Women's mosques

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A women-only mosque in Byblos, Lebanon.

Women's mosques (Chinese: [清真]女寺; pinyin: [Qīngzhēn] nǚ sì) have existed in China for several hundred years.[1] They can be found in the Chinese provinces of Henan, Shanxi and Hebei.[2] Some countries beyond China also have women-only mosques, but they are rare.

In China, separate women-only mosques were built by the Muslim communities there. This is in contrast to Muslim communities outside China, where usually men and women will use the same mosque, with gender-segregated washing and prayer rooms. At the end of the Ming dynasty and early Qing dynasty, Hui women had begun to form their own mosques.[3] The oldest surviving nǚsì in China, is Wangjia Hutong Women's Mosque of Kaifeng, which dates to 1820.[4]

For religious reasons, Hui communities had started to cultivate more theological learning among the women. As a result, a portion of the female Muslims who had experienced a religious education, gradually incorporated Islamic observances into their daily religious activities, and this produced the establishment of women's mosques.[5]

By the 20th century, there were separate places of worship as women-only mosques. They are a special form of the sacred building, either as a separate institution or mosque attached to an existing larger mosque. Their managers are women, wives of the imam of a larger mosque. The commonly used title for it is Shiniang (师娘).[6]

Female Islamic clerics are referred to as ahong (女阿訇) in Chinese.

List of selected women-only mosques[edit]

Women's mosques in China[edit]

Women's mosques outside China[edit]




North America[edit]

Qal'bu Maryam Women's Mosque, Oakland, California. The first women's mosque in the San Francisco Bay area, and the second in the United States, opened March 4, 2017, is located in City of Refuge Church in Oakland.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Maria Jaschok: "Religious Women in a Chinese City: Ordering the past, recovering the future - Notes from fieldwork in the central Chinese province of Henan". QEH Working Paper Series - QEHWPS125, S.8
  2. ^ icampus.ucl.ac.be "Les minorités musulmanes en Chine" ("Les mosquées féminines") (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  3. ^ cf. chinalink.de: Die chinesische Frau (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  4. ^ NPR
  5. ^ cnki.com.cn: Beijing lishi shang de Qingzhen nüsi ((accessed April 1st, 2010)
  6. ^ cf. "Weibliche Imame", source: Jaschok, Maria and Jingju Shui, p. 287-292, German translation from English: C. Schneider (accessed April 1st, 2010) and Ingrid Mattson: "Can a Woman be an Imam?" - macdonald.hartsem.edu (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  7. ^ Zhengzhou counts from algerie-dz.com: "Mosquées féminines" ("Qingzhen nusi") 18 men's mosques and 7 women's mosques.
  8. ^ [1] Google Maps
  9. ^ vgl. flickr.com: A Women's Mosque in Xian (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  10. ^ moritzleuenberger.net und sambuh.com: "Abu'l Faiz Khan Mosque (1720)" (accessed April 1st, 2010); cf. the article Naqshbandi.
  11. ^ deutsche-welle.de: Erste Moschee für Frauen in Kabul (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  12. ^ haumaldives.wordpress.com: Aid to women’s mosques terminated and women Imam’s left jobless, as if the deprivations the MDP government of Mohamed Nasheed cause is not enough. (accessed April 1st, 2010) - see also Islam in the Maldives
  13. ^ giga-hamburg.de (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  14. ^ unesco.org (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  15. ^ welt.de: "Frauenmoschee für niederländische Feministen" (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  16. ^ loccum.de: "Wie geht der Dialog weiter?" (accessed April 1st, 2010) & dmk-berlin.de: "Moscheen und Gebetsräume in Berlin" (accessed April 1st, 2010)
  17. ^ Tamara Audi, "Feeling Unwelcome at Mosques, 2 Women Start Their Own in L.A. New Entity Believed to Be the First of Its Kind in the U.S." The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2015.