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Muslim Women in Lucknow Step in 'Only for Men' Venue to Offer Eid Prayers

By: Pranshu Mishra

CNN-News18

Last Updated: July 07, 2016, 15:11 IST

It was the first time women offered prayers along with men at this 300-year-old Eidgah.

It was the first time women offered prayers along with men at this 300-year-old Eidgah.

It was the first time women offered prayers along with men at this 300-year-old Eidgah.

Lucknow: Software engineer Mezbeen and social activist Farah Usmani were among the scores of women who scripted history on Thursday by stepping inside the prestigious Eidgah of Aishbagh in Lucknow‎.

It was the first time women offered prayers along with men at this 300-year-old Eidgah. The initiative was made possible through the bold efforts of Maulana Khalid Rashid of Firangimahal, who is the chief imam of the mosque and a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

The move is widely seen as a step forward in strengthening the demand for equality by Muslim women in the country.

From demanding an entry inside the famous Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai, to opposing triple talaq and asking for parity in interpretation of Sharia law, Muslim women in recent years have been more vocal about their rights.

The religious leaders and also the Muslim Personal Law Board have thus been forced to introspect issues raised by Muslim women. Recent efforts by the Board to improvise the Sharia courts can be seen as a result of this mounting pressure.

Maulana Khalid Rashid was open about his desire to dispel the perception that women were not treated equally in the religion. "We want to prove that Islam gives both men and women equal rights. In the future we will ensure that more and more such common prayers are organised," he said.

Though many women did not venture out of their home to enter a traditionally 'only for men' venue, the ones who reached the Eidgah were upbeat.

lucknow-Eidgah-1

The excitement of entering the Eidgarh for the first time in over five decades of her life was well evident on Farah's face. "I am thankful to the Eidgah committee for their initiative. Hope it is repeated across all places," she said.

A software engineer in her twenties, Mezbeen said it was a rare opportunity for her. "I will be looking forward to come to Eidgah on more such occasions in the future," she said.

first published:July 07, 2016, 14:32 IST
last updated:July 07, 2016, 15:11 IST