Women and Men Prayed Together at the Mosque

The mainstream of our culture runs from Central Asia . If we recall that, in the Islamic understanding during the Yasawi period, women and men worshipped together and that the Qur'an was read in Turkish until the thirteenth century, why is there an effort to separate men and women in society and in places of worship?

Women and men prayed together in mosques during the time of the Prophet. It sometimes occurred that a woman would correct the Caliph who was giving sermon. For example, in one his sermons Caliph 'Umar warned the Muslims, saying: "Do not pay women in marriage more than 500 dirhams as dowry." A woman in the congregation objected: "O 'Umar! Should we follow the Qur'an or you?" 'Umar asked: "What does the Qur'an say?" The woman replied: " The Qur'an says: 'If you divorce a woman in order to wed another, and you have given her a hoarded treasure as dowry, take not the least part of it back.' (4:20) Is a hoarded treasure equal to 500 dirhams?" 'Umar remarked: "'Umar erred, the woman said the truth."

It is true that time and changing conditions have caused some changes in secondary matters. Women do not have to perform their prescribed prayers in mosques, but if they would like to, they should not be banned if there is no justifiable reason for banning them.

As for the second part of the question, I do not know whether Ahmad Yasawi and his followers recited the Qur'an in Turkish. The Qur'an can be translated into any language, but no translation can be the exact copy of the original. So, in prescribed prayers the original of the Qur'an must be recited, but a person can supplicate to God in any language he or she wishes. July 20-29, 1997

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