A Muslim Woman Led Prayer
On Friday, March 18, 2005 I attended what was termed as a 'historic Jum'ah'
led by a woman named, Dr. Amina Wadud in New York city. Perhaps, a big
deal for Muslims; a small deal for kafirs all around the world!
While I have in the past shunned these meaningless hate-mongering
jihad-screaming paradise-promising hell-fearing Fridays Jum'ah for
as long as I can remember, I felt compelled to attend it to witness and
experience this historic event called and organized by a handful of brave
sisters who finally refuse to sit in the shadows. It's as though they felt
'enough is enough' and began loudly and clearly paving the way toward a
new beginning for a new generation of muslim women all over the world.
They know they can't afford to hide their heads in the sand any longer.
They know for every single breath they take, there is a muslim woman being
violated, oppressed, and murdered somewhere in this world by the muslim
men in the name of Islamic traditions, customs, and beliefs.
Despite the fact that we are in the 21st century and in the United States,
Dr. Wadud was not without slight apprehension and nervousness for leading
a mixed genders Jum'ah prayer participated by 150 men, women, boys and
girls while dozens of media people took photos. For an uncivilized world,
the only crime Dr.Wadud committed was to stand and pray to her God sending
a message that she, along with millions of other females, is one of HER
important creations and wants to be counted as a person rather than an
object. Did Allah hear her prayers? I am not certain. But she was watched
and heard by millions of people in the Muslim countries with fatwas flying
as shock-waves protesting Dr.Wadud for committing blasphemy.
After her an hour-long sermon, Dr.Wadud began her prayer. I stood in the
row with two males on my left and about ten women on my right side while
almost the entire front row was occupied by sisters. I admit it was the
first time in my life that I had an opportunity to pray with women around
me. Except for their nice smell oozing off from various perfumes, a
condition so lacking in all-male mosque, I honestly failed to notice any
significant difference of a Jum'ah led by woman. At the end, I stood up
and shook hands with a few sisters around me. Perhaps, it was because of
the way I was conditioned growing up and living with women around me. As
my biology teacher once said, "the most important sex organ is in
your head; not between your legs". In contrast, Muslim men are raised
to wire-transfer their hormonal needs instantly when they see a woman's
skin, thus allowing as simple as a handshake to be considered a temptation
into mini-ejaculation. I have male cousins who refuse to have an eye
contact with my sister when speaking to her.
After the prayer was over, surrounded by reporters from as far away as
Bangeladesh, I wanted to grab the microphone and thank the sisters with a
few words. But an American convert stopped and whispered, "hey, watch
out! the world will be watching and it only takes one fanatic to hunt you
down". I stood and hesitated. But if I had a chance, I'd have said
------" to all my sisters! I thank you for organizing this
historic event today. It's like Rosa Parks who refuses to give up her
front seat to a white man on a bus about 50 years ago. You have been in
the shadows for too long. You have been wiped out as if you don't exist.
Now is the time for you to take Islam from the hands of those one-dimensional
seven century minded mullahs and imams who claim to speak to Allah with no
credentials. Today was a small step towards your human rights; but perhaps
also a giant opening to the gate of Muslim women's freedom. We are here
today to support you, stand by you, to stand with you, and to stand behind
you. But we are not going to stand in front of you any longer. We will
take a one step back and you will take two steps forward. Starting today
we urge you to take off your hijab, chador, and abaya. What mullahs call,'
protection and modesty', is nothing but 'mind-control' and 'subjugation'.
You have been in a physical/mental straitjacket for too long. Set yourself
free, sisters! The global train with people of all religions on board has
left a long time ago. We are left behind at the station with little means
to support ourselves except to listen to the mullahs who give us rewards
more for 'death' than for 'life'. Snap out of it today and join the modern
world. You are half of our population and we can afford to leave you in
the dark no more. You are our sisters, our aunts, our mothers and our
teachers. Our whole society for too long has been wrapped up in the
'modesty blanket' and we are breathing now for air that is filled with commonsense,
real equality, humanity and freedom. Girls all over the Islamic World are
suffering and their place in history is marked by what their clothing is
rather than their achievements in society. You lead the way and the rest
will follow. Thank you for coming out to pave the way for Muslim
girls of tomorrow...."
As I came out to the street to head back to my office, I realized
there were dozens of protestors with signs such as, "mixed genders
today; Hellfire tomorrow". And later I read on some Islamic sites
which comment that if Dr.Wadud were in their country, she'd be stoned for
apostasy. Show me a good Muslim man; I will show you an obedient
good-for-procreation-only wife behind him.