It seems the women’s-only mosque in LA has brought out quite a bit of male panic—and brought out the white knights alike. Most of you have undoubtedly seen what Yasir Qadhi, Abu Eesa’s BFF, has had to say about it:
When our sisters are deprived from the right to come to the mosques, or given sub-standard accommodations and treated disrespectfully, it is only natural that some of them will take matters into their own hands and counter-react.
Some of that counter-reaction will be legitimate, and some illegitimate.
Oh please, Yasir. Do let us know that some of our “counter-reactions” are illegitimate. I presume that you, of course, are the one who gets to decide which “counter-reactions” (because that’s all this mosque is–just a bunch of women throwing a tantrum) are illegitimate? Unsurprisingly enough, Yasir Qadhi and his like don’t seem to believe that rape jokes are illegitimate.
But it gets better.
Rather than worry about what various counter-reactions have been and how legal they are, I believe we need to concentrate on the root cause of the problem.
What interesting timing to be struck by this enlightenment.
You see, men are incapable of addressing the “root of the problem” until women take a drastic “illegitimate counter-reactions”—like creating a mosque for themselves in which men are neither expected, nor made explicitly welcome. And then, suddenly confronted with the possibility of a complementary space in which they do not control women (just wait, that’s coming up next in his little speech) and in which women in fact govern themselves from positions of leadership in their religious practices, without giving a toss about what men think or have to say, well—come on now, girls—maybe we can work something out after all.
In a day and age where our sisters are going everywhere, visible everywhere, active everywhere, the BEST place for them to be is in the masjid, praying to Allah, and being with fellow Muslims, and learning about their faith. Rather than believe that they should stay home, we need to contextualize our environment and ENCOURAGE our sisters to come to the most blessed places in their cities: their mosques.
Visible everywhere? Visible everywhere? It’s bad enough that we’re “going everywhere” and are—gasp!—“active everywhere,” but to top it off we’re visible everywhere! Can you believe us? Can you believe the nerve of us?
Obviously this is why we need masjids so much. For taming purposes and such.
We need to make sister’s facilities as neat and clean and well-lit and accessible as the brothers. We either put them in the same hall as the men (as was the case in the time of the Prophet (SAW), behind the men), or provide state of the art AV access to the lectures/khutbah. We need separate rooms (also with AV) for sisters with young infants so that others can also pray and listen in peace. And most importantly, we need to tell our men that it is not THEIR business (unless a family man is dealing with his own wife/daughter) how other women dress. Let the people in charge of the masjid deal with dress codes.
We need to “put” them. Because it’s we and them and my audience is still we—the men—even while I’m supposedly discussing inclusiveness. This is what every single one of my khutbas is like, so no need to go see them from the other side of the barrier. Also, it’s totally okay to bully your own wife and daughter, because you own them. And by no means are we getting rid of the dress code police in the masjid.
Frankly, in this day and age, if a sister actually comes to the masjid (rather than going shopping or watching a movie or doing any other activity), we should WELCOME her, have the sisters get to know her, and make her feel special. Her priority is not the scarf on her head but her attachment to Allah. Once she feels that attachment, the rest will follow.
Oh no. Not shopping. Not women and shopping.
Unless they’re shopping for the headscarfs after feeling The Attachment Only I Can Judge to Be Sufficient. (TM)
Our sisters in faith are our mothers, wives, and daughters.
Sure, just not their own individual people. But what else can you expect from someone who defended Abu Eesa and his atrocious sexism and racism?
These men are in positions of power and yet they’re so easily threatened by any kind of criticism, or any woman separating herself from their holy sheikhness to form her own mosque. They cannot stand to hear about it, or to be confronted about their problematic views.
Amusing isn’t it? For someone who wasn’t fired, he sure is still on the edge of his seat. Of course, the reason he isn’t fired–safe in his patriarchal ulema, where he is protected by men who refuse to hold him accountable and he never has to confront criticism against him, ever–is the very reason he felt smug enough to securely rub salt into the wound in the creepiest possible way.
It’s telling that oppressive, patriarchal men will stoop down to backpedal as hard as they can without losing their main oppressive, patriarchal audience as soon as a woman makes any successful attempt of forming a place without them. Luckily, they fail so transparently that it’s clear where their real interests lie: in celebrity status, catering to malestream mediocrity on matters of justice. With a touch of casual sexism masquerading as benevolence.
DID I HURT YOUR FEELINGS?