I want to see this film, UnMosqued, so bad… as a woman, as a convert and as a mother of 1st and 2nd generation Muslims (my three kids from a previous marriage converted to Islam shortly after me, and the two kids from my second marriage were born Muslim). This is our story!! Not literally of course because we are not in the film, but because this is our experience.
I have a great group of reverts that are trying desperately to set ourselves up to support and guide one another. One of our sister’s is married to a wrestler and he recently leased a building to hold wrestling matches on Friday and Saturday evenings… the rest of the time, it is open for us to use. We even have space to pray in it.
I looked into possibly getting a filming of UnMosqued for us. However, we could not afford the Honorarium. Hey, most of us converts are just above the poverty line and here we are getting free space from non-Muslim wrestlers as it is… which is really awesome when you think about it. May Allah reward them for their kindness and support of us…ameen.
Either way, one day I would love to see this movie. I thank those who made this film possible. Just the other day, a convert brother posted a meme of the men’s side and the women’s “side” (translate that as closet). I was shocked at the anger spewing from so many brothers AND sisters for him posting it. Of course there were many who said, “It is better for a woman to pray at home.” Still others who accused the brother of causing fitnah for posting the meme.
Worse than all that was the man who said, “Women are better rewarded to pray at home. why? because she’s a woman and a woman is an attraction of men, in order to avoid rape which is world wide in nowadays. actually enemies of islam focus on women a lot and talk about the protection dedicated to her as opression. greetings!!” This is the problem with Islam today, culture masking as Islam. My response was the following, “Rape, my dear, has not a thing to do with attraction and every thing to do with control… and what you are basically saying is, be controlled and confined to your homes (which is not what happened in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, saw) or go outside and be controlled through rape… rape will end when men stop making excuses for their lack of self control and responsibility… you are commanded to lower your gaze!!! Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu): “Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) as his companion rider on the back portion of his she-camel on the day of Nahr (slaughtering of sacrifice, 10th Dhul-Hijja) and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) stopped to give the people verdicts (regarding their matters). In the meantime, a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khatham came, asking the verdict of Allah’s Messenger. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) held out his hand backwards and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the other side) in order that he should not gaze at her. She said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! The obligation of performing Hajj enjoined by Allah on his worshippers has become due (compulsory) on my father who is an old man and who cannot sit firmly on the riding animal. Will it be sufficient that I perform Hajj on his behalf?’ He said, ‘Yes.'” [Sahih Bukhari]… Muhammed, saw, lowered Al Fadl’s gaze by force, but did not chastise the woman… or do you take what you like of Qu’ran and hadith and throw the rest behind your back????? BTW, “enemies of Islam” and “kafr” are always the words used by those who lack knowledge to defend their opinion.”
The issue is the mosques are failing the communities. Not only are women and converts not welcomed in the masjids, the youth are all but forgotten. The only time the younger generations are addressed is when an elder wants to scold them or degrade them for some aspect of their culture. The other issues are that the khutbahs have become stale… they repeat the same topics over and over. They only scratch the surface of the depth of Islam. It is all about appearances and no heart. Rarely do they have an event and if they do it is the same tiring fundraiser where some Imam or Alim, tells us how bad we are as Muslims and berate us to give up our hard earned money (which we have little compared to the board members) to support the mosque that just paid this guy to insult us.
Another sickening issue with our masjids today is the lack of knowledge of Western culture, counseling services and advocacy for the poor, troubled and abused. It broke my heart when I learned of a friend who went to seek a divorce from her abusive husband. She had all the proof on her body. Instead of being granted a divorce, she was scolded for calling the police on her abuser. She was told that first off, she is not to seek help from non-Muslims and secondly, that she is not to reveal his sins. That just shows how much he knows of the deen… women are allowed to seek protection and the Qu’ran says, “Allah does not like that evil should be uttered in public except by him who has been wronged. And Allah is Ever All- Hearer, All- Knower.” (4:148)
Islam among the Muslims, is not well preserved the way they like to think. There are many Muslims who point to Christians and Jews and wave their finger saying, “your religion is not what was brought down by Gabriel.” Well, neither is ours. The Qu’ran is well preserved, but the people prescribing to Islam have strayed just as much as the Christians and Jews. The influx of culture over deen has perverted the way Islam is practiced by most Muslims. I cannot count how many converts I have heard saying, “Alhamdu Lillah, I learned about Islam before meeting the Muslims.” It is that bad, that we could not look to other Muslims for guidance to Islam…we had to read centuries old books and study for years before we even accepted Islam in order to learn the true beauty of Islam.
A lot of Muslims think that by airing out our dirty laundry is causing fitnah. However, nothing will improve until we accept there is a problem and talk about it… discuss it openly, giving every one involved a voice and respecting their experiences. Acknowledge that women are confined to the worst possible areas of the mosque, acknowledge that racism is alive and well among the born Muslims who lead our masjids, acknowledge that the youth are looked at disdainfully and not included, acknowledge that family violence does occur, acknowledge that people are leaving Islam at a rate almost as much as they are coming to Islam. In my community alone, seven women left Islam within a year’s span. That is not counting the brothers. And these are not brand new Muslims that may have rushed in… these are women that were Muslim for ten years or more. Something has to change before the flood walls break open.