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AhmadJoyia
 
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Quote AhmadJoyia Replybullet Posted: 23 May 2005 at 12:23pm

Originally posted by rami

Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

assalamu alaikum

sorry about that i pressed the wrong button, i dont know how to merge the topics again :(

Bro Rami,

I am not very clear for the need of a seperate thread when  the same topic is being discussed elsewhere (in sisters' section under the topic of women led prayers. Therefore I didn't read some of the comments that are directly related to that topic. Hence I think they all should be moved there to make a unified conversation. 

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herjihad
 
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 23 May 2005 at 1:19pm

Bismillah,

I think the conversation is fine where it is.

Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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AhmadJoyia
 
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Quote AhmadJoyia Replybullet Posted: 23 May 2005 at 1:43pm

Dear Sister Ummziba,

I really don't understand who is this Raheel Raza (probably a male person) from whom you are quoting an article "From the ritual to the spiritual" and the person (probably a female) who is describing her experience of leading the Friday prayer of both men and women. Here is your post

Here is a follow up report published today in the Toronto Star:

From the ritual to the spiritual

RAHEEL RAZA

At the rate poison darts are soaring towards me, one would think I led a chorus line and not an Islamic prayer! .............

Nevertheless, when I see this person's response through this article, unexpectedly I didn't find her/him a well educated scholar of Islam. I thought (as I heard about her) the lady who lead the Friday prayer for both men and women is a very well educated professor of Islamic studies in some university of this country. However, the person in this article is not at all seems to be closer to that lady. What is the matter? Am I missing something or what? Let me address this article as I think it to be treated like it. Kindly forgive me if you find me sarcastic in my remarks, but my purpose is to take this article logically than emotionally.

Yes indeed, the fatwas are flying (I already have one from a Saudi network based in the United States, thank you!). The GTA Muslim community, even those who profess to be liberal, are doing what has become the norm — condemning without considering, labelling without listening and judging without justice. Since the Talibanization of Pakistan, I'm well aware of stoning first and debating later.

Aren't she doing exactly here with here actions. Taking actions before debating or giving arguments. Let us see what more she has to say about this.

Let me confess where all this began. About three weeks ago when Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), asked me if I would lead a mixed-gender group in prayer, I said No! I wasn't ready to be part of a media frenzy.

Oh, then finally she/he did get her/himself ready for media frenzy!!!

Tarek and I have agreed to disagree on many points, but we have what I call "a dignity of difference" — a respectful exchange of ideas, which is a characteristic abysmally lacking in some parts of the Muslim community.

I don't understand here a bit. Is she/he saying that she/he has done it despite the difference in opinions with others yet not resolved? Is this a Ijtihad (a quality she/he says not prevailing since 16th century)  that she/he has referred later in this article? Where is this Ijtihad that she/he proclaimed to bring life to this concept with her/his actions? Has she/he not got her/his self frencied from the media because of her/his actions?

 

 My husband convinced me that it would be a natural progression from giving sermons in churches, praying in synagogues and temples to lead prayer for my own community.

Wow, so here she is finally a lady. Ok. Then what is her source of knowldge? Her husband? Is this the qualification for a muslim scholar to take reference from? I thought she would present some logical arguments supporting her evidence etc, but she has indeed disappointed me.

I checked with a professor of religious studies who was an imam in Toronto. He said categorically that nowhere in the Qur'an does it specify women can't lead prayer. Also, when the Prophet Muhammad preached his message in a male-dominated society, he did not speak out for or against women leading prayer. As a matter of fact, women at that time were entrepreneurs, theologians, mystics and also participated in war. I'm extremely impressed by these female role models.

You see, what a great source of knowldge she has with her. A professor of religious studies!! Is she a sane? I think either this article is a joke or the lady herself made a joke of herself with this kind of actions.

The three men in my life (two sons and spouse) encouraged me to take this leap of faith — what more could I ask for? I've always believed God created us equal and that spirituality is not dependent on gender.

Wow, my friends, why not everyone of us start taking such an inspirational motivation from our family members and start taking such leaps based upon our own convictions without proper knowldge and without discussing them in the scholar's arena?

However, there are many people who are barred from places of worship. Some women have stopped going to the mosque because they are stuck near the bathrooms or kitchen due to their gender.

Ofcourse this is not the place where I go and pray in our mosque here in USA. So this means this act of her is not applicable here where there is no such problem? I don't agree with her justification for her action.

  

More important, all worship in Islam begins with a declaration of intent. My intention was not reactionary, not defiant and definitely not a show of militant feminism. It wasn't about a battle between progressive and conservative

So, here is she not getting apologetic?? Is she repenting or what?

 — it was about sharing some profound thoughts with my fellow Muslims and also to help other women find a safe space to worship.

I don't agree at all with her apologies. Sharing thoughts are different than implementing thoughts without giving much thought to them. This is not a way sane people share their thoughts. And what 'safe space' to worship is she alluding to that she is claiming to provide to the women? Isn't she providing exactly opposite to that?

April 22 was Earth Day, and after moving the venue twice (because so-called liberal and culturally progressive centres refused to have a woman lead prayer), a backyard in Cabbagetown became the sanctuary. A motley crowd of about 40 people from as far as Oakville and Pickering came to join in this historic Friday prayer, among them an imam, women in hijab and diverse Muslims from various backgrounds.

I think she is more obsessed in creating a historic event than pleasing Allah. Otherwise, she would have done her real home work before taking actions.

There was no security guard posted at the door to check ID credentials or people's intentions since I don't believe that is our mission in life. I am responsible only for my conscience and answerable only to God. This event also was an attempt to break the domination of a few misguided bigots who try to reduce God to a policeman.

Where is here evidence? All I am interested is in her evidence to support her view? In the absence of all this, she is working on her emotions rather than mind and wisdom. 

Although physically I led the prayer by standing in front and reading the sermon before the prayer, we all were bound by our united submission to God. I felt we were truly blessed.

A very sentimental condition especially once she is profoundly concious of her creating a historic kind of a moment. However, I know only Allah knows the best if our prayers are getting accepted or not. How does she get her feelings about blessness? Only she would tell us.

 

Why? Because the brave men and women who chose to stand behind me and pray empowered me with a responsibility that made my own prayer more poignant and meaningful. It allowed me to move away from the ritual to the spiritual and actually hear and understand myself better than I ever have.

She means to say going against the common beleifs of Islam without giving any thought or logic to it is bravery? What shall I call this other than opposite of wisdom?

 

At the end of the prayer, some of the non-Muslim observers had tears in their eyes and were touched to the core. Some participants told me they had not prayed in years and were thrilled to come back into the fold.

Is this the certifcate of acheivement? So then all those non-muslims became muslims? Was the purpose of such prayer to please Allah or to these people?

 

As for the critics, let me try and understand where their problem lies. Our message was one of tolerance, peace, spiritual equality, compassion and love of Allah and His Prophet. Obviously that is not the message coming from mosques that base their sermons on negating others.

Oh, really? I thought she would give some scholarly account of her oppositions views and then logically defend them as a great and wise scholars usually does it. But alas, all she has it is a sentimental apologetic stories.

While this service was not the ultimate move for reclaiming our place in Islam, it's a fact that our faith is frozen in time. Dialogue and debate, also known as ijtehad — an important cornerstone of Islam — have been deemed an unnecessary evil and stopped since the 16th century.

So where is her dialogue and debate on this issue prior to her actions? She has been fooled by her own obsessions towards creating historic events.

So the hope is that events like this one will open the doors to that much needed discourse and put us on the path to enlightenment together as men and women in faith.

Well, here I think its herself who has opted to close the door than opening it for a dialogue and logical arguments to understand our problems and issues. I think we should first discuss and then act and not the vice versa as she is recommending it.


Raheel Raza is a media consultant and freelance writer.

I really couldn't understand who is Raheel Raza and what is his link with the lady who is talking about in this article. Was it an interview or what?

In the end I would say that we should look at this article more objectively than merely from sentimental stand point of view. Through out this article no arguments are given and heavily relied on provoking the sentiments of the people. I may never scumb to this kind of approach in looking at our religious issues. Rest Allah knows the best.

 

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herjihad
 
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 24 May 2005 at 3:00am

Bismillah,

I like this article, and this woman's intentions as represented here.  Waiting for Muslim men in America to take action on women's problems is an issue solved by time.  If a woman is being beaten, eventually while the Muslim men are discussing what to do, she will suffer for years, get beaten down so much she stops complaining to the community and they think that everything is okay, die, leave him because some individuals helped her rather than the masjid community.

Our area for prayers was next to the dirty bathroom.  We had a high curtain so that we couldn't see the Imam or know what our Muslim brothers looked like unless we saw them at the 7-11.  We were not allowed to contribuite to any community discussion.  And when we had problems, they had to be passed through approved brothers to be heard, and then usually discussed to death or ignored.

The sisters need to be on the boards of the masjids.  We need to know who our community members are.  We need to see the Khutbahs. And women need to give lectures and lead prayers when we are grouped together.  Women need to take action and be leaders.  It's easy to be sarcastic from the sidelines critisizing leaders actions.  Leaders will make mistakes; they just need to learn from them to be good leaders. They need to listen to us, those of us who aren't just hate-mongering.

Please don't take my post apart point by point repasting it.  Everybody can see it, so why repaste it?  I don't want to discuss this with you because you are adamantly opposed to thinking and leading by women.  This is a response that needed to be made. (Don't you know how much Muslim women suffer in America and are told by the people sitting comfortably discussing things to be patient and wait for heaven's reward.  Community action needs to be revitalized.  Kudos to the leaders!

Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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ummziba
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Quote ummziba Replybullet Posted: 24 May 2005 at 6:54am

Assalamu alaikum,

Brother Ahmad, Raheel Raza is the woman who led the prayers, she is writing the article about herself.  She was obviously influenced by Tarek Fatah and his secular ideas, something he often propounds in the Canadian media.  I'm sure he saw the spectacle in the United States and saw an opportunity to get more media in Canada by staging a similar event.  Allah only knows!

Sister Herjihad, I can't speak for Brother Ahmad, but perhaps two different issues are being strangled together here.  He obviously does not believe women should lead mixed prayers, and I agree with him on that completely.  Women leaders in Islam is another issue entirely.

Women being leaders in Islam is something very badly needed, but not as leaders of mixed prayer.  I agree with you that women need to be involved in their masjid and their community as equal partners with the men.  And women most certainly need to become leaders to help other women who are oppressed or beaten or abused and so on.  But these issues don't have anything to do with leading mixed prayer.

Please, Sister, we women must absolutely act in order to help each other, but the actions we need to take do not include leading mixed prayer.  Do you see the difference in the two issues?  Leading mixed prayer will never help other women in any way at all.  Being a community leader and helping make changes in women's lives most certainly will.

Peace, ummziba.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 25 May 2005 at 1:40pm

Bismillah,

Dear Sister-in-Islaam, Umzziba,

Yes, I do see the difference.  I disagree with having men and women stand directly beside each other in prayer if they are not family.  I have no opinion, sorry to inform you, of women leading men in prayers. 

However, it seems to me that women who are willing to put themselves in such difficult postions, as these women have, deserve to be called leaders, and are leaders.  Unlike me, who can only discuss things on a forum. 

If I were to chance to lead in some way, which is doubtful in this decade, but maybe next decade I'll improve in my willingness to publicly make a difference, I would like people to contribute meaningful analyses of my leadership, rather than picking me apart for every detail I did wrong.

These sisters are Muslimah and are the closest thing to female leadership I have seen.  They have my support until the day I would find out definitively that they are not interested in listening and aiding us in our daily difficulties.

When women in our masjid chanced to speak out, they were slowly and sytematically punished in many ways:  Public announcements against them, quiet whisperings and gossip, she was denied a key to the masjid and on and on.

Maybe when sisters like these are rejected, they get more polarized and furhter away from ideas that will genuinely help our communities.  Again, I reiterate my support for Muslimahs who lead our communities.

Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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Quote lebanese Replybullet Posted: 25 May 2005 at 9:16pm

assalam alikum i totally agree with ummzibba u have the right veiw. women want to be heard and have rights.just make sure what you are fighting for is understood.mixed prayer is changing the islamic laws between man and women but women standing up for themselves against discrimination and become equal in the household and in the work place is something different.

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Quote firewall Replybullet Posted: 26 May 2005 at 3:33am
if people pray mixing men/women, won't their abulation expire, if they accidentally touch each others skin? and it's just not right to me, standing shoulder to shoulder with stranger men in prayers. i believe in separating the congregation, actually I love praying at the back with  the other women. the thought of mixed prayers -- i'm not keen on it.
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