If things go according to plan, soon women will be allowed to offer their prayers at two of the biggest masjids in Kolkata – Nakhoda Masjid in Colootola Street and Tipu Sultan Masjid on Esplanade.
“Thousands of women come to these places for shopping and other business everyday and it is sad to see that there is no place for them to say their prayers. We have written to the authorities of these two masjids to make separate partitioned areas for women to say their prayers,” said chairman of Bengal Imam’s association Md Yahiya, talking to Jiyo Bangla. He said that there were some rooms at Tipu Sultan Masjid which have been turned into store rooms. “Those can be cleared and women can easily be accommodated to those rooms not only for prayers but to also rest, escaping the scorching sun during this time of the year,” he added. He also said that Muslim women from foreign countries too come to Kolkata and find it inconvenient to say namaz since there is no proper provision for them at masjids here.
According to Shariya or the Islamic law, there should be a secluded partitioned area for women in a masjid to allow them for saying namaz there with proper provision of toilets and water supply to perform ablution.
Imam Shafique Qasmi of Nakhoda Masjid of ‘Badi Masjid’ as it is popularly known as, conceded of receiving the letter and said that plans were afoot. “Yes we have received such letter and although many women still come and say their namaz at one corner of the masjid, the managing committee of the masjid is mulling making proper arrangements for Muslim women. ‘Although there are three entrances to Nakhoda Masjid, making any one of them exclusive for women is not possible at present owing to technicalities but a separate place for women to perform ablution, say namaz and even rest can always be built within this historic masjid,’ he said talking to Jiyo Bangla.
It was found out that if all went according to plans, Muslim women would soon be able to say their ‘Jumma Namaz’ or Friday afternoon prayers along with men at these two masjids.