For breaking the norms of Islam in India, a mother of two, Jamida Beevi has been threatened with death.
On 26th of January, Jamida made history by becoming the first Indian Muslim woman to lead the Friday prayer for a mixed-gender congregation but this act has made her receive several death threats.
The person who leads namaaz is called imam and, traditionally, he is a man, unless it is an all-woman congregation but Jamida led around 30 men and women in namaaz inside a hall at a village.
In 2014, Jamida got orthodox religious clerics angry when she told some women that the Quran prohibited the recital of the word ‘Amen’ during prayers. She explained that Amen is not an Arabic word. It means ‘so be it’.
This teaching made orthodox religious clerics call her an apostate and they began to target her. “They even tried to assault my daughter,” she said.
By 2016, the “hate campaign” became so strong she had to leave her city of residence for another.
This year, her decision to inspire more Muslim women to preside over prayers, by first being an example, seems to have gotten her into trouble as she has been receiving death threats.
“We wanted to spread the message that Islam never prohibited women from leading prayers. We have decided to continue this practice.”
She alleged that some clerics are instigating people to kill her.
“Plenty of messages have been circulating on social media alleging that I am a kafir, a non-believer. Last week, someone sent me an image with my head fixed to a dead body. I see it as a warning.”
But Jamida is not scared of the threats as she has resolved to continue.
“I am not afraid of death. I am ready to die for the cause.”
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