Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque
The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque is a list of rights for Islamic women in the mosque written by Muslim author and feminist Asra Nomani. The Bill of Rights was vanguarded in the United States in 2004 by the Daughters of Hajar, a group of 7 prominent progressive Muslim feminists.
The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque along with the Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Bedroom, and the 99 Precepts for Opening Hearts, Minds and Doors in the Muslim World was written with the end of making Islam more progressive.
Nomani wrote it in honor of the ancestral matriarch of the Arabs Hajar who stood alone with her son Ismael in the Arabian desert and through which her courage permitted the lineage which became the Arabs to survive.
|“||I walked in the history of all the amazing women that have defined Islam in the First Century. So many years ago, women were participants and leaders. And I walked in the footstep of this great woman who is the mother of Islam, Hajar. She went to Mecca and she stood there alone with her son and she is the source of our religion. And I sit before you with her strength coursing through me. I walked in her footsteps and could I feel her power. And I knew that we had to reclaim our place, our rightful place, as women in Islam.||”|
The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque was written upon her return from Mecca where Asra noted the egalitarian treatment of all individuals which she found to be lacking upon her return to her local mosque in Morgantown.
|“||In Mecca I was a fully realized human being. There were no back doors for me. There was no back entrance. There was no back row where I had to pray. I prayed alongside my father. I walked in through the front door with him. When I dared to try to do the same at my mosque in Morgantown, I was screamed at and yelled at and I was told to take the back door. I was told to sit in the balcony. And so for almost two years now, we've been fighting and we walked in through the front door and into the main hall. And I now sit on trial because 35 men at the mosque have signed a petition to have me banned for being a troublemaker. So on March 1st, the start of Women's History Month, I launched what we're so proud to call the Muslim Women's Freedom Tour. And what I did was I posted on the door of my mosque 99 precepts for opening hearts, minds and doors in our Muslim world. And with it I attached a bill of rights for women in the mosque and a bill of rights for women in the bedroom, so that we can assert and reclaim all that Islam created for women.||”|
The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque
The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque lists 10 rights that women should be granted in regard to their participation at the Mosque, such as entering the Mosque through the main entry door, and not be required to only enter through the back and to have full access to the Mosque without separation by artificial barriers designed to segregate women from the men. The list goes on to grant women the right to freely address the members of the congregation whether they be men or women and to hold leadership positions as well as to receive equal treatment as the men.
- Women have an Islamic right to enter a mosque.
- Women have an Islamic right to enter through the main door.
- Women have an Islamic right to visual and auditory access to the musalla (main sanctuary).
- Women have an Islamic right to pray in the musalla without being separated by a barrier, including in the front and in mixed-gender congregational lines.
- Women have an Islamic right to address any and all members of the congregation.
- Women have an Islamic right to hold leadership positions, including positions as prayer leaders, or imams, and as members of the board of directors and management committees.
- Women have an Islamic right to be full participants in all congregational activities.
- Women have an Islamic right to lead and participate in meetings, study sessions, and other community activities without being separated by a barrier.
- Women have an Islamic right to be greeted and addressed cordially.
- Women have an Islamic right to respectful treatment and exemption from gossip and slander.
- The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in Mosques
- Asra Nomani's Website
- CNN interview discussing Asra Nomani's 3 Islamic Bills of Rights
- Coverage at BeliefNet
- Audio coverage by WNYC
- Coverage by The American Prospect
- Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak, a book discussing this Bill of Rights is reviewed by Eve Ensler and selected by the AAUP for public and secondary school libraries
- Coverage by Al Jazeera
- Coverage by Newsline Pakistan
- Coverage by The Washington Post
- Coverage by Sojourners Magazine
- Coverage at Living Islam
- Coverage by the Center for American Progress
- Coverage at Brandeis University