A group of Muslim women on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding entry into all mosques in the country.
The move comes at a time when groups of Hindu women are calling for an end to the decade old ban of their entry into the select temples.
The petition by the Muslim women demanded that every mosque that receives monetary aid from the government must allow women.
The petition argues that “historical sources also show that Prophet Muhammad had himself encouraged women to actively participate in mosque congregations and prayer”.Prophet Muhammad said, “Do not take away the shade of mosque of the women,” the petitioner added.
“The Masjid-al-Haram in Mecca, the sacred place has always invited Muslim women from every part of the world to pray in it. It does not discriminate between men and women simply because any such discrimination would have violated the Quran.
According to the counsel, Article 15 of the Constitution clearly prohibits discrimination by the government on the basis of sex.
Zakia Soman, co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, blamed the patriarchal mindset of a group of clerics and local masjid committees. “Islam allows women to enter and pray inside mosques but members of some local committees discourage women and prevent them to enter inside,” she said.
Reacting to the petition, Maulana Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in Delhi, said there was no ban on Muslim women entering a mosque. “Islam gives permission for women to enter and pray inside,” the imam of India’s largest mosque said. He, however insists that local committees have never allowed women to enter mosques.
But Zafaryab Jilani, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said, “I do not understand the logic behind such petition. We have not got any such complaint from Muslim women saying they are prevented from entering mosques.”