China’s women-only Mosques
Unlike their peers around the world, Muslim women in China are enjoying having female-only mosques and getting a unique opportunity to develop their religious knowledge.
"I feel so blessed to have a mosque I can visit,” 80-year-old Ma Guifang told China Daily on Tuesday, November 20, Onislam.net reported.
“Not many female Muslims enjoy such a privilege.”
For the past 20 years, the elderly Muslim lady from the Hui ethnic group has been attending this women-only mosque, a phenomenon unique to China.
The Lulan mosque was built in 1956 by a group of Muslim women who had relocated to Lanzhou from Henan province in central China.
Prayers at the mosque are led by a male imam in a mosque 100 some meters away with the service are usually piped into the room through a loudspeaker to the female worshippers.
The province’s Muslim women are proud of being able to take care of their mosque.
Ma Lan, the 46-year-old caretaker, rises at 4 am to shovel coal into the boiler to ensure a good supply of hot water for the washing ritual.
The mosque is financed solely by donations from female worshippers and visitors as well.
"We receive about 2,000 to 3,000 yuan ($321 to $481) a month," imam Tao Jinling said, pointing at the list of donors and how much they gave.
"Around 20 to 30 people come to the mosque every day. The number rises to around 150 during the Juma prayers on Friday."
According to official data, China has 20 million Muslims; most of them are concentrated in Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu, and Qinghai regions and provinces.
Unofficially, Muslim groups say the number is even higher, stating that there are from 65-100 million Muslims in China — up to 7.5 percent of the population.