Feminism, in particular means: “the idea and the belief that women should be and are to be treated as the social equals and potential equals to men.”
When it comes to Islam and its attributes, men and women are considered equal – but have their own set of responsibilities and roles which only they can conquer. Simply put, God made the roles of man and woman different from one another, but that doesn’t mean one is superior to another – it simply makes them ‘equally balanced’.
[Quran 3:195] Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you MALE OR FEMALE, YOU ARE EQUAL TO ONE ANOTHER.”
The mixing of worldly and self-created concepts of feminism (which do not connect to the real definition of feminism) contradicts with what Islam teaches us. This can be seen in regards of the first ever entirely women mosque opened in Denmark by Sherin Khankan who names this as a ‘feminist project’. The mosque has female imams and is restricted for women only – except for Fridays.
Khankan is a Denmark born and has a Finnish mother and Syrian father. She is a well-known political commentator and author who now manages and runs the Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Khankan started this ‘feminist project’ as she “missed the feeling of home in the current existing mosques”. While giving an interview to Politiken, a Danish newspaper, Khankan felt that mosques are normally dominated by men.
“I have never felt at home in the existing mosques. The new grand mosques are unbelievably beautiful, but I have the feeling of being a stranger when I am there. We women stand up in the balcony and look down on what is happening.
Many women and young people don’t even go into the mosques as you enter into a male-dominated and patriarchal space in which a man has the floor, a man leads prayers, men are in focus and dominate. That is why we are now setting up a mosque on women’s terms.”
Saliha Marie Fetteh along with Sherin Khankan and eight other female imams are involved in carrying out and leading prayers in the mosque.
An interview to Agence France Presse, Khankan said that patriarchal structures are now normalized in not just the religious institutes of Islam, but also in Christrianity, Judaism and other religions. With the hopes of challenging the prevailing patriarchal unjusts, Khankan is confident that she will reduce the ‘barriers’ present in the ‘traditional’ concepts of Islam and create a modern rendition that the young Muslim worshippers can relate to.
“The majority of Danish imams do not want female colleagues” said Khankan while stating that men are also welcomed to worship in Mariam Mosque, but only during Friday nights. However, the service at that time will be for both genders, but will be conducted by women only.
The question here is: Is there really a need of a women-only mosque?
In reference to the situation, the chairman of Danish Islamic Center, Imam Waseem Hussein dismisses the part where Khankan said “there is no space for women in mosques.”
“They can do what they want to do, but their theological reference is wrong. Why should there be a specific need just for women? Are we also to create mosques only for men? That would cause an outcry within the Danish population.” said Imam Waseem Hussein.
Having that said, Islam instructs the need of women leading a prayer only if she stands the middle of other women who are offering prayer.
“The Hadith of Ayshah that she led the women in prayer by standing in the middle (of their first row) was reported by ‘Abdur-Razzaq and via his route, ad-Daruqutni and al-Bayhaqi from the Hadith of Abu Hazim from Ra’ita al-Hanafiyyah from ‘A’ishah that ‘she led them in an obligatory prayer standing amongst them.’
Same can be verified from the following video where Zakir Naik provides references related to the concern: