Mumbai: Muslim activists denounce the 'weak posture' of AIMPLB to allow women to pray in mosques

MUMBAI: Organizations struggling to ensure access for Muslim women within mosques have questioned the presentation of (AIMPLB) on the issue.

While welcoming AIMPLB's claim that Islam allows Muslim women to pray inside mosques, an NGO called (IMSD) has questioned the ones that occur in its affidavit. The coordinator Javed Anand and the co-coordinator issued a statement that said: The AIMPLB says that matters of faith must be left 'to be resolved through the processes of social transformation within religious faith rather than the court seeking resolution through the judicial process'. totally disagree. We believe that, as the chief custodian of the Constitution, the main court is obliged to defend women's right to gender equality and non-discrimination.

The Board had said that a Muslim woman was free to enter a mosque to pray and make use of the facilities available. But what if a woman enters a mosque just so that the mutawalli (manager) tells her that there are no facilities available for women in her mosque? To this the AIMPLB says that mosques are administered by mutawallis (administrators) and neither he nor the court can enter the arena of detailed arrangements of a religious place.

The statement added: What happens if the manager says that only men should pray in mosques? To this, the AIMPLB does not want to comment on any contrary religious opinion. The Board has this comfort to offer: a woman praying at home earns the same sawaab (religious reward) that she prays in a mosque.

The IMSD noted that during the life of the Prophet Muhammad, women were part of mixed gender prayers in the two holiest mosques in Islam, in Mecca and Medina. The practice has continued since then in most of the Arab world. Millions of Muslim men and women from all over the world pray together during the annual pilgrimage to Haj. Contrary to this, the doors of more than 95% of the mosques in India (as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh) remain closed for Muslim women. This is the context in which a Muslim couple has asked the Supreme Court for the right of women to pray in mosques and in which the AIMPLB seems to be speaking for women, but apparently only so, he said.