensitive issue has ignited much discussion in Gauteng after a well-known mufti publicly condemned women for attending the Eidgah (Eid prayer, usually in an open field), sparking outrage from a network of progressive Muslim women who then issued a rebuttal to the scholar. The current debate not only centers around why women have been excluded from this sacred prayer, but also questions the prevailing sexist attitudes that exist amongst the ulema, which go against the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Na'eem Jeenah, columnist for al-Qalam, perhaps summed it all up best in his latest commentary, “Scared Men Try To Mess up Eid:”

What some of the foolish men in our community do not realise is that, as a whole, the community is neither ignorant nor stupid … Many of the women who attended had found out about the Eid salah after the negative propaganda campaign by the radio mufti and his ilk. All the negativity, it seems, convinced more women that they really should be listening to the advice of the Prophet Muhammad (s) rather than that of some scared man behind a mic. So, my advice to Mr mufti: polish up on your insults and bad logic; the women will expect you to advertise for them again before Eid al-Adha.

Another significant event in the story is of a wealthy Muslim community in the lush Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, who advertised that they would allow women to attend the Eid prayer for the first time, only to revoke the decision on Eid morning. The story was picked up by the mainstream Sunday Times, entitled “Women upset at being 'barred' from Eid prayer.

The article appeared on the front page, as well the website, and reflected badly on the Houghton community who has prided themselves on their reputation. The piece included interviews with women who came to the venue only to find it deserted. It also included this powerful quote from Ismail,

“Muslim men are taught to see women as sexual beings before they are viewed as moral and spiritual beings, contrary to the teachings of the Qur'an. The Prophet commanded females to attend Eid namaz (prayer).”

Ismail also wrote a follow up article in the Fordburg Times, where she wrote poignantly about the Eid prayer she attended, and detailed the role of masjid-ul-Islam in securing space for women worshippers.

So what does all of this mean? To me, it speaks to the shifting nature of religious authority, and the media's role in shaping the Muslim tradition in South Africa, particularly with regards to gender norms. South African Muslim women have an increased visibility in the media, on the internet and in public. Community members were made aware of the campaign via media channels; the media also played the role of the battle ground, where the different sides went to war with each other with numerous rebuttals and counter-rebuttals. One message was clear: women are questioning the use and abuse of authority by the clergy, especially in the media.

Has all of this translated into concrete change? I would say yes. Not only was this the most talked about affair in the Muslim community, but the Eid prayer I attended saw a one-third increase in female attendants, as did the service attended by Sooliman. Women were also accommodated for the first time in various other smaller congregations, and a few women even attended an Eid prayer reserved solely for men in the Indian dominated community of Lenasia, a small town just outside Johannesburg. Their voices are being heard, loud and clear, and they resonate with many.

94 Responses

  1. Ify Okoye

    Very important article, well done. That pamphlet and the attitude behind it is very far from the Prophetic example. Glad to hear sisters around the world are courageously challenging these injustices and indignities despite the harms of those who wish to be harmful. May Allah azza wa jal bless the South African community to be more inclusive. Barring women from masajid and eid salah harms the community as a whole in a multitude of ways.

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  2. Fatima Thompson

    This practice of demonizing the carrier of the message is not new. It reflects the weakness of the person doing that demonizing – hurt egos as the article points out.
    It seems that every effort by women to advance our agency is responded to with the same sort of demonizing, othering and just plain mean comments as mentioned here.
    My favorite “fitnah”… so, to speak up and disagree is fitnah? Since when? Oh, I see… since it was a woman speaking up.
    I am really proud of these women speaking up for their rights – so clearly given as a COMMAND by the Prophet. I pray that they have success and happiness.
    Fatima

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  3. Amad

    This South African story is the REAL story… of sisters being denied basic right of participating in prayers that are clearly sanctioned by Allah and His Messenger (S). This isn’t about praying together or in the same space, it’s about praying at all. Let’s remember the difference.

    And their fair and just cause was given success by Allah. When the message is correct, it doesn’t matter who the messenger is. Shame on those who used slurs and demeaning words to downplay the sisters. Whenever people resort to that, it is usually because they don’t have truth on their side.

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    • Uthman

      But the way the message is given by the messenger(s) can make it or break it. They are correct in their message but wrong in their approach and how they are doing it. Wallah u a3lam

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  4. Fatima Thompson

    Oh, I left out the habit of “minimizing” which you, Amad, have just demonstrated so clearly.
    And you have totally ignored the comment about demonizing the messenger. You don’t apologize for that?
    Fatima

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  5. Fatima Thompson

    Ooops – I reread your message, Amad, and thanks for the comment about the slurs, etc.
    And I agree about if the message is correct it does not matter who the messenger is.
    But about the women in SA praying Eid – it could be argued (as I have heard it done many times) that the women can pray at home, that they are not really being deprived of their right to pray.

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    • Abd- Allah

      But about the women in SA praying Eid – it could be argued (as I have heard it done many times) that the women can pray at home, that they are not really being deprived of their right to pray.

      No sister this isn’t really an argument at all because it is not the women’s right to go pray Eid, but rather it is an obligation on them as well just like it is on the men, so they have to go ( I know that some scholars say it is not obligatory on the women to go to Eid prayer but only recommended, but they are all in agreement that for the 2 Eid prayers that it is better for women to attend them rather than stay at home, unlike other prayers where it is better for women to perform them at home). The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah upon him commanded everyone to go to the Eid prayer, even the women who have their menstrual cycle were told to go witness the Eid prayer but they were told to avoid the prayer area.

      Al-Bukhaari (324) and Muslim (890) narrated that Umm ‘Atiyyah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to bring them (women) out on (Eid) al-Fitr and (Eid) al-Adha, and to bring out adolescent girls, menstruating women and virgins, but the menstruating women were to stay away from the prayer, but were to witness goodness and the gathering of the Muslims. I said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what if one of us does not have a jilbaab?” He said: “Let her sister lend her a jilbab.”

      However, I know that in some countries, people usually pray Jumuah and Eid in the Masaajid, and the Masaajid are usually not big enough to fit the women so they stay at home and only the men go and the Masjid would be packed (literally). Unless the women have their own section where by the men can’t overflow into it, then that would be one of the pros of having a separate section for the women because the men can’t just use it when the Masjid gets packed for Jumuah or Eid.

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  6. Kamal

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    I’m currently in Zimbabwe (a neighbour country to South Africa) and it struck me that there wasn’t any Woman at the masjid for Jumah Prayer.

    Now I understand why…

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  7. Fatima Thompson

    Kamal,

    Wa aleikum assalam wa rahmatullah….

    So, now that you know why, what are you going to do about it?

    I mean, you questioned it which indicates that you expected a woman to be at the mosque for Jumu’ah.

    Fatima

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  8. Safiyyah

    Thanks to Muslim Matters for this, and thanks to all for the comments.

    Kamal, do get in touch if you would like to take this matter further in Zim – the same mindsets and ideologies operate there.

    After so many years of studying Islam, I still find it difficult to challenge these misconceptions, because they have been so ingrained in the psychology of South African Indian women. South African Indian Muslims have followed in the footsteps of their ancestors, and continue to perpetrate injustice to women with regards to sacred space, amongst other things.

    Women are viewed as the ultimate symbol of temptation to those who espouse this ideology. Even the women themselves have grown up believing these things about themselves and their sisters. From where I’m sitting, it seems like a simple issue of power politics. Most men are too happy with the status quo, and the authority it gives them, to change anything. The ruling clergy have been indoctrinated to view the feminine as innately evil, and the general public have been brought up to revere the clergy. Hence, this cycle of oppression! We do of course get the occasional, “women are pearls and diamonds and we must protect them, men are so weak that they will pounce any women who is outside her home” rhetoric. It’s amazing really, how seemingly educated people buy into this.

    Gasp all you like, but I maintain my theory, that it is because SA Indian women have been barred from the masaajid that there is so much fitnah. It is because they have been cut off from their spiritual heritage, that they are so disconnected. They don’t know what it is like to be a part of the ummah, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the stranger who is also a sister, to bow down as one huge corpus of men and women, before the Almighty.

    It makes me really sad, that we fast the entire month, strive for excellence in behaviour and worship, but come the day of Eid, we miss out on one of the most significant aspects of our religion.

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    • Fatima Thompson

      Assalamu Aleikum

      “Gasp all you like, but I maintain my theory, that it is because SA Indian women have been barred from the masaajid that there is so much fitnah. It is because they have been cut off from their spiritual heritage, that they are so disconnected. They don’t know what it is like to be a part of the ummah, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the stranger who is also a sister, to bow down as one huge corpus of men and women, before the Almighty.”

      Emphasis on “and” when saying “…one huge corpus of men and women…”

      Thank you for saying this Safiyyah. What you have said in your message I and others here have been saying since we began our effort for accommodation of women IN the congregation, one congregation of men AND women.

      Fatima

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  9. Ibn Mikdad

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

    Don’t you just love the way sufism reforms people’s character, so that they become averse to sunnah and react to any challenge to their views with slurs and insults?

    Wassalaam

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    • Ify Okoye

      Wa salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

      Why bring sufism into the discussion? It seems the only ones “averse to the sunnah” are those insulting and preventing the women from the salah.

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      • ahlam

        I think he meant that those barring the women from eid salah are on a sufi manhaj. I was actually wondering who or what doesn’t allow this kind of thing,as its so strange.Even hearing of masjids that don’t even have women spaces.Bizarre.

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      • Ibn Mikdad

        Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

        I know that wrong attitudes towards sisters are not necessarily limited to specific groups of people, but this problem is more serious among sufis, due to hellenistic influences on philosophical sufism. In ancient Greece “women were largely regarded as inferior creatures scarcely more intelligent than children“, and this attitude crept into Greek – infested schools of thought within Islam, including sufi philosophies. I think someone here on MM recently said that this is the reason there weren’t many female scholars of kalam, while there were many female scholars of hadith. That’s probably the reason why the reaction of the said scholars was so condescending. Also, I couldn’t help but point out he irony of someone reacting in such a arrogant way also belonging to a movement allegedly dedicated to the purification of the heart. Heresies never deliver what they promise.

        Wassalaam

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    • Abd- Allah

      To be honest, I agree with brother Ibn Mikdad. Regardless of the context here, sufis have done so much damage to the actual teachings of Islam, much more than those who are violent or those who prevent women from praying in the masjid in the name of Islam. I think the issue is that many Muslims don’t know anything about sufism and what it is, and that is why they don’t realize its danger and how much the sufis have distorted the pure teachings of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him. The reason why I say that they have done more damage is because they are always trying so hard to pass their devainces and innovations as part of the teachings of Islam and a lot of Muslims who don’t know any better are falling for it, where as everyone knows that those who are doing violence in the name of Islam are not practicing the proper teachings so no one falls for them, mainly because every scholar has denounced violence, but you don’t see that many scholars denouncing sufism and exposing it for what it truly is. And to all the sufi brothers and sisters who are getting ready to press “reply” and defend sufism, my advice for you is to read through the Quran and see if you can find any of the beliefs which the sufi sheikh is teaching. You would be surprised how much of what sufis teach has no basis and is not even found in the Quran. We often advise christians to read through their bible and that they won’t find Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) saying that he is God or asking people to worhsip him or call upon him, so why don’t we do the same when it comes to our beliefs and read through the Quran to see whether there are any verses which mention those beliefs which are being spread by sufis.

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      • Fatima Thompson

        Assalamu Aleikum

        Abd-Allah – how are you so certain that the situation in SA is the result of Sufi ideology?

        And since when did this article become about bashing those with theological differences?

        While you are at it, why not bash the Shi’as, the Ahmadis and the Ismaili’s?

        All of this serves as a distraction for the real issue – men rigging the game in order to disenfranchise women from their rights and (in the case of Eid prayers) their obligations.

        The women mentioned in the article have been quite honorable by reminding the people of the trustworthy traditions – the Sunnah.

        And here these people discussing the article are too uncomfortable with themselves and resort to deflecting attention to other issues…

        Fatima

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      • Abd- Allah

        Wa Alaikum Assalam

        Sister Fatima, I never said that the situation in SA is a result of sufi ideology. I don’t know whether it is or isn’t, but as I previously said, regardless of context, sufi ideology is much more dangerous and damaging to Islam and its teachings than what these people are doing in SA in terms of preventing women from praying Eid.

        Furthermore, no one is bashing anyone, but rather refuting the deviant sects (the Shi’as, the Ahmadis and the Ismaili’s are included as well, but you see, the average Sunni Muslim already knows that these people are deviant and stays away from them, but when it comes to sufis they present themselves as “traditional sunnis” so people fall much easier for their devaint beliefs and innovations).

        This is not a distraction from the issue of the article, because there can be more than one issue. In reality, both issues fall under the same broader subject of deviating from the sunnah. The people in SA who are preventing women from praying Eid have deviated from the sunnah, and the sufis who are spreading deviant ideology have also deviated from the sunnah. So the main issue is deviating from the sunnah, in all forms or ways in which it might present itself!

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  10. Fatima Thompson

    Assalamu Aleikum

    You beat me to it, Ify… but, really… what is this business of “sufism”?

    If you want to talk sunnah – which I will take the risk of presuming that all here are not averse to – please advise us the sunnah of partitions splitting the congregation by gender. Please also advise us on the sunnah of “membership fees”, the advice to a non-Muslim to read the Qur’an and then, when they accept it, to be told that they need help to understand it, to divorce one’s non-Muslim spouse once a person has accepted Islam, the insisting that a person change their name when they accept Islam…

    Oh wait… I digress… just as you do with throwing in this lovely red-herring of “sufism”.

    Let’s talk about the sunnah of ignoring the rights of women, in general, and ignoring the right of women to attend Eid prayers.

    Fatima

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  11. ahlam

    MashAllah.At least they got to pray ,as in the Sunnah,under the open blue sky.Not in a sports hall!

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  12. Ify Okoye

    The issue is not about sufism as those all across the spectrum of Muslim belief including those who believe themselves to be the most orthodox conservatives also bar or diminish or discourage women’s participation in masajid and communal prayer and space. And even when women are technically “allowed” to attend, what kind of accommodations are made?

    I’ve been to many masajid where women are routinely kicked out of the sections of the masjid specifically reserved for them to make way for men and the women are placed in far less desirable accommodation if accommodated at all. No excuse for such behavior other than a true lack of regard for women and children in the community as we are shunted off to the less desirable spaces the men would never deign to accept for themselves.

    And then if we speak up about it, we are dismissively labeled as western feminists or are told we are creating fitna or worse as demonstrated by the vile pamphlet above. Or simply told to stay at home or to focus on the “real issues.”

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    • Abd- Allah

      Sister Ify, you bring up some valid points, but I feel that some of them are too much of a generalization.

      If some people tell women that they are allowed to go pray at the masjid but it is better for them to pray the daily prayers at home, I do not consider that discouraging them from going. It is merely stating what the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him have said. Sure some people prevent women from actually going to the masjid, but let us not mix between these 2 different groups.

      Regarding what you said that in some masaajid the women are kicked out of their own sections to make room for the men, then I don’t think that this in of itself can be used to determine if this is right or wrong. I mean different situations have different rulings. For example, if there is a small masjid which does not fit all the men that come to it for jumuah prayer, then I would understand if the women were asked not to come to Jumuah (at least until they find a solution) and the men use that extra space because they don’t fit in their own section. That is reasonable and makes sense since it is obligatory on men to attend Jumuah prayer, where as even though women are allowed to attend Jumuah prayer, yet it is not obligatory on them so IF the space is limited in the masjid then those who need it have more of a right to it than those who might want it but don’t need it. Other situations, however, where the masjid has plenty of space but they don’t allow the women to attend Jumuah or take their section even if they don’t really need it, then that is a different issue and definitely should not be done. But I do think that each masjid has its own different situation and circumstances, which is affected by many factors including funding and whether they have sufficient money or not, and I think all this affects how the masjid is set up and if they have a section for the sisters or how good of accommodations do they have. So while I do agree in some masaajid the people running the masjid might be at fault or are not paying enough attention to the women and their prayer section, but I don’t think that this is the case across the board and that we can make a general statement stating that ALL masaajid are the same in this regard.

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      • Fatima Thompson

        Assalamu Aleikum

        Abd-Allah,

        There is no excuse at all to displace the women at a mosque. I have attended several mosques with such large attendance that they schedule 2 or 3 jamaats so that men and women are attend at the same time.

        The fact that you seem to understand so well why that would happen suggests that you are quite comfortable with the prospect that your wife, sister, mother or daughter would be told to go away because you, a man, need the space to perform your prayers.

        Don’t fool yourself, brother, that you or any other man is “merely” reciting a tradition (hadith) of the Prophet when you say that “the best place for a woman to pray is at home”… this is used consistently to discourage and even forbid women from attending the mosque.

        Also, speaking of hadith, and this one in particular, do you know anything about it? Who is reporting it, who collected, what is the isnad, what is the circumstances of it’s surfacing, etc?

        I think if you look into that (no, I won’t give it to you, you can do your own research, now) you will see that it is problematic to begin with let alone how it is used.

        Fatima

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      • Abd- Allah

        Sister Fatima, I’ll tell you one thing that scheduling 2 or 3 jamaats is definitely not from the sunnah! I’ll let you do your research on that.

        And the way you speak that they are being “displaced” as if the women will be thrown on the street. No sister, all I am saying is that there is nothing wrong to tell the women to stay at home for Jumuah prayer if there is not enough space at the masjid, at least until they find a solution like expand the masjid or build another section. Again, I am not saying this is the case in every masjid, but if this is the situation then I don’t think you can argue otherwise in such masaajid. Men have to pray Jumuah, women don’t, so it is simple really. All the scholars are agreed (there is consensus) that Jumuah prayer is obligatory on men and that it is not obligatory on women.

        As for using that hadith to “discourage or prevent” women from going to pray at the masjid, then as I said before this hadith neither discourages nor prevents women from going to the masjid. It only states a fact that praying at home is better for them. Again, simple.

        And yes I do know all the details about this hadith from its narrator, to its chain, to its authenticity, etc. If you find it problematic because you are not able to understand or fully comprehend it, I would be more than happy to explain it to you sister. I hope you are not from the group of people who deny the ahadith altogether, because that is something indeed very dangerous for a Muslim to do.

        And again, you seem to be talking about how this hadith is “used” by some, and where as I do agree that some people do misuse this hadith to prevent women from attending the masjid, yet we are simply talking about what it says. It is a fact that it is better for women to pray their daily prayers at home (Eid is different as the Prophet peace be upon him told them to attend the Eid prayer), and we know that this is a fact because everything the Prophet peace be upon him is revelation from Allah, and Allah is the one who will reward people for their deeds on the day of judgement, so this is why this is a fact. In the same hadith, we are told not to prevent the women from going to the masjid. So it is better for a woman to pray at home, but if she wants to go to the masjid she can and should not be prevented. This is what the hadith says, simple. If some people misuse this hadith and explain it to mean something else, then they are wrong but this has nothing to do with the hadith itself.

        When the companion Abdullah Ibn Umar may Allah be pleased with them, one of the narrators of this hadith, was relating it to some people about not preventing the women from going to the masjid, his own son Bilal said that he will prevent his women, so Abdullah turned to him and told him off in an unprecedented manner, saying: “I tell you what the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, and you say ‘By Allah, we will prevent them’!!”

        So he got angry at his son for not following what the Prophet peace be upon him have said. What this hadith is stating is very simple really, and just as some misinterpret it and use it to prevent women from going to the masjid, I ask that you don’t go to the other extreme of rejecting it all together just because some people are misinterpreting it. What this hadith is saying is clear and simple, so we should just accept it and follow it.

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  13. Abu Ahmad

    You people lack so much of knowledge unfortunately!The only thing you people bark on is Women and Men in one congregation!!!

    Study the Ahaadith and Tafsser correctly under Authentic Scholars,not just opening it and making your own interpretations.Come on Safiyyah wake up,there are plenty important things affecting the Ummah at presesnt,but you worried about issues which you don’t understand yourself!

    Safiyyah,you always pick on Deobandi Ulama,but if you look you will find that Allah is taking work from those Ulama and from people like yourself! Remember your picking on Ulama has declared war on Allah.

    So be humble,respect the Ulama and their views!The Ulama are by far much more learned than you!!!

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    • Fatima Thompson

      Assalamu Aleikum

      Abu Ahmad,

      That’s right, when all else fails (and your ego is threatened) demonize the messenger.

      What happened to adhab when speaking to a woman, no less your sister in faith?

      And you are minimizing, also.

      Oh, and let’s not forget, Allah is on YOUR side… so watch out girls.

      Classic behaviors of a controlling, abusive person if put in the context of the home.

      And what do you mean “you people”? What “people” are you speaking of?

      This is exactly what is wrong with this “ummah” – splitting hairs over issues which their are differences of opinion, insisting on one’s own preferred opinion, and refusing to allow any difference of opinion whatsoever. Anyone who disagrees has “declared a war on Allah”…

      And STILL people are focusing on OTHER issues… what about the women’s rights to pray Eid and the right to be recognized as part of the community in congregational prayers?

      It’s not that difficult. All that we need to make a reasonable conclusion is available to anyone who can read at a 6th grade level.

      Fatima

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  14. abdulla

    Women and Eid Gah

    Women Attending the Masjid and Eid Salaah – A Balanced Analysis and View

     The practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was to perform Eid Salaah on an open field at the outskirts of the city. It is thus Sunnah to perform Eid Salaah at the “Musallah” (Eid Gah). Indeed in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) women attended the Eid Salaah. Initially, women were permitted to even attend the daily Salaah in the Musjid. Subsequently, many senior Sahaaba (R. A.) stopped women from attending the Musjid due to the conditions having changed from that of the glorious era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Nevertheless, even in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the permission to attend the Musjid was subject to several conditions. Some of these were: * Complete Hijaab (Purdah) – Hazrath Aisha (R.A.) reports that women used to come to the Musjid completely covered in their sheets (Sahih Bukhari). * No perfume must be used – Hazrath Zainub (R.A.), the wife of Abdullah bin Masood (R.A.), reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “If any woman attends the Musjid, she should not use any perfume” (Sahih Muslim). In fact Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has commanded that if women attend the Musjid, it should be in a manner that they are “tafilaat” (Abu Dawood). The word tafilaat is literally translated as untidy. In this context it will mean that they will not take any steps to adorn themselves. Rather they will be dressed in clothing that is completely unattractive. The purpose for this was to prevent every type of fitnah. Hazrath Aisha (R.A.) has also reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Do not prevent the servants of Allah (women) from the Masaajid but they should go out “tafilaat” . After reporting this Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Hazrath Aisha (R.A.) comments:“Had Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) seen the condition of women today, he would have prevented them from attending the Musjid” (Jamiul Masaneed). Allama Ainee (R.A. ) the author of the famous commentary of Sahih Bukhari comments that this was regarding the time of Hazrath Ayesha (R. A.). He then says regarding his time: “As for today, na-oothubillah ! (we seek Allah’s refuge from the fitna that is prevalent).” That too was several centuries ago. * They should not be adorned in any way. It is reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was in the Musjid when a woman from the people of Muzaina who had adorned herself came into the Musjid. Upon this Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “O People, prevent your women from wearing attractive garments and walking proudly in the Musjid since the people of Bani Israeel were cursed because of this very action of their women (Ibn Majah). * No intermingling of males and females. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ordered the women to stick to the edges of the road (to avoid any intermingling even due to the Musjid). Hence it is reported that after this command women walked so closely to the walls of the houses that their clothing would at times be caught in the wall (on anything that might have been protruding from the wall) (Abu Dawood). Similarly, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) forbade women from walking in the middle of the path (Al-Jamius Sagheer, Vol. 5, Pg. 379). Later when these conditions were not upheld as they were in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasa1lam), many Sahaaba (R.A.) refrained women from attending the Musjid. It is reported that Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar (R.A.) used to chase women away from the Musjid. Hazrath Abdullah bin Masood (R.A.) also prevented the women from attending the Musjid (Targheeb). SAME CONDITIONSWhatever conditions applied to women attending the Musjid, the same will apply to the Eid Gah. When the strict conditions could not be upheld shortly after the era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), in this time of fitna there is not even a faint chance that they will be upheld in the manner of the women in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallallu Alaihi Wasallam). Hence the decision of the Fuqaha is that women must not attend the Musjid or Eid Gah. Imam Tirmizi (R.A.) has recorded the narration of Umme Atiya (R.A.) in his famous collection of Hadith. She says: “We were ordered to go out with the single and menstruating women to the two Eids…” After quoting the statement of Umme Atiy’a (R.A.), Imam Tirmizi (R.A.) quotes the statement of the great Muhaddith Abdullah bin Mubarak (R.A.) who said: “I believe that in these times it is makrooh for women to go for the Eid Salaah to the Eid Gah. If a woman insists on going, her husband should permit her to go in old clothes and she should not adorn herself. If she does not agree to this, he must prevent her…” It is also reported from Sufyaan Thawri (R.A.) that he regarded it as makrooh for the women to go to the Eid Salaah in these times (Jami Tirmizi). EXPERTS OF HADITH REGARD IT AS MAKROOH Imam Tirmizi (R.A.) is one of the great scholars of Hadith. His compilation, Jami Tirmizi, is one of the “Sihah Sitta.” He has concluded the discussion on the Hadith of Umme Atiya upon the statement of Abdullah bin Mubarak (R.A.) and Sufyan Thawri (R.A.). This is itself evidence that he is also of the view that it is not sunnat to go to the Eid Gah. His quotation of Hazrath Abdullah bin Mubarak (R.A.) is very significant. Hazrath Abdullah bin Mubarak (R.A.) is the Ustaad of Imam Bukhari (R.A.). In his famous treatise titled “Raff’ul Yadain,” Hazrath Imam Bukhari (R.A.) described his Ustaad thus: “Imam Abdullah bin Mubarak is the greatest Aalim of his time. If people followed him rather than others who possess lesser knowledge, it would have been better.” This great personality, who himself was an expert in the knowledge of Hadith, and who was the Ustaad of the expert of Hadith in the calibre of Imam Bukhari (R.A.), declares clearly: ” According to me it is makrooh nowadays for women to emerge for the Eid Salaah to the Eid Gah!!” ARDENT FOLLOWERSThe proverbial adherence to the Sunnah of Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar (R.A.) is well known. He would diligently practice on every sunnah of Raslllullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It is reported that he would not take the women of his family to the Eid Gah (Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah). Thus an act which was prevented by many Sahaba (R.A.) who were the ardent followers of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihit Wasallam) cannot be encouraged in this time of extreme fitna and fasaad. On the one hand are the strict conditions that were set by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for women leaving their homes for Salaah. On the other hand is the lax attitude towards Deen of many Muslims of this era. To suggest that women should attend the Eid Gah is to open the doors to fitna. When Hazrath Aisha (R.A.) observed a slight departure; from the strict conditions in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), she declared that had Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) been present he would have forbidden women from leaving their homes for Salaah. What would she have said if she witnessed the conditions of this day and age ! It is thus clear that women should not leave their homes for Salaah, whether it be the five daily Salaah, Jumu’ah, Taraweeh or Eid Salaah
    And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
     
    Was Salaam
                                                         

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  15. Fatima Thompson

    Assalamu Aleikum

    Abdullah,

    It appears you have done quite a bit of copy/paste and have not formatted the text for ease of reading.

    What are the asterisks (*) denoting? It seems that they are indicating insertions (of the writer of the discussion).

    “Hence it is reported that after this command women walked so closely to the walls of the houses that their clothing would at times be caught in the wall (on anything that might have been protruding from the wall) (Abu Dawood).”

    You all should be aware that this is also the treatment that the dhimma (non-Muslim resident of a Muslim ruled/majority land) are subjected to – do you know that there is a law that states that they are to walk on the edge/side of the street while the Muslim is to be allowed to walk in the main part of the street? This is about power, position and control.

    Why, then, has this been applied to women?

    This hadith has been stated by what collection it is found, but not the reporter or isnad. It would be interesting to see that.

    Fatima

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  16. anon.

    Am I the only one worried about the Imaan of certain sisters?

    It really gets dangerous when one starts questioning the authenticity of every hadith one’s nafs does not agree with.

    May Allah protect us all. Amin.

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    • Amad

      I don’t think we need to worry about others’ imaan. Because that stops us from remembering something even more important: our own faith and actions.

      You can disagree with the sister’s actions, but let’s not try to get into the motivations of their hearts.

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  17. abdulla

    “When the ignorant ones engaged in discussion with the Sahaba,they (sahaba) just made Salam”
    They did not engage in discussion with the ignorant ones,cos they are ignorant !!!

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    • Ify Okoye

      Do you have a specific objection to anything contained in the article or articles of “such people” or is your only anonymous and vague argument, an ad hominem?

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      • Fatima Thompson

        Assalamu Aleikum

        Again… this is why the Muslim Ummah has so much problems… spending so much time and effort tearing down people by character assassination and not working together to solve a problem or support our brothers and sisters in their difficult path.

        This is why it is hard for the Muslim Ummah to have any credibility in the world.

        Sad.

        Can we just talk about the ORIGINAL article? I think not… some men tend to require the self edification of that male-centric posturing (and I am being quite polite here – I have a much harsher way of describing this behavior).

        Faitma

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      • anon.

        I have a sincere question: I know there are some mashayikh affiliated with the site (Yasir Qadhi etc).

        Do they personally approve of these articles before publication?

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  18. Fatima Thompson

    Assalamu Aleikum

    Oh, yes, censorship is a very necessary part of public discourse.

    Ugh!

    And I thank Allah for who I am, because He made me who I am, and that I don’t need anyone between Him and me. Alhamdullillah!!!

    La iqraha fi deen, faqad tabayyina rushdum minal ghayy, fa mayyakfoor biTagoot wa yu’mim billahi – faqad istamsakal ‘urwati wal uthqa, wa Allahu sameeul aleem… 2:256

    Fatima

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    • anon.

      There are many mistakes in your quotation of the ayah.

      لا إكراه في الدين قد تبين الرشد من الغي فمن يكفر بالطاغوت ويؤمن بالله فقد استمسك بالعروة الوثقى لا انفصام لها والله سميع عليم

      And please, don’t quote things out of context without knowing what they mean.

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      • Fatima Thompson

        Assalamu Aleikum

        … ln fis sama laha… -@@-

        I do know what it means and I was trying to type out the transliteration from memory.

        The fact is that I gave enough for you to recognize it. And thanks for pointing out the lost section.

        It is not out of context. There is no reason that I cannot recite (or type) any portion of Qur’an at any time. It is quite applicable to the conversation.

        We all forget mercy in our conversations – especially those things related to religion.

        This ayat that I gave in my message follows immediately after “ayatul kursi”… the verse of the chair/throne.

        We forget that Allah is over everything – and even more, we forget the tradition that our prophet gave us that Allah said “my mercy exceeds (or supercedes) my wrath”

        We focus on wrath and punishment as if there is no mercy at all.

        La iqraha fi deen… this is placement of mercy… no compulsion in religion… the truth stands clear from error…

        So, we do not need to resort to insults, condemnation, demonization to “prove our point”. If it is true it will be clear.

        One of the things that makes me so angry when discussing issues of gender relations is the attitudes displayed by men towards women. If this were given to the men you would bristle at it.

        Women don’t need “special” treatment, to be talked down to like children or have everything broken down into 3rd grade level concepts – just speak to us and deal with us as your sisters – on the same level before Allah – and give us the same mercy that you are expecting from us.

        “God enjoins justice, kindness and generosity towards one’s fellow humankind.” – Qur’an 16:90

        And someone has said to me to “be humble”… while this is a nice reminder (thank you) it is very surprising and insulting coming from those who seem bent on establishing a position in the view of the readers and does so at the expense of others and in the name of Allah.

        Please make it easy to love you as I have been commanded to do so, and I will try to make it easy for you to love me back.

        Fatima

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  19. africana

    salams,

    slightly off topic, i live in an area of the uk with a majority south asian muslim population. of the three mosques in my area only one has a woman’s prayer area. the other mosques have no dedicated speace for women. is there any basis for this? i’ve always felt that it sendsa out a vey negative impression to non-muslims that there isn’t even a space, no matter how small, dedicated to women.

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    • abdulla

      So now correcting a person is regarded as a personal insult?? Sister Fatima was narrating an ayat of the Quran incorrectly,how can we sit back and accept it!

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  20. Middle Ground

    Salam

    I am truly shocked the attitude in South Africa, and by some of the replies here. It looks like even in this day and age, there are muslim men who simply want women to be chattel and robots. Just good for cooking and that other thing. Well when the mothers, sisters and daughters of these men go astray, then maybe these men will see things for real.

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  21. Salam

    Anon, I can’t really understand your objection to the article being posted here. Are you saying that women in South Africa don’t have the right to speak up on this issue? Are you not able to separate your apparent dislike for the author in order to understand the issues she is raising?

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  22. Khadeeja Bassier

    What disturbs me the most about the responses above is the disregard for the basic principles of Islam.

    1. The very existence of differing madhabs confirms the earliest acknowledgement of DIFFERENT but EQUALLY VALID perspectives.

    2. The principle of judgement is the sole domain of Allah (swt), thus judging a person’s faith and the dept of their spirituality based on a biological attribute such as gender is tantamount to Shirk (as we are ascribing judgement to frail human beings instead of believing in God being the ultimate judge of matters of faith).

    3. The numerous tragedies within our society today are of gigantic proportions- often on the basis of discrimination be it ethnic, gender, religious or political. Surely, as members of what SHOULD BE a socially conscious Ummah, our first obligation is to ensure justice within our own communities? How can clear discrimination- barring one from PRAYER for crying out loud- EVER be justified?

    Finally- context, context, context. Yes, dear respondents, isnad is supremely important, as is the context of hadith. Several practices, including slavery- which were sanctioned at the time of the Prophet are no longer acceptable in today’s society. Deal with it. Either way- if you don’t want to give muslim women space, we are strong enough to take it ourselves. Or build mosques ourselves. Either way- you need to realise, that a submissive, docile woman, is something of the past. Sorry if it hurts fragile male egos.

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    • Amad

      I haven’t tallied positive and negative comments, but there are only a couple of commentators who have been critical/dismissive, but a rough check shows positive/supportive comments are more. So, I am not sure what is so disturbing? There will ALWAYS be people who don’t like what you say.

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  23. anon.

    It’s really simple to understand. The problem is that we tend to get emotional – understandably – whenever anyone suggests something that goes against our opinions – whether we have a right to hold that opinion or not.

    The problem with these various people posting is that MM gets connected to other groups. Now, to clarify, it is not as if I agree with everything that is on MM – in fact, I disagree with much of what is written. HOWEVER, I view them as my brothers and sisters in Islam and appreciate their sincere efforts and respect their `ulama, etc etc.

    The problem arises when there is an author who has questionable beliefs – or is linked to a group with questionable beliefs.

    Why?

    Because for the normal person, it is practically an endorsement by the site of that author’s views. One may write however many disclaimers as they want, but at the end of the day, people will associate , again understandably.

    So when people like these write and you go to their sites, you find out that they are connected to questionable beliefs. For example, what does this mean:

    As Muslim feminists we aim to locate and critique misogyny, sexism, patriarchy, Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia as they affect Muslim women. Furthermore, we believe in equal opportunities, equal respect, equal freedom, and equal value — regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and ability.

    http://muslimahmediawatch.org/about-2/

    Or back when there was the whole Pray In issue… has any single scholar supported the actions of those women? Not the cause – but the ACTIONS. We tend to follow our emotions a lot and often end up creating fitna.

    Besides just the questionable actions… there were individuals endorsing the Pray In movement who had very questionable beliefs. … you’re bringing the progressive camp in here…

    So if MM (i.e. Sh Yasir etc) is endorsing Pray In, the Progressives are endorsing Pray In…. this either means that MM is fine with those progressives, or at the very least, they are very accommodating of progressives.

    Do you understand where I’m headed? It’s not rocket science. It’s just laymen on an internet discussion forum bullying anyone with an alternative view… or anyone who may question the appropriateness of certain actions.

    Remember, we are all brothers and sisters in Islam, and what one of us does affects all of us. So let’s act wisely and choose carefully. We don’t want to be the ones who unleashed an unwanted fitna.

    And finally, remember that there are differences of opinion. Despite the progressive camp’s view that women should pray in the masjid next to men, many `ulama ARE of the opinon that it is better for women to pray at home – whether you like it nor not, it is a valid, accepted opinion in our beloved religion.

    We must learn not to base Islam on the current “civilized world” ; Islam will always be Islam.

    Wallahu ta’ala a’lam

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    • Abd- Allah

      Because for the normal person, it is practically an endorsement by the site of that author’s views. One may write however many disclaimers as they want, but at the end of the day, people will associate , again understandably.

      I agree with brother anon. The same thing holds true when a known scholar from Ahlus- sunnah associates himself with people from deviant sects such as the sufis or ash’aris. This is as if he is endorsing them and their deviant beliefs, and the statements of the salaf on this are numerous and whoever wants to read on that can look it up on google.

      I understand what MM is trying to do by being all inclusive, which is good, but to an extent. I don’t think however that Muslims who have deviant beliefs should be allowed to post on here in order to preserve the credibility of the site and those who run it. When it comes to the basics of Aqeedah, there should be no compromises.

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      • Khadeeja Bassier

        Deviant beliefs? Really?

        You ask the question if a single scholar has supported the actions of ‘feminists’ and an inclusive Islam. The answer is a resounding yes. There is a wealth of scholarly opinion which firmly supports the stand of an inclusive Islam- with substantiation from both the Quran and aHadith.

        It is easy to be restrictive in your definition of Ulama. If by Ulama you are alluding to males, of a certain sect, of a certain nationality, of a certain schooling- then indeed you will be eliminating much of scholarly thought and you won’t find somebody who holds these views.

        @ Amad: I apologise if I came across as generalising the responses. You are correct in saying that there is a lot of support- and I appreciate that :) Thank you :) It is just disturbing when people believe they can label a person ‘deficient of belief’ based on principles which are wholly Quranic! Quite surprising actually.

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      • Abd- Allah

        Sister Khadeeja, did you even READ what we said?? It seems like your comment is random and not related to what we are even talking about that I think you might have not read what we said, or maybe you read a different comment but posted your reply here. It seems like you just have some ideas you want to share with everyone, which is fine, but post them as a separate comment rather than make this irrelevant reply to what we said.

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      • anon.

        @ Sis Khadija

        Progressives often believe:

        *you are muslim as long as you consider yourself muslim, despite your beliefs
        *being gay is fine and a natural phenomenon
        *the hudood which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala set should not be considered
        *our role model is the current “civilized world”, today we follow US, tomorrow we follow China, etc
        *there should be extremely limited , if ANY, separation of males and females
        *many of the beloved sunnahs of our Noble Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam are just Arab “culture” and we don’t need to follow them
        *women and men are essentially the same and have the same roles. subsequently, women should be able to lead jumuah etc.

        All of these are deviant beliefs. I don’t know of a single alim that endorses them, so I don’t where you got this from:

        It is easy to be restrictive in your definition of Ulama. If by Ulama you are alluding to males, of a certain sect, of a certain nationality, of a certain schooling- then indeed you will be eliminating much of scholarly thought and you won’t find somebody who holds these views.

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      • Safiyyah

        I can assure you then, that I, as the author, hold none of the above beliefs :) wonder what that makes me….

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      • anon.

        Well, that is good to hear alhamdulillah, but if at the top there is an endorsement of the group “Muslimah Media Watch”, and on their website they clearly state

        Furthermore, we believe in equal opportunities, equal respect, equal freedom, and equal value — regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and ability.

        what is that supposed to mean?

        This is the act about which our Beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said:

        Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam ) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.

        Again, Islam is Islam and will always be Islam, we must learn not to succumb to the beliefs of the current “civilized world”

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    • Ibn Mikdad.

      Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

      “So if MM (i.e. Sh Yasir etc) is endorsing Pray In, the Progressives are endorsing Pray In…. this either means that MM is fine with those progressives, or at the very least, they are very accommodating of progressives.”

      Exactly. It’s a confusing situation, and scholars aren’t supposed to confuse but to clarify. I don’t think that shaykh Yasir endorses these views, but being silent doesn’t imply neutrality, it implies endorsement, which I think is a wrong impression many people will get.

      Wassalaam.

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      • anon.

        I’m sure Shaykh Yasir doesn’t endorse these views … but he is, at the end of the day, the main person associated with the site. So an MM endorsement is practically a Shaykh Yasir endorsement.

        And I know there are disclaimers on the issue etc but the ground reality is that few people read the disclaimer if they even open it – and even if someone does read it, hardly anyone remembers it, and in any case, if it is published on MM, people will have a subconscious tolerance develop for whatever group it is, usually progressives.

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    • anon.

      …and one last thing: when the comments are overloaded with individuals either progressive themself or closely linked with progressives, then what does that say about the site?

      Any random visitor will immediately be turned off considering he’s just stumbled upon a progressive site. They’ll think it is Muslim Wake Up revived with a slightly adjusted name.

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      • Amad

        Anon., when we need an opinion from an anonymous poster to decide what kind of site we are, I am sure we will contact you for your blessings.

        the MWU site must be violently shaking in its grave to have MM compared to it!

        Take a deep breath now since you seem to be done with your judgement on the author, the article and the site.

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      • anon.

        I don’t know if this will pass through or not, but I apologize for comparing MM to MWU. They definitely do not go together. I wrote in an angry mood and was not thinking properly. May Allah ta’ala forgive me, and you people please forgive me as well.

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  24. Safiyyah

    I am alarmed at the responses here – instead of focusing on the article, people are doing exactly what it is critiquing – libeling and labeling!

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  25. Ismail Kamdar

    The saddest thing I found about this whole situation is how many South African Muslim women have been brainwashed into thinking they are fitnah for men and it is prohibited for them to go to the Masjid. So many times when this issue is raised, I find women opposing it and telling me its Haraam because they will distract the men. How can you distract men if you are standing behind them and in full Hijaab?

    Really is a sad state of affairs.

    We have to keep working to educate people about their Shar’ee rights:

    http://caller2islam.blogspot.com/2010/04/women-in-masjid-female-converts_13.html

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  26. Faatimah

    As salaamu ‘alaykum

    jazakAllah khayr for the article. I thought that sort of ridiculous thing (of barring women from Eid prayers) happened only in Pakistan. I remember when I first had Eid there, I was like 11, and realized women don’t go to Eid prayer, I nearly cried :( It’s encouraging to see that there’s change somewhere. alhamdulillah.

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  27. Humairah

    Wow thanks for the article sister Safiyyah.

    The South African Muslim media has been inundated of late with these articles. It is truly a wonder how such one-sided arguments can actually make it on to forums such as these.

    Safiyyah it would really be amazing to see a retaliation from your side or sister Sooliman’s side to the article written by Mufti Desai. And if you could provide all the proofs, it would support your argument even better.

    I’m thinking maybe a good place to start from would be to dispel the ideas Aisha r.a. held on women attending salaah as well as all the sahaabah r.a. Also, maybe to cite the references of great women scholars who are in support of women attending the Eid Salaah but obviously with women scholars who were more closely linked to the time of Nabi s.a.w. It would be such a spiritual upliftment to the ladies in South Africa.

    Also, if groups of strong women could begin such things in the birthplace of Islam i.e. Saudi Arabia but more specifically, Makkah and Madinah. Representation of women needs to happen there first don’t you think?

    It would be a great step for women in Islam if they could be represented on the day of Arafat as well. Women should be given equal representation on such an auspicious day as a spiritual Islam is not reserved for men alone.

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  28. Middle Ground

    Salam

    We take our Islam from the Prophet(SAW), not from 19th century Hindustan. I have my own personal views on why this situation has developed like this – which has nothing to with Islam, but everything to do with human beings – but I fear Allah and don’t want to say something publically.

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  29. Rizwana

    @anon. Don’t waste your precious time.Allah mentions in the Quran “Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing,and on their eyes there is a covering; and for them there lies a mighty punishment”

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  30. Ify Okoye

    I think one of the great challenges for the Muslim community here in the West is for us to mature in our discourse. This will be the test of pragmatism and building and implementing a real and lasting vision of what we want our community to look like now and for succeeding generations.

    Those who cannot see past their own biases to join hands with others will not be able to build anything here that will last. When the International Committee of the Red Cross or Amnesty International goes to visit and advocate for the rights of Muslim prisoners, do we reject their help or assistance because they don’t share the same religion, theology, and fiqhi opinions that we do?

    When my masjid volunteers at a soup kitchen in the basement of a church in DC, I join them, not because I wish to be Christian but because they are doing what’s right and even what our religion calls us to.

    Here, we have Muslim women standing for the right to join in the Eid salah as our Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam commanded and those quibbling and attacking rather than standing for justice and what is right do so because they don’t like this person or that person or this mission statement or that. We must stand up for what is right irrespective of petty differences and juvenile grudges.

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    • Safiyyah

      Well said Ify.

      I am not here to defend MMW, MM, Sh Yasir, or anyone else – I am here to defend women’s rights to participation in Eid prayers. If you feel we (women) don’t have that God and Prophet given right, say so and blatantly expose your misogyny, because it shows through anyways when you try to cloak it in these other arguments of “progressives” and “endorsements”.

      I thank MM and MMW for voicing this, despite different ideological commitments.

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  31. Middle Ground

    Allah mentions in the Quran “Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing,and on their eyes there is a covering; and for them there lies a mighty punishment”

    If you really think that a woman or man who supports a woman being allowed to attend the Eid salat falls under this ayat, you are truly a sad person.

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  32. Umme yahya

    Hazrath Aisha (R.A.) has also reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Do not prevent the servants of Allah (women) from the Masaajid but they should go out “tafilaat” . After reporting this Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Hazrath Aisha (R.A.) comments:“Had Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) seen the condition of women today, he would have prevented them from attending the Musjid” (Jamiul Masaneed). Allama Ainee (R.A. ) the author of the famous commentary of Sahih Bukhari comments that this was regarding the time of Hazrath Ayesha (R. A.). He then says regarding his time: “As for today, na-oothubillah ! (we seek Allah’s refuge from the fitna that is prevalent).” That too was several centuries ago.

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    • Safiyyah

      Sister, you need to have a look at the usul of the madhaib, and which Madhaib permit the Qawl Sahabi as a source of law, before qouting blanketly.

      Did you know, the Abdullah Ibn Umar, realizing the significance of the Prophet (saw)’s words, “do not bar the female servants…” did not speak to HIS OWN SON, for the rest of his life becuase he insisted on banning women?

      In any case, this discussion is about Eid prayers, not women going to the masaajid. Totally different.

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  33. Umme yahya

    @Sister Saffiyah. So basically you and your cronies are superior than the Majority of the Ulama of South Africa???

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    • Middle Ground

      Salam

      So the Majority of the Ulama of South Africa are superior to the Prophet(SAW)?

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    • Safiyyah

      ah – the age old response.
      No my dear, we are not superior to anyone, but neither are we inferior. Has it occurred to you that there ARE other Ulema in this world? That South Africa’s “majority” is actually a global minority? We’re speaking of a handful of ethnically and culturally homogeneous men here, against the beautiful and universal diversity of Islam … and in any case, have you been to Cape Town? you should, before you speak about “majority of SA ulema”. No disrespect to them … in fact, look at their adab, “hizb u shaytan. adultress’s, prostitutes” etc then speak.

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      • Humairah

        It would be great to see your response to the booklet Safiyyah.

        Some very high allegations were made in that booklet (besides the name calling obviously). But if you could prove that what Mufti Desai is saying to be in actual fact, a blatant fabrication, that would be a great step in the freedom for Muslim women in South Africa.

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    • Khadeeja Bassier

      Majority? Really? Oh. I forgot. To be part of the Ulama one needs to be a. Male b. without any ‘secular’ education (God forbid these ‘Western’ notions influence our Ulama) c. Of a certain sect d. Subscribe to stagnant tradition and outdated cultural practices.

      The Ulama is much greater than you make it out to be.

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  34. Zahra

    Saffiyah,1stly it is ‘Ulama’ not ‘Ulema’. 2ndly the Majority of the Ulama globally are against Women attending the Eid Gah.Do your research correctly before you make statements!

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    • Ify Okoye

      Zahra, I have not heard a single person of knowledge in the U.S. state that women should not attend the Eid salah and they use the hadith of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam where he even encouraged the menstruating women to attend the salah as an evidence of its importance.

      Rather, the majority of those objecting seem limited to parts of southern Africa and the area around the subcontinent.

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  35. anon.

    Two comments:

    1 – Responding to sis. Ify, there is a huge difference between helping out non-Muslims in their good projects and needlessly associating with progressives.

    MM sometimes posts articles from news sites such as CNN etc. Shouldn’t I protest that even more than this, since it would link MM with kuffar?

    The answer to that is simple.

    People do not associate MM with news sites etc because they knew that they are fundamentally different, MM has just posted it here because it is of general interest to Muslims.

    BUT, when it comes other sites, with many muslims there, people do not necessarily distinguish between MM’s views and the associates, because there views are more mixed up.

    So, while it would be fine to join a church help feed poor people, it probably wouldn’t be wise to join an educational program on “how to being Jesus into your life.”

    Becasue even though we ourselves believe in Isa alayhis salam, we wouldn’t want to be associated with the deviant belief that Isa alyahis salam is the son of Allah, wal iyadhu billah.

    2 – People here need to realize that the `ulama you are so condescendingly talking about as “men following their culture and egos” are much more than that. I know many South African `ulama, some of them are among the most muhaqqiq ulama I’ve seen in my life. So even if you disagree, realize that they have their reasons for doing what they are doing, and tackle the issue rather than the men themselves. For instance, respond to http://muslimmatters.org/2010/10/16/they-dont-have-prayer-the-media-and-eid-for-muslim-women-in-south-africa/#comment-78404

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  36. Sameera

    I think what this article fails to make mention of is the ACTUAL contents of the book, “A Dumb Woman’s View and its Refutation.”

    I mean cmon, has anyone actually even read it? If you did, then you’ll know that what Quraysha Sooliman and her friend wrote was nothing but incomplete and selective texts disguised as facts. Has anybody actually opened the Ilaa us Sunan to verify that what was written in her article as a translation was in fact true?

    Yes I can see how it would be so appealing to quote the words protitutes, adulteress etc. Safiyyah but please re-read the actual last paragraph of the booklet and then again from the beginning. I’m sure you’ll find some research to give your next article some more balance instead of it being so one-sided. We can’t all be self-confessed misogynistic man haters (albeit so appealing), now can we?

    Did you know, the Abdullah Ibn Umar, realizing the significance of the Prophet (saw)’s words, “do not bar the female servants…” did not speak to HIS OWN SON, for the rest of his life becuase he insisted on banning women?

    I’d appreciate the reference for that statement thanks :)

    Oh and by the way Humairah, I am actually waiting for a retaliation, not only from these ladies, but from anybody who can actually support their argument with proper Islamic fact. Lol and I would pay big money to see these ladies protesting in a place like Saudi. They wouldn’t get very far despite echoing the sentiments of uthaymeen, bin baz or albani. Yes I would like to see them set up a proper Islamic ritual of female liberation in the birthplace of Islam. I mean why confine such things to a place like South Africa?

    I must say, this is definitely a new kind of blind following, with the blind leading the blind. We need to ask ourselves the following questions:

    1. During the time of Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wa sallam, why did he not choose a woman as the first Amir of Hajj? Was this a clear indication of patriarchy?
    2. Why did Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wa Sallam already choose Abu Bakr radhiAllahu anhu as Khaliph despite the presence of Ummul Mu’mineen? I mean is that not a valid question? For example, Fatimah radhiAllahu anha was from amongst the women who were exempt from having deficient knowledge! Why was she not made Khaliph? Patriarchy?
    3. Why are women not allowed the position of Imaamat in any of the Haramain? Patriarchy? Really? By any of your Saudi Sheikhs? So how can it then be confined to those Indo/Pak Ulama? Have they infiltrated the Saudis as well?
    4. Where exactly do the women pray for example, during the 5 daily salaah in the Haramain? DO they read side by side with the men? Or do they read in the back with a small space allocated to them? What’s that? Patriarchy? Really? But those are not Indo/Pak Moulanas! How can that be!?!
    5. Let’s move on to the Qur’aan, shall we? Inheritance, why exactly does a woman get less inheritance than a man? It’s clearly stated in the Qur’aan that this is so. Patriarchy? No? Yes? Maybe?
    6. Witness to a crime deserving of punishment (severing of limbs, loss of life etc). A woman’s testimony can never be admitted to such a crime. Only a male’s testimony is taken into account. Patriarchy? Still not convinced?
    7. Okay what about polygamy in Islam? Did you ever come across a narration allowing a woman to have more than one husband, let alone four? I’m not interested in whether you think it’s right for a man to have 4 wives, I’m asking if you know of any narration allowing a woman more than one at the same time? No? Patriarchy perhaps? Maybe?
    8. How about Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wa Sallam, he had 11 wives? Polygamy? Yes! Now careful, if you say it’s wrong, well then you’ll have a lot to be answerable for.
    9. So we’ve already established that polygamy was and is here to stay but I haven’t got to the best part yet…You see even when we die, and we are questioned by the Angels, and the Day of Reckoning comes and those who get Jannah will go there and those who get Jahannam will go there (by the way these are actual physical places), even then, a man will be allowed to have more than one wife and a woman will still only have 1 husband!

    So, as much as you would want it removed, it is here to stay. This patriarchal ideology of Islam is not anything to be ashamed of. And neither is not being able to go to the Masjid or read Eid Salaah in public a necessary condition to become closer to Allah Ta’ala. If you want to make statements, if you want to start a revolution, by all means do so, but it would be best to leave Islam out of your crusade. Taint and spoilt your own name but do not taint the beauty and make a mockery out of what Islam truly is.

    Now getting back to the topic under the discussion,Ahhh yes Eid salaah and the ladies. Well you see, you can be selective all you want. I think Safiyyah, you should really take heed to what umme yahya is saying. And do read the view of Aisha RadhiAllahu anha as Imaam Bukhari deemed it necessary to place it in his work as well as the hadith of Umm Atiyyah. And please note that Aisha radhiAllahu anha was not just any Sahaabi, she was one of the Mothers of the Believers, an intellectual giant in the field of Fiqh so yes her view does matter as well. And she was of the view that women attending salaah during her time would have caused Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wa sallam to deem it not permissible any longer. Surely, you cannot expect me to believe that you accept her view with such little credibility? That her view along with the views expressed by other Sahaabah radhiAllahu anhum are pale in comparison to bin baz, uthaymeen and the like when they knew Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wa sallam better than any of the scholars mentioned above?

    Are you saying that these Sahaabah radhiAllahu anhum knew less about Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wa sallam than you or the scholars mentioned by Quraysha? Are you therefore implying that the Sahaabah radhiAllahu anhum knowingly kept the women away to inflict some sort of discrimination against them? Are you saying they hated women? That they were misogynists? Sexist? Terrorists? Let’s get it all out, shall we? You know, lay our cards down on the table so to speak. In fact, I fail to see how this is an Indo/pak issue at all…

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    • Safiyyah

      Sameera – u seem to have missed the point – this article is an analysis of the attitude of the media, esp the Ulama run media to women and women’s participation!

      Nothing, and no-one can excuse such behavior – no argument, no matter how sound and valid, can you imagine the Prophet (saw) picking up that booklet, or hearing that mufti say those words on the radio?

      It’s so sad, that you view Islam the way you do – but it’s definitely not the Islam I follow – the Islam I love and believe in and cling to is one which is egalitarian and indiscriminate, but you are free to go on believing as you wish.

      Those 9 points have nothing to do with the Eid Salaah – the fact remains that women attended, and were told to.

      yes, a refutation to the argument will definitely be written, but it’s not something to type up quickly on a MM comment thread … i

      “Taint and spoil” my name? now that is a uniquely South African thing to say … indoctrinated into you by years of social conditioning I imagine. Please sit back and look at the things you are saying!

      as for the reference, you may find it in bukhari, tradition no. 885, and as for Ibn Umar (ra) not speaking to his son, you may find that in Muslim, in the chapter on “womens entrance to mosques”.

      as for Aisha (ra) – she is dear to me – but lets differentiate here between official positions of the Prophet (Saw) please? 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).

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    • Safiyyah

      OK – so I just checked my teacher – re: Abdullah Ibn Umar narration – that he did not speak to his own son because of this issue, because he understood the importance of a statement of the Prophet (saw) …. makes u think doesn’t it?

      Three hadiths are recounted in the Mishkat al-Masabih of Muhammad ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Khatib al-Tabrizi. (1991/1411, Dar al-Fikr: Beirut). this Mishkat consists of three volumes.

      Volume 1, pp. 316-7 Hadith Numbers: 1082 (originally narrated by Muslim), 1083 (Sahih Muslim) and 1084 (Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal). [Note: the hadith reference numbers relate to the Mishkat and not to the reference numbers in Muslim and the Musnad].

      It is in the Musnad narration that we find the strong wording “Fa ma kallamahu (referring to his son Bilal) ‘Abd Allah hatta maat.” (And “Abd Allah refused to speak to him (Bilal) until the day he died).

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  37. Khadeeja Bassier

    It is a pity that when authentic ahadith and Quranic ayat are used to substantiate a viewpoint people easily discard it. So many ayat are quoted to support the viewpoint of the article.

    In Cape Town, no Imam will forbid women from coming to mosque and no women are forbidden from going to Eid Salah. There are several countries where the Ulama unanimously agree. But it depends which Ulama you look at hey.

    I once heard that when Nabi Isa returns, he would probably be rejected from most mosque committees for being of the incorrect sect/interpretation :p

    Seriously, it is name that we re-evaluate our own motives and realise that context played a huge role in the Prophet’s decision making process. You forget, not only was he a Prophet but a master strategist, an environmentalist and a humanitarian.

    This is the example we were left with and an example which we should adopt. Nitpicking leads nowhere. If you find it okay in your heart to denounce the promotion of justice as being ‘unIslamic’ then I really think there is no point discussing.

    Dear Sameera, there is so much evidence of a very different more open and engaging Islam- if you only choose to delve deeper and not be so selective in your readings. But then again, you say no evidence is cited when there is overwhelming evidence presented.

    These discussions are futile, if women are content with staying at home on Eid day, preparing the table for the men to come home- that is their choice. Each of us are accountable for our own actions. But don’t USE ISLAM to prevent other women to go pray. Really now?!

    Peace out people.

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    • Mohammad

      Khadeeja overwhelming evidence indicating exactly what?

      don’t “sympathize” on others for seeing the truth. now how do u use islam to prevent women from praying in and who is stopping women from praying …….ila man tashkawna?

      what is this more open and engaging islam ( engaging with who … whose opinions are we entertaining the modern day mujtahidin of the Ummah who will be doing a fabour to islam by “liberating the women”?

      Who are you trying to liberate women from? are they locked up in dungeons ( stop being brain washed from media) for what i have heard however from real people south african muslim women are living quite a good life and the facilities provided for the women there are far better than even many Muslim countries.

      What’s all the barking about? ( this is not directed at you Khadieeja – i’m generally addressing to whom it may concern who ever that may be).

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  38. Mohammad

    the view of our scholars is not that women aren’t allowed to pray in the masjids or attend the eid jamaat, but however we should look at the history of the Muslims and at the sayings of Nabi (saw) and the Sahaba (rd). what where the sayings of Hadhrat Aisha (rd) and that of Amirul Muminin Umar wa Ali (rd) ..

    is this meaning found in any hadith that the women who has applied perfume should not come to the masjid.

    how bout let’s look at how the Sahaabiyyat use to pray Fajr and Isha behind Nabi (SAWW) that he ordered them to get up from Sajda after the males and that themen would not move until the women had left the masjid. Some accounts of sahaba mention that the women would leave the masjid after fajr wrapped in cloaks that they were not recognizable.

    really ponder on the saying of Aisha (rd) that if Nabi (saw) was to see this age he would have forbade the women from coming to the Masjid.

    although this is not what he did say but no one can deny that Hadhrat Aisha is not encouraging women to attend jamat in the masjid and this is in the age of Tabi’in and some Sahaba.

    and it really isn’t fair rather on the general public to detach them from the body of righteous scholars. I assure the view of the scholars of the indian sub-continent or that of the rightly guided south african scholars is that they would not forbid a woman from going to the masjid. However it is not encouraged to the state of fitna in this day and age ( she is at the end of the “your sister in islam” … does that make her your Mahram…. you will see in many places free mixing and socializing of the sexes after the prayers… would such given scenarios i would understand why some scholars might be a bit too strict on the matter)

    also if one two “scholars” speak in a manner not befitting an Alim you cannot use this as blanket statement on the body of Ulama, pushing the public from their scholars… what do you want another communist revolution or another Ataturk that would condemn the Sunna and reform Islam to what you would find more appealing.

    May Allah forgive us and grant us the true respect of the Ulama the pious and our predecessors who gave their lives for this din for the sake of Allah.

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  39. Mohammad

    really tell me what do you want?

    seriously what are your motives

    establishing the sunna

    or what is this really about

    what is this about?

    Fear Allah

    Man aadaani waliyyan faqad aazantoho bil-harb

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  40. Mohammad

    a thought i thought i would share…

    the prohibition of wearing tight clothing is not constricted to women….

    ofcourse it causes fitna when women wear tight clothing but it is quite disturbing to see a male with tight cothing and please it is not a pleasant sight to see someones underwear when getting up from sajda if not something else yuck.. some guys lost their sense of decency and are enslaved to fashion to the extent they would pay more for clothing that are revealing ( revealing-clothing…. an oxymoron don’t you think)

    please for the love of Allah wear loose decent clothing… i’m not asking you to wear Jubbas/Qamees however that is closer to sunna … atleast some decent clothing that cover your awra (private parts) and doesn’t cause castration ( let it breath… poor thing.. and then at the end your better half has to suffer.. poor woman)

    sometimes the truth can only be conveyed through humor – in a high pitched chinese accent, ” Be a Man!”

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  41. Mohammad

    check out the pic .. which direction are two (one of them is a young “chair-man”) brothers facing :>>; they sure are paying good attention to the khateeb…

    what’s the plural feminine of khateeb? ( asking this question wouldn’t be sexcist? or would it? is there anything wrong with having feminine nouns? .. ‘she shouldn’t be called an actress that’s discriminating! Actor is rather appropiate ) cause there are many of them there and they are giving a strong message

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  42. Huzaifa

    @Khadijah

    Since when are the actions of the Capetonian Ulama any proof in the Sharia?You seriously cannot hope to prove an academic point by using them as proof.The actions of the Ulama in Cape Town,Johannesburg or Durban are not a valid proof in Shariah.

    I think most of the popularity afforded to some Ulama,wherever they may be from,is due to them giving the people whatever they want.

    Oh and do me a favour,check up the Fatwa of the Shafi’ee madhab before using the Ulama as a proof…otherwise do not taint Pure deen with your “opinions”

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