Saturday, 12 November 2011

Women in mosques - No curtains, no walls, no partitions!"It is perfectly Islamic to hold meetings of men and women inside the Masjid, whether for prayers or for any other Islamic purpose, without separating them with a curtain, partition or wall".  An emphatic ruling from Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi.
Question: We have a big controversy going on in our Masjid. Some brothers want to build a wall in the Musalla to separate men from women. Is it required in Islam? What are the basic rules of Shari’ah in this matter?
Answer:  Men and women both are allowed to pray in the mosque in the same Jama’ah. When men and women are together in the Masjid then we should have first men’s lines behind the Imam, then children and then women. This is the way Muslims used to pray behind the Prophet - peace be upon him. He did not make or ask his companions to have a curtain or wall between the lines of men and women. (See Al-Sindi’s Commentary on Sunan al-Nasa’I, p. 798)
According to the Shari’ah it is not required to have a partition, neither of temporary nor of permanent nature, between men and women in the Masjid.
It is perfectly Islamic to hold meetings of men and women inside the Masjid, whether for prayers or for any other Islamic purpose, without separating them with a curtain, partition or wall. It is, however, very important that Muslim women come to public gatherings wearing proper Islamic dress. It is haram for a Muslim woman to attend a public gathering without a full Islamic dress. She must cover her hair and neck with a scarf which should also go over her bosom. Her dress should be modest and loose enough in order not to reveal the shape of her body.
Partitions were introduced inside the Masajid later in Islamic history.
This was done, perhaps, because some women began coming to mosques without observing proper Islamic dress, or perhaps, some men wanted to discourage them from coming to mosques. In the time of the Prophet - peace be upon him - there was no curtain or partition in his Masjid, although women used to come to the Masjid almost for every prayer and for many other gatherings. It is, however, reported that they used to come to the Masjid covered up with long clothes.
‘Aishah -may Allah be pleased with her- said that the Believing women used to attend the Fajr prayer with the Prophet - peace be upon him. They used to come wrapped up in their long garments and then they used to return to their homes after the Salat, no one could recognize them because of the darkness.” (Al-Bukhari, Hadith 544 and 820)
Jama’ah means a congregation of people who are praying behind one Imam in continuous lines without any barrier or interruption. People who pray behind the Imam they should either see the Imam or see those who are in front of them. There is no Jama’ah when a person is in one room and his/her Imam in another room, the lines are not continuous and the people behind the Imam are also not visible. Otherwise people would not have to come to the Masjid for Jama’ah prayer. They would stay home and pray listening to the loudspeakers from their Masajid or through intercoms. They could nowadays even pray Jama’ah prayer in this way in their own homes listening to the prayer broadcasts coming from Makkah and Madinah on their radios, television sets or through the Internet. But no jurists have ever allowed a Jama’ah prayer in this way.
The definition of Jama’ah that I gave above is a general one and it is applicable to both men and women. Only in the case of necessity this rule can be relaxed. For example, if the Masjid was too small and people had to pray on different levels or in different rooms to accommodate every person then this would be permissible because of necessity. Muslims should not deliberately and for no reason bifurcate their congregation in their Masajid.
If there is a concern that the lines of men and women will mix inside the Masjid, then there is no harm in putting a lower barrier, only to demarcate the separate area for women. But women should not be put in a totally separate room in the Masjid unless there is a shortage of space and no other proper arrangement can be done for them.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Women & Islam: The rise and rise of the convert

Record numbers of young, white British women are converting to Islam, yet many are reporting a lack of help as they get used to their new religion, according to several surveys.
As Muslims celebrate the start of the religious holiday of Eid today and hundreds of thousands from around the world converge on Mecca for the haj, it emerged that of the 5,200 Britons who converted to Islam last year, more than half are white and 75 per cent of them women.
In the past 10 years some 100,000 British people have converted to Islam, of whom some three-quarters are women, according to the latest statistics. This is a significant increase on the 60,000 Britons in the previous decade, according to researchers based at Swansea University.
While the number of UK converts accelerates, many of the British women who adopt Islam say they have a daily struggle to assimilate their new beliefs within a wider culture that both implicitly and explicitly positions them as outsiders, regardless of their Western upbringing.
More than three-quarters told researchers they had experienced high levels of confusion after conversion, due to the conflicting ways Islam was presented to them. While other major religions have established programmes for guiding new believers through the rigours of their faith, Islam still lacks any such network, especially outside the Muslim hubs of major cities.
Many mosques still bar women from worship or provide scant resources for their needs, forcing them to rely on competing cultural and ideological interpretations within books or the internet for religious support.
A recent study of converts in Leicester, for example, found that 93 per cent of mosques in the region recognised they lacked services for new Muslims, yet only 7 per cent said they were making efforts to address the shortfall.
Many of the young women – the average age of conversion is 27 – are also coming to terms with experiences of discrimination for the first time, despite the only visible difference being a headscarf. Yet few find easy sanctuary within the established Muslim population, with the majority forming their closest bonds with fellow converts rather than born Muslims.
Kevin Brice, author of the Swansea study A Minority Within a Minority, said to be the most comprehensive study of British Muslim converts, added: "White Muslim converts are caught between two increasingly distant camps. Their best relationships remain with other converts, because of their shared experiences, while there is very little difference between the quality of their relationship with other Muslims or non-Muslims.
"My research also found converts came in two types: some are converts of convenience, who adopt the religion because of a life situation such as meeting a Muslim man, although the religion has little discernible impact on their day-to-day lives. For others it is a conversion of conviction where they feel a calling and embrace the religion robustly.
"That's not to say the two are mutually exclusive – sometimes converts start out on their religious path through convenience and become converts of conviction later on."
Another finding revealed by the Leicester study was that despite Western portraits of Islam casting it as oppressive to women, a quarter of female converts were attracted to the religion precisely because of thestatus it affords them.
Some analysts have argued that dizzying social and cultural upheavals in Britain over the past decades have meant that far from adopting an alien way of life, some female Muslim converts are re-embracing certain aspects of mid-20th-century Britain, such as rigid gender demarcation, rather than feeling expected to juggle career and family.
The first established Muslim communities started in Britain in the 1860s, when Yemani sailors and Somali labourers settled around the ports of London, Cardiff, Liverpool and Hull. Many married local women who converted to Islam, often suffering widespread discrimination as a result.
They also acted as a bridge between the two cultures, encouraging understanding among indigenous dwellers and helping to integrate the Muslim community they had joined. Today, there is growing recognition among community leaders that the latest generation of female converts has an equally vital role to play in fostering dialogue between an increasingly secular British majority and a minority religion, as misunderstood as it is vilified.
Kristiane Backer, 45
Television presenter and author, London
I converted to Islam in 1995 after Imran Khan introduced me to the faith. At the time I was a presenter for MTV. I used to have all the trappings of success, yet I felt an inner emptiness and somewhat dissatisfied in my life.
The entertainment industry is very much about "if you've got it, flaunt it", which is the exact opposite to the more inward-oriented spiritual attitude of my new faith. My value system changed and God became the centre point of my life and what I was striving towards.
I recognise some new converts feel isolated but, despite there being even fewer resources when I converted than there are now, it isn't so much an issue I've faced. I've always felt welcomed and embraced by the Muslims I met and developed a circle of friends and teachers. It helps living in London, because there is so much to engage in as part of the Muslim community. Yet, even in the capital you can be stared at on the Tube for wearing a headscarf. I usually don't wear one in the West except when praying. I wear the scarf in front of my heart though!
I always try to explain to people that I've converted to Islam, not to any culture. Suppression of women, honour killings or forced marriages are all cultural aberrations, not Islamic ones. Islam is also about dignity and respect for yourself and your femininity. Even in the dating game, Muslim men are very respectful. Women are cherished as mothers, too – as a Muslim woman you are not expected to do it all."
Amy Sall, 28
Retail assistant, Middlesbrough
I'd say I'm still a bit of a party animal – but I'm also a Muslim. I do go out on the town with the girls and I don't normally wear my headscarf – I know I should do, but I like to do my hair and look nice! I know there are certain clothes I shouldn't wear either, even things that just show off your arms, but I still do. My husband would like me to be a better Muslim – he thinks drinking is evil – so it does cause rows.
I haven't worshipped in a mosque since I got married, I find it intimidating. I worry about doing something wrong; people whispering because they see my blonde hair and blue eyes. Middlesbrough is a difficult place to be a Muslim who isn't Asian – you tend to be treated like an outsider. Once, I was out wearing my headscarf and a local man shouted abuse. It was weird because I'm white and he was white, but all he saw was the scarf, I suppose. It did make me angry. My family were surprisingly fine with me converting, probably because they thought it would rein me in from being a bit wild.
Nicola Penty-Alvarez, 26
Full-time mother, Uxbridge
I was always interested in philosophy and the meaning of life and when I came across Islam it all just clicked. In the space of four or five months I went from going to raves to wearing a headscarf, praying five times a day and generally being quite pious – I did occasionally smoke though.
I felt very welcomed into the Muslim community, but it was a mainly white convert community. My impression of the Asian community in west London was that women felt sidelined and were encouraged to stay at home and look after the men rather than attend mosque. I think this was more a cultural than religious thing, though.
Non-Muslims certainly treat you differently when you're wearing a headscarf – they're less friendly and as a smiley person I found that hard. After a year-and-a-half of being a Muslim I stopped. I remember the moment perfectly. I was in a beautiful mosque in Morocco praying beside an old lady and something just came over me. I thought: 'What the hell am I doing? How have I got into this?' It just suddenly didn't feel right. Needless to say my husband, who was a fellow convert, wasn't impressed. He remained devout and it put a lot of strain on our relationship. We split up, but are on amicable terms now. I'm not really in contact with the Muslim friends I made – we drifted apart.
I don't regret the experience. There is so much that I learnt spiritually that I've kept and I haven't gone back to my hard partying ways.
Donna Tunkara
Warehouse operative, Middlesbrough
I was a bit of a tearaway growing up – drinking, smoking, running away from home and being disrespectful to my parents. I converted 10 years ago because I met a Muslim man but I've probably become more devout than him.
Sometimes, I miss going shopping for clothes to hit the town and then going home and getting ready with my mates, having a laugh. The thing is no one is forcing me not to – it's my choice.
It did come as a shock to my family, who are Christian. They've not rejected me, but they find it difficult to understand. I feel bad because I don't now attend weddings, funerals or christenings because they're often at pubs and clubs and I won't step inside.
There needs to be more resources for women who convert. I know some mosques that won't allow women in. But in the Koran there is an emphasis on women being educated. I've learnt about the religion through my husband's family and books – if you want support you have to look for it. It's taken time to regain an identity I'm comfortable with. Because I'm mixed race and a Muslim ,people don't see me as British – but what's important is that I know who I am.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Leadership and Management Course
Saturday 19th November 2011 - 9.30am to 4.30pm
Sacred Knowledge Trust, Addas Centre

"Discover the perfect Leasdership style and managerial skills of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and learn hot to best apply them to contemporary thinking and everyday life, whether at home, in the Masjid or at work."
...See more
To confirm booking email:
COURSE IS FREE - Lunch and refreshments included
For further info call A Q Khan on 07735055492

November Prayers

Please find below the November 2011 prayer timetable for Mosques in Dewsbury.

Click on this link to view Dewsbury Mosques timetable

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Eid ul-Ahda

Eid ul-Ahda will be on Sunday, 6th November according to Leeds Grand Mosque
9 Woodsley Road Leeds LS6 1SN West Yorkshire
Prayers at 8.30am & 9.30am.

New Muslim sisters & Children wishing to participate in the Eid prayer can do so at Leeds Grand Mosque or at The Jame Masjid Ahl-e-Hadith and Salfia Centre.. 1-3 Stoney Bank Street, Scout Hill, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, WF13 3RJ
Phone: 01924 462358 (Muslim Directory entry), 01924 451085 (Sal@am website entry), 01924 502090. 9 am Prayer @ salafia Centre

Monday, 31 October 2011

Sacred knowledge trust

I went to the tafsir course hosted by Sacred Knowledge trust. What a fantastic experience of knowledge and reflection. I highly recommend this to new muslims/converts reverts  brothers and sisters at The Addas Centre, 652 Huddersfield Rd, WF13 3HP.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Welcome to Our New Site

If God had so willed, He would have made you one community, but He wanted to test you through that which He has given you, so race to do good: you will all return to God and He will make clear to you the matters you differed about." [Quran 5:48]

Dewsbury New Muslims are a support group for those who have converted to Islam or are new Muslims in Dewsbury and surrounding areas , for those with interest in Islam, and also for those individuals, which are empathic towards Muslims living in the UK who wish to benefit others from their experiences.

We are closely linked to the leeds based new muslim project and promote and support their efforts.

Our support and services include:

  • Information/advice about Islam and becoming a muslim;
  • Free books/booklets which includes a translation of the Qur'an;
  • Guided visits to a local Mosques (Masjids);
  • 'Witness testimony of faith' - The Shahadah;
  • Social gatherings;
  • and study circles/talks.