Two Southern California women have started their own women-only mosque in Los Angeles.
After starting to feel unwelcome by the men they encountered the mosque they used to attend, Hasna Maznavi and Sana Muttalib may have made history Friday during the first sermon. The Wall Street Journal says Islamic scholars and Muslim leaders do not know of any other such mosque in the U.S.
“This is a hugely important, symbolic moment,” Edina Lekovic, a 37-year-old Muslim activist from Pasadena, who is giving the sermon, told the journal. “It’s American Muslim women organizing and creating a space for their own spiritual nourishment by and for themselves.”
Females will no longer have to enter through a side door or sit in the rear. A woman will also be giving the sermon, which is traditionally performed by a man.
Women offering the sermon is a big step because usually women only lead small prayer groups.
Although there is a precedent in Muslim history where female scholars and teachers, including the Prophet Muhammad’s wife, who led prayer, some Islamic scholars disagree.
American scholar Furhan Zubairi wrote that there is no history or tradition that would allow women to lead sermons.
Members of the Women’s Mosque will gather in an old synagogue in downtown Los Angeles. The women hope to offer classes on the Koran as well.