As It Happens

First female-only mosque in America opens its doors

There was something different about the muezzin's call as people gathered for prayer at a mosque in Los Angeles. The words were the same, but the voice was a woman's. On Friday, the Woman's Mosque of America opened its doors. It is believed to be the first female-only mosque in North America. ...
There was something different about the muezzin's call as people gathered for prayer at a mosque in Los Angeles. The words were the same, but the voice was a woman's. On Friday, the Woman's Mosque of America opened its doors. It is believed to be the first female-only mosque in North America. 

"It was absolutely beautiful. We had no idea it would turn out so successfully," Hasna Maznavi tells  As it Happens host Carol Off. 

Maznavi, who organized the new mosque together with Sana Muttalib, says she hopes the mosque will foster conversation about the role of Muslim women in America. 

In traditional mosques, women and men are segregated. Sermons, led by male imams, rarely address issues that are specific to women, and women rarely have the same access when they have questions.  

"I had women who came up to me and said that it was an incredibly emotional experience for them," says Muttalib, referring to Friday's sermon. "They felt that their voices were heard. That their needs were kind of taken into account." 

There have been some questions whether it is legal to have an all-women Jumu'ah (the congregational Friday prayer). Muttalib says there is a strong history of women-led prayers. She says women's mosques exist all over the world, most notably in China.

In our interview, Muttalib mentions a video that answers some of these questions. Shaykha Reima Yosif was scheduled to lead the Friday sermon, but was unable to because of an illness. Here, she talks about the legality of women-leading-women in prayer:

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