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No Ban on Women Praying in Mosques

Feb 11, 2023

No Ban on Women Praying in Mosques

Our today's edition of Current Affairs is here. Read to know more about No Ban on Women Praying in Mosques. Also, find the topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus below:

For Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Islamic texts, practice of stopping Muslim women, Quran or Prophet Muhammad

For Mains: GS Paper I (Salient features of Indian Society & Social empowerment) & GS Paper II (Indian Constitution)

Context 

Recently, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) informed the Apex Court that Islamic texts do not bar the entry of women into mosques for namaz.

  • The Board’s response came after a Pune resident moved the Supreme Court seeking to declare the prohibition on Muslim women from entering mosques as “illegal”.

Probable Question

What does the Quran say about the entry of women worshippers inside masjids? (150 words, 10 marks)

Background

  • The petition declared the practice of stopping Muslim women from entering mosques as “illegal” and “unconstitutional” on grounds that it violated Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution (dealing with equality, discrimination and the right to freely practice religion).
  • There are no records stating that the Quran or Prophet Muhammad opposed women from entering mosques, the plea pointed out.
  • Also in 2011, a grill was put up on the premises of the vastly popular 15th century dargah, prohibiting women from going beyond it. 
Note:

Article 14 of the Constitution:

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Article 15 of the Constitution: It prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Article 21 of the Constitution: It protects life and personal liberty i.e. no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

Article 25 of the Constitution: It provides freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion

Article 29 of the Constitution: It ensures that any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

About the Islamic Law on Women’s Entry

  • Islam accords equal importance to the participation of women in the Eid prayers. The only condition Islam lays down is a separate arrangement for women.
  • Most Islamic scholars agree that women have been exempted, not prohibited from going to the mosque, keeping in mind their child-rearing and other domestic responsibilities. 
  • The Quran, at no place, prohibits women from going to mosques for prayers, instead it talks in gender-neutral terms. 
  • Verse 71 of Surah Taubah, says, “The believing men and women are protectors and helpers of each other. They (collaborate) to promote all that is good and oppose all that is evil; establish prayers and give charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger.” 
  • Before the five daily prayers, a prayer call or azaan is pronounced. The azaan is a general invitation to both men and women for prayers.

Women Entrance in Masjid at Global Level

  • Places like Haram Sharif in Mecca and Masjid-e-Nabawi for Hajj and Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) have separate halls earmarked for men and women.  
  • Across West Asia there is no ban on women coming to the masjid for prayers. 
  • In the U.S. and Canada too, women access mosques for prayers, and even gather there for special Taraweeh prayers during Ramzan and lessons on religion. 

Women Entrance in Masjid in India

  • The denial of access to mosques for women worshippers is a largely subcontinental phenomenon. 
  • In India, only a handful of mosques maintained or owned by Jamaat-e-Islami and the Ahl-e-Hadith sect have provisions for women worshippers. 
  • Most mosques, while not expressly forbidding women’s entry into masjids, have no provision for women to do ablutions for prayer or a separate prayer zone for them. They are built keeping only men in mind. 
  • Under the circumstances, they are reduced to a ‘men only’ zone.

The Supreme Court’s Rulings

  • In the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling (Indian Young Lawyers’ Association v State of Kerala or the Sabarimala case), the court allowed entry of all Hindu pilgrims into the temple.
  • It also said that prohibiting women’s (between 10-50 years of age) entry violates Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • In the Haji Ali Dargah case too, the High Court quoted Articles 15, 16, and 25 of the Constitution to grant women the desired access to the dargah.

News Source: The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-law/women-praying-in-mosques-sc-aimplb-8434403/

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/explained-on-the-entry-of-women-in-masjids/article66202043.ece

Frequently Asked Questions

Are women allowed to enter in the masjid?

Most Islamic scholars agree that women have been exempted, not prohibited from going to the mosque, keeping in mind their child-rearing and other domestic responsibilities. The Quran at no place prohibits women from going to mosques for prayers, instead, it talks in gender-neutral terms. 

Do men and women worship together in the mosque?

Islam accords equal importance to the participation of women in the Eid prayers. The only condition Islam lays down is a separate arrangement for women.

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