NEW DELHI – The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that there is no prohibition on Muslim women offering namaz in mosques in Islam. However, intermingling between genders is not allowed in mosques, it stated.
In a statement released, the personal law board said: “The Board is consistent with its opinion in terms of Islamic texts that there is no prohibition on Muslim women entering Mosques and offering namaz or for congregational prayers. However, free intermixing of genders in the same line or common space is not in conformity with the position prescribed in Islam and that needs to be taken care of by segregation of space within the premises by the management committee, if possible.”
The AIMPLB affidavit was in response to a petition filed by a Pune-based activist, advocate Farha Anwar Hussain Shaikh, seeking a direction that the alleged practices of prohibition of entry of Muslim women into mosques in India are illegal and unconstitutional.
In her petition, Shaikh urged that the practice violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women, particularly, the right to a life with dignity.
Such a prohibition, the petition said, was not envisaged in the Quran. Shaikh also cited examples of Mecca and Medina, where women pilgrims, she said, perform some rituals along with the men.
The AIMPLB has claimed in its statement that the example cited by the petitioner – of Tawaf in Mecca around the black stone – to build upon the argument of intermingling is “misleading.”
“Even in Mecca in all the mosques around the Holy Kaaba, the practice of segregation of men and women is in place,” it has claimed.