“Oh we let our women into our Masjids”, claims the long bearded and knee panted to the completely white on whites. It is true they do let women into their Masjid as per Islamic rulings. And they proudly snigger at those, with unjustifiable beliefs as how a women’s place is spiritually and physically only at home. But wait, these “oh-we-are the-best-Muslims-cause-we-allow-women-to-enter-masjids” are just about ‘allowing’ women to ‘enter’ their sacred prayer areas. (Note the quotation marks used in sarcasm for those who didn’t get the tone.)
Entering Masjids just to fulfil obligatory duties on time, and using it as a place of spiritual guidance and having a peaceful, unrestricted rapport with your Lord are two different things. And for most Masjids in Kerala, the first is what they assume doing it like God wanted. For most of these Masjids do not give a warm and clean welcome to the female gender seeking a place to get closer to God. While most of the woman’s sections are sidelined right next to a stinky, dry, and piss filled wash rooms, the main prayer area itself looks like the shady streets we avoid at all times. Filled with dust, with no basic electricity or sometimes-even directions to the Qibla, the male elite expects women to be satisfied with no complaints whatsoever that they are being given entry into their sacred places.
I have seen many Masjids, with little or even no ventilations, a small unwelcome place where the only thought is the sooner I finish my prayer and run the better the chances of not finding rats on my back, to Masjids, clean and welcome, but no freaking fan to cool off the sweat in my brow this hot summer as my ears catch the rotating blades in just the next room. Both places, supposed to be the house of God, disgusts me enough into not even trying to get my communication with God done in the best manner possible. Seriously, we prefer not going to this excuse of a bearded man’s charity and praying in the corners of our offices, or homes.
For decades our debates have been revolving around giving women entry into mosques and temples, but the time has long passed since we should seriously start debating about the condition of the so called women sections. No matter what the so called religious sects of “yes-woman-can-enter” says, the message is pretty clear in almost all the masjids I have had the misfortune of praying in, I am really, a 100% not welcome here. And it is not in peace I exit from the House of God, it is pure disgust and loathing.
Rabeeha Abdurehim – Blogger , columnist