New Delhi : The All India Muslim Personal Law Board told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that Muslim women are free to enter a mosque to offer prayers but since Islam has not made it obligatory for women to join congregational prayer, the court cannot enter the religious arena to decide this issue.
Responding to petitions in the SC on women’s right to enter the Sabarimala temple, mosques and entry of Parsi women who marry outside the community into agiyaris, the AIMPLB said, “A Muslim woman is free to enter a masjid for prayers. It is her choice to exercise her right to avail of such facilities as available. AIMPLB does not want to comment on any contrary religious opinion on this issue.”
However, the board was of the strong view that the entry of Muslim women into mosques fell squarely within the religious domain. “The questions as raised in the petition are relating to doctrine of religious principles and directly in relation to tenets of Islam… It shall not be appropriate for the Supreme Court to enter into the religious practices…” the AIMPLB said.
Reacting to this stand of AIMPLB, a Twitter user has rightly said in a following tweet,
Muslim petitioner wants Supreme court to allow Woman entry in Sabrimala Temple but same PPL doesn't want the Supreme court to decide on Women's entry in mosque as the matter falls squarely in Religious domain pic.twitter.com/kI0lS4MvZS
— Rishi Bagree ?? (@rishibagree) January 30, 2020
‘Not a must for Muslim women to join prayer congregations’
The rights claimed in the petition do not merely concern the management of a religious place neither do they concern regulating the activities connected with religious practice,” AIMPLB said.
It said a muttawali manages a mosque and it is his private decision to regulate the entry of worshipers. This could not be equated with state action to make it liable for a test of constitutionality. Refusing to join issue with others in the community who feel Muslim women should not enter mosques, the AIMPLB said, “Islam has not made it obligatory on Muslim women to join congregational prayer nor is it obligatory for women to offer Friday namaz in congregation though it is so for Muslim men.” On fatwas being issued barring entry of Muslim women in mosques, it said fatwas are opinions based on religious texts and their interpretation and have no statutory force. It was for the believer, who seeks fatwa, to abide by it or ignore it.