I was reading a really interesting post in houda´s blog and it really got me thinking about women in the mosque. She was very clear about the fact that she thinks it is wrong that women must pray in a different room than the men. I perceived it as the main reason for this was that she wanted to see the imam who spoke and feel that she was as worthy as men before God. She questioned why a woman should feel like second-class citizens before God, even if that is not the case at all.
I've never really thought that women are worth less than men in front of God and therefore I understand her irritation that the woman is in the shadows of the mosque. Personally I am grateful that I can pray privately with the women. I feel it is easier to get in touch with myself and with God in that way, but it may be that we in our mosque we can actually see the imam when he talks because we are in the same room as him, but we are on a balcony over the men. For that reason, I feel involved. I do not feel secluded. It is very possible that I would have felt differently if I had not been able to see the imam, and we had been sitting in a completely different place.
Actually, now that I mention it, I had to pray in another room last year at Eid. There were so many people there that not everyone could fit on the balcony. I was one of those that did not fit, therefore we had to go up to another room and listen to the imam by loudspeaker. It's true. It was not nearly the same experience of prayer. I have found that I appreciate our balcony for giving me some privacy while I feel fully involved in prayer. I believe that houda is right when she says that as a woman should be allowed to choose herself if she want to pray together, but behind the men or if she want to pray privately in another room inside the mosque. But I'll be honest, I think a balcony over the men provide a prefect balance between the two.