A Muslim couple has moved the Supreme Court to seek an order allowing women to enter mosques and offer prayers. The case has been listed for hearing tomorrow.
The petition filed by Yasmeej Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and Zuber Ahmed Peerzade, residents of Maharashtra, was inspired by the top court’s verdict on the Sabarimala temple last year. They have also opposed gender segregation at mosques.
According to the petition, prohibiting women from entering mosques is illegal, unconstitutional and “violative of Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution”. It also cited records to claim that neither Prophet Muhammad nor the Holy Quran objects to women accessing mosques and offering prayer. “The Quran does not differentiate between man and woman. It speaks only about the faithful. But Islam has instead become a religion in which women are being oppressed,” the petition read.
At present, women are allowed to offer prayers only under mosques coming under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations and barred from those under the predominant Sunni faction. Even mosques that permit women have separate entrances and enclosures for either gender.
On September 28, the Supreme Court had junked an age-old religious stricture to permit women of menstrual age to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple in Kerala’s Sabarimala. While the verdict was welcomed by women rights groups and the Kerala government, many devotees took out protests to oppose the implementation of the verdict. Violence broke out in several parts of the state too.
In May 2016, Maharashtra activist Trupti Desai led a group of women into the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai under heavy security cover. She, however, made no attempt to enter the inner sanctorum or core of the dargah, where women are not allowed. “I prayed that women be allowed to enter the inner sanctum,” she said.
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