The Legal Verdict Regarding Free-Mixing of Men and Women in Education
By The Esteemed Sheikh
Abee ‘Abdir-Rahmaan Yahyaa ibn ‘Alee
In the Name of Allaah The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
May The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon you. All the praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of All that exists.
In compliance with the translated meaning of the statement of Allaah, The Exalted:
(21:7) “…So ask the people of knowledge if you don’t know.”
And the translated meaning of the statement of The Exalted:
“And these similitudes We put forward to mankind, but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allaah and His signs)”(29:43)
We presented this question to the Noble Sheikh Yahyaa ibn ‘Alee Al-Hajooree, may Allaah preserve him:
In many districts of the country of Yemen schools have opened promoting an anti-illiteracy initiative: “Elimination of Illiteracy”. In these schools most of the teachers are men who teach adolescent and young women.
So what occurs is free-mixing, men and women looking at one another and Allaah knows best what else is occurring right now and what will take place in the future.
We (the questioners), from the area of Banee Qais in the district of Haashid, are very concerned about this. So we hope that you, O Noble Sheikh, will clarify for us the Islaamic ruling in this matter and the responsibility upon fathers as regarding their sons and daughters. May Allaah reward you.
May Allaah grant me and you success in all good. Truly, this free-mixing in education is an evil act from those evil actions in which there is no success for this nation of Muslims except in contesting it.
The translated meaning of what Allaah the All Mighty says:
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islaam), enjoining Al-Ma’roof (i.e. Islaamic Monotheism and all that Islaam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islaam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful” (3:104)
And these are the characteristics of the Believers.
The translated meaning of what The Exalted says:
“The believers, men and women, are Auliyaa (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’roof (i.e. Islaamic Monotheism and all that Islaam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islaam has forbidden); they perform as-Salaah (the prayers), and give the Zakaah (obligatory charity), and obey Allaah and His Messenger. Allaah will have His Mercy on them. Surely, Allaah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (9:71)
Verily Allaah has cursed Banee Israa’eel because they did not fulfill the obligation of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.
And the translated meaning of what The All-Mighty says:
“Those among the Children of Israa’eel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Daawood (David) and ‘Eesaa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). That was because they disobeyed Allaah and the Messengers and were ever transgressing beyond bounds. They used not to forbid from Al-Munkar (wrong, evil-doing, sins, polytheism, disbelief) which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do.” (5:78-79)
And the translated meaning of what He, The Exalted says, regarding the Jews who disobeyed him in the matter of the Sabbath:
“So when they forgot the reminding that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but with a severe torment We seized those who did wrong because they used to rebel against Allaah’s Command. So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them, ‘Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.'”(7:165-6)
So the contesting of free-mixing in education between women, who are in the company of males other than members of their immediate family, mahram (i.e. fathers, brothers, uncles…) is obligatory.
This is in accordance with the translated meaning of the statement of Allaah the Exalted:
“… and when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen…” (33:53)
This includes all of the Believers.
And in the two authentic collections of Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from the narration of ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “And beware of entering upon the women.” A man from the Ansaar said, “O Messenger of Allaah, inform me about the brother- in-law?” The Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “The brother-in-law is death!”
The brother-in-law is the husband’s brother and it was said, he is “death” so what about a male other than him?
From the Evils of Free-mixing is Men and Women Looking at One Another
The translated meaning of what our Lord Who is free from all short comings, the Exalted says:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All-Acquainted with what they do.”
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islaam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (24:30-31)
And the translated meaning of what He says:
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (33:59)
And it is confirmed in Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth of Jareer ibn ‘Abdillaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said:
“I asked the Messenger of Allaah about an accidental or unintentional look (at a woman) and he (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,’ Lower your gaze.'”
Also the Prophet of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Give the path its rights.” They said, “What is the right of the path?” Then he said, “The lowering of the gaze, preventing harm and disturbance, returning the greetings, and commanding the good and forbidding evil.”
This is agreed upon by Imaam Al-Bukhaaree and Imaam Muslim from the hadeeth of Abee Sa’eed Al-Khudree.
From the Saheeh of Imaam Al-Bukhaaree and that of Imaam Muslim from the hadeeth of Sa’eed Al-Khudree (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said the Prophet (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Whoever looked in upon the house of a people without their permission, it is permissible for them to gorge out the eye of that person.”
Also recorded in Bukhaaree and Muslim on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “And seeking permission (for entering a house) has only been established for the sake of not seeing something impermissible.”
The only look that has been legislated in regards to the looking of a man at a woman is for the prospect of marriage.
It is verified in Saheeh Muslim from the narration of Abee Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said, “I was with the Prophet of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) and a man came to him informing him that he married a woman from the Ansaar. The Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, ‘Did you look at her?’ He said, ‘No.’ He responded, ‘Go and look at her for certainly there is something in the eyes of the Ansaar.'”
It has been authenticated in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad from the hadeeth of Jaabir ibn ‘Abdillaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that verily the Prophet (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “If one of you proposes to a woman and he is able to look at that which stimulates him to marry her then he should.”
So in these two hadeeth are proofs for the permissibility of looking at a woman for marriage. The people of free-mixing however entertain their treacherous eyes without Islaamic justification.
The Evils of Free-mixing in Places of Study and Other than Them
The act of free-mixing is an imitation of Banee Israa’eel and it was the first trial upon them. As confirmed in Saheeh Muslim from Abee Sa’eed Al-Khudree (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “The dunyaa is sweet and green, and Allaah will establish you upon it, to see how you conduct yourselves. So fear the dunyaa and fear the women, for surely the first trial for Banee Israa’eel was in women.”
And confirmed from the hadeeth of ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Humiliation and belittlement have been placed upon the one who disobeys my order, and whoever imitates a people is from them.”
Free-mixing in education may involve the shaking of hands between men and women and this is forbidden. As collected by At-Tobaraanee and other than him from the hadeeth of Ma’qil ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “That a piece of metal should be pierced through the head of one of you is better than the touching of a woman that is not permissible for him to touch.”
As in the hadeeth collected by Bukhaaree and Muslim from ‘Aaishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said, “By Allaah! The hand of the Messenger of Allaah never touched a woman’s hand, and he used to accept their pledges verbally.”
Free-mixing is from the Causes of the Corruption of the Hearts
The translation of what The Most High says:
“…and when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen …” (33:53)
And when the heart is corrupted the whole body is corrupted.
From the hadeeth collected in Bukhaaree and Muslim of An-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Truly in the body is a piece of flesh, if it is sound then the whole body is sound and if it is corrupted the whole body is corrupted. Truly it is the heart.”
Free-mixing of Women with Men Habituates Women to Having Little Modesty
The women from the Salaf As-Saalih, those believing women who lived during the time of the Messenger of Allaah and the generations that followed him in righteousness, may Allaah be pleased with them, were of the most shy and modest.
It is agreed upon in the hadeeth of Abee Sa’eed Al-Khudree (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) was more shy than a veiled virgin in her room of seclusion.
If shyness and modesty are removed so is eemaan.
He (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Modesty and belief are combined together, so if one is removed, the other is removed as well.” Transmitted by Al-Haakim in his Mustadrak from the hadeeth of ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) with a sound chain of narrators.
Free-mixing Diminishes the Sense of Jealousy and Protectiveness a Man Should have for His Female Family Members
And it has been confirmed from the hadeeth from Al-Mugeerah ibn Shu’bah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah said, “If I saw a man with my wife I would strike him with the sharp edge of my sword.” His statement was told to the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he said, “Are you amazed at the jealousy of Sa’d? By Allaah, I am more jealous than him and Allaah is more jealous than me.”
Reported in Bukhaaree and Muslim on the authority of ‘Aaishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “O nation of Muhammad, no one has a greater sense of jealousy than Allaah the Exalted, the All-Mighty, if His male or female slave fornicates.”
Free-mixing Leads to Fornication
It was transmitted by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim in the hadeeth from Abee Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “The fornication of the eyes is in looking, and the fornication of the tongue is in speaking and the self desires and craves, and the private part verifies that or denies it.”
If fornication spreads, a variety of catastrophes will occur within the ummah.
As confirmed by Ahmad and Al-Haakim in his Mustadrak, and in the version of Ahmad from the hadeeth of ‘Abdillaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said, “The Messenger of Allaah approached us and said: ‘O group of the muhaajireen, when you are tested by five things, and I take refuge in Allaah from you reaching them:
(1) Indecency/evil never became evident in a people until they proclaimed it and did it openly, except it spreads in them a terrible disease and sicknesses that did not occur in their predecessors.
(2) They did not cheat on scales and measurements except that they were afflicted with drought and scarcity of provision and by tyrannical rulers over them.
(3) They did not hold back the Zakaah (charity due on their wealth) except that rainfall from the sky was withheld. And if it wasn’t for the animals they would not get rainfall.
(4) They did not violate the covenant with Allaah and His Messenger, except that they were overcome by an external enemy, and their wealth was taken from them.
(5) And there was never a people whose leaders ruled by other than the book of Allaah, picking and choosing what they willed from His revelation except Allaah put strife between them.'”
So whoever desires free-mixing for his son, daughter, or one under his care, becomes no more than a fraudster or cheater.
Our Lord, the Exalted says in His Noble Book in the translated meaning of the verse:
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones.” (66:6)
And in Bukhaaree and Muslim from the hadeeth of Ma’qil ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “And there is not a servant that is given the responsibility of a flock by Allaah and he does not protect that flock with his guidance and aid, except that he will not find the fragrance of Paradise.”
All Praise for Allaah It is Known from These Proofs that Free-Mixing in Education is Not Permissible.
It is not permissible for the Muslim to enter his son or daughter or those he is responsible for (young or old) into these free-mixing environments.
Truly, this is schooling upon wrong-doing and spreads the ideas of the disbelievers, who are only taking the Muslims farther away from their true religion.
The translated meaning of what Allaah the Most High says:
“Neither those who disbelieve among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al-Mushrikoon (the idolaters, polytheists, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah, pagans) like that there should be sent down to you any good from your Lord.” (2:105)
And the translated meaning of what the Exalted says:
“They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another).” (4:89)
And the translated meaning of what the Exalted says:
“Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion.” (2:120)
Many of the Muslims, may Allaah guide them, would follow the disbelievers into a lizard’s hole, if it would enter it, as Al-Mustafaa (may The Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him) informed us. And by Allaah, the outcome and result of that are fatal and disastrous.
We ask Allaah to give success to those in charge of the affairs in removing this evil and other evils, and to protect our land (Yemen) and the rest of the Muslim lands from every (fitnah) trial.
Verily He is the Controller of everything and sufficient for us is Allaah, the Most Excellent of Protectors.
Yahyaa ibn ‘Alee Al-Hajooree
10th of Sha’ban 1423h