They experienced racial abuse in the mosque
Fatwa No: 181023

Question

Assalamu alaikum, May Allah continue to bless and increase you in knowledge for your good works. I am a black African living in a Muslim country in south-east Asia with my husband on professional contract. I love Ramadhan and i never missed Taraweeh prayers until i came here. The issue is that, whenever i go to the mosque during Ramadhan i feel i am treated like a leper. People don't want to stand beside me during prayers, and if they mistakenly do they move away as soon as they realise its me. My husband also receives the same treatment at the male side. They openly laugh and point at me. I have asked if i did something wrong but nothing was said..I have stayed away from some rituals performed at the mosque during Eid because i am not familiar with them...beacuse i know eid as consisting of 2 rak'ats and sermon from the Imam, and no chanting afterwards.I don't know if my absence at such chanting has hurt peoples feelings but i meant no disrespect..i just politely declined to join the chanting. My feeling are very hurt by such treatment from fellow Muslims, i feel like i am being racially profiled. I am not asking for any special treatment, but just some respect as a fellow Muslim worshiper. I stayed away from Taraweeh prayers last year (but both my husband and i prayed at home) because of this issue, but i plan to go this year Insha Allah. Please, was i wrong to have stayed away from the mosque because this treatment? Masalaam

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds.  I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

We have already explained in Fatwa 84769 that Islam has prohibited racism and treating people on the basis of race, color, and so on, and that it fought this and considered it as a reprehensible act. Islam considers faith and piety as the basis for a person being better than another, so please refer to the above Fatwa. When the Muslims applied this in the early times, they conquered and ruled, and when they ignored these principles, they became weak and humiliated.

Therefore, if those sisters are treating you in the manner which you mentioned in the question, and those brothers are treating your husband the same way you are treated, then those sisters and brothers are very wrong. Hence, one should advise them in a wise manner and good admonition, hoping that they would return to the way of right conduct.

As regards the Taraaweeh prayer, it is a Sunnah and not an obligation. Besides, the woman's prayer in her own home is better than her praying in the mosque as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "And their homes are better for them." [Abu Daawood] Therefore, you are not wrong by not performing the Taraaweeh prayer in the mosque.

With regard to the ‘Eed prayer, it is a confirmed Sunnah, so it is recommended that all the Muslims go out for it including the women, even the menstruating women, who should witness the good and the gathering of the Muslims but they should not perform the prayer (as they are not pure).

It was reported that Umm ‘Atiyyah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said: “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ordered us to take out for ‘Eed Al-Fitr and ‘Eed Al-Adhha prayers, the adolescent girls, the women in seclusion and the menstruating women, but ordered the menstruating women to keep away from the Musalla (the place of the prayer).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Nonetheless, a woman is not sinful for not attending the ‘Eed prayer. However, if you can overlook the misconduct of those sisters and attend the ‘Eed prayer, then this is better.

Finally, we do not know what you mean by the chanting that takes place after the ‘Eed prayer; if this chanting is Islamic songs and the like as a way of celebrating this day, then this is permissible, but if this is a kind of Thikr (mention of Allaah) that is done as an act of worship, then there is no basis for it in Islam; rather, it is a kind of innovation and it is not permissible to attend it.

Allaah Knows best.

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