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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Women can offer prayers at mosques, ignore any fatwa barring entry: Muslim Personal Law Board

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board made the submission before the Supreme Court in response to a plea seeking the apex court directions to allow women to enter a mosque and offer prayers.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 29, 2020 9:49:23 pm
Muslim women attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (file photo/Reuters)

Entry of women into mosques to offer prayers, as per Islamic texts, is permitted, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said in a affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court. It also said any fatwa barring the entry of women “may be ignored”.

The submission was made in response to a plea filed by a Pune-based couple seeking the apex court directions to allow women to enter a mosque and offer prayers. It will be considered by a nine-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde.

The bench is dealing with legal and constitutional issues relating to discrimination against women in various religions and at religious places including Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple.

“Considering the religious texts, doctrine and religious belief of the followers of Islam, it is submitted that entry of women in the Mosque for offering prayer/ Namaz, inside the Mosque, is permitted. Thus, a Muslim woman is free to enter Masjid for prayers. It is her option to exercise her right to avail such facilities as available for prayers in Masjid.

“The All India Muslim Personal Law Board does not want to comment on any contrary religious opinion to this effect,” Mohammed Fazlurrahim, Secretary of AIMPLB, said in his affidavit filed through lawyer M R Shamshad.

Islam has not made it obligatory on Muslim women to join congregational prayer nor is it obligatory for woman to offer Friday Namaz in congregation though it is so on Muslim men, the affidavit said.

“The Muslim woman is differently placed because as per doctrines of Islam she is entitled to the same religious reward (Sawab) for praying as per her option either in Masjid or at home,” it said.

The top court Tuesday said that its nine-judge Constitution bench would hear within 10 days questions related to entry of Muslim women into mosques, female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community and barring of Parsi women, married to non-Parsi men, from the holy fire place at Agiary.

Last year, the Supreme Court admitted two pleas on the matter — one of which was moved by a Pune-based couple.

The petition by Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and her husband Zuber Ahmad Nazir Ahmad Peerzade contended that “there is nothing in the Quran and the Hadith that requires gender segregation” and added that “the act of prohibition of females from entering Mosque is void and unconstitutional as such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution”.

They claimed there were several women affected by this but were not in a position to approach the court. The petition said “the alleged act of prohibition of entry to mosque is violation of constitutional and fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution as there cannot be any discrimination based on caste, sex and religion”.

with PTI inputs

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