Women’s Entry in Mosques: SC Sends Notice to Centre, Muslim Bodies.

Vishal Chauhan, 16/04/2019
Women’s Entry in Mosques: SC Sends Notice to Centre, Muslim Bodies.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 16 April, issued a notice to the Centre, the National Commission for Women, Central Waqf Council and All India Muslim Personal Law Board on a plea seeking a direction that Muslim women should be allowed to enter mosques and offer prayers.

The order has come after a petition was filed in SC by a Pune-based couple seeking direction to declare the prohibition on entry of Muslim women into mosques in the country “illegal and unconstitutional” as it violates women’s fundamental rights.

“The only reason we will hear the matter is because of our judgment in Sabarimala temple case,” PTI quoted the Supreme Court as saying.

The petition was filed by Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and her husband Zuber Ahmad Nazir Ahmad Peerzade.

What the Petition Says

Pointing out that there was no mention of any gender segregation in either the Quran or Hadith, the couple's counsel Ashutosh Dubey said that it’s a violation of the fundamental rights of women.

"Such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violative of their fundamental rights," Dubey said, as quoted by IANS.

The petition had arraigned the Union government, the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the Central Wakf Council, the Maharashtra State Board of Wakfs and All India Muslim Personal Law Board as parties to the case.

The petitioners said that there were no records stating that the Quran and Prophet Muhammad opposed women entering mosques and offering prayers, and in fact, men and women have equal constitutional rights to worship, according to their beliefs.

At present, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations but they are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction, said the petition.

Petition Cites Sabarimala Verdict

The petition also mentioned that in mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for worship for the two genders. The petition said that there should not be any gender discrimination at all, and that all Muslim women should be allowed to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations.

The petition also alluded to the practice in Mecca, where “the faithful, both men and women, together circumambulate the Kaaba”. Besides, most sacred mosques in the world equally embrace both men and women, the petitioners said.

To support their argument, the petitioners cited the recent Supreme Court judgment allowing the entry of women in Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.

"The honorable court in the case of Sabarimala held that 'religion cannot be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women as it is against human dignity'. Prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries," the petitioners said.

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