Assalamu alaikum, this really is a step in the right direction. I understand that some may disagree with the approach, I understand that there may be valid fiqhi positions that discourage women from attending the masjid.
However, being that for most communities anyway, Muslims hail from a variety of different backgrounds and may follow varying fiqhi opinions, Inshallah, I really think compromise is an issue. Especially when you are dealing with American Muslims, many of them converts, who definitely understand discrimination and what it is like to face it. So when sisters/women are told “you can’t come in here” and are literally barred from the only place in the community that many Muslims, both men and women, can be around Muslims in an Islamic environment, I can say for myself only anyway, that it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
I don’t think I’d go so far as the author of the above-linked post and refuse to attend masjids unless they meet his outlined requirements, however, I do believe it’s a step in the right direction, especially since it’s a brother this time who’s speaking out, and not just the “radical/progressive sisters”.
I also wanted to highlight this as it kinda ties in to the “convert truths” thread of my and other blogs’ recent postings, and I just like the fact that someone is offering something positive and something tangible, unlike, me, lol, who’s well, just venting and complaining.
I also wanted to mention that per my local community/masjid, things are really pretty good. I can actually find my way around my masjid, so if I need to use the bathroom or make wudu, I can without having to ask for assistance, and big Alhamdulillah for that, because for me, having to ask someone to take me to the bathroom/show me where it is, makes me feel like a child. And it’s kinda embarrassing, plus, I don’t feel like anyone else needs to know if I need to use the bathroom, or if I need to renew my wudu. But perhaps that’s me, lol.
Anyway, the men’s and women’s sections are equal, pretty much, as far as I know, except that I think the men’s area is slightly bigger than that of the women’s. But the bathrooms and wudu areas are the same, from what I’ve been told, and they are clean and easy to get too. The men’s and women’s sections are divided by a wall/glass partition, that is wall untill about your waist and then it’s glass the rest of the way, where the sisters can see the imam, and the men, but the men can’t see into the sisters’ area. There is a door that can be opened, so one can go back and forth between the men’s and women’s areas. There is also a PA system, so you can hear the imam, and the microphone can actually be carried back into the sisters’ section, I’ve seen this done before, so that if there’s a reason, everyone can be heard.
It’s really a nice masjid and I enjoy going there. The rest of the building has osme classrooms, a kitchen, a “receptoin area” where usually food is served lol, and some other bathrooms. And my step daughter had great delight in telling and showing me the Braille on the bathroom dors, and also delighted in telling the other kids that “my stepmom knows how to read this” lol, and I proceeded to read all of the signs the kids could find for me to read around the building. I’ve thought about trying to put together an Islamic library of Braille / large print materials for the masjid. I’ll have to bring that up to my husband. There really isn’t a terrible need for it, except for me anyway, but I’ve noticed there are books in the sisters’ area, and I assume there are books in the men’s area too, and it’d be nice to be able to go to the masjid and read Qur’an or something.
Anyway, our masjid also is on quite a large piece of property as well, so if we need to expand, etc., we can. And it is great for Eid picnics and other outside community get-togethers. During last Eidul Adha, they had ponies for the kids to ride, and I kinda had a “hijab malfunction” when I tried to get on a pony to ride it as my abaya wasn’t wide enough and I had to pull it up so I could get onto the horse showing my calves. Oh I was hoping no one would see me lol, because once I got up on that pony, it was so much fun riding him, lol. And I think the kids enjoyed watching the grown up ride the ony lol.
Anyway, Mashallah, but Inshallah, more steps are made in the community to make women feel welcome and included, however it’s done.