I am tired of praying in spaces where only men are allowed. I am tired of the fact that women are always either behind us, in a much smaller designated space, or to the side of us, once again in a much smaller designated space and of course, with a barrier separating us. I do not like the fact that I have a much bigger space than the women inside of mosques. I do not like the fact that I have easy access to the Imam once the prayer is finished, and that I can pray directly behind him, just because I am a man. I do not like the fact that I can enjoy the main prayer hall of a mosque, just because I am a man. I do not like the fact that because I am man, I am restricted to only sharing Islam with men. I do not like the fact that the mosque around the corner from my home is only for men. I do not like the fact that because I am a man, I am a prisoner of an imposed “brotherhood”. Brotherhood is cool, but it is time for brotherhood and sisterhood to come together, and create humanhood.
How would I feel If i was denied access to some mosques? How would I feel, If my prayer space was much smaller than the mens? How would I feel, If i had to pray behind a barrier? How would I feel, if i was not allowed to be an Imam? How would I feel, If i was not allowed to call the Adhan, or recite the Qur’an? How would I feel, if i was told that attending the obligatory friday prayer was not obligatory for me? But hey, I don’t have to feel this, because I am man, and being a man comes with certain advantages and privileges. Lets just say that my spiritual experience as a muslim is endless. It has no boundaries, just because I am man. And they want me to believe that this is Divine. These facts have nothing to do with the God that I believe in. The God that I believe in is a just God. The God that I believe in never limited the spirituality of women. The God I believe does not have a preference towards me simply because I am a man.
Every time I am in a mosque to pray, I can never appreciate my prayer as much I wish that I could because I am only praying next to other men. I can never enjoy my mosque experience as much as I should because my mosque experience is only experienced alongside other men. Something deep inside me instinctively tells me that this is wrong.
My feeling is backed up by the Qur’an, which states that all human beings are equals. Why are we so far removed from Qur’an’s message, the message that states that the most honorable people in the eyes of God are those who are the most righteous? Allah does not look at our outer forms, he only looks into our hearts and souls. Yet, we Muslims are looking at each other’s outer forms, and this is causing the separation. We should see each other in the same way that Allah sees us.
Islam gives us so much unity, but we are splitting up ourselves. Humanhood is the key to world peace, and Islam has that key. Imagine a world where women and men prayed side by side, worshipped the one true God side by side, and shared the endless and infinite bond of the soul? Where would the room for the oppression of women come in then? How can you oppress the very same women that you pray next to, that you hope with, that you dream with, that you care for, because they are your sisters in spirit?
Not only that. The exchange of ideas, thoughts, and emotions between sisters and brothers would lead to a human revolution, that would truly put us on the path to a better world.
Solidarity and unity between men and women is the only way forward for this world. And I don’t mean superficial solidarity and unity. No, i mean the deepest kind of unity, and that is the unity of the heart and soul, bound together by belief in Allah.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I would literally live in mosques if they had no gender segregation. They would be the most beautiful places on earth, because in no other place in my lifetime have I personally experienced such a depth of human unity than I have in mosques. Most of my muslim friends are sisters and I love them dearly but when we enter a mosque, then we are forced to go our separate ways.
But my heart will never accept separation based on gender. I have love for every human being, and I want to share this love with all, not just men.
So, I refuse to be a prisoner of my own gender.
The struggle for unity within the Ummah.
This is my Jihad.