I recently had a big discussion of Facebook about the right of women to visit the Masjid, the following email from a female convert who use to live in a country where women were allowed in the Masjid before moving to ultra-conservative South Africa really hit me, please read and you will insha Allah understand why we put so much emphasis on this issue. By the way, I asked Dr Bilal Philips about Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi's statement on this issue and he replied, "Good, this evil (of banning women from the Masjid) must be overcome."
"Wa'alaykum asalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,
BarakAllahu feek ya Abu Muawiyah for defending the order of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wassalam. And when the Prophet, 'alayhis salam orders a thing, then NO-ONE has any right at all to oppose him...
Personally, I know of no country other than South Africa where women are forbidden from attending the masajids - it was certainly a big issue which upset me when I came to SA - after living in australia, and being able to attend the masjid when I pleased and sooo loving ramadaan and attending the masjid for taraweeh every night, I felt totally 'deprived' and almost like my deen had been stolen from me. There just is no place like the house of Allah, it has an amazingly spiritual, calming, cleansing and truly beneficial effect.
I also know from visiting countries such as Saudi, Malaysia and Dubai, that facilitating women in Masajids, prayer rooms etc, carries HUGE benefit. It makes salaah so easy, and always on time. Unlike here, where I have actually been 'forced' to miss my salaah because a man wanted to stop the car and pray in the masjid, whereas us women had to remain in the car, just watching the time for salaah float by, along with our salaah - I've rarely experience such anger and frustration!
And especially in places like Dubai, where one is so surrounded by materialism - being able to retreat to a prayer room in the mall at salaah time is truly full of good. Leaving the shops and stepping into a place of worship is almost literally like stepping out of filth into purity, or from darkness into light...
And never have i seen any mixing caused by this, let alone 'zina'! in every country i've been to, and every masjid, there was a separate entrance for women that was out of view of the entrance for men, so how can there be mixing? And if a person was so diseased that he or she would commit any level of zina anywhere near the house of Allah, then it is surely these people who need to attend His house more often so that they may receive guidance.
Also, in most other countries esp UK, US and Australia, because of the women being allowed to attend the masjid there is a wonderful beautiful 'sisterhood' amongst these women - this I certainly do not find, and desperately miss here in SA, where every women seems to be for herself, and the only gathering is the rule-burdened tabligh ta'aleems, where the women are practically not allowed to speak to each other during the meeting. And of course being in 'fatima's' house, nowhere near carries the atmosphere of being in Allah's house!
For any negatives there may be for women attending the masjid, there are far more positives that clearly outweigh them. This would be why the Prophet, salallahu alahyi wassalam's last order concerning the masjid and women, was not to forbid them, and we should remember again, that when the Prophet, 'alayhis salam orders a thing, then NO-ONE has any right at all to oppose him..."