It was a month ago that Rajasthan got its first two women Qazis in Jahan Aara and Afroz Begum. And now Jaipur’s popular mosque Jama Masjid is all set to open its doors for women to offer namaz. Located in the old city market of Johari bazar, the historic mosque has made a dedicated space for women to offer namaz in the south-west corner of the main hall on its first floor. This dedicated section for women can accommodate 20-25 women and has been separated by a glass partition and curtains for purdah.
The chief of the Jaipur Jama Masjid committee, Naim Qureshi told that this provision of allowing women to offer namaz in the mosque has only been made for the women, who are in the market shopping and can’t get home in time to offer prayers. This section opened this Ramzan.
The Old Delhi Jama Masjid and Hazratbal in Kashmir have held a designated place for women for decades. And now for the first time in Rajasthan, Jama Masjid, which is the largest mosque in Jaipur, has opened a designated place for women, which is a positive step, if you hear Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat.
However, there are many clerics and common people, who aren’t happy about it. Some clerics have warned the Jama Masjid committee to not let this trend gain any more popularity. They are among the ones who also opposed accepting the two women Qazis from Jaipur.
Women groups such as the Women Muslim Welfare Society came up in support of the initiative. The Chairperson of the society, Mehrunnisa Khan said, “Namaz is compulsory for men and women, and working women need a space to offer prayers on time. Other mosques should also try to keep a separate area for women. When we offer rituals in Mecca, there is no discrimination between men and women.”
Even Nishat Husain, the chief of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), addressed this initiative as ‘historic’ and said, “Doors to God are open for everyone but in a male centric society, the men have appropriated darghas and mosques. This move is certainly historic for, for a change, they have thought about women and their entry in mosques.”
When changes are for good, there is no harm in making a few amendments.