Hyderabad: While controversy rages over the entry of Muslim women into mosques, Hyderabad sees women flocking mosques during Ramzan. Women turn out in large numbers especially for the Taraweeh, the night prayers offered after the Ishan namaz. As the month of fasting progresses, the number of women worshippers keeps increasing.
Contrary to the belief that entry is barred for women, most mosques in the city have kept their doors open for women. The historic Macca Masjid sees women offering prayers round the year while several mosques in the twin cities have separate areas earmarked for women to pray.
Very few use them on a regular basis. It’s only during Ramzan that mosques register a rise in the number of women coming to pray.
“There is no bar on women praying in mosques,” said Moulana Ahsan Alhamoomi, who leads prayers at the Shahi Masjid at Public Garden. This masjid attracts about 100 women during the Friday prayers and the number jumps five-fold during the Taraweeh prayers during Ramzan.
Other notable mosques where women congregate in large numbers are Azizia Masjid in Humayunnagar, Mahmood Habib Masjid and Islamic Centre, Banjara Hills, the Jubilee Hills Mosque and Islamic Centre, Masjide Safia Inayat, Red Hills and the Masjide Aliya at Gunfoundry. Most of these mosques see a good number of women worshippers during the Friday prayers. These mosques have separate wash rooms, ablution areas, entry and exit points.
This apart, burqa-clad women come in droves to mosques belonging to the Ahle Hadees group which favour ‘ijtihad’ (independent reasoning) based on the scriptures. There are at least 150 mosques in the city belonging to this group and all of them have separate arrangements for women worshippers.
The turnout of women is especially good at Masjid Mohammadia, Langer Houz, Masjide Taqwa, Tolichowki, and Masjide Tauheed, Shaikpet. “About 300 to 500 women gather for Taraweeh prayers and Jumma namaz,” said Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Hyderabad, president Shafiq Alam Khan. Of late, a new trend has caught up with many Muslim families. They prefer to go together for namaz as they do for shopping and entertainment. Post iftaar and dinner, many families drive down to the mosques of their choice where men and women offer namaz in their designated areas. “It is such a pleasure to pray with a huge congregation”, said Sameena, a young student echoing the views of other women.
Women seminaries like Jamiatul Mominat send out a good number of their students to lead Taraweeh prayers.