In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
APPAREL MENSTRUATION PRAYERS & THE CRITICS
The Toronto Star, Saturday, July 9, 2011, in its article Prayer in our schools, by Kristin Rushowy and Louise Brown, reports about a controversy over Muslim students being allowed to pray in a school’s cafeteria. Not surprising, the issue exploded into a furor about Islam being misogynistic, and discriminatory towards women.
And Heather Mallick wrote an article (about Muslim girls) titled, Some Toronto Schoolgirls are always second-rate, Star, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. And Time for someone to speak up for shy young girls, Star, July 11, 2011.
And there was a Letter to the editor, Prayers in public schools, Star, Saturday, July 16, 2001, claiming that the "Islamic view of women" is "discriminatory."
This is a response to these articles and letter:
While whether Muslim students should be given time off to pray during classes or not is a matter for the authorities to wrangle through; (though it may be argued that Muslims praying during class time is not a combining of Church and State, or religious indoctrination seeing that this prayer service is exclusive to Muslims and Muslims already believe in Islam. That ““Charter cases have said…you cannot accommodate the desire for prayers or religious instruction in a public school,”” “desire for prayers” here, arguably, refers to collective “prayers” in a classroom).
It is amusing to note the comments/statements of critics telling Muslim women what is discrimination against them in their religion –this must be the ultimate in arrogance! Has anyone asked Muslim women if they believe their religion is discriminating against them? And if they so believe then they are free to not attend these prayers; and even to form their own congregation; and even to apostatize. (There is no death sentence to apostates in Islam–Qur’an 2:217, 2:256; 10:99-100; 50:45).
Barrier between males and females: While this partition is not an Islamic requirement (but was imposed some three hundred years after the Prophet Mohammad) perhaps Muslim women find this barrier a benefit/convenience in that in offers them some privacy. The critics should inquire from these women instead of ranting against it.
Menstruating females: They are exempted from prayer in that they are in a state of ceremonial impurity; they are not “stigmatized.” In Islam, Muslim girls/women do not have to be “toughened for ridicule” because of their menstrual cycle (or for any other reason), only the ignorant would regard this wonderful Divinely designed process of cleansing and regenerating –a process that helps to give birth to him/her– as a ‘stigma’ or a reason to be “ridiculed.”
These menstruating girls who attend the prayer are rewarded the same as those who take part; perhaps even more, as this time can be painful for them and considering that they endure this discomfort to attend.
Allāh God, would not discriminate against Woman because of her form and/or physiology –a form and physiology of which she had no choice; a form and physiology He gave her. If He does He would be unjust; but Allāh is not the least unjust to His servants–(Qur’an 22:10; 26:209; 41:46).
Women behind men: That women seated behind men in prayer is discrimination against them is hog-wash. Men have to be circumcised; are required to give a gift to their brides even though she may be wealthier than he is; are to be maintain their wives even though she may have a mountain of money; men have to shave their heads at the Hajj; and, paramountly, Islam regards womanhood as the symbol of purity and motherhood as the gateway to Paradise; do these critics charge that Islam discriminates against men?
Islam is the great liberator of women; in fact Islam is the only liberator that Woman has known! (In the time of the Prophet Mohammad women prayed behind men; after prayers men would remain seated until women had left).
That Tarek Fatah and “his group is also opposed to the treatment of the girls,” as he is reported to have said. To say or imply that this seating arrangement by the Prophet and women exempted from prayer during their period is discrimination against the “girls” is to charge that the Prophet –and Allāh, as Allāh requires us to take what the Prophet gives us– as being guilty of discrimination.
While non-Muslims are not welcome to meddle and dictate in Muslim’s spiritual matters, Muslims who oppose or try to over-turn the guidance of the Prophet –especially those who may be trying to establish themselves as “moderate” and “progressive” in the eyes of the Western community– are to know that they are trapezing over the Fire. Opposition to the Prophet Mohammad equals defiance of Allāh–(Qur’an 3:30-31; 4:69; 24:56; 59:7); the Sunnah of the Prophet is an integral part of Islam.
Friday Prayer: While it is true that this Friday prayer can, in circumstances, be offered later –just prior to the next prayer time– Tarek Fatah’s claim: “We believe Islam does not make (Friday prayers) compulsory,” is incorrect. This Friday prayer which consists of a sermon is a Divine injunction–(Qur’an 62:9-10), and demonstrated by the Prophet Mohammad. (It would be interesting to see Tarek Fatah sermonizing himself).
Woman’s apparel: Regarding the Muslim woman’s apparel (See Hijab/Head covering). Who is it that can decide what the normal mode of dress is? If the bikini is normal then nudity –which is the state in which we are created and is therefore the natural state– is normal. And if the bikini and nudity are normal then the Muslims’ hijab and jalaba is normal.
Interestingly, while the Muslim woman is scoffed at and even ridiculed for wearing the hijab and jalaba (and the burqa which is not an Islamic requirement) the Western wear of suit and tie has the man hog-tied from neck to toes (and even head, of those who wear hats), which may reasonably be compared to the Muslim woman’s wear.
If baring the body to the public can be considered enlightenment by one society, then shielding of the body from the public can be considered enlightenment by another society. It is blatant arrogance for one quarter to dictate to another what mode of apparel constitutes enlightenment.
Heather Mallick’s self-aggrandizing crock: “As for singling out girls who have their periods –why not just make them wear a hat with a big arrow or a flag?– no one’s discussing that. Except me, in this column. Why should it fall to me?”
As stated above, these Muslim girls are not ‘singled’ out. Secondly, don’t these Muslim (as well as non-Muslim) girls know that Muslim boys and men are circumcised? Perhaps we should have these Muslim boys also “wear a hat with a big arrow or a flag” to differentiate them from non-Muslims? (Maybe Heather Mallick would approve of different colors “arrow” and “flag” to further distinguish Jews and Christians who are circumcised).
Letter-writer, Peter Weygang’s charge that “The Islamic view of women –menstruation, clothing, ideology and so on– is, frankly, discriminatory,” is, “frankly,” a betrayal of Weygang’s ignorance of Islam.
Instead of dabbling in Islam, these self-imposed saviors of Muslim women from non-existent misogyny and discrimination in their religion should immortalize their names in the cause of the Palestinians whose lands have been stolen from them and for more than six torturous decades are suffering discrimination and injustice which no King or Queen or Prime Minister or President or Immigration minister or MP or MPP or peasant or critic or columnist would accept for himself and herself.