Have you heard of a mosque called ‘Ibn Rushd-Goethe’ in Berlin, Germany, where a lady without hijab (Muslims’ headscarf) led the congregation of learned men and women in solaat, the second pillar of Islam?
The ‘mosque’ – which I deliberately put in quote to question its sanctity as a Muslim place of worship – was inaugurated during the Juma’at (Friday) prayer of June 16, 2017 by a self-acclaimed female Muslim activist, Seyran Ates, whose intention was to demand equality between genders in mosques.
According to the Turkish-German lawyer, the mosque would allow men and women to pray together in the same room, without the usual partitioning that exists between male and female sections of the mosque.
In Rushd-Goethe so-called liberal mosque, wearing of niqab (veil) and burqa veil by female worshippers are disallowed for security reasons. Ates claimed that “full-face veils eventually has nothing to do with religion, but is a political statement.”
Of course, the controversial lady was condemned by many who believed she was trying to create something else, not Islam since it is established in the noble Qur’an (Suratul maidah, Q. 5: 3) that the message of Islam has been perfected and completed by Allah through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), hence, there can neither be addition nor subtraction.
Evidently, the female Imams-led mosque is the first of its kind in Hitler’s country, but not the first in the world as there had existed such mosques in countries like Canada, Denmark, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America, where ladies led mixed-gender congregations in solaat, and even gave khutbah (sermons) at different religious gatherings.
Many of those with this view include a controversial female imam Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University; Raheel Raza, a Canadian author and a female Imam; as well as Irshad Manji, a Canadian lesbian, among others. These are the so-called Muslim feminists advocating for equal right with men, the same way some Muslim gay activists (and gay Imams) in the West are calling for the recognition of same-sex marriage, a disgusting act strongly forbidden in Islam.
In their desperate quest for modernisation and westernisation, all the six of the Germany’s Muslim members of parliament recently voted in favour of same-sex marriage despite Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s criticism. While opposing the bill, she said: “Marriage is between a man and a woman”, but the same sex bill scaled through.
It’s indeed a sad and unfortunate development. Perhaps, they (the Champions of LGBT) have forgotten how Allah (SWT) destroyed the people of Lut (city of Sodom) because they committed homosexuality and lesbianism.
In Q. 7: 80-81; Q. 11:77: Q. 37:134-135, 138 Allah commended the angels to raise the town (the city of Sodom) and showed them to the people of heavens before turning them upside down. As if that wasn’t enough, Allah rained on them baked stones from heaven and each of them was hit and destroyed by the baked stones, with their individual names already written on the stones (as explained in the exegesis of Tafsir Ibn Kathir).
Yet, the advocates of these immoral practices and corrupt ideology ignore the punishment of Allah, and insist on propagating same-sex marriage and feminism.
No doubt, in Nigeria, there have been virtually no one (there may exist undergoing God forbid), who carries the banner of Islamic feminism with such radicalised views as those mentioned above. But there will be, and counter-scholarship is always needed from the Muslim community. Don’t forget, we live in a country (Nigeria) where there exist no religious regulations – and everyone claims to be a man of God or an Imam, dishing out frivolous, hate and inciting messages to their followers.
Like Ates, some of Nigerian Muslims also hold a similar heretic view about niqab, saying it’s an Arab not Islamic culture. They also argue that hijab has nothing to do with clothes as generally believed by the Muslims. According to what they learned from their pseudo scholars, hijab simply means “barrier” – whereas in Shari’iah, hijab is compulsory for Muslim women starting from their puberty age. It’s one of the prerequisites for the acceptance of solaat. Niqab is not compulsory, but using it has an added advantage, that’s the view of majority of scholars.
Consciously or unconsciously, Nigerian Muslims are beginning to embrace westernisation of Islam and this is already manifesting in their social and religious life. Muslim ladies now adorn white wedding gown – an act of blind imitation of the western Christians; they go out in funkified hijabs, some even went as far as flaunting their tight fitting and see-thru ‘hijabs’ on the red carpet, when the purpose of clothing is to cover the awrah (body parts which must be covered from others) and prevent fitnah (temptation). See also Q.24: 30-31 and Q.33: 53, 59 for more on hijab and niqab).
It’s interesting to know that there is a fashion show for Muslim hijabis, a replica of the westerners’ fashion runway. In fact, there is virtually Muslim version of everything western vis-à-vis Muslim hip-hop songs, including the call for Muslim women to lead a mixed-gender congregation, like their females counterpart in Christendom who presided over men during church services.
Conclusively, Islam doesn’t restrict women or deny them of their rights. There are many women who are jurists, very sound in the recitation of the noble Qur’an and their knowledge of Ahadith (saying of the Prophet), seerah (Islamic history).
Aisha Bint Abu Bakr, one of the wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a teacher of men. She showed the world how the women could be more knowledgeable than men, politician or warrior fourteen centuries ago. According to Khaalid Muhammad Khaalid in his book, Men & Women Around The Messenger, what Aisha left of literature or legal opinions is now studied in many universities all over the world, yet she didn’t study at the hands of orientalists and westerners.
Despite her vast knowledge of the deen (Islam), the mother of the faithful didn’t request to be an imam for men. This is based on her understanding of the hadith where her husband (the Messenger of Allah) said: “No people will ever succeed who appoint a woman as their leader.” According to one of the contemporary scholar, Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid, this hadeeth indicates that it is not permissible for a woman to hold a position of public authority, and leading the prayers is a position of public authority.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was quick to warn the believers in another authentic narration, “Do not prevent your women from attending the mosques, although their houses are better for them.” Commenting on, ‘Although their houses are better for them’, Sheikh Munajjid said, their praying in their houses is better for them than their praying in the mosques, if only they knew, but they do not know that, and they ask for permission to go out to the mosques, because they think that the reward for them in the mosque is greater.
Muslim women can however be part of the mosque committee or boards. They can lecture – impact knowledge to both males and females at schools – or “lead fellow women or members of their household including men in solaat on condition that they are old and well-versed in the noble Qur’an and that they stand behind, not in front of them. A woman is allowed to lead other women in solaat, in which case she is to stand along with them in the row, not in front of them”, a renowned international Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi concluded.