Dear Masjid Aunties,
Muslims who converted get pulled out of prayer for not wearing an abaya. Women are bashed for not wearing the hijab correctly. If someone doesn’t regularly go to the mosque, they’re looked down upon. These are ongoing issues in the women’s section of the masjid.
Informing someone about something advised against is fine, but please, do so respectfully. This mentality can be intimidating and discourage Muslims from wanting to engage with their religious community. Imagine being the reason that someone doesn’t attend the mosque for fear of being mocked and ostracized.
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Please be mindful of your actions toward Muslims who are outside of your clique and race. Community is a crucial part of Islam. Older generations, such as your own, who think it’s okay to impose your beliefs on other Muslims is dividing. Stop thinking someone can’t suggest ideas for improvement because they’re not a part of the mosque’s committee board.
The social hierarchy within the mosque is destructive. Just because you regularly go to the mosque doesn’t mean you should get special treatment. During Ramadan, arriving late and moving people to get a spot at the front of the women’s section is inconsiderate.
Inform one another of your religious standpoints and seek to educate one another. Don’t vilify those you don’t agree with by expressing your views in a derogatory manner. Whether or not someone is a pious person is not defined purely by how often they go to a place of worship. Ask yourselves if you’re following Islam when you ridicule other Muslims for not practicing the “correct way.”
Instead, be the welcoming force at the masjid. Stop assuming someone who isn’t Middle-Eastern or South-Asian, must be a Muslim who converted. Even if it means calling out your relatives and elders, do so courteously.
According to the Pew Research Center, 100,000 people convert to Islam annually, but roughly the same number of people leave the religion too. Don’t be the reason someone has to think twice about Islam because they’re practicing “incorrectly” according to your standards. You need to rethink your societal stereotypes and strive to make everyone feel at ease, starting at the place of worship.
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” – Prophet Muhammad (SWS) from his Last Sermon