Mass prayer: Muslim women discouraged by Imams
|‘Attempt’ made by Muslim Women Welfare Organisation the trigger|
CUTTACK: The attempt made by a few Muslim women to offer mass prayer at a masjid here last month drew severe flak from religious heads, who then issued a ‘fatwa’ (religious edict) to thwart any such attempts in future.
The controversy surfaced for the first time in the city on November 23 when some 100 Muslim women, under the banner of the Muslim Women Welfare Organisation (MWWO), gathered at Mangalabag mosque to offer mass prayers. They were, however, denied entry into the mosque by the head priest.
Anjuman-Islamia Ahle Sunnat-o-Jammat, the apex body of the community in the city, issued a fatwa to all the 33 mosques in the locality to stop women from praying at public places. Imams of the mosques had already started implementing the fatwa, which was issued in the form of a guideline by an authorised Mufti.
“Women should not enter mosques, as the Shariat prohibits them from doing so,” said Wajhul Qamar, the Mufti.
“The fatwa entrusts Imams to enlighten Muslim men on the Shariat (code of law derived from Koran and the teachings of Prophet Mohammed), especially on the code and conduct of women through discourses during Friday prayers at mosques,” said M.A. Ahad, secretary of the organisation.
“When Koran has banned women from offering mass prayers in mosques, how can they be allowed to do so now?” questioned a senior political leader and former State minister Mustafiz Ahmed.
“The fatwa, we hope, will be effective in bringing in self-regulation among women through their husbands,” he added.
Secretary of the state unit of the MWWO Farhat Amin, who reportedly led the women for a mass prayer, in a release, however, clarified that neither the women had any intention of offering prayers nor did they seek permission from the head priest to prayers in the masjid last month. She alleged that she was misquoted in newspapers