It was an incident from a couple of years ago that got a Pune-based couple thinking about the issue of women’s entry in mosques. It led them to file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking directions to let Muslim women enter mosques and offer prayers. The apex court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and National Commission for Women on their petition.
Narrating the incident, Yasmeen Peerzaade (42) said she was out with her husband Zuber (48) two years ago. “We were at a store near Aundh Gaon. Since it was time for prayers, Zuber went into a nearby mosque to offer namaz. When I followed, the authorities refused to allow me inside. They chided me for being unaware that women are not allowed in the masjid. It hurt me, and I started thinking,” Yasmeen said.
They decided to find out more about the issue. “We read in the Quran too that women can offer namaz in the masjid,” Yasmeen said.
Zuber said they forwarded an application to Bopodi Jama Masjid to allow entry of women in the mosque and conduct religious training. “They told us the letter had been forwarded to two madrasas, which in turn refused permission for women,” he said.
After studying religious texts and consulting community members, the couple finally decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court. “I was convinced it was the right thing to do. Whichever holy text I read, or after deliberations with community members, I felt there was no reason women should not be allowed in mosques,” said Zuber.
Yasmeen pointed out that women are allowed in mosques in countries like Saudi Arabia, Africa or Russia, “We are prevented in our own country.”
“We are grateful the apex court admitted our plea,” said Zuber, who has studied up to Std XII and is in the building construction business. “The move came naturally to us. There was no political pressure.”
Yasmeen has studied up to Std X. The couple have two sons.