Monday, June 1, 2009

Dream I had and women praying beside men

I had the strangest dream last week! I wanted to write about it then but I haven't been in the mood for writing up blog posts lately because of being very busy and stressed out at work (the place I write a large part of the posts). Here it is:

I was at the mosque and it seems I was going there to pray. I was already at the front of the area when the dream started and men and women were right beside one another. I don't remember if they were mixing freely. I don't think they were, they were mostly each on their side, but there was no barrier, nothing. I thought that was pretty cool, as long we each respected the privacy of the other and acted Islamically. The prayer then started and I was right beside a man. There was not even a space beside the women and men!! Where the side of the women met the side of the men, they were praying with feet and shoulders touching (as they normally do with whoever is beside them during prayer, but this was a different situation than the normal with men and women completely separate!)

I was so uncomfortable! And to make things worse, the person next to me was the imam himself. I wondered first why are we so close we're touching and second, why is he not in front of us all, ,he's leading! He had a strange style, he was praying in the wrong direction, half in front of me. I had to wait until he was up before I could prostrate because he was in my way!

It was completely mad to have the men and women pray in the same area without a barrier of some sort. People were not able to behave themselves, not even the imam!

It made me think about barriers in mosques when I woke up. The ideal, something I've never seen in a mosque, would be to have men and women praying side by side, but with a barrier between them. Both would be sitting one beside the other as equals, both would see the imam, but they would be separated.

5 Comentários:

Jamilah said...

I used to hate the barrier in my masjid when I first reverted but now I love it. Its a safe place to pray away from prying eyes and the men really don't come back there at all..

Stephanie said...

In the time of the prophet, saw, women used to pray behind the men with no partition. At the end of the khutba, time would be given to the women to leave first and then the men would leave. I personally dislike partitions. I like to feel like I am a part of the congregation without seperation. In our masjid there is a prayer space for women above the men, in a balcony and also a seperate prayer space enclosed in glass behind the men for women with children, as not to disturb those who don't have children with them. If you've ever taken small children to the masjid, or tried to pray with little ones running all around you, you can see the wisdom in this approach. Both are fine to me because you can still see the imam, and I don't feel closed off, but I would prefer it if it was just one big space with the women taking the back rows (for modesty purposes when bending over in prostration). Its interesting that its okay for women to go out to the stores, malls, restaurants, schools and all the other places that we go, but when its time to worship in the masjid before God, then suddenly we have to be shut off from sight. Its not really like that in the masjid that I go to though alhumdullila.

Candice said...

The women's section at the local mosque is totally closed off from the men (we can kinda see shadows of them throw the white curtain) and is small. During friday prayer, there are usually not many women, not enough for it to be full, but during events, we are SO CROWDED! Especially considering all the kids are in this area. Friday prayer for the men is not crowded either and they could afford to give the women more space.

The only other mosque I went to had a small screen showing the imam and speakers so we could hear him. I found it so strange because we were facing the back of the building and I knew we were right there in the back, the front row being a wall away from a parked car! I was a bit disoriented, not knowing where the imam really physically was! It was strange!

I went to an Islamic conference type thing once and we were sitting in a way that would be perfect for the mosque. Men and women each had their side, with a barrier between them. The person speaking was in the middle, where both parties could see him. We both felt as much part of the conference as the other group. It was perfect! This should be duplicated in a mosque!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Great point Stephanie: we can interact with men everywhere except the mosque where we are shut off from sight.

I am not a fan of partitions either, but at the same time a lot of Muslim men here in Cairo don't know how to keep their eyes (or comments) to themselves and so I feel like partitions are necessary. However it is better to pray side by side with a partition so everyone can see the imam, as opposed to hiding women in a tiny room upstairs. said...

About women and men praying besides each other is already being done, so as I've heard. Where? In a "Masjid" where people say that the believe in the Qur'an, yet neglect the Sunnah of the Prophet (Pbuh).

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