AIMPLB to SC: In an affidavit, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) informed the Supreme Court that the entry of women into mosques for offering 'namaz' inside mosques is permitted.
According to the board, segregation inside the premises by the management committee, if possible, is required to address the free intermixing of genders in the same line or common space, which is not in compliance with the position established in Islam.
What AIMPLB said?
"Considering the said religious texts, doctrines and religious beliefs of the followers of Islam, it is submitted that entry of women into mosques for offering namaz inside mosques is permitted," the board said in the statement. In addition to the affidavit's stated position, the board made a plea to the Muslim community to keep this issue of providing adequate space for women in mind while constructing new mosques.
Earlier in 2020, a petition was filed in the apex court seeking a direction that the alleged practices of prohibition of entry of Muslim women into mosques in India are "illegal and unconstitutional". According to reports, the plea is likely to be heard by the apex court in March.
The board also said a Muslim woman is free to enter a mosque for prayers and it is her option to exercise her right to avail such facilities as available for prayers in a mosque.
"It is submitted that the questions raised in the present petition are not in the background of state action. The practices of religion in the places of worship (which in the present matter are mosques) are purely private bodies regulated by 'Muttawalis' of the mosques," the affidavit, filed through advocate MR Shamshad, said.
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AIMPLB can only issue an advisory opinion
As per the affidavit, the AIMPLB, being a body of experts without any state powers, can only issue an advisory opinion based on Islamic principles.
"It is submitted that the Masjid An-Nabawi in Medina has separate spaces/chambers for men and women inside the mosque. In the area surrounding the Masjid An-Nabawi, designated and separate spaces are available for men and women worshippers with temporary barricades in place demarcating them," it said.
The affidavit also said the AIMPLB and the apex court, for that matter, cannot enter into the arena of detailed arrangements of a religious place, which is a completely privately managed entity for religious practices of believers in the religion. It also said that Islam has not made it obligatory for Muslim women to join daily five-time prayers in congregation nor is it obligatory for women to offer weekly Friday namaz in the congregation, though it is so on Muslim men.
(With inputs from agencies)