Title: Imama Maryam Mirza
Date: 21-11-2004, 03:07 AM
Keeping the female faith
`Muslim brothers and sisters, we must all help Islam move
forward' 20-year-old's address at mosque breaks new ground.
The rare sound of a woman's voice at the microphone caught
everyone's attention; even young children stopped playing and
looked up to see who was talking.
Up at the front of the United Muslim Association mosque
yesterday, a confident Maryam Mirza delivered part of the Eid
al-Fitr sermon. In doing so, she marked the end of Ramadan
(the month of fasting) and what many called a new beginning
for Muslim women as she took on a role traditionally left to
"For our survival in this world, humans must change with the
times or we'll be left behind," the 20-year-old Markham woman
told the 200 people at the service. "The same concept can be
applied to religion. Muslim brothers and sisters, we must all
help Islam move forward, and I believe we are doing just
Mirza looked at the silent crowd from behind the microphone
and continued: "I want to thank our leaders for making changes
outside of the norm. We must continue to educate ourselves and
initiate change in our community and in our religion. This is
all possible while still staying within the teaching of the
Mirza's 10-minute speech, following Imam Jabar Ally's prelude,
drew tears from her mother Nazreen, who sat in the front row.
"I am very proud of Maryam. It's very emotional for me to see
my daughter setting the stage being the first female to come
out and give a sermon," explained the Guyana native. "This is
a breakthrough for Muslim women. Maryam was sitting next to
me, preparing for it. She said she was so nervous that she was
going to throw up. I could feel her cold hands. I'm just glad
she did it."
The move by the Etobicoke mosque, near Highway 27 and Finch
Ave. W., was sure to attract criticism from conservative
Muslims, congregation member Zaheer Majeed said.
"Gender question is a big issue in Islam. We always talk about
women being equal in Islam, but sometimes in practice, it's
just not there," lamented the 55-year-old man. "Men my age
carry a lot of baggage. Not only do they feel challenged and
insecure about this, most feel men's position is threatened."
Not for Esmile Ghanie.
"Gender is always a yes-and-no kind of debate. But the debate
has to start somewhere," said the 41-year-old father of three
young girls. "I think today's sermon was fantastic. It was
very enlightening to see a woman taking part in the ceremony.
Maryam can be a good role model for other girls. If she can do
it, they can do it, too."
News of Mirza's delivery of the sermon also attracted guests
from other mosques, who showed up to support and congratulate
the association's move.
"This is history for me. It is a great way to start the Eid
celebration," said Faizal Kayum, who attended yesterday's
service with his son Azeem. "The religion has been dominated
by males. It's about time for women to step up to the plate."
Imam Ally said he hopes the congregation, whose members mostly
come from Guyana and the Caribbean, can start a wave of
positive change for women within the Muslim community.
"Women themselves contribute greatly. Think of any jobs that
women can't do?" Ally said in his address.
"Ask Allah to allow you to have an open mind to give these
sisters a chance to express themselves
Professor Leonard Swidler, Ph.D, S.T.L., LL.D., LL.D.
Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue
Co-Founder/Editor, Journal of Ecumenical Studies
Founder/Director, Institute for Interreligious, Intercultural Dialogue
Religion Department, Temple University Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
Tel: 215-204-7251 (Off.); 215-477-1080 (Home); Fax: 215-204-4569
E-mail: [email protected] Web:
Title: Re: Imama Maryam Mirza
Date: 21-11-2004, 03:51 AM
وهذه الرسالة منقوله من درب الانتفاضة كتبها د. محمد القاضى فى نفس الصدد
Women Rights Activists,
The 'Progressive Mosque' group has started few months ago in
Philadelphia as a secret underground movement of rebilious moslem women who
were seeking a safe place where everyone, especially women, can worship
with dignity. They advocate for an equal role for women and men in the
house of worship. They made history when for the first time a woman led
the prayer as Imama, a word never found in the Arabic/Islamic
dictionary before and we had to coin it during one prayer!.
Women and men prayed together next to each other on one solid line, and
sat after prayer in one Halaqa (small circle) to interprete and discuss
Koran in a contemporary progressive way, the same as it was originally
revealed to Prophet Mohamed 1500 years ago in Mecca. In brief, the
taboo around women leadership in Islam has been broken by this brave group
of womenb and men!
Now, the struggle continue... the moslem women are no more holding it
to themselves. Another progressive group is making history (see message
below) when a Caribean mosque is letting a woman to give the Eid Khutba
I'm glad that I lived until I saw this historical moment for 1.2
billions of the world population whos religion has been stolen over centuries
by moslem fanatics, the equivelent of the evagilican political right
Take a moment and stop by room 31 tomorrow at 6:30pm (in the AFSC main
building) in Center City Philadelphia to meet with the Progressive
Masjid group after their evening prayer.
Mohamed Ibrahim Elgadi
Title: Re: Imama Maryam Mirza
Author: nazar hussien
Date: 21-11-2004, 05:44 AM
هذه نقلة بي قرون...وتغيير سيفور له لبن كتير...ويبرد وتبقي الجماده نسويها سمن....
اهلنا فترو من الخشيش...ودبغ السعون....
فما احوجنا في هذا العالم لثورة تنبع من النفس بصدق وايمان