Mosque Access Project (MAP)

 

REVITALIZING THE MOSQUE AS A PLACE OF DIGNITY FOR WOMEN
Women In Islam, Inc. has a long-standing commitment to nurturing a spiritually whole community and believes we require a cultural shift that welcomes and values women in the mosque.

Our work began with the first published analysis of women’s access to mosques and guidelines for building women-friendly mosques in North America. Written in partnership with Islamic Social Services of America and reviewed thoroughly by respected Muslim scholars in the United States, Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Working Together to Reclaim our Heritage has been used in leadership training conducted by Islamic Society of North America.  In 2013, we co-authored with Dr. Ihsan Bagby a national study regarding women in American mosques titled, “Women and the American Mosque: Report No. 3 from the U.S. Mosque Study 2011.”   Women in Islam, Inc’s Board Member, Dr. Sarah Sayeed, also published an article in the Huffington Post on Valuing and Welcoming Women in Mosques. Women In Islam, Inc. also participates in ISNA Conventions, the ISNA Masjid Development Committee, and ISNA Annual Masjid Forum to help advance the goals of women’s inclusion in mosques.

A local and collective action plan is needed, with the partnership and leadership of Muslim men who are committed to building the mosque as a space that embraces women’s spiritual and human dignity. We work with national and local community institutions to hold education and dialogue regarding mosque access for women.  We welcome opportunities to facilitate community conversations and planning for short-term and long-term action. Our aim is to increase awareness about the silent and pressing crisis of women’s inclusion in the mosque: denying Muslim women access and inclusion is fraying the spiritual strength of our families and our community.

We invite mosque leaders, men, women, and youth to join us as allies, to help educate each other and to advocate and work for personal and institutional change. A shift in our knowledge and attitudes requires each of us to play a role to contribute to the greater development of the community, whether it is by getting informed, changing our own mindset, discussing the topic with others or helping them learn appropriate information to advance our mosques and organizations. We believe the inclusion of women and girls in our mosque spaces will ultimately help us achieve spiritually whole mosques and spiritually whole communities for this generation and beyond.  Please check out our MAP Community Reports, below, to learn more about our Mosque Access Project and how you can get involved! We are looking for writers! Please see our submission guidelines to share your experiences on our platform!

Recent Mosque Access Project (MAP) Events:

  • 53rd Annual ISNA Annual Convention, including Srs. Aisha Al-Adawiya and Noera Ayaz, September 3-5, Chicago, IL (2016)
  • A celebration of #prayeroutsidein, including Sister Noera Ayaz as speaker, December 19, 2015, Lanham, MD (2015)
  • 3rd Annual ISNA Masjid Forum, including Sister Sarah Sayeed as speaker, November 7, 2015, Lanham, MD (2015)
  • 2nd Annual ISNA Masjid Forum, including Srs. Aisha Al-Adawiya and Sarah Sayeed as speakers, May 9-11, 2014 Detriot, MI. (2014)
  • Valuing and Welcoming Women in Mosques: Reclaiming the Prophetic Legacy on March 28, 2014, 10am-4pm. (Read more) (2014)
  • 1st Annual ISNA Masjid Forum, including Srs. Aisha Al-Adawiya and Sarah Sayeed as speakers, November 8-10, 2013, Plainfield, IN. (2013)
  • Inclusive Mosques in the 21st Century: A Women’s Dialogue Session, September 2, 2012, 2:30-4:00pm, ISNA Annual Convention, Washington, D.C. (2012)
  • Inclusive Mosques in the 21st Century, July 1-4, 2011, ISNA Annual Convention, Rosemont, IL (2011)
    Panelists: Akel Kahera, Meryam Eskandari, Aisha Al-Adawiya, Moderated by Sarah Sayeed
  • Reclaiming Sacred Space: A Continuing Dialogue on Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers. (2008)
  • Charting our Own Course: Muslim Women in the Public Square (2006)
    Panelists: Engy Abdelkader, Esq., “A Muslim Women’s Guide to Her Civil Rights: When Faith Practices Trigger Discrimination in America;” Asma Sayeed, PhD, “Muslim Women and Hadith Transmission;” and Sarah Sayeed, PhD, “Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Working Together to Reclaim Our Heritage”

 

MAP Community Reports

Women In Islam, Inc. is committed to spreading knowledge on the issue of women’s inclusion in the mosque and to nurturing a cultural shift that enables women, men, and youth to experience mosques in the way that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged us to do, where each person feels valued as a member of the community.

Mosque Access Project Reports enable community members to present their experiences of the mosque and to discuss strategies for improving our mosques. It creates an opportunity for women to share their experiences and expertise and to support mosque communities to revitalize a culture that values and welcomes all congregants. Please see our submission guidelines to share your experiences on our platform!

MAP (Ramadan) Report #14

Ramadan Reflections

By Author

12 addresses, in 7 cities, in 11 years. That pretty much sums up my life since I graduated and embarked on my adventures as a job-hopping nomad – more committed to my news-producing career than any one community. … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #13

Ramadaning Across Three Continents

By Sofia Chaudhry

This year, I felt like a “regular” again. No longer nursing my toddler (let’s call him ‘A’), I was able to more fully participate in Ramadan (and by “regular,” I mean fasting, praying, going to the masjid almost daily, etc). … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #12

Ramadan Reflections

By Sara Bawla

It’s the best time of year, to make dua and shed happy tears. … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #11

Mosque Problems

By Author

Children are impressionable. What they experience and how they are treated has a major impact on them all through their lives. … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #10

The State of the State Mosque

By Author

It is the first taraweeh of Ramadan. We decide to take our chances and see if our daughter is finally tall enough (or old enough) to get into the main hall rather than the noisy area right outside the toilets dedicated to mums and children. … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #9

Ramadan, Here and There

By Mariam

Growing up in the minaret dotted landscape of a Gulf country as well as in the ADAMS Center community in Sterling, Virginia has helped me appreciate different types of masjid communities, especially during Ramadan. … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #8

Women’s Itikaf

By Lani Siddique

Back in 2004, my husband and I were finished with school and training and were finally looking for a place to get a job and settle down. During our interview process, my dear college friend gave me some golden advice that I still suggest to other Muslims today. … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #7

Saved By the Curtain

By Tasneem Vali

Detroit, MI shaped my concept of gender segregation. I went to the University of Detroit, graduating with a degree in Architecture in 1995. The architecture building on campus had only three bathroom stalls for women and that too was a converted space from a former powder room … (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #6

Reflections on Ramadan

By Kenya Numan

I like to visit different masjids on regular basis throughout the year; during Ramadan this was no different. During a single week I found myself at no less than 5 different places of worship. Each has it own uniqueness and challenges… (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #5

Fundraising During Ramadan

By Irfana Hashmi

I came to this masjid because I truly appreciate the beautiful recitation of Quran here and the mosque has a reputation for being women-friendly.  However, I am writing in part due to tonight’s events… (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #4

Men’s Congregation Only

By Fadwa Saber

“It reeks,” my non-Muslim friend said as she took off her shoes to enter the mosque. I slowly try to blow off her comment by complaining about how full I am after Iftar. But it wouldn’t blow off. How can she say something like that about the place I go to seek inner peace; the place I’ve gone to for years and made a “mosque fam.” “Reek.”  One word had me rethink every detail of the infrastructure of the mosque… (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #3

A Visit to the Jerrahi Masjid

By Arshe Ahmed

This is the story of two people and a random masjid visit. The two people are myself, Arshe, and my husband, Sohaib. And the masjid is the Jerrahi Order Masjid in Spring Valley, NY… (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #2

Searching for a Ramadan Community in Washington, DC

By Lauren Schreiber

Walking into a new community during Ramadan always gives me anxiety. I feel like it’s the middle school lunch room all over again – Am I in the right section? Did I go in through the right door? If there’s only one door, am I standing in the right line? Oh no. I forgot my socks. Will anyone want to talk to me? And the biggest concern of all: Who in the world will I sit with?… (READ MORE)

______________________________________________________________________

MAP (Ramadan) Report #1

On Connecting and Community

By Zehra Naqvi

Growing up, when my parents mentioned that we would be headed to the imambargah (Shia house of worship), my siblings and I held our breath waiting to hear which one they were referring to… (READ MORE)