Women’s Space in the Mosques of Toronto Photo Project
Masjid #23 **Winner of Best Women’s Space in Toronto**
Islamic Institute of Toronto - Scarborough
This masjid is the best masjid I have ever attended. Men and women pray in the same massive room. There is no barrier. There is equal space for women and men. They have extensive access for people with disabilities They have an ASL translator for the people in the Muslim community who are deaf. The wuzu areas for women are clean, bright and well-maintained. This masjid has sports programs for women. This masjid has programs for women, period! And not just one, but many. This masjid has an excellent speaker system, although since we’re all in the same room, it doesn’t even matter. If the speaker breaks, then none of us can hear it! Equality!
This masjid kicks the men out of the main prayer hall first if there is overcapacity. This is rare because this masjid is massive. I missed Eid here this year sadly, but I heard so many women showed up that some men were told to go and pray in the upstairs classrooms and the hallways and the women got to move into the men’s area a bit since their section was full. Can you imagine how many women that must have been mash’Allah!
This masjid breaks the whole argument of “well, no women come to the masjid, so why build a bigger space for them?” wide open. If you provide a masjid with equal space, no barrier, and show muslim women the respect and equality that we were given BY ALLAH and the prophet (saw), then you see women at the masjid. Women come to masjids in small numbers or no numbers at all when masjids are built to not accommodate women. Honestly, every time I hear the argument ‘oh but women never come to a masjid so why build a bigger space’, I tell people to go check out IIT.
This is the masjid I got married in. This is the masjid where an imam signed off on my ‘muslim papers’, officially confirming my conversion to Islam. This is the masjid where I learned that men in the muslim community are willing to take a stand for women and despite criticism stand up for the way the prophet (saw) wanted things in his masaajid. I miss this masjid so much! I always feel respected here. I am not haraam, my body is not supposed to be hidden here, I am welcome. I am welcome here.
**important note: these pictures are from 45 minutes before jummah started. I tried to go early so I could get a picture of the prayer hall empty since during this whole project I tried my best to not actually photograph anyone out of respect (because I have no idea if people are comfortable being photographed, even without their faces showing, or not). So, since I go to this masjid every week (or used to before I moved), I kept going earlier and earlier and earlier trying to get a photo of the hall empty. But this masjid always has women in it mash’Allah! So I couldn’t get an empty hall picture. So, in these pictures is just about 5% of the women turnout just because I was so early, to help you visualize just how many women this masjid hosts every jummah**