Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why We are Segregated

Why are Muslim men and women segregated in the prayer halls?

I'll let this personal ad speak for itself:

"We sat next to each other at church this evening. I was on your right. I went up to take communion-- you stayed seated. You are absolutely gorgeous and I wish I had the nerve in church to ask if you were single or not. In the remote chance that you might see this ad, know who I am and are interested --- please email me. I would love to take you out sometime!"


Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Catherine,

You're right that I won't allow your comment to appear. I think you know why.

If you, as a Christian, wanted to make a point then I certainly would have listened and listed it.
However, if you, as a bigot, want to make a point, then I will listen but I won't post.

We all chose who we want to be and how we want to show ourselves to the world. I have to wonder why someone with such a beautiful name and such good writing skills would write something so nasty.

I know it's easy to over generalize when it comes to a group you don't know. For me, I actually do know and love Christian people. I don't even hope that all Christians become Muslims. Hey, if you find peace in Christianity, then stay with it! It's not for me to convert one person away from the church...really!

By posting this awkward ad (an actual item I once saw on the web) I was not attacking Christians. I was merely pointing out how a man sitting next to a woman in a religious service can get distracted. That's why Muslims don't sit together. We find it easier to focus on God. That's our reasoning and I thought the ad explained it.

I welcome you, Catherine, to come back and find whatever is helpful to you on my site. Honestly? Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So, maybe something I write will resonnate with you---not converting you to my faith but rather helping you develop more in your own. We can learn from each other and support each other as people and as women.

You know...writing these mean messages on the 'net fulfills something in you but I swear to God that you would feel much more fulfilled to send messages of love and understanding. That's what you'd really like in your life, isn't it? Someone to understand where you're coming from? I think we all would like that. I write, in part, for that moment of clarity.

I'll tell you what: I'm going to sit here in my little apartment in Egypt and send good thoughts your way. I'm going to wish you some peace for whatever is troubling you. I'm going to send you some joy at a simple moment. I'm going to hope for some good tunes on the radio that make you want to dance. And how about some tasty food which makes you smile. And lastly, I'm going to pray that our interaction right now is leaving you feeling better not worse. I'm going to sincerely (from my heart for real) hope that you feel the love I have for you as another person in this world trying to make sense of it all. It's tough work! And it hurts! But we don't have to hurt each other. I don't want to say anything bad to you at all. I only want to give good back to you and wish you peace...not from me...but wish you that ultimate peace from God.

Catherine said...

Well, as a Catholic, I still feel that by posting this you are portraying my religion in a negative and inaccurate way, as if by having the sexes apart you are therefore more pious and holy. For the record, I sit and pray during Mass just fine with all of the "distracting" men around. How else is a non Muslim susposed to read this message? And FYI, I have a very peaceful life, but thanks for your concern.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Catherine,

Thanks so much for coming back and commenting again. I really appreciate your willingness for dialogue. It's only through people talking things out that we build bridges instead of burning buildings.

I really understand where you are coming from in this comment. By me posting this ad, you felt offended because it seemed as if I was putting down those who go to church. Or maybe that I was thinking myself better than those who sit together in the pews---since I sit on prayer mats.

I really didn't have this intention. I'll tell you my thought process when I posted. I saw the man writing the ad as just an average guy who went to worship God and in the middle of the worship got distracted by a woman's beauty. I didn't see him as a bad guy or a guy in a bad religion. I just saw him as an "everyman".

We talk a lot about avoiding temptation when in mixed company. It isn't that we are holier. If anything, maybe we are more lustful. LOL! We acknowedge lust as a very real part of life.

For me? It frees me up to be praying in the company of woman. I feel a sisterhood which I didn't feel before ---except maybe when I stayed in a nunnery for a week (I had a teaching workshop at a small town Catholic elementary).

Anyway...back to you! Every person is really different and for you, as you say, praying together with men isn't an issue. That's great. I'm not going to knock you for that. Going to service and praying is to be commended---and if you want to make one prayer for us here feel free.

Lastly, I'm glad your life is good and peaceful. We wish each other peace allllll the time in Islam. That's what "Asalamu Alaykom" means: "Peace be with you". It doesn't mean we don't have any peace to begin with. It means that you can never have too much. Like, if I wished you more money; it's not that you have NO MONEY---but some more would be good.

May God bless you and reward you for your efforts.

Catherine said...

Okay, I get(as best I can)where you are coming from on this topic. Prayer without distraction is the point you were trying to make.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Catherine,

That's great :) "as best I can" is all I can do too.

"Prayer without distraction" is a very succinct way of putting it and I'll go with that YES! :)

I would like to add too: prayer without being oggled either. The man lost his sense of spiritual connection but maybe too, if the woman picked up on his staring, she felt ill at ease.

Thanks, Catherine for hanging in there with me. Eventually we got it figured out. I appreciate your willingness.

Peace :)

Catherine said...

peace to you too :)

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom to the Sister from Iran,

I read your comment and I will not be publishing it. My blog; my perogative.

You're angry and expressing it to the wrong person. Please find a place to voice your anger other than my blog.

Yes, a lot of blogs, like the one you linked to, want to deal with the angst of Islam. I do not.

I have created a garden and you are welcome to come back when you want to relax.

Until that time, I wish you well. Maslama.