Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thoughts...

I read Pixie's post on her opinion of barriers in the mosque and it really struck a cord with me about the ideal behavior of a person. I never put too much importance in the "women of the Sahaba". I focus a lot more on the Qur'an and the essence of Islam and put aside hadiths on Muhammad's habits and way of doing things, and so even more, the "women of the Sahaba". I just thought it can be interesting to learn more about it and useful like anything in history is, but not more than that. I'm not much into history anyway so it was not so interesting to me.

I consider myself a bit on the liberal Muslim side. I feel the need to see things more broadly. I don't think we need to limit ourselves to being exactly like good Muslims were back when the Qur'an was being revealed. I think the Islam is a religion that moves with the times, and that the meaning of the Qur'an remains the same, the message is the same, but the habits and ways of doing things can change. I write this part in the present tense because it is still who I am and how I see things, but it is to a different degree than it once was.

I was reading Pixie's post, and she mentionned how liberal Muslims want to pray behind the men, but in the same room, without any barrier, and how they use as an argument the way it was at Islam's beginnings. In Muhammad's time, the mosque was set up that way. I thought that was a pretty good argument. But she goes on to show that really, it is not. People are not like they were in these times. It becomes better for us women, and more convenient even, to pray in different rooms or behind a barrier.

I guess I've become more strict in my views... I am far from being ready or even wanting to implement everything in my own life. I can't even pray 5 times a day! I don't even pray once a day even though I know it would not be so hard for me to do so... :( I need to work on all that of course and I will (inshaallah).

All that to say that I have grown to appreciate the "stricter" or more fundamental Islam. I have become able to see the beauty in this way, and I've become able to see the Ideal society as a Muslim or Islamic society.

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Funny side note: After writing the above part of this post, I read Pixie's post on the Madhabs where she mentions she finds people who consider themselves liberal Muslims or strict Muslims stupid. I mentionned both these words in my post. :P I disagree with her and I don't consider any of these views stupid. Different people on a different path can all be doing things that are right for them at the time... No reason to see their views as stupid.

24 Comentários:

Ldn.Hijabi said...

I personally find that there is more of a connection between the sisters when we pray together, separate from the men.

I don't know why, but it makes me feel that the sisterhood is stronger..

Candice said...

Even without a barrier, we'd be praying apart from the men. Just without anything between the group of men and the group of women. I like praying with women though. Definitely wouldn't work if it was completely mixed!

Ldn.Hijabi said...

yeah i agree..by the way..

you won the Adorable Blog Award, check out my blog to see it..=)

Stephanie said...

salam alaikum--
I really don't like the barrier. It's a slippery slope to say just because we're not as good as the sahaba we shouldn't be left to put ourselves up to those standards. I could apply that to alot of things in the deen. We're supposed to put ourselves up to those standards rather or not some people decide to. Sure the sahaba were the best example, but in the early days of Islam there were also alot of very ignorant people who were just coming to Islam, and I doubt many of them were any better than those of us pracitcing today. Look at the hadith of the Beduin who came to the masjid and then proceeded to urinate in it. Too often the barrier is some stinky dark dank room and to me it's like saying we'll give you this space cuz we have to, but don't it expect it to be too nice. Some smalll screen or something would be alright, but not some completely different room. I just have a hard time feeling like part of the community and listening and learning from the lesson of the Khutba if I can't even see the Imam. I actually like our masjid because the sisters have 2 areas. One above the men in a balcony area where your not really closed off but the men can't see you unless the obviously turn around and look up, and another that's off to the side, behind the men which is closed off with tinted glass. The area with the glass is for sisters with children, so the other women have the oppurtunity to give their salah without the distraction of a bunch of squirming kids.

Candice said...

Thanks so much Lnd.Hijabi!!!

Stephanie: Your mosque sounds great! I think that's a good type of barrier to have. I don't think the barrier should be anything that keeps women from hearing as well or participating like the men do for sure.
I like to see the person speaking as well, so I'd vote for a sort of half high barrier or something like that. One mosque I went to had a small screen that showed the imam. I felt apart from everything though... We women really were completely separated from the men. I was disoriented in some ways, I didn't even know where the imam actually was! The other mosque here in my city has an opaque barrier and a tiny "blah" space for women so I didn't like that any more...

Malek said...

I have been to a mosque that is closed off and the women are in a totally different room and I have been to one were I am just rows behind the guys. I never really gave it too much thought. Either way you are to be behind the guys. I feel like its up to you to keep your mind focused on prayer and not distracted. What does bother me though is when the women's side looks like crap while the mens side has beautiful chandeliers and cushiony rugs!!!!! I was at a mosque with my husband one time and got a glimpse of the mens side and nearly fell over as to how beautiful it was and I did let him know that the womens side was ugly and that he should mention that to whoever is in charge!!!!!


On a side note speaking of mosques, sisters can we please keep our children under control in the masjid.It is a place of worship and should be respected....I guess that is another blog topic for a later date....PEACE

Candice said...

I like how open the mosque is for children. I haven't seen anything too extreme at my mosque, but the kids do run around from the men's side to the women's side. I was at the mosque for 2 aqiqahs and it was a zoo in there. But it was nice to have the kids feeling comfortable in that environment. During the prayers, the kids stayed nice. A couple were walking around and whispering in the back (not loud enough to distract but I was there not praying so I saw them). During the khutbahs on Friday, they were also pretty tame, but went from Mommy to Daddy a lot and whispered in the back with their friends. It was nice for them not to be expected to fully concentrate on the khutbah that is often not aimed at kids and can be a major bore for them.

Mechante Belle said...

I prefer completely separate rooms actually. I know that if I was praying and the men were anywhere need me all I would be doing is scoping out the crowd for attractive faces and ogling them the whole time, lol. Just being honest but I can't concentrate on prayers being in the same room with men, it creates too much tension for me.

Plus, when my friends and I gather we tend to get loud and giggle and talk about girly things I wouldn't want any guy overhearing.

On the downside, having separate areas makes it very easy for the guys to "forget" that us women even exist. They get lazy with turning on the camera, a lot of times the mic is too loud or too soft, and whenever we have a guest speaker its impossible for us ladies to ask questions unless we write it on a piece of paper and send it to the imam.

Ideally I would want an area in the back of the mens room, other than the sisters room, where the ladies who are really interested can sit there and have face to face access.

ellen557 said...

I personally don't like separate rooms but that's only because at this stage, I'm not confident enough to be somewhere where I can't see my partner. He makes me relax, I guess.
I think an ideal mosque is one with a balcony for women. So they can see everything first hand but still be separate.

I don't think being liberal is a bad thing either... it's all in what you take the word to mean. I'd say I have more liberal Islamic views because they just go with my beliefs. But then, compared to liberal beliefs that aren't religious, I guess my beliefs are more strict? Ah it's so hard >.< hehe.

ellen557 said...

Oh, p.s. you have an award waiting for you at my blog :D

Candice said...

ellen: I feel similar about wanting to see my husband or at least know where he is. At the small local mosque, I could see his shadow through the white sheetlike barrier, and I knew what it looked like on the other side so I felt comfortable. The other mosque had different entrances for men and women and the men's section from what I understood went from one side of the building towards the back behind the women's room so that we women praying at the front of the room are technically more forward than the imam is in the other room, which is a weird thing for me mentally! lol

Stephanie said...

I've also been to lectures where the women had to write questions to the speaker on a piece of paper. Can you imagine doing that in a university or any other place of worship? We'd all be protesting on the streets demanding our rights? Why should the masjid be any different. Religious learning is just as important if not more so. There's just no dialogue in it.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

"People are not like they were in these times. It becomes better for us women, and more convenient even, to pray in different rooms or behind a barrier."
True. However, why don't we focus ont hings that will make us act like the first Muslims, as opposed to enforcing rules and barriers that negatively affect women and let men get away with their bad behaviour? Barriers in the mosque is like putting a band aid on a gaping wound. Why not focus on bringing up Muslim men to be better men. Then women will be able to pray with men without there being a problem.

Mrs. S said...

I grew up going to mosques where the women’s area was completely separate. There were separate entrances, separate rooms and unofficial separate sections of the parking lots. I actually didn’t realize until recently that some women may be put off by this. It never occurred to me that mosques were structured any differently.

I prefer some type of barrier, whether that means a curtain or a different room completely. Some of this is because of culture, some because of habit and some because I believe it is preferred but not necessary. I’ve come to feel, however, that while separation between sexes may work and be generally accepted for spiritual focus, it is not conducive to community building.

I consider splitting up during dinners, a lecture or a family event at the masjid to be unnecessary segregation, and contrary to the concept of the Ummah. It is not inviting to those who may be curious about Islam or new to the religion and it doesn’t help the rest of us, because we grow up a) not knowing how to interact in a halal and Islamic way with the opposite sex and b) it demonstrates just how pervasive the influence of culture is in religion.

Sorry, for the mini rant.

Candice said...

Stephanie. I agree that the women should be as able to ask questions in these types of situations! They shouldn't be given less of an oportunity to learn just for being women. Reminds me of a meeting at the local mosque that was made to discuss the functionning of the mosque and donations and all that. I liked how it was set up. Women came out of their area and sat in back of the men and so we were all able to participate. My husband put himself at the back of the men and I put myself at the front of the women and we just ended up sitting pretty much together. Oh, yeah, we were pretty scattered, it wasn't packed in any way and there was plenty of space between everyone.

Candice said...

CLA: I definitely don't agree with a barrier being used to prevent women from their rights and being used to exclude women. I think there's a way to have a barrier and have things be equal and right as well.

About how different things are now than they were then, you are right that we should focus on what is good and correct about things now, but I still think she had a good point. She described how the men let the women leave the mosque before them, and how the men and women had different exits, and how they walked in different parts of the streets after prayer to avoid mixing. It is something I don't think all of us would do if we were directly behind the men with no barrier at all. And her point about not wanting to be alone with men when she was the first woman arrived for a prayer is valid as well. At my local mosque, actually, for the few prayers I went to that were not Jumah, I was the only woman there with about 5-7 men. I'm glad I had my own space. If not, even with my husband there, it might've been a bit uncomfortable. And *definitely* uncomfortable with no husband and no barrier.

You're right about raising better men too though, and that would definitely help the situations we can be put in.

Mrs. S: I also agree that things like dinners and lectures could be in a more mixed environment. The situation I described in my other comment about the mosque meeting was a good one and I thought it was set up well for equality.

Lisa said...

I actually don't like separation when it comes to being on my own and unable to access the tea and cookies on the brother's side, and not having a husband who goes and can bring me any.

On the other hand, I LOVE having the separate room especially during my niqaabi days. It was nice to feel the freedom to open the veil without worrying about men coming over for any reason. The sisters who wanted the tea and cookies would meet their husband in the parking lot and return thereafter to the sister's side.

Love this post and you Candice!

Candice said...

Lisa, I've never seen people have tea at the mosque! How unfair that they didn't have a tea section in the women's area!

Nazia said...

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NeverEver said...

Hello Candice,

I tagged you on my blog for the Honest Scrap tag!!

Lisa said...

I just awarded you at my public blog! Love you lots.

Tuttie said...

i prefer a barrier. I really do. I just like my space. That being said, I have only being to one masjid that provided some pretty nice accommodations for sisters without breaking the bank. It was simple on the second floor with optional view of the first floor where the men pray. It was equally as clean as the men. Every other masajid I end up pretty pist off about a lot of things. Mainly cleanliness.

Afifa said...

I personally like the Sunnah - praying behind the men seperated by children. It is Sunnah. If men lowered their gaze - which can be taught and women dress properly or the Masque have prayer outfits for them - hunky dory. But most who push the hardliner segregation have no issue dealing with non-muslim women in their day to day. Are we so weak that the mere sight of the opposite sex will throw us in to fits of fitna? It makes us look quite silly. And Muslims should really try out the childcare. Women's spaces are always the place to dump the unruly children and then trying to pray with screaming kids, a partially working sound system and no sight. Lastly, it isn't the LIBERAL stance, it is the tradition of the Prophet. Argh!

Candice said...

Thanks for your comment, Afifa! I agree that people who follow the Sunnah, and want women praying behind men with no barrier are not "liberal", they are just following the Sunnah!

But some people do not follow the Sunnah in other aspects of their lives, but they decide they want to when it suits them to, like having more access to mixing without the barriers. In some ways, they are "liberal" Muslims wanting this for their liberal reasons. But it's hard to use these types of labels since they can mean so many things. So hopefully you understand what I mean here!

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