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Posted at: Apr 15, 2019, 10:48 PM; last updated: Apr 16, 2019, 11:51 AM (IST)

Allow women to offer namaz in mosques: Muslim couple plea in SC

Allow women to offer namaz in mosques: Muslim couple plea in SC
Photo for representation.

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 15

A Muslim couple from Maharashtra on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to the government to allow Muslim women to enter Mosques and offer namaz.

Asserting Muslim women’s right to equality, right to non-discrimination and right to religion, Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and her husband Zuber Ahmad Nazir Ahmad Peerzade -- who hail from Pune – said Muslim women should be allowed “to pray in the musalla without being separated by a barrier, including in the front and in mixed-gender congregational lines.”

They cited the example of Mecca, where "the faithful, both men and women, together circumambulate the Kaaba". Besides, most sacred mosques in the world equally embrace both -- men and women, the submitted.

Citing the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups in Kerala's Sabarimala Temple, the petitioner couple said, “The hon'ble court in the case of Sabraimala held that ‘religion cannot be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women as it is against human dignity’. Prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries.”

They demanded that all fatwas restraining Muslim women to enter mosque should be quashed and purported customary tradition banning women’s entry into mosques declared unconstitutional and violative of right to equality, right to non-discrimination, right to live with human dignity and right to religion.

The petition has made the Centre, the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the Central Wakf Council, the Maharashtra State Board of Wakfs and All India Muslim Personal Law Board as parties to the case.

Pointing out that there was no mention of gender segregation in either the Quran or Hadith, the couple contended that such practices were repugnant to basic dignity of women and violated their fundamental rights.

There were no records stating that the Quran and Prophet Muhammad opposed women entering mosques and offering prayers, and in fact men and women have equal constitutional rights to worship, according to their beliefs, they submitted.

Women were allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations but they were barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction, the petitioners said, adding, mosques where women were allowed, there were separate entrances and enclosures for worship for men and women.

The petition said there should not be any gender discrimination at all, and that all Muslim women should be allowed to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations.

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