A friend of mine asked me to teach him how to pray. I have no idea if the request denotes a preliminary interest in conversion, and I was not intrusive enough to ask.
His only personified contact with Islam has been through me, and I think one other friend. The best way I could teach him is to actually have him follow me—a moment of silence here for the patriarchal ulema clutching their pearls at the thought of a man following a female imam—but that also poses an issue: praying requires repetition to commit to second nature, and if I drive him to a sex-segregated masjid to obtain that experience, we would be separated.
I don’t believe in (active) da’wah, but it occurred to me that patriarchal men never consider women might be passageways to Islam for sexes other than women—or even for women. All systems in place convenience men and assume men can also bring women to Islam but not the other way around. If I drive my friend to the masjid, I would have to hand him over to men. After incidentally acquainting him with Islam, taking the time upon his request to prepare him, elaborating on spirituality, I would sever him from myself, when he’s indicated he’d like an anchor of familiarity in this novel setting. A man, however, is free to be the imam for a woman at the masjid. His voice isn’t awrah. (Don’t get me started on this.)
I’m surprised men haven’t banned women from praying because the movements are awrah. Of course, some of them have but disguise it as, “Women don’t belong in the masjid; pray at home!”
“I was going to tell you a time travel joke,” he said to me this morning. “However, you didn’t like it.”