Sounds like a title for a 5th grade essay…. I digress. Yes, I always made my prayer at home. And no, it’s not because my husband keeps me chained to a ring on the kitchen wall! : ) And it’s not because I think women should be banned from the masjid either. Since I live and practise Islam in the United States I’m free to make this decision for myself, and here are some reasons why:
1. I prefer to make salat in a quiet atmosphere. My experience with masjids is that the women’s area is usually anything but.
2. I prefer to avoid listening to yet another lecture from a niqaab hater. This is the way I choose to dress in public. Please respect that, as I respect your choice to dress differently.
2a. While what a sister wears outside the masjid is, I feel, strictly between her and Allah, inside the masjid it’s a bit different. The masjid is a place for worship. It is not a social gathering hall, or the local coffee shop. Jeans and a loose shirt, or a track suit, are not appropriate clothing for Allah’s house. Unfortunately I’ve encountered this kind of clothing one time too often in the masjid. I prefer to avoid it. Perhaps the masjids should take a step towards preventing this by having a selection of those nice prayer outfits available in the shoe room for sisters to put on before coming into the prayer area.
3. I’m Hannafi, so my time for Asr salat is a bit later than the local masjid’s time. No problem, we’re all sisters in Islam! : ) It’s just easier for me to stay home and pray, especially in the winter when the day’s are so short.
4. I like to pray slowly, and spend some time reading Qu’ran when I’m finished. That doesn’t mean I’m always able to, it can get pretty hairy at home too sometimes! But at least I’ve got the option. My experience with masjids has been small, hot, crowded rooms that need to be prayed in and then left as quickly as is decent so I don’t accidentally inconvenience anyone.