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A GUIDE TO MALE--FEMALE INTERACTION IN ISLAM

DR. HA'TEM AL-HAJ

P4:I �llmp

I II

I --!l.i.6JJ 4.IWI JI ;::JI

VSR UO) IN THE NAME OF

ALLAH THE ALL-COMPASSIONATE, ALL-MERCIFUL

W

|

A GUIDE TO

MALE-FEMALE INTERACTION IN ISLAM

Title:

A

Male-Female Interaction in Islam

Guide to

Author: Dr. Hatem al-Haj

English Edition

1

(2015)

Layout Design: IIPH, Egypt Branch

Cover Design: Manal Khalifa Ramadan

A GUIDE TO MALE-FEMALE INTERACTION IN ISLAM Cressey) Crd

Ay Gla

Le

SS.

871

3

Dr. Hatem al-Haj Rendered into English by a committee under the supervision of the author

ce aut ATS

Ay Lett hast INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC PUBLISHING HOUSE

Copyright © 2015 International Islamic Publishing House King Fahd National Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data al-Haj, Hatem

A Guide to Male-Female Interaction in Islam. /

Dr.

Hatem al-Haj — Riyadh, .

2015 160 pp ; 24cm 1- Islamic rulings 3- Islamic sociology

2- Social interaction - Islamic rulings I-

Title

305.31 dc

Legal Deposit no. 1435/2456 ISBN Hard cover: 978-603-501-242-3

All

rights reserved for the Publisher. No part of this book may be produced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the Publisher.

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the written permission of the Publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support is appreciated.

International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH) P.O. Box 55195 Riyadh 11534, Saudi Arabia Tel: 966 11 4650818 / 4647213 — Fax: 966 11 4633489 E-mail: [email protected][email protected] www.iiph.com www.iiph.com.sa |

Contents

ob gall

Pronunciation and

Transliteration Chart

9

Arabic Honorific Symbols Hadith Grade Terms

13

13

About the Word ‘Lord’

14

Is Copyright Applicable to Islamic Books?

15

Publisher’s Note

18

Introduction Introduction to the Paper Presented to the Sixth AMJA

19

Convention The Ruling on [khtilat

23

(Intermixing)

26

W vt

26

bm

28

YA

Ikhtildt in the language Ikhtilét in figh terminology

st,

The Evidence of Those Who Widen

of Permissibility

32

Evidence from the Qur’an Evidence from the Sunnah

32

37

Rational explanations

47

the Scope

dotic

\4

The Evidence of Those Who Narrow the Scope of Permissibility..... 50 Evidence from the Qur’an 50

Evidence from the Sunnah

54

Rational explanations:

61

Accord Restrictions that Are Not

66

Subject to Debate

67

dorcel

SM

daypoll

YY

a8, gS

gore

dais

Sl oe

byesVI

plas

Ce gal Voi

YY

TAI cy

¥v

awl oY

tv

rolls

eles Vol

Oe oT

al cy welts

og

“andl

1

Sabet

VW

o

ie welts 55

9

ae Y al Lal pall W

gle,

6

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

The prohibition of seclusion Keeping the ‘awrah covered

.... ....

67

W

67

W

Oyyll aw

v\

OIL mel ayrd

The prohibition of physical contact

71

B

The prohibition of mixed crowds

Le ell

and bodies touching; how to

in the mosques

75

Vo

Lowering the gaze

76

vi

Avoiding indecency and 76

joking around Minding the principle of

Details on Intermixing Age The type of situation

geld

The level of necessity

An Important Resolution of the Sixth Conference of the AMJA Secondly — Regarding the

.

Mixing in the Mosques Women’s Rows The rule:

he

ab lel

Pa Vays dled»

y

yh

VA

elastt

|

Dee 3 frais

A\

81

A\

lee!

82

AY

Jb! ble de> (3 His,

se xls

84

Ag

86

AN

dS Bead dank Li

AA

i>-LeSt

88

relationship between the two Genders:

93

dng

ay’

tll el gad pores Cll road reije

ay’

gy

93

99

BI

44

107

BL

3 IK oh

ye

Le

Vi (3 elas Ligive

asi oo be

rill

\eyv Ainge

108

oye

Lowe

107

Is it permissible for women to stand to the right or to the left of

men, or in front of them?

oe

PN

.

gi

cals penal ad

vi

81

chaotic settings

Belt 3

ras

The restrictions are, likewise, stricter in crowded and

The nature of the interaction

dla

ave

Laval

2)

women abiding in their homes and 78 that their homes need them

ol

Ladi, pol jail

ee

cet

foster a suitable environment

glo egps

.

le

55 sh

sll

Lad

5 5

ogi pee sl

gre Ske

I

7

Contents

When there is an option,

LEVI Se

doe KSOIL]

should a screen be used or not?. . 109

The legitimacy of the screen...

.115

+4

de

Yosh

\\o

aye

120

Preponderance

121

barrier or screen

122

Blocking the means to temptation Consideration of public welfare .127

Chatting and Online

. .

Youth’s Communication(s):

Ul de

(J) day

WY.

J

Ca geil

DI

dul

oc

pally

lly GUS Jym Aa)

Less

gf

de

‘old BeoJt aa che

UG

45

yl

lg

gti

sd lols

est)

ys

dosl>

139

Bibliography AMIJA Resolutions Sixth

144

JI

Uo

doleol!

‘v4 141

VEE el gad pores

dey

OLLI

Pb Dye pollo paigeJ

Annual Conference,

93

Montreal, Dhul-Qa‘dah 9 - 13, 1430 AH

CE

cle

phe

azall

136

Conclusion

October 28 - 31, 2009

je bedlas

‘vr

Fifthly: Regarding the Supervision of the

GU

Jo

05

\YV

Sixthly: Regarding beneficial audio or video programs that may

pine

5

Lucdhy«Sle

VYY

133

Correspondence

¢

file> Mali]

YN 126

be tainted with some violations

cat

\v)

Proofs of the legitimacy of the

fol

cersl

Is it lawful to set up a screen between men and women?

Cay

hed 150

Glossary of Islamic Terms

156

VY

eT) YA GH

\os



4

alll

oped

EM: a

She 150

oye

\oe

Firstly: Regarding the intermixing between men and women’

gt

NS

ey BIA

VI

J > Yl

gsi

Pronunciation and Transliteration Chart Arabic = script

:

7

short

|

longer ~~

Pronunciation ‘a’, as in cat

‘a’, as in cab (not as in cake)

Trans~_ literated form a

a

/b/ as in bell, rubber and tab

b

/t/ as in tap, mustard and sit

t

hort takes the sound

of the preceding

diacritical mark sometimes ending in h (when in pausal form): ah, ih or ooh; or atu(n), ati(n) or ata(n) when uninterrupted

(when followed | by another

Arabic word)

a

/th/ as in thing, maths and wealth

th

// as in jam, ajar and age

j

a ‘harsher’ sound than the English initial /h/, and may occur medially and in word-final position as

h

well

c

.

as in Bach (in German); may occur initially and . medially as well

kh

>

/d/ as in do, muddy and red

d

5

as in this, father and smooth

dh

5

/r/ as in raw,

arid and war; may also be a rolled ‘r’, as pronounced in Spanish

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

10

a

.

Arabic

seript

.... Pronunciation,

.........

Trans|

literated. form

J

/z/ as in zoo, easy and gaze

Zz

wv

/s/ as in so, messy and grass

s

wo

as in ship, ashes and rush

sh

no close equivalent in English, but may be

vw

PSica

approximated by pronouncing it as /sw/ or /s/ farther back in the mouth no close equivalent in English, but may be approximated by pronouncing it as /d/ farther

$

d

back in the mouth

4

no close equivalent in English, but may be approximated by pronouncing it as /t/ farther

t

back in the mouth Lb

no close equivalent in English, but may be approximated by pronouncing ‘the’ farther

dh

back in the mouth no close equivalent in English: a guttural sound in the back of the throat no close equivalent in English, but may be closely approximated by pronouncing it like the French /r/ in ‘rouge’

gh

a)

/f/ as in fill, effort and muff

f

e

no close equivalent in English, but may be approximated by pronouncing it as /k/ farther

q

back in the mouth

3

/k/ as in king, buckle and tack

k

J

/V as in lap, halo; in the word Allah, . . it becomes velarized as in ball

]

Pronunciation and transliteration chart

‘Arabic

script

|. Pronunciation...

11

Fransliterated form ©

f

/m/ as in men, simple and ram

m

0

/n/ as in net, ant and can

n

/h/ as in hat; unlike /h/ in English, in Arabic /h/ is pronounced in medial and

h

aw

word-final positions as well as in wet and away

3 3

long

S

S ®

long

‘u’, as in boot and too

Ww

00

as in yard and mayo

y

‘e’,

ee

as in eat,

beef and see

glottal stop: may be closely approximated by pro(omitted it like ‘t’ in the nouncing Cockney English pronun- | in initial ciation of butter: bu’er, or the stop sound in uh-oh! | position)

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

12

Diphthongs Trans-

rabic

Pronunciation

ipt

literate

form long

‘o’, as in owe, boat and go

au, aw

long

‘a’, as in aid, rain and say

ay, ai, el

Diacritical marks (tashkeel) Name of

a _

mark oy

fathah 2

kasrah

Pronunciation

Transliterated form

very short ‘a’ or schwa (unstressed vowel)

a

|

shorter version

of ee or schwa

(unstressed vowel)

i

2,

shorter version

of 00

u

dammah :

shaddah ;

sukoon

a doubled consonant is stressed in the word, and the length of the sound is also doubled

double

no vowel sound between consonants

absence of

or at the end

of a word

letter

vowel

|!

Arabic honorific symbols (8)

Subhdnahu wa Ta‘ald

The Exalted

(5)

salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

Blessings and peace be upon him

(8)

‘alayhi as-saldm

May peace be upon him

(&%)

radiya Allahu ‘anhu

May Allah be pleased with him

(@)

radiya Allahu ‘anha

May Allah be pleased with her

radiya Allahu ‘anhuma

May Allah be pleased with both of them

(883) |

(485) radiya Allahu ‘anhum (é&%)

radiya Allahu ‘anhunna

May Allah be pleased with all of them May Allah be pleased with all of them (females only)

Hadith grade terms Sound:

Saheeh

Reliable:

hasan

Weak:

da ‘eef

Odd:

ghareeb

Authentic:

includes sound, reliable, or any grade in between

Acceptable: sakat ‘anhu; the grader of the hadith did not comment on it, meaning that he found nothing unacceptable in it

About the Word ‘Lord’ The word lord in English has several related meanings. The original meaning is

‘master’ or ‘ruler’, and in this sense it is often used to refer to human beings: ‘the lord of the mansion’ or ‘Lord So-and-So’ (in the United Kingdom, for example). The word Lord with a capital L is used in the lexicon of Islam to refer to the One and Only God — Allah. In Islam, there is no ambiguity about the meaning of this word. While it is true that one may occasionally use the word /ord (whether capitalized or not) to refer to a human being, in Islamic discourse the reference of this term is always clear from the context. Whereas for Christians, Hindus and other polytheists, the word Lord with a capital L may refer to Allah, to Jesus or to some imagined deity, for Muslims, there can be no plurality of meaning. Allah alone is the Lord, and the Lord is Allah — not Jesus, not Rama, not any other being.

The Editor

Is Copyright Applicable to Islamic Books? Dome Muslims claim that they have a

‘right’ to pirate Islamic books, and to share, distribute or make use of such unauthorized copies of Islamic books, because they believe that “Islamic knowledge cannot be sold” or “There is no copyright on Islamic knowledge.”

There are strong opinions from highly respected scholars that say the opposite: that Islamic Sharia respects and supports the concept of copyright. (See the references below.)

The translation of a written work is in itself a work of authorship, and merits its own copyright, whether the text from whicha translation is prepared is a copyrighted work or in the public domain (not copyrighted). Copyright is not intended to deprive people of access to knowledge. On the contrary, the respect of copyright helps those involved in disseminating such beneficial knowledge to continue working to disseminate even more knowledge and beneficial information. In a fatwa issued by the Figh Council of the Muslim World League in Makkah,

it is stated:

That [an] author may spend most of his life writing a beneficial book, and publishing and selling it, then another person could take a copy of it and publish it by modern means of printing and photocopying, and he could sell it in competition with the author, or distribute it for free in order to become famous by means of distribution, and thus the author’s efforts would be wasted. The same may also be said of inventors.

This is something that could discourage people of knowledge and smart people from writing and inventing, when they see that their efforts are going to be stolen as soon as they appear, and people who put no effort into them as the original authors and inventors did will make a business out of selling them and compet-

ing with them. The situation changed with the development of new means and methods, which had a serious impact on the change from what things used to

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

16

be to how they have become, which requires us to examine anew how people’s

efforts and rights may be protected.

The author and inventor should have rights with regard to that which they have written and invented, and this right is something that belongs to them accord-

ing to sharee’ah. It is not permissible for anyone to take it away from them without their permission, provided that the book or research does not promote evil in any way, or contain bid’ah (innovation) or misguidance that is contrary to the laws

of Islam, otherwise it should be destroyed and it is not permissible

to publish it.

Similarly neither the publisher with whom the author makes a deal nor anyone else has the right to change any of the book’s content or to change anything else without the author’s consent... With regard to the author or inventor who is commissioned or hired by a publisher to write a book or by a company to invent something for it for a specific purpose, what he produces becomes the right of the company that hired him, and he is bound by the conditions that they agreed upon. Based on this fatwa, anyone who encourages the production of pirated versions — whether he/she is an investor, a printer, a distributor, a bookseller or a consumer — is sharing in this unlawful and unjust act.

Allah says: CY

Zs

5

gun)

46

Co

4

a4 ne

...95 Asis.wi

he

eg

are Sas Ts

AT Je

&

...And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression

(Qur’an 5: 2)

Copyrights serve to protect the work of all those involved in producing Islamic texts: authors, translators, Sharia revisers, researchers, editors, designproofreaders, ers and typesetters. Allah knows best.

The Editor

Is copyright applicable to Islamic books?

17

References: Beekun, Rafik. “Islam Forbids the Violation of Copyrights and Laws Regarding Intellectual Property.” The Islamic Workplace. http://theislamicworkplace.

com/2008/09/03/islam-forbids-the-violation-copyright-laws-and-lawsregarding-intellectual-property/.

IslamWeb. “Copyright laws.” Jslamweb English. http://www.islamweb.net/ emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option= Fatwald&Id=82812. Islam Q&A. “Ruling on buying copied computer programs.” /s/am-qga.com. http:// islamqa.info/en/81614.

Shaykh Assim al-Hakeem on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= copyright: RkOEnU-u0tc.

Library of Congress Copyright Office. Copyright in Derivative Works and Compilations. Washington, DC: U.S. Copyright Office, 2013 .http://copyright. gov/circs/circ14.pdf.

Publisher’s Note

An

praise and thanks belong to Allah alone, the One, the Almighty, and AllMerciful. Blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad, the last of His messengers and prophets, and upon his family, his Companions and all those who follow in his footsteps until the end of time.

Unrestricted gender interaction has become one of the major ills prevalent among the Muslims today. In fact, it has increased to such an unprecedented level that many do not even consider it to be wrong. Nowadays, it seems almost unavoidable, when co-educational institutions and mixed gender weddings are the norm. So what is the correct stance of Islam on this? Dr. Hatem al-Haj has presented a balanced view of mixed gender interaction detailing both the stricter and — more lenient views supported by Qur’anic verses, hadiths and scholarly opinions. It is hoped that this book will prove to be a useful resource in distinguishing between the kinds of interactions that are permissible and the ones that are totally forbidden, and in knowing how to conducting oneself when interacting with the opposite gender.

May Allah accept the efforts of all those who contributed to the production of this book, and may it be acceptable to Him, dmeen.

Muhammad Abdul Mohsin Al-Tuwaijri Managing Director International Islamic Publishing House Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

dotic

Introduction OW, begin with the name of Allah (Subhdnahu wa Ta ‘ald — Glorified and Exalted is He), to Whom all praise is due. We praise Him, and we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge

with Allah (4%) from the evil of our own selves. No one can misguide the one whom Allah (8) leads to the straight path. Similarly, no one can guide the one whom He allows to go astray. I bear witness that none is worthy of worship but Allah (8%) and that Muhammad wa sallam — (salla Allahu

Ohare AU)

degre Leal

i

yy

pb

Leos

cy UL Sprig

J fete 6

pes

agcly ANY) ches

a]

of

Y

60

alll

gals

Lol cad gen yg

gy

alll

okey cys

oa

sole

oie Moree of

‘alayhi

blessings and peace be upon him) is His slave and messenger.

The foundation of this book was a paper that I submitted to the sixth annual convention of the Assembly of Muslim

Jurists in America (AMJA). I was asked. to write about the intricacies of the relationship between the sexes as it relates to intermixing, exploring the issues of gender interaction in the mosque as well as in social and cultural gatherings. I was asked to probe such issues as the

exchange of affectionate emotions, the bringing together of teenagers of both

sexes at public conferences to allow them to get to know one another, the

establishing of co-educational Islamic

15yy

(le Alay Cils

roll pig

cored

GS

sad

lens

bb BOIS LK pol pl ol oe BU WIS OS Gd Ge pal ol doled! eZ SOY Sem perl opt

gad

dey

oye

Jolsg Cord doled

y

lace"Vi

olla

gl

Cyc) ol

pod

hall 68

Cored

cps

cd sLul )

Coal

oy

2

Lb

ver sly

20

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

schools, and whether there is a concession permitting men and women to shake hands in the West. WhenI felt that the honorable scholars had found the paper commendable, and since they had incorporated most of

corral!

PSI

Vpdacely

its recommendations in the resolutions

of the sixth convention, embarked on rewriting it. My intention was to make I

it appropriate for addressing the general

public, in the hope that Allah (8) might benefit those of my Muslim brothers and sisters who get a chance to read it. I also added two chapters to the original paper: one on mingling in the mosques and the issue

of partitions therein, and

the other pertaining to online interaction

elale

[guts elas

La p23

Sle]

3h

tgde

led

of

oat ley

fo

Le

ST

3

\

tel oF Cul

SUS 5

ed

oe

dal

poe

Lee

al

al ay BUGS Gols -cpolnell

dorludl

ly

op

36

lated

bed

holst ge PMs lg jel sel Lady de oe Aske gles (25 SY)

between the two genders.

The paper that was originally presented to AMJA was written in Arabic, as per the custom of the figh (islamic jurisprudence) assemblies.! When I decided to submit it for publication, I translated it into English because the primary audience is intended to be the Muslim community in the West. I had the help of other individuals in rendering the paper into English, but I have

carefully reviewed and corrected the whole translation. The fact that I am

corel

dediolt By

od]

tlre

OL

dg

PES

paid AU SI) Boy oF

bey

JVI

ad By

Sry hax

ll

Ons sa)

ya LS dy

ll Bb

BeoS

pall

Ny

UL

‘gil

ons OS caypean

ol oe sl

dolmaf

AL

Cotuly pan

ll JS carlros2S

eM

eee

' Wherever possible, Arabic terms have been translated into English. In cases where we have chosen to retain the Arabic, the transliterated word or phrase is shown in italics the first time it appears in the text; the term is also defined in the Glossary found at the end of this book. (Editor)

21

Introduction

the author

of the original work gave

me some liberty with the translation, so while it conveys the same concepts and

implications, it may not necessarily be faithful to the letter of the original work. As for the translation of the verses of the Qur’an, I have used the Saheeh International version throughout the book.”

I found it beneficial to keep the original Arabic as well as the translated English text together in one book. I hope that the students of knowledge, who usually like to review the original Arabic work, will appreciate that. I was happy to find my publisher, ITPH, concurring with this thought.

Through this book, I have attempted to collect as much evidence as I could to present the topic in question, and I have presented this evidence with as much impartiality as possible. I have tried to raise and discuss issues in light of the opinions of those who have been endowed with knowledge; at the same time, I have tried to explain in more detail anything I found ambiguous in their statements. All the issues have been simplified and categorized for appropriate presentation for the benefit of all those who wish to study this topic in detail.

2?

ly

Lee eB

SI AE «nity

ceed

CIS

SB

peat

pared

le

Ge

CaS Lely

OUS 13]

dor pl

law AST

UN dora ro Gils nb cee deei cere! JH al

ASI JS (3 Lol

dt

yal Illes

cosh

SU

al wy

ObS 3 ro!

sul Joly

Alb

J

Ope

Cd

ye

Jas) StS)U3 le 3ial 15s ALLJNy

Ilda lS

paw

cere sy

she]

UV

me Le

Guill

Sd

ball fal

dhay

dy

et IS

pear

as

geSoe JST

ce

re

ok

ued

Lia ON eee) culled) GUS Me (3 O95 Ls y

OF dee

GU Geely

gf

1S

Joly

LSS po

AT

Gye

Aine plan]

dol

Oly 095

oye

ogi sl

Saree

oe hel mail ob

plas

agale

Lad

deo

Saheeh International, The Qur’an: Arabic Text with Corresponding English Meanings (Jeddah: Abul-Qasim Publishing House, 1997).

22

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

Itis important to note that nothing in

4,3

this text can be considered to be the final

verdict on any topic unless it constitutes a verse from the Qur’an, an authentic Sunnah’ or a verifiable clear consensus of the scholars. Therefore, I implore my brothers and sisters to exercise caution in handling any ambivalent statements they may read, and to ask Allah (3) to forgive the writer for his mistakes. I also ask my readers to overlook the

Les

a5) d>-|

J gland! ole Prine are

Ny

Ly

try

tary

Uae oye

foes >pate P39 eoll es

errors and the ambiguities, and to adopt

only what conforms to Allah’s revelations and intent.

3

The lexical definition of Sunnah is: the way, or the followed example. In juridical terminology, it means a source for the whole religion: creed, legislation, manners, etc. It consists of the Prophet’s: -oral traditions: known as Hadith; some scholars have used ‘Sunnah’ and ‘Hadith’ interchangeably.

-actions: including those which he avoided. - tacit approvals: not forbidding an action that was performed in his presence or with his knowledge.

Introduction to the paper presented to the sixth AMJA convention OW, begin with the name of Allah

(48); all praise is due to Him. We praise Him, seek His help and beseech His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah (38) from the evil of our own selves. No one can misguide the one whom Allah (4) leads to the straight path. Similarly, no one can guide the one whom He allows

FM

deal

Ay

ll

a3,

day pill elgad

AU

dipped y bard Lents sy

ge

poled!

nb

dools

Ul:

A

pas cay I fae sgcl, ANY DY of

ei 45 9 il

to go astray. I bear witness that none is and worthy of worship but Allah

6

paw

4SI

ley

pe

abil co

Sprig

abl

ros

9

ogee

ugsl, ol

gota

v4) punyg

at

dene

oe shy

Poul

ale play fhe

pall

fal aly Je bas (go alot

(4)

that Muhammad (38%) is His slave and messenger. He conveyed the message

9

cha

from his Lord (8%) with perfection. He explained to us the rules of our religion with respect to every aspect of life; even

Lal

ctl

asl ors

gs

the People of the Book envied us for his

explanation. O Allah (8), send peace and blessings upon him, his household, his Companions and whoever follows his religion until the Day of Judgment.

Allah (8) has created human beings in two categories: male and female. He has made them equal with respect to their humanity, and He has addressed them equally with the commands and prohibitions of the religion. He settled

patel que UN

JEL

at glance

cde pS)

ANSE

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OSs Vs

BAN dns

ge

Laglery Leg

«ply

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cay Loe VI

1553

ty

GA

24

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

them in the land, and indeed the species

cannot continue unless the two sexes unite. As such, the nature of the relation-

ship between them and the limits and restrictions imposed on them must be understood with precision and mastery

rte

lee Ughlpds Lrogtoy

Odi] SA,

joey

Gel

sf

IBM

le

gill

y

fg

dogs

ORs VOY sid,

jbl

ade

Cin

and applied with resolve and excellence.

This is because an unbalanced understanding or application results in great

risk to the individual and the society alike.

The brothers responsible for the sixth annual AMJA convention have entrusted me with the task of speaking about the intricacies of the relationship between the sexes as it relates to inter-

mixing, whether in mosques or in social

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gathering of teenagers of both sexes at public conferences in order to allow them to get to know one another for the

purpose of marriage, the establishment of co-educational Islamic schools, and the permissibility of men and women

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It would not be an exaggeration to present the contributing issues under the title of ‘intricacies’, for this is a very complicated topic. In fact, know of no other issue in fiqh that is more challenging to maneuver than this one, in I

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Introduction to the paper presented to the sixth AMJA convention

terms

of the polarization and differ-

ences that occur amongst the callers to Islam because of it. It is almost as

if everyone who

speaks on the subject becomes guilty on one of two counts: extremism or laxity. O Allah (3€), grant us accuracy, success, ease and aid. [End

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this term. What do we mean when we

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efore I discuss the ruling on intermixing, it would be pertinent to define

others? Is it the gathering of men and women in one place, or is it men and

women speaking to one another? Does it connote a certain type of speech, joint

participation in a single activity, eating together, jointly attending a lesson or lecture, a gathering accompanied by entertainment, or a gathering with close physical contact? Or is it something else altogether?

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— meaning associates] oppress one

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

The multiplicity of those permitted forms and the wide range of situations necessitating such mixing constitute a detailed and important answer to the question of the intermixing of genders. This is particularly so because of the absence of a comprehensive definition that includes all forbidden forms and

excludes all permitted forms.

Ikhtilat in figh

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terminology The truth is that the term ‘ikhtilat’, or ‘intermixing’, cannot be found in the books of fiqh or in the language (terminology) of the figh scholars. Linguistic definitions — as I have previously mentioned — are not very helpful here either, because even though the meaning is obvious, this term includes a wide variety of situations. This term (in the form of a noun) has also not been used in the revealed textual sources in

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pinpointing the linguistic definition, the complexity remains.

The answer to this question is best left until the end of this paper, for the following two quotes by Imam anNawawi,° from his book al-Majmoo ‘, ©

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Muhiy ad-Deen Abu Zakariyé Yahy4 ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi (631-676 AH) was a lumi= nary jurist and scholar of Hadith (the collected statements and actions of Prophet

29

The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

elaborate on the reason behind not

issuing a general, unqualified ruling of permissibility or prohibition on intermixing; they also underscore the importance of avoiding generalizations when speaking about this challenging issue.

He (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Ibn al-Mundhir’ and others have

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that, with the Qur’an, form the basis of Islamic law) and Islamic history; he combined knowledge with practice. He was dedicated to worship and asceticism, and he was one of two scholars in the later generations considered to be the highest authorities in the Shafi‘i school. He was born in Nawa which was part of Syria. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ibraheem ibn al-Mundhir an-NaysAboori (242-319 AH) was a jurist, an erudite imam and superb memorizer of Hadith, and one of the shaykhs of Islam. He was born in Nishapur (in what is now Iran). ‘ Yahya ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi, al-Majmoo Sharh al-Muhadh-dhab (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1997), 4:404.

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

He also said: Among the repugnant innovations initiated by the common

folk during these times is the lighting of candles on Mount ‘Arafah on the night

of the ninth [of Dhul-Hijjah] or otherwise. They bring the candles from their countries for that [purpose], and they take great pains to safeguard them. This is a gross error in which they have combined several types of offenses, among which are wasting money on inappropriate things and exhibiting the rites of the Zoroastrians in safeguarding the fire; also included is the intermixing of men and women when there are candles in their midst and their faces are clearly

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mention the same issue in the same book as both permissible and reprehensible? The answer to this question will most

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certainly reveal itself in the following pages, by Allah’s leave. I will begin by presenting the evidence, and then I will go into detail by discussing the current situation and its implications. I do not normally 12

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The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

approve of dividing the discourse into two opposing sides, but I have taken this approach for ease in presenting the evidence. I will refer to the two sides as the ‘permitters’ and the ‘prohibiters’,!4 or more accurately: those who widen the

of permissibility and those who tighten it. Thereafter, I will assess the scope

superior position and present a detailed exposition, with the detailing perhaps

taking longer than the assessment. This is because people [of knowledge] agree upon more issues than they differ over; their differences, in many cases, are simply over the wordings of the issues. In coming up with a religious verdict, most of the real differences only appear

during the stage of tahgeegq al-mandf, or ascertaining the presence of ‘illah (an

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effective cause for the ruling).!> This occurs during the final stage of constructing the religious decree; it relies, for the most part, on an awareness of the actual situation and the application

of appropriate Islamic legal principles to new customs, norms and cases. '4 The reason for putting these terms in quotation marks is that the ‘permitters’ do in fact prohibit many forms of intermingling, just as the ‘prohibiters’ permit many forms;

therefore, dividing people into these two categories is impossible without a considerable amount of imprecision. 15

For example, the effective cause for prohibiting wine is its property of causing intoxication. If it is ascertained that a given substance is intoxicating, then this provides the basis for ruling that it is prohibited.

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

The evidence of those

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Hijab literally means to cover. It refers to concealing, through proper attire, the part of the body that must be screened from public view, or to the concealment of the entire body by a partition. In this book, we have used this word in the context of the first meaning unless specified otherwise. Broadly, hijab should be regarded as a prescribed system of attitudes and behavior regarding modesty and dignity.

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those who were lying.”° This is one type

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is supposed to take place in an open,

public space.

Allah, Most High, also says: €Those [of your] women who commit unlawful sexual intercourse — bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way.}

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tion used to be punished with house arrest until Allah (8%) specified that the penalty was flogging or stoning. Therefore, the confinement of women to their houses should not be considered the same as their ‘remaining’ in their houses. This is because the former is a punishment, whereas the latter is an honor, an elevation and a command from Allah, Most High, to the best of women: the Mothers of the Believers (the wives of the Prophet #3) and all Muslim women to come after them.

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This is an old practice used when two groups insisted on their opposing points of view; they challenged each other to meet so that both could ask Allah to curse the ones who were lying. In this particular incident, Prophet Muhammad (#8) took close members of his family with him. The Christians realized that he must be telling the truth about being a prophet, since he would not put his family in danger of being cursed by Allah if he was lying. (Editor)

34

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

is apparent in the biographies of the Prophet’s wives (may Allah be pleased with them all). It is known that they did venture outside their houses for various needs, but this did not necessarily entail the intermixing with men that most scholars have prohibited. Some of them have prohibited, or at least expressed their dislike of, women going out since that would lead to unavoidable types of intermixing; however, the best example was that of the first generation of Muslims.

Allah, Most High, mentions the

(

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wife, Sarah: And his wife was standing, and she smiled. Then We gave her good tidings

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of Isaac, and after Isaac, of Jacob.» (Qur’an 11: 71)

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The ruling on ikhtildt (intermixing)

Here is Zachariah (34%), the husband

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of the Qur’an:

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Allah, Most High, narrates the following about Moses (32%) and the two daughters

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

One might also object to the preceding evidence from the stories of the prophets because their practices were in accordance with their specific Sharia.! Nevertheless, the correct position in the

principles of jurisprudence is that the religious laws that came before us also apply to us, as long as our Sharia does not specifically abrogate them. So is the issue of intermixing one of the issues on which religious laws have differed? It may be true that our Sharia contains stricter measures of chastity and abstention (from sexual immorality) than were imposed on others before us. Indeed, Allah (3) has promised to preserve the Qur’an, while the other nations have corrupted their books. It is He Who has made the matter of malefemale relations stricter for us, because this particularfitnah (trial or temptation) was the most intense one for the previous nations. However, it is inconceivable that divine legislation should differ greatly over such issues since humans — their nature and their instincts — are the same as they were before, and since the five prime objectives of Sharia are also unchanged. One of these objectives includes the protection of lineage by ensuring that children are born within the family establishment. (The four

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37

The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

other objectives are the protection of religion, life, intellect and property.)

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pious and chaste. (The latter condition has been taken from the principles and other accounts of the Sunnah.)

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

38

On the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (4&3), the Prophet said:

(8)

«Do not prevent Allah’s slave-women from going to Allah’s mosques.» (Muslim)

Look at the beauty of his expression. He said ‘Allah’s slave-women’. Through this expression, the master of concise wording and comprehensive meaning undoubtedly intended to indicate great and noble meanings and to draw attention to the rights of women, who, like men, are ‘slaves of Allah’. Hence, He instructed that they should not be prevented from frequenting the houses of the Great Master, the Noble Lord, the Merciful and Beloved, Glorious be the Most High in His Majesty. There is also no doubt, however, that coming to mosques leads to some level of intermixing with men, because the women’s rows, even if they are behind the men’s rows, are not very far from

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you women, do not raise your heads until the men rise.» (Muslim) said:

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man came to Allah’s Messenger (#8) and said: Verily, I am hungry and

exhausted.

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Then, he sent to another (wife), and she said something similar, until all of them had said the same thing: No, by Him Who sent you with the truth, I have

nothing but water.

So he (88) said: Who will host this man tonight? May Allah have mercy on him.

Aman from the Ansar (the Muslim citizens of Madinah who gave refuge to the

(4)

and the other Muslim emiProphet grants from Makkah) stood up and said:

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He said: Then distract them (the children) with something, and when our guest enters, put out the lamp and make it look like we are eating. When

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40

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

he reaches out to eat, get up and go to the lamp to put it out.

He said: So they sat, and the guest ate. When morning came, the Ansari man went to the Prophet (38%), who said: Allah was well pleased with what you two did for your guest last night.»

(Muslim) In al-Muwatta’,”® it says that Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: Is it permissible for a man and his wife to eat with another man?

Malik replied: There is nothing wrong with that custom

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However, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allah have mercy on him) forbade men from eating with women from whom they were divorced. It could be argued that this was before the verses of hijab were revealed. The response is that the full hijab — as will be proven later — was legislated as an obligation on the Mothers of the Believers and as a recommendation for others. This issue is a matter of scholarly debate, as is well-known. Besides, the Mothers of the Believers went for Hajj (the major pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque in Makkah, to be undertaken by every able Muslim at least once in 26

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The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

a lifetime) and ‘umrah (a minor, nonobligatory pilgrimage to Makkah); they

were not confined to their homes even after those verses were revealed.

«It was reported on the authority of Fatimah bint Qays (radiya Alldhu ‘anha — may Allah be pleased with her), who said: I married Ibn al-Mugheerah, and he was at that time one of the best young

men of Quraysh (the dominant tribe in Makkah at the time of the Proph-

et’s mission; their society was based on polytheism). Then he was (fatally) wounded in the first jihad?’ with Allah’s

When I became a widow, ‘AbdurRahman ibn ‘Awf was one of a number of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (3%) who proposed to me. Allah’s Messenger proposed to me on behalf of his freed slave, Usimah ibn Zayd. I had been told that Allah’s Messenger (#48) had said: Whoever loves me, let him love Usdmah. So when Allah’s Messenger (382) spoke to me, I told him: My affair is in your hands, so marry me to whomever you

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

He said: Move in with Umm Shareek (until you finish your waiting period). Umm Shareek was a wealthy woman from the Ansar who used to spend a great deal in Allah’s cause, and

(¢)

she hosted many guests.

I said: I will do so.

Then he said (changing his mind): Do not do that. Verily, Umm Shareek is a woman who has many guests. Verily, I would not like for your head covering to fall from you, or for your garment to be lifted from your leg, allowing people to see of you something that you would dislike their seeing. Instead, move in with your paternal cousin, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Umm Maktoom (who was

blind).» (Muslim) As-Sha‘bi said:2? We visited Fatimah bint Qays; she welcomed us with fresh dates, called Jbn Tab, and she gave us a drink made from a type of grain. I asked her about woman who has been divorced three times and where a

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Abu ‘Amr Amir ibn Sharaheel ash-Sha‘bi (19-103AH) was one of the greatest narrators of Hadith from the generation of the tabi‘oon (those who knew or met any of the Companions and transmitted hadiths from them). He was called ‘the leader of the believers’ in terms of being a scholar of Hadith, which is the highest ranking amongst the scholars of that discipline. He was bornin Kufa in (currently 1 Iraq). ball

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not forbidden from doing that, though Fatimah was forbidden from staying

with her for that very reason; perhaps the difference in their ages was the rationale for that. When Fatimah grew older, she did as Umm Shareek used to

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slept and then woke up laughing.

She asked: What makes you laugh, O

Messenger ofAllah?

He replied: People from my Ummah (the entire global community of Muslims) were presented before me, waging war in Allah’s cause, riding the open sea like

kings on thrones. She said: O Messenger ofAllah, beseech

Allah to make me one of them. He prayed for her and then laid his head down again and slept. Then he woke up, laughing.

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Messenger of Allah?

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«It was reported on the authority ofAnas ibn Malik (25) that Allah’s Messenger (Be) used to visit Umm Haram bint Milhan (@%) while she was married to ‘Ubadah ibn Samit (4&;), and she would feed him (34).

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in Allah’s cause (as he had said the first

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She said: O Messenger ofAllah, beseech

Allah to make me one of them. He said: You are one of the first. Umm Haram bint Milhan sailed the sea during the time of Mu‘awiyah (4&3). Upon landing, she fell from her mount and died.» (Muslim) Here we see that Allah’s Messenger — in slept at this woman’s house the presence of others, of course — and she was asking him if she could be one

(3)

of those who ride the open sea, waging war. He did not condemn her for that.

On the contrary, he prayed for her as she asked, and Allah (8%) accepted his prayer. As for the claim that he is special in this regard, there is no evidence of that. The basic principle (the default) is that the ruling is general. The fact is that he is like a father to the believers; it is reported that the Prophet said:

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45

The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

for it was permissible for him to marry women from among them.

It was reported on the authority of Anas (4@), who said: On the day of the battle of Uhud, some of the people around the Prophet were defeated... and I saw ‘A’ishah bint Abu Bakr and Umm Sulaym. Verily, they were both lifting up their garments (such that) I could see the anklets on their legs while they were carrying water vessels on their backs, emptying them in their (the soldiers’)

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mouths, and returning to fill them up, then coming to empty them into the peo-

ple’s mouths. (Muslim)

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In this hadith, there is mention of intermixing of the women in the battle with their men in the midst of fighting, in order to bring them water and the like.*4

The battle of Uhud took place before the verses of hijab were revealed, but women continued to participate in battles afterwards. Imam Ahmad has related that six of the believing women were with the army that besieged

Khaybar, and the Prophet

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It was reported on the authority of Sahl who said:

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married, he invited the Prophet and his Companions. The one who made the food and served it to them was none other than Umm Usayd (the wife of Abu Usayd). She had soaked dried dates in a stone vessel overnight. When the Prophet finished the food, she mashed it and served it to him to drink, to show great hospitality.» (Bukhari)

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Hafidh ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani said: According to the hadith, it is permissible for woman to serve her husband and those whom he has invited. It goes without saying that this can happen only where there is both safety from temptation and adherence to appropriate attire concealing the ‘awrah (the part of a person’s body that must be screened from

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the people, enjoining good and forbid-

ding evil. (Recorded by at-Tabarani; alAlbani graded it reliable)

bel:

Rational explanations 1.

Some people claim that intermixing curbs the desires, disciplines the instincts, and prevents repressed emotions and psychological com-

plexes, and that separating the genders only makes the yearning

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However, the objectors might say that we have not seen intermixing prevent any sexual desire and intense need for the opposite sex in permis-

sive societies. On the contrary, it has only added to their chaos. In such societies, the rates of divorce and

marital infidelity, and even sexual deviance (such as homosexuality) are rising as a result of people’s consistent pursuit of the forbidden. Therefore, if we were to permit some of that which is forbidden, it would not curb people’s desires; it would merely feed their demand for

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said that prevention is better than cure, because stopping themselves is harder for those whose feet have already started to slide downa slippery slope. The longer it takes them to restrain themselves, the more quickly they will fall to the bottom. It will not be long before these individuals start clinging to others lest they fall alone; subsequently, all the

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people on that route will come crash-

ing down together. Intermixing provides an opportunity for a man to get to know a woman (in order to propose marriage) while she is commuting on the same route or is present at the same university or workplace; the percentage of unmarried women is rising in certain conservative societies due to the fact that few men can actually get to know women.

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testing of the hypothesis. One could

ask how we can be so sure that this is the sole reason why so many women remain unmarried. Ifjudged

impartially, other possible reasons might be the ever-rising cost of the wedding gift (dowry) presented by the groom to the bride, tribal loyalties, widespread unemployment in

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the Muslim world, and other factors.

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sphere, in the manner seen in certain societies, also lead to women being

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more unlikely to marry? Perhaps there is a grain of truth in this. .

The restriction of women to certain fields has wasted their potential and limited their abilities. Thousands of women were scholars, jurists and qualified muftis (scholars capable of issuing religious edicts) in the past; however, the present-day Ummah has been unable to produce the likes of such women. Hafidh ibn ‘Asakir himself acquired knowledge from three hundred women. Where are those women in our time? If one were to ask, “And where are the men who are like them?” there would be an element of truth to the objection. Nonetheless, it is no secret that the level of women’s education and general knowledge has declined to a far greater extent.

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tioned verses by the great Imams, not necessarily to concur with them on this particular edict.

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Objectors, on the other hand, may say that the generality of the ‘illah has been established from the implication of the verses. Therefore, Allah’s saying: That is purer for your hearts and their hearts} indicates a general ruling.

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However, the opposite could also be said, as per the following hadith, reported on the authority of Anas

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«‘Umar ibn al-Khattéb said: O Messenger of Allah! Both the pious and the immoral visit you, so what if you were to order the Mothers of the Believers with the hijab (to stay behind a curtain)? Allah, Most High, thereafter revealed the verse of the hijab.»

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(Bukhari) The context of the verses, along with the instructions preceding and following the one about talking from behind a screen ¢...do not enter the houses of the Prophet... or to marry his wives after

him}, all imply that the ruling is specifically for the wives of the Prophet (#8). The saying: ¢...That is purer for your hearts and their hearts... does not refer to marrying the Mothers of the Believers after the Prophet’s death, for this

could not be imagined about them. The ‘illah, we believe, is thus specific and not general.

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Perhaps the command about the hijab was revealed because many men used to enter the houses

(38),

of Allah’s Messenger

and since he was the foremost

teacher of the Ummah, he could not prevent them from doing so. Still, it was his right to feel assured that his women were protected and that those coming and going would not develop any inappropriate intentions in their hearts.

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

It is valid, however, to apply part of this ruling to all women who may

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attire at home. In this case, they should speak to strangers from behind a par-

sl

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tition. This was the understanding of Shaykh al-Albani (may Allah bestow

39 clare

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mercy on him).

Evidence from the Sunnah

oye

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Allah’s Messenger (34%) has said: «The prayer of a woman in (the family part of) her home is better than her

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prayer in the formal reception area, and her prayer in her own private quarters is better than her prayer in (the family part of) her home.» (Abu Dawood)

cn

In fact, the Mother of the Believers, ‘A’ishah (@), said:

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(going to) the mosque, just as the women of Bani (the children of) Israel were prevented. (Muslim)

(2) also said:

she

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Had Allah’s Messenger (3%) seen what the women have started to do, he would have prevented them from

The Prophet

eels

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4 The chain of narrators of this hadith is sound and according to the conditions of Imam Muslim. so

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55

The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

«The woman is ‘awrah, and when she goes out, the devil makes her appealing in the eyes of men.»*8 On the subject of the woman being ‘awrah, Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (may Allah have mercy on him) reported that athThawri* said, “A woman has no better place than her home, even if she is

elderly.” He further quoted ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (4%), who said, “A woman is ‘awrah, and the closest she gets to Allah is when she is in her own private quarters, for when she goes out, the devil makes her appealing in the eyes of men.”°°

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Ath-Thawri also said, “These days, I do not like for women to go out to the

Eid prayers.”>!

48

Ibn Khuzaymah declared this hadith to be weak, but al-Albani graded it sound. Abu ‘Abdullah Sufyan ibn Sa‘eed ibn Masroog ath-Thawri (97-161 AH) was one of the greatest of the generation after the tabi‘oon. He was called ‘the leader of the believers’ in terms of being a scholar of Hadith; this is the highest ranking amongst the scholars of that discipline. He was born in Kufa (currently in Iraq). 50 This hadith is graded as ‘elevated’, meaning that it is traced all the way back to the 49

Prophet (248). 51

Abu ‘Umar Yoosuf ibn ‘Abdullah an-Namari Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr, at-Tamheed lima filMuwatta’ min al-Ma ‘Gni wal-Asdneed, ed. Mustafa ibn Ahmad al-‘ Alawi and Muhammad ‘Abdul-Kabeer al-Bakri (Morocco: Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, 1967), 23:401-402.

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

It was reported on the authority that Allah’s

of Abu Hurayrah

(2)

Messenger (3%) said: «The best of the men’s rows are the first, and the worst are the last, while the best

of the women’s rows are the last, and the worst are the first.» (Muslim)

An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy

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on him) said about the prayers, “Indeed, .

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of the women attending

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with the Messenger were preferred due to their distance from intermixing with men, and the criticism of the first rows is the opposite.”

«Anas

(4) reported that his grand-

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mother, Mulaykah (@), invited Allah’s Messenger (34%) to share some food she

re tas

had cooked, so he (448) ate of it and then

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said: Stand, so that I may pray for you.

Anas ibn Malik (4%) said: So I stood and headed to a mat of ours, which had turned black from long use. I sprinkled it with water, and Allah’s Messenger

(38) stood upon it. An orphan boy and

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I formed a row behind him, and the elderly woman was behind us. Allah’s Messenger (348) led us in two units of prayer and then left.» (Muslim)

This elderly woman prayed behind her own grandson, which makes it clear

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The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

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that women can make rows behind

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men.

It was reported on the authority of Umm Salamah (@), who said:

«When Allah’s Messenger (3%) had

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5,25

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45.475

performed the tas/eem (the act of saying assalamu ‘alaykum, the Islamic greet-

29

ing that means ‘peace be upon you’ and indicates the end of the prayer), the women would stand immediately,

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while he would linger briefly before getting up. Ibn Shihab said: I see — and Allah

knows best — that

(#)

he would linger in order to let the women leave before the men could catch up with them.»

(Bukhari and Abu Dawood)

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«It was reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that Allah’s Messenger said: What if we designate this door for the women?

(4)

*

MEN (BF 506 Ui Le Jedi pl desl dell yl ob e ols)

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Nafi‘ said: Ibn ‘Umar did not enter through it for the rest of his life.» (A

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sound hadith recorded by Abu Dawood)

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Look at how the Prophet (#8) took precautions to prevent the intermixing of men with women even in mosques,

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of all spaces and the most beloved places on earth to Allah. He the purest

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

did this by separating the rows of the women from. those of the men, by remaining seated after the tasleem until the women had left, and by assigning a special door of the mosque to be used by women only. If such precautions were taken in the mosque, a pure place of worship in which men and women are the furthest from the provocation of desire, taking such measures elsewhere is undoubtedly important. It was reported on the authority of Ibn Jurayj, who said:

‘Ata’ informed

me that when Ibn

Hisham prevented women from performing the fawdf (circumambulation of the Kaaba, the House of Allah in Makkah) with men, ‘Ata asked: How does he prevent them when the wives of the Prophet performed tawaf with men?

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replied: Yes, most verily, I saw that after the hijab.

I asked: How did they intermingle with men?

He said: They did not intermingle. ‘A’ishah (@%) used to circle the Kaaba while separated from men (or to the side), not intermixing with them. A woman said: Let us kiss (or touch) the black stone, O Mother of the Believers. She replied: Forsake that, will you not? She herself refused. The female Compan-

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unnoticed at night and circle the Kaaba with men, but when they wanted to enter the House, they used to stand (wait for a

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while) until the men had come out. I [‘Ata’] would go to ‘A’ishah with ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr while she was staying inside the mount of Thabeer. I [Ibn Jurayj] asked: And what was her

hijab?

‘Ata’ said: She was in a

tent of Turkish

felt, with a light screen. There was nothing else between her and us besides that, and I saw on her a rose-colored garment. (Bukhari)

Hafidh ibn Hajar said in Fath ul-Bari: In the narration of al-Kushmeehani, [the word translated here as ‘separated’ is] hajzah, with the letter ‘zay’ [not hajrah, which would mean ‘to the side’], which is the narration of ‘Abdur-Razzaq. He explained it at the end, saying: It means separated from the men bya curtain.*° I referred back to al-Musannaf™ and found the explanation of ‘hajzah’ towards the end of Umm Salamah’s hadith, which

59

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

60

follows this hadith of ‘A’ishah (@§) and describes the same events.

This hadith is the basis for the prescription of having a barrier between men and women during tawaf and in prayer, because the Mother of the Believers did so in the presence of the Companions, and no one disputed with

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tell the women: Stay back; it is not for you to walk in the middle of the road. Keep to the sides of the street. After that, woman would stick to the wall so closely while walking that her clothes could catch on

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The Messenger (38%) said: «I have not left after me any fitnah more harmful to men than women.» (Muslim) 64

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Related by Abu Dawood. Declared weak by a group of scholars, among whom are Ibn Qattén in al-Wahm wal-ee’hdm and Ibn Muflih in al-Adab ash-Sharee ‘ah. Al-Hafidh declared it to be reliable in Hiddyat ar-Ruwdh, and so did al-Albani in Saheeh Abu Déwood. Abu Dawood remained silent about it.

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The ruling on ikhtildt (intermixing)

The hadith above contains clear instructions for those who are concemed about their faith to avoid places

of ruin and to seek refuge in the fortress of pious caution. Its content should deter every mufti, however well-intentioned, from venturing into matters of

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Blocking the means

One of the rules of the pure divine law is that ifAllah (4%) prohibits something, He also prohibits the ways and means which lead to it. The Most High has said:

And do not approach unlawful sexual

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(Qur'an 17: 32)

The temptation of desire between the sexes is a great danger, so it is essential to be firm in cutting off all means to it. In this respect, al-Kas4ni has said, “Since women’s going out is undoubtedly a cause of fitnah, and fitnah is hardém, then whatever leads to harém is haram.”®7

67

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

62

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him)® said:

There is no doubt that enabling women to intermingle with men is

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of the greatest causes

for general punishments to be sent down. Also, it is one of the causes of

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is one of the causes of rampant sin and unlawful sex, which in turn leads to mass mortality and continuous epidemics. When the prostitutes intermingled with Moses’ soldiers and illicit sexual relations became widespread, Allah sent a plague upon them, and seventy thousand of them died in one day.”

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destruction, both public and individual. Men’s intermixing with women

2. Dissatisfaction with one’s husband

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the basis for every affliction and evil,

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Shams ud-Deen Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, known as Ibn al-Qayyim, was a Hanbali jurist and a student of Imam Ibn Taymiyah. He was an erudite encyclopaedic researcher and one of the greatest reformers and scholars, given to devotion. He was able to purify the matters of purification of the soul from the excesses of some of the scholars of the discipline who were less able to verify information. He was born in Damascus in 691 AH and died there in 751 AH. 7 Abu ‘Abdullah Shams ud-Deen Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr Ibn al-Qayyim, af-Turug

al-Hukmiyah fis-Siydsat ash-Shar ‘eeah, ed. Muhammad Jameel Ghazi (Cairo: Matba‘at al-Madani, n.d.), 407-408. Ul wl LAIN e553) dae oy Sal oy JS col gy teres ae yl ed ya (VY)

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63

The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

This is happening in reality, and it is easy to behold. People are at their best and in full form in front of stran-

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gers, but while in their house, they are somewhat less than that. So perhaps a man sees his friend’s wife and admires

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of her voice, the delicacy of her frame, the sway of her walk, or even the excellence of her manners and the superiority of her intellect. Meanwhile, this woman looks at the husband of her

lest

the softness

gl Laud

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sister or her friend and likes his sound

logic, his stylish clothing, the respect he commands, or something else. People’s eyes inevitably wander to what is in the hands of others. Thus, families who are afflicted by complacency in this issue, who sit all evening chatting in mixed company, will come to witness unenvi-

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able consequences. 3. Someone might be able to keep himself in line, but he can never

guarantee the feelings of others. Indeed, another person’s attachment to him might bring about harm for him, even if he does not show the same feelings in return. 4. Frequent mingling may lead to a loss of men’s integrity and the dimin-

ishment of their manliness, to the point of becoming effeminate in the way they sit and talk, in their body language, and in terms of gestures and both voluntary and involuntary

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64

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

movements. It might also lead to women being very audacious and less modest. Although men and women should share the qualities of courage and mercy and confidence and sympathy, among other human virtues, there is a difference that must be maintained. Harmony of the family and the society cannot exist without recognizing this difference between men and women — a difference not only in their physical makeup, but also in their emotional and behavioral composition. Indeed, this is one of the conditions for obtaining perfect balance

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between gender roles. .

The permitters argue that intermixing curbs the desires, disciplines the instincts and protects against repressed emotions and psychological complexes. The more conservative scholars replied to this argument by pointing out that none of that has happened in societies where intermixing and such permissiveness is common. On the contrary, it has

just made the situation worse. Each year, in the U.S. alone, there are more than 200,000 people who are subjected to rape or sexual assault, and this number does not include victims under the age of twelve. Someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes; 38% of the rapists are

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65

The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

friends or acquaintances, and 7% are relatives. More than half of these incidents take place at the victim’s home or within a mile of it.”

And it doesn’t stop there. In the United States alone, more than 100,000 children are waiting for families to adopt them because they have no parents to 74 take ca of >

>

that Muslims want any of te Mes in for their communities, whether the

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West or the East? We must remember that reactionary responses are behind most of the deviation from the moder-

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of the religion.

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“Statistics”, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), accessed January 25, 2012, http://www.rainn.org/statistics. “Trends in Foster Care and Adoption—FY 2002-FY 2010”, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, accessed January 25, 2012, http://www.acf.bhs.

gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/trends_june2011.pdf. “Statistics”, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), accessed January 25, 2012, http://www.rainn.org/statistics. 76 “Trends in Foster Care and Adoption—FY 2002-FY 2010”, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, accessed January 25, 2012, http://www.acf.hhs. 7%

gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/trends_june2011.pdf.

66

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

Sig

Accord CP eIsnaps it appears from the previous exposition of evidence that it is not possible to issue a single ruling on some-

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eh

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thing called ‘ikhtilat’, or ‘intermixing’, without explanation and detail.

«Srey

Obey

It also appears that the ruling on men interacting with women differs according to the ages of the individuals involved, the type of situation, the

Skeyl Loe!

nature of the interaction and the level of

necessity for it. Before going into detail, it is necessary to specify certain guide-

lines over which there should, ideally, be no differences.

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67

The ruling on ikhtildt (intermixing)

Restrictions that are not subject to debate

tebe,

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The prohibition of seclusion ' Tris is a matter of consensus as per the following hadith, where the Prophet

(34)

4

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said:

«No man should ever be alone with a

7

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«

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woman except when she has a mahram (non-matriageable male relative) with her.» (Muslim)

Keeping the ‘awrah covered

Allah (8) has said:

Jb

:

4... and not expose their adornment except to their husbands...

BEI ae [Y)

24: 31)

Hijab is a code of conduct to be followed, not just a garment to be worn. It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to find ways to display those

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

68

parts of her adornment which should remain covered, nor should she do any-

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seductive and may cause men to sinfully incline towards her. The Most High has said:

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And let them not stamp their feet to

pias

make known what they conceal of their adornment. ..}

(Qur’an 24: 31)

She should also not converse with men in a soft, flirtatious voice; instead she should speak in a businesslike, serious and respectable way. On this point, Allah (8) has said: do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should

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For a woman, lowering the voice is

of expressing her good manners. Allah’s Messenger (#8) also indicated this when he told the men:

«Why is it that I have seen you clapping so much? Whoever has a concern in his

prayer should say: Subhdan Allah (Glory be to Allah), for verily, if he says this,

will be noticed. Surely, clapping is

for women.» (Muslim)

This hadith is about what to do during prayer, yet it indicates the difference between the voice of a woman and 78

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that

of man. Nevertheless, this does a

not in any way mean that woman may

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not speak in the mosque. On the contrary, she may engage in discussion and

offer arguments.

Take, for example, al-Mujddilah (meaning ‘the woman who disputed’). Her Lord heard her from above the seven heavens. She had come to com-

(2),

the best of His plain to the Prophet creation and the head of the leaders and scholars, concerning an incident that

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had taken place between her husband and her. Contrast this with Paul, whom

Christians consider to be an apostle. He ordered women to remain silent in the church, while Muhammad (38), the apostle of truth and guidance, let women dispute with him. In the case

of this woman, her Lord (##) defended her and supported her argument with Qur’anic verses to be recited until the

of this world. Her case has been immortalized, for even the name of this chapter of the Qur’an (Chapter 58, alMujadilah) reminds us of her. end

Returning to the topic at hand, women have been instructed not to walk with a swaying gait or to allow their manner of walking to contain anything which attracts men’s attention towards them. Allah’s Messenger

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(#4) said about these women who sway incline towards them:

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camels leaning over to one side. They will not enter paradise, nor will they find its scent, even though its scent is surely present at a distance of such-and-such and such-and-such.» (Muslim)

Women should not wear perfume or clothing that draws attention for being distinctively unique. In a hadith:

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unscented [and the hadiths on this topic are many], and because if she wears perfume and attractive, distinctive clothing, this invites corruption.”*!

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The prohibition of physical contact The scholars of figh are in agreement about the prohibition of non-mahram individuals of opposite sexes touching

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elderly men or women.

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requires some detail.

First of all, without a doubt, one’s location and the implications of conforming to or rejecting certain practices might affect the Islamic ruling. Waiving the Islamic penal code can only be done during exceptional circumstances, such as during times of war. In the same vein is what Imam Ibn Taymiyah* (may Allah have mercy on him) has mentioned about following the disbelievers

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Shaykh ul-Islam, Taqiy ud-Deen Ahmad ibn Mufti ‘Abdul-Haleem ibn al-Majd Abi alBarakat ‘Abdus-Salam ibn Taymiyah (661-728 AH) was a Hanbali jurist, a great reformist, encyclopaedic researcher, prolific writer and jurist who was able to verify information. He participated in the jihad against the Mongols and also led an intellectual jihad against innovation in the religion and corruption in politics. He was born in Harran (in

Syria). de

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

in terms of their outward appearance in their lands.

He said: Today if Muslims are in the abode of war, or in the abode of disbelievers who are non-combatants [that is, the abode of treaty], they are not commanded to contradict the disbelievers in their outward appearance, since that would bring them harm. Rather, it might be preferable or obligatory to conform sometimes in outward appearance if there would be a religious benefit in that, in terms of calling the people to Islam or seeing their affairs from the inside in order to inform the Muslims about

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that [in the abode of war], to prevent them from harming the Muslims, or

anything of the sort from among pious objectives.**

It must be noted that the words of the

Shaykh of Islam do not sanction abandoning obligations or doing anything prohibited. The fact that one has relocated to another country is no excuse to start committing sins, indulge in prohibited acts or neglect religious injunctions and obligations, thus combining migration away from the lands of Islam with greater sins which will necessarily take one further away from Allah

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The ruling on ikhtildt (intermixing) (4%). Scholars of figh have agreed that Muslims are accountable for the rites and injunctions of Islam in any location, except in cases where there are dif-

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ferences concerning some transactions, and that is not our concern here.

Secondly, if the intention is to apply this culture to that of the Muslims, then there is nothing more obviously corrupt than this point of view. If the intent is to attach little importance to this issue with non-Muslims, this is also corrupt. However, if what is intended is to make certain exceptions to avoid great embarrassment should a Muslim be approached for a handshake, then perhaps the matter is less serious, for

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the following reasons:

There is no doubt that the strength of the ruling depends on the weight of the evidence, in terms of authenticity and

textual implications. Concerning the prohibition of shaking hands with the opposite gender, the Prophet

(£) said:

«Indeed, I do not shake hands with women.»”?

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three categories: prohibited, disliked and another layer that is between dis-

liked and merely permissible (so that *

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74

even

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

if it is not clear that the action is

disliked, a person with a strong commitment to religion and a high level of integrity would choose not to do it). It is closer to being disliked, though, because this situation required the Prophet (#2) to take the pledge of allegiance from women and not put them in an embarrassing position. Thus his act (of not shaking hands with women) was not simply out of a desire to preserve the

highest level of integrity; therefore, the ruling falls somewhere between being disliked and being prohibited. What is certain is that it is at least disliked.

The Prophet (88) also said: «That a man be speared through the head with an iron needle would be better than for him to touch a woman who is not permissible for him.»”! -

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is most frequently used to refer to sexual intercourse.

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The ruling on ikhtilat (intermixing)

degree than something that is prohibited in itself for its essence.

The agreement of our jurists on the prohibition of men shaking hands with young women and vice versa is enough for us to refrain from this act which is, without doubt, not a practice of the Muslims, and which does open the door to greater evils. Muslims must not be the first to extend their hand. They must let those around them — their neighbors

or co-workers — know that they do not

shake hands with members of the oppo-

site sex. However, if they were to shake hands on rare occasions when someone

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initiates a handshake, in order to avoid some sort of significant embarrassment, we hope that they would be forgiven.

The prohibition of mixed crowds and bodies touching; how to foster a suitable environment in the mosques

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

aforementioned narration of ‘A’ishah (@%) about when she refrained from kissing the black stone, in which we find that “...when they wanted to enter the House, they used to stand (wait for a while) until the men had come out...”

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The Most High has said:

Tell

the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what

they do. And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts

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Avoiding indecency and joking around should raise their sons and daughters to be modest, for that is the signature characteristic of Islam. Allah’s Messenger (#8) said:

«Verily, every religion has its signature characteristic, and the signature

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characteristic of Islam is modesty.» (Recorded by Ibn Majah with a reliable chain of narrators)

It follows from this hadith that they should refrain from indecent and obscene speech. They should also avoid laughing and joking together, for Satan is never closer to their hearts than when they are in this state in informal mixed gatherings. This point is usually countered with the following report:

The Prophet (8%) joked with a woman about her husband, saying (according to his biographers): Your husband is the one whose eyes are white

(customarily meaning blinded by cataracts, but he meant the normal white of the eye).

There is disagreement over this hadith, as al-‘Iraqi mentioned in his revision and annotation of Ihyd’ ‘Uloom ad-Deen. Even if one supposes it to be sound, the situation of the Prophet (%) with this woman is in no way similar to boys and girls getting together to laugh and joke around. As for elderly women, there is nothing wrong with speaking to them in jest. On the contrary, it may even be recommended in certain situations. In fact, Allah’s Messenger himself (#4) also did so, and it was only a result of his good manners and humility.

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

Minding the principle of women abiding in their

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It is permissible for woman to leave her home to study, work or fulfill other a

needs, as per the following hadith:

«When the maternal aunt of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with them) was divorced, and she wanted to leave her home to attend to her palm trees, a man reprimanded her for going out during

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She went to the Prophet who told her: No, attend to your date palms (it said pick, and she was most likely going to observe the picking), for perhaps you will give charity or do something good.» (Muslim)

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we should not be neglectful of the default instruction of remaining at home. The hadith specifying that it is better for a woman to pray inside her

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home also issues a warning to women not to come and go frequently, visit-

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ing one place after another as some women do. This would not allow her to take care of the house. For instance,

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The ruling on ikhtildt (intermixing)

if she were to pray all five prayers at the mosque, what would remain

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warning of scholars such as Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) regard-

ing frequenting the mosque is important and beneficial; it should not be ignored or overlooked.

Women working outside the home should not be regarded as the norm, even if it is permissible. Making working women the norm in households in the West has led to enormous drawbacks, froma rise in the divorce rate to the disintegration of the family. Neglect of childrenis another consequence that

has emerged, subjecting many of the young ones to psychological and behav-

ioral disorders in addition to obstructing their learning process. In fact, the issue has even contributed to the spread of medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure, resulting from massive changes in the

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types of food eaten and froma reliance on fast food.

In the same vein, even a woman who

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

84% about and calling to Islam) should not neglect the rights of her house, her.

husband and her children, especially the young ones, despite the intensity of

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the Ummah’s need for her. We hope that

her husband

reward

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if he supports her.

What we have said here is not only according to Sharia; it is also in line . . ? . with reason and intuitive knowledge.

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etailed clarification on the issue of

intermixing must be derived froma fair, impartial and thorough study of the evidence. This must be considered in totality whenever possible, without neglecting any aspect and without deriving an

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of it. It appears to me — as I have said previously — that the ruling on the intermixing of men and women differs according to the age of the men and women involved, the type of situation, the nature of the interaction and the degree of necessity. The following are the details and explanations in that

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regard:

Age It seems that there is some relaxation in the matter of intermixing with the advancing age of those involved, even if the woman is not post-menopausal. There is an undeniable difference between a sixteen year old and a fifty year old. As a woman reaches an advanced age, becoming less interested

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in sex and less sexually tempting to men, there is a greater relaxation of the

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The same is the case with a man whose hair has turned white and who has reached an extremely old age.

This can be derived from many reports, including the Prophet’s permission for Umm Shareek to be inundated

with guests, while he prevented Fatimah from spending her waiting period there because of the same guests. There was also Samra’ bint Nuhayk, who was an elderly woman when she assumed the responsibility for enjoin-

ing good and forbidding evil in the marketplace.

Also noteworthy are instances such as the Prophet (3%) jesting with the elderly woman, Zachariah (34%) visiting Maryam in her prayer room, Sarah

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standing before her husband’s two guests, and others.

The type of situation It seems that the scholars are stricter concerning the matter of intermixing in situations of play, entertainment, foolish recreation, and joyous occasions such as weddings and birth celebrations.

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Details on intermixing

Al-Hamawi (may Allah have mercy

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on him)” said:

The correct opinion is that weddings are not disliked as long as they do not involve anything hardm, as it says in al-Fath. I say: It is haram in our times, not just disliked, as a result of matters that are no secret, one of which is the intermixing of women with men.” Ibn Farhown (may Allah have mercy

on him) has said, regarding wedding ceremonies in which men and women

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mony for each other will no longer be accepted, especially if the wedding contains that which the Legislator (Allah) has prohibited. That is because when women attend such events, their credibility is lost.

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Keep in mind that Umm Usayd, as a hostess, served the Prophet (4%) and his companions, but that does not mean that there was mixing of both genders or

even that she herself stayed there after serving them. Moreover, the rarity of that occurrence was what made the nar-

rator interested in mentioning it.

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Shihab ud-Deen Abu al-‘Abbés Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Hussayni al-Hamawi al-Misri al-Hanafi died in Egypt in 1098 AH. Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Hussayni al-Hamawi, Ghamz ‘Uyown al-Basd’ir (Beirut:

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The restrictions are, likewise, stricter in crowded and chaotic settings In this respect, as-Sarkhasi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

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present their case alone and then let the men present their case alone, because people crowd together in his assembly, while the fitnah and indecency that results from the intermixing of women and men in a crowd is

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no secret. That could only be when the dispute is between two women,

though. If the dispute is between men and women, there would be no other alternative than to present their case with the men.'°!

Also in this category are funerals, about which Ibn al-H4j (may Allah have

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for situations of distress and destruction.' In addition, an-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Among the repugnant innovations initiated by the common folk during these times is the lighting of candles on Mount ‘Arafah on the night of the ninth

[of Dhul-Hijjah] or other-

wise. They bring the candles from their countries for that [purpose], and they take great pains to safeguard them. This is a gross error in which they have combined several

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types of offenses, among which are wasting money on inappropriate things and exhibiting the rites of the Zoroastrians in safeguarding the fire; also included is the intermixing of men and women when there are

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candles in their midst and their faces are clearly visible.'!™

This is not the same as being in the mosque, as an-Nawawi himself says concerning women who pray the Friday prayer there, “Intermixing of women with men, if it is not in seclusion, is not haram.”?!

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What we have mentioned is the correct stance, for certainly the gathering of men and women in close proximity, or with their bodies touch-

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ing, pressed up against one another, is among the causes of temptation and arousal of desire. I implore my brothers and sisters not to fall prey to what the mainstream media and some of the public claims about self-restraint; they declare any degree of intermixing to be manageable and without any harm.

woman to serve her husband’s guests if it is not done on a regular basis. Abu

Usayd’s wife served food and drink

(4)

to the Prophet and his Companions on a special occasion, merely to show him hospitality on her wedding day. It was not their custom, or else the matter would not have been notewor-

thy enough for the narrator to mention, “And no one made the food, or served it to them, but his wife herself.”

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The nature of the interaction Without doubt, there is a difference between men and women gathering in the mosque to discuss an issue or to organize certain da‘wah activities, and families sitting in their homes to eat and spend the evening in idle chit-chat. It may be permissible for a

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There is also the hadith of the hungry and exhausted man, but he was a poor, tired stranger. They put out the lamp, and perhaps the wife was at one end of the room, far from the two men, in which

case there would be nothing wrong with the situation. Eating together at the same table, with women facing the men, should not happen — because how

can we lower our gaze while sitting for a

long time at the same table facing each other? As for the women being in the same room, there is nothing wrong with that if they distance themselves from the men.

(This is the correct understanding if one does not consider the verses of hijab to abrogate the rulings deduced from this hadith and many others that were

not clearly reported to have occurred after the revelation of the verses about the hijab in the chapter of the Qur’an chapter named al-Ahzdb. What is superior among the various scholarly opinions, in my assessment, is the lack of

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abrogation, for reconciliation between the texts is possible. Note that the hijab mentioned in the verse means to have a

screen between men and women, which is applicable according to some scholars, such as Shaykh al-Alb4ni, to all

women at home, since they would not be fully covered there.)

In the case of gathering in the mosque, there must be some distance

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

between the seating areas of men and women. Facing each other should be

avoided as much as possible in order to guard their modesty and to aid both groups in lowering their gaze and guarding the purity of their hearts. The following diagram shows an example of the type of distance intended to avoid face-to-face seating.

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The level of necessity There are many different needs which might call for some sort of intermixing. For example, in the case of warfare, the women’s going out was not necessary, because it was not the case that the men went all at once to fight, leaving only the women to provide medical and nursing care.

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Details on intermixing

There is a distinction between need (hdjah) and necessity (daroorah, meaning that which is required for

human survival, without which one’s life, organs or senses would be in

danger). Need — not necessity — is apparent in the hadith about the Prophet (388) offering Asma’ (es) a ride on his camel while he was with a group of the Ansar. She understood that he wanted her to ride behind him, and that was because of who he was; he was older than her father and he could see that carrying the date stones for Zubayr’s

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Muslim woman stranded along the way, he should not let his sense of pious caution allow him to leave her without

offering to help. Of course, he should lower his gaze and limit himself to either ensuring that she gets what she needs or leading her to a safe place.

33 WSS G3!

It is not pious caution to leave old women alone at home without any mon-

itoring or care.

Imam Malik was asked about an elderly, unmarried woman who seeks a man’s help, so he does what she needs and offers his services, “Would you consider this a good deed?” He said, “There is nothing wrong with it — although it is more favorable to me if he gets someone else to go with him — for if

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

people leave her, she will perish.” Ibn Rushd said, “This is the case if he averts

his gaze from what he is not permitted to look at.”

A woman may go out of her house to participate in acts of goodness, to acquire knowledge or to fulfill her needs

from the marketplace. It is permissible for her to attend the daily congrega-

tional prayers, the Friday congregational prayer, and the two Eid prayers, along with the obligatory Hajj. In fact, some scholars have even permitted her to travel in the company of pious men.

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Likewise, it is permissible for her to deal with men while buying and selling, renting accommodation and so on.

Also counted among the needs for which a woman may leave her home is the need of a single woman to get married, so if she attends Islamic conferences and meetings with chastity and

reserve, in order to become known and interact with people, that would be per-

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blies. Also, there were some among the female Companions who would beau-

tify themselves in order to receive marriage proposals.

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nessed Badr. He passed away during the farewell pilgrimage, while she was pregnant. (Note that this was long after the revelation of the hijab verses.) Not long after his death, she gave birth. When she

saw that her post-partum bleeding had safely come to an end, she beautified herself to receive marriage proposals. (It has been added, in a version by Ahmad,

that she applied kohl. In a report by Ibn Is-haq, deemed sound by al-Albani, it

has been said that she applied henna to her hands.)

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beautified yourself? Perhaps you hope to get married? By Allah! You are not

going to get married until four months and ten days have passed! (Notice that this was long after the revelation of the hijab verses, yet Subay‘ah had beautified herself and let herself be seen by this man without a screen separating them.)

Subay‘ah said: After he said that to me, I gathered my clothes when night fell, went to Allah’s Messenger (3%) and asked him about that. He ruled for me that it had become permissible for me to marry whenI gave birth, and he ordered

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

(allowed) me to get married if I saw fit to do so.» (Muslim and Ahmad) It appears that there is an element of tolerance for the unmarried woman who wants to get married. Based on that, there is no proof for prohibiting the practices of some Islamic institutions who gather large crowds of those seeking to get married with their parents in a large hall, allowing each of them to speak for several minutes to more than one young man or woman. Whether individuals reject or accept this practice is entirely their personal choice, based on differences in custom, environment and other personal considerations. Certainly if a woman already has suitors coming to her door and is not in need of this because of what is known of her beauty, her having memorized the Qur’an, her being active in da‘wah or otherwise, then it is better for her not to visit these conferences for that purpose. It goes without saying that such organizations should not neglect this issue and should do their best to minimize the need for Muslim women to speak to many seekers at a time. This could be done by various means, including matching the individuals based on matrimonial forms filled out prior to the conference, thereby decreasing the number of brothers each sister may need

to meet and vice versa. In this way, they

would acknowledge the modesty of the Muslim woman and safeguard her pride.

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exchange of emotional expressions before marriage is impermissible due to its being a means to tribulation and a medium

for falling into fornication. This is especially so in this age of ours where the authority of religion in the souls has weakened, the morals have been corrupted, and the virtuous principles have declined. There is no harm in speaking with a foreign

(non-mahram) woman in goodness if there is no seclusion or doubt (i.e. fear of temptation) and there is a

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This is the original text of the AMJA resolution, which can be found at the AMJA website:http://amjaonline.org/2009/11/decisions-and-recommendations-ofamja%E2%80%99s-sixth-annual-convention-canada/. None of the texts quoted from this website have been altered. Note that in this book, the topics are not discussed in the same sequence seen in the AMJA resolutions. (Editor)

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

94 -

There is no harm in the communication of the two genders in goodness if there be a need and an absence of doubt. We advise that one of the guardians takes part in the correspondence so.as to repel the possibility of (falling under the ruling of) seclusion. As for simple chit-chat and spending time (together), then this is of the means of tribulation, and

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AMIA resolution] Another need is acquiring education, but in this matter, people frequently fall into either excess or laxity, and this is

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nothing new. In fact, Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allah have

mercy on him) said: It is a form of innovation in the religion for motivational speakers, who discuss the religion primarily through storytelling, to gather men and women together; strange and shocking things occur in these gatherings from the intermixing of women and men, to the women raising their voices while shouting

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An important resolution of the sixth conference of the AMJA

wailing, and so forth. However, and if a woman wants to attend a beneficial gathering without drawing attention to herself, unadorned, with her husband’s permission, keeping her distance from men and intending to act upon what is said, not just to listen for entertainment, ? the matter would be close [to being permissible], although with risk. We only things of this sort because permit staying away from hearing beneficial reminders only reinforces heedlessness and makes one forget the hereafter totally. However, the speaker must stress the obligatory, prohibit the forbidden and remind them of whatever will benefit the common folk, what the ignorant need to know regarding their religion and the fact that most of the people have strayed from the straight path. How rarely does this happen nowadays! These motivational speakers today only busy themselves by remembering Zulaykha'" and Prophets Joseph and the (32) and Moses and love mountain, reciting poetry. Hence, attending these gatherings is more harmful than beneficial.

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she accused him

of attacking her, and he was imprisoned for that. (Editor)

96

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

the benefit

of the knowledge, whether

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together in the mosque — is conditional upon the need to teach women. It is acceptable when students are mature and rational.

Teaching male and female teenagers in co-educational schools, when it would be possible to separate them, is most verily akin to fuelling the fire. Even people in Western societies have begun to wake up to the disastrous effects of intermixing during this stage of life.

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An important resolution of the sixth conference of the AMJA

There are calls from people in various walks of life to separate boys and girls. In fact, the separation process has actually started in hundreds of schools, and there has been a great response from parents and teachers to this idea.” Must we pass through the same dark tunnel?

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Included among needs is the mingling among women and their relatives and family acquaintances while visiting one another’s homes. If there is not enough space for segregation, and everyone has to sit in one room, there should be no harm as long as the Islamic

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avoid facing one another.

If the hostess

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food or drink closer to them, as done by Umm Usayd, there should be no harm in that with the observance of propri-

ety and modesty, lowering the gaze and avoiding facing the other gender for a long period. It is to be recognized, though, that usually, the custom of Muslims should be for the man to serve his male guests and the woman

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A 2005 report by The Associated Press, titled “More States Offer Single-Sex Schools”, begins, “For an increasing number of public schools, the formula for a better education requires a little arithmetic: divide the girls from the boys.” For this very reason, the U.S. government, under President George W. Bush, pushed in this direction, as explained in a CNN 2002 report that began, “The Bush administration is pushing rule changes to encourage more single-sex classes and schools.”

98

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

Another important factor which constitutes a ‘need’ is the mingling of the

two genders while using public transportation. This is because the woman needs transportation to reach the places where she can fulfill her aforementioned needs, such as shopping, learning, and earning a living. This also must be done with keen effort invested in staying away from men. It is verily incumbent upon the Muslim communities to provide special sections for women on such modes of public transportation whenever possible, for their protection

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[End of AMJA resolution]

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Muslims living in the West, the mosques are the arks of Noah. Although there is a significant role for the mosque in the East, its importance in the West supersedes that. It is for this very reason that we recommend that Muslims in these countries remain enthusiastic about building the mosques and furnish-

ing them with all that is necessary. This

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Although he was well aware of the praiseworthy jealousy of his Muslim stressed that Ummah, the Prophet — excessive jealousy to the degree of preventing women from fulfilling their needs, especially visiting the houses of Allah (@@) — is by no means praiseworthy. He said:

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«Do not prevent Allah’s slave-women from going to Allah’s mosques.»

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(Muslim) The Companions took that to be an enduring prohibition.

«Salim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrated:

My father (‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar)

‘said that he had once heard the Prophet (342) say: Do not prevent your women from going to the mosques when they seek your permission for going there.

Bilal ibn ‘Abdullah said: By Allah, we would certainly prevent them.

‘Abdullah insulted him badly, as I had never heard him insult him before. Then he said: I relate to you an instruction from the Messenger of Allah, and you

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say: We would certainly prevent them?»

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‘Atikah (@%), wife of ‘Umar alFarooq

(44),

mentioned that he did

not want her to go to the mosque, but she would say, “By Allah, I will go unless you prevent me.” ‘Umar would not prevent her.'

It has been reported by ‘Umar’s biographers that ‘Atikah was present in the mosque the day he was killed. Do you

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‘Umar disliked his wife’s going out? He was well known for his firmness, sobriety, perfect manhood and jealousy. Nothing would keep him see how

from stopping her except a grave matter,

which was his fear of disobeying the command of the Prophet

(3).

Since it has been legislated that, in general, preventing women from going

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it is sometimes more becoming that women go out rather than stay at home, it is important that certain regulations be obeyed. These regulations would allow them to fulfill the objective behind their

going to the mosques and at the same time fend off any avoidable mishaps and

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Not visiting mosques frequently for unnecessary reasons. The hadith that gives preference to the performance of women’s prayers at their home is a warning for women not to be lenient. It is, thus, inappropriate for them to perform the five prayers in the mosque, or else they would contradict Allah’s instruction:

€And abide in your houses.... (Qur'an 33: 33)

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(4) related

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(4)

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so closely while walking that her clothes could catch on it 25

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It was reported from Sahl ibn Sa‘d

(Qs): «Indeed, I saw the men tying their izars around their necks like little boys, due to the shortness of the

izars (when praying) behind the Prophet (#2). So someone said: O you women, do not raise your heads until the men rise.» (Muslim)

This refers to the women’s lowering their gaze to avoid looking at the private parts of men.

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«Why is it that I have seen you clapping so much? Whoever has a concern in his prayer should say *‘Subhan Allah’, for verily, if he says

this, he will be noticed. Surely, clapping is for women.» (Muslim)

This hadith is about what to do during prayer, yet it indicates the difference between the voice of a woman and that ofa man. Nevertheless, this does

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

not in any way mean that woman may not speak in the mosque. On the a

contrary, she may engage in discussion and offer arguments.

A good example is that of al-Mujadi-

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previously. Her Lord heard her from above the seven heavens. She had come to complain to the Prophet (382), the best of His creation and

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(#8),

the apostle

of truth and guid-

ance, let women dispute with him. In this case, her Lord (4%) defended her and supported her argument with

Qur’anic verses to be recited until of this world.

the end

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Women should select those mosques

which have a proper segregated section for ladies, where they can ensure that they maintain their distance from men, hence safeguarding themselves from evil and harm.

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Women’s rows

3

The rule:

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Without doubt, the rule is that women’s rows should be behind those of men. This was the situation in the Prophet’s mosque, and there is no dispute about that.

«Anas (4%) reported that his grandmother, Mulaykah, invited Allah’s Messenger (348) to share some food she had cooked, so he ate of it and then said: Stand, so that I may pray for you.

(342) stood upon it. An orphan boy and I formed a row behind him, and the

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

(2)

Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (348) said: «The best of the men’s rows are the first, and the worst are the last, while the best of the women’s rows are the last, and the worst are the first.» (Muslim)

585 Ait

9

in big mosques that are sometimes over-

crowded, it is acceptable for women to pray in front of or to the side of men.

Ithas been stated in al-Mudawwanah:

Iasked Ibn al-Qasim whether Malik believed that having women praying amidst men would spoil the prayer of any of the men. He said, “J am not

of the view that this would spoil the prayer of any of the men or of the women themselves.”

I asked Malik about people who came to the mosque and found its

yard full of women and the mosque filled with men, so they prayed behind women, following the imam. He said, “Their prayer is sound, and

they do not have to repeat it.” Ibn al-

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women) is worse than he who prays between women.

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When there is an option, should a screen be used or not? When there is a screen and there is no fear of temptation, most of the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis judge the adjacency of men to women as permissible, albeit detested. This is also the ruling for praying behind women, in the view

of the majority (excluding the

Hanafis).!°°

prayer, towards the Kaaba) and following the imam, it has been reported that

Malik said:

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following his praying, bowing and is correct, prostration, their prayer even though they are in front of the imam.

He said, “But I do not recommend that they

do

so.

Ibn ul-Qasim has stated that Malik said:

I came to know that some time of ‘Umar ibn ago, some members used to follow al-Khattéb’s family the imam’s prayer while in their house, even though their house was actually in front of the qibla.

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Perhaps Ibn al-Khattéb’s family refers to his wives, because basically, men would set out to pray with other Muslims. It may also refer to his entire household, including the women. As stated by Ibn Taymiyah, it is permissible to pray in front of the imam when there is a genuine need.'°’

opinion

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have quoted as proof a hadith that lacks evidence of traceability, which says, “Bring them to the rear as Allah brought them. They also cite as evidence ‘Umar’s statement, which they claim to be traceable to the Prophet (38%), “Whoever gets a river, a road or a women’s row between him and the imam must not pray.” Hence they regarded the praying of men behind women, in spite of the presence of a screen between them, as invalid even if the men’s rows number one hundred.'*! This quotation is not authentic, whether traced back to the Prophet (#4) or only

(2%). An-Nawawi has said, “Tt is invalid and has no origin.”!” The objectors also add that a row of

to ‘Umar

wotnen is like a wall between the (male) follower and the imam. The presence of a large wall, which has no hole, between the follower and the imam hinders the

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“I did not find it traceable.” Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar,

ad-Dirdyah fi Takhreej Ahddeeth al-Hiddéyah (Beirut: Dar al-Ma‘rifah). ‘Ali al-Qari al-Mulla has said, “It is arrested at Ibn Mas‘ood.” ‘Ali al-Qari Al-Mulla, al-Asrdr alMarfoo ‘ah l-Akhbar al-Mawdoo ‘ah (Beirut: Dar al-Amanah/Mu’assasat ar-Risalah, 1391 141



AH/

1971

CE).

as-Sarkhasi, al-Mabsoot, 1:183. ‘ Tbn Taymiyah, Majmoo al-Fatdwd, 4:265.

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

However, this is not the case since likening the row of women to a wall without holes is not clear. If the screen

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pte

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Wale

prevents temptations, then there is no point in invalidating men’s prayer in rows behind or beside those of women, as long as the screen is present.

When there is no screen, praying to the right of, to the left of, or close behind women is invalid according to the Hanafis. The majority of scholars, though, consider it valid.'*7 However, they all agree that when a woman does not find another woman to line up with, she can stand alone behind the row; it is

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someone.' There is no proof that the prayer is invalid. Still, the correct position is that women are prohibited from lining up adjacent to or in front of men without a screen, if there is no necessity. The rule is that women’s rows should be behind those of men. This was the situation at the time of the Prophet (34) and is thus indisputable. The hadith narrated

by Anas

147

148

(48) regarding the lining up

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Majmoo ‘, 3:224; and al-Buhooti, Kash-shdf al-Qina ‘, 1:329. ‘ Ton Taymiyah, Majmoo al-Fatdw4, 23:407.

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Mixing in the mosques

of the elderly woman behind them, and on the hadith of Abu Hurayrah the best and the worst of the rows, both of which were quoted previously, are

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very clear in their meaning and obvious connotation.

The reason for the prohibition is clear

if we

see it as something that is the blocking way to temptation. It is obvious to those endowed with insight

_and reason that bringing women’s rows in front of men’s rows paves the way

towards temptation.

As previously mentioned, the Prophet (44%) ordered women not to raise their heads after bowing until the men had stood up. It is obvious that the opposite scenario is more serious; man looking at a young lady before him as a

she bows and prostrates during prayer. This would indeed be a source of temp-

tation as well as a distraction that would disturb his concentration. Some women these days, especially in the West, come to the mosque attired in extravagant, tight-fitting clothes that do not even

cover the parts of their body that must be covered at all times. Combine this with all the aforementioned causes, and the reasons for this prohibition being obligatory becomes even more clear to every sound-minded individual who possesses even minimal knowledge about the objectives and rules of the Sharia, the rank and value of prayer, and the sanctity and purity of mosques.

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114

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

Many of those who urge making the rows

of women adjacent to those

of men want to contravene the Sunnah just to prove to the non-Muslims that men and women are equal. This is one more reason for one to support this forbiddance.

Surely the Sunnah is the revelation of heaven, and the Sharia, as Ibn al-Qayyim has said, is Allah’s justice

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among His bondsmen, His mercy among His creation, His shade on this earth and His wisdom that is evidence of Him and of the truth of His Messenger

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more controversial. The Malikis have

permitted it, as have the majority scholars, in conditions of necessity. The Hanafis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis have for-

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The narration has not been proven to be ‘A’ishah’s; al-Albani said, “I did not find it.”

Al-Albani, Irw al-Ghaleel, no. 543. 168

Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqi, Ma ‘rifat as-Sunan wal-Athdr (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyah, n.d.), 2:387.

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Mixing in the mosques no authentic proof that this particular scenario is prohibited. Moreover, all the

schools of thought consider praying on

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the roof of the mosques to be valid even

though seeing the imam is difficult from there. Praying in the open spaces adja-

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cent to the mosque is similar to praying

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inside the mosque, according to the Shafi‘is, even if seeing the imam from there is difficult.

Al-Haytami said, “...those who are there may follow those in the mosque, even if something interferes between them by passing, etc.”!7!

Does this mean that we should consider this the rule in women’s prayer areas? I do not think so. In order to avoid this controversial issue, though, the screen we choose when building a mosque should not prevent seeing the imam or moving about.

This will be discussed in more detail in the next topic.

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dispute and controversy, which sometimes entails an exchange of accusations 1” Ton

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122

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

between the parties. It has reached the point of attracting the attention of the

U.S. media. It should be obvious why they are so interested in this matter and all similar ones that relate to Muslim

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women.

Some people have claimed that the barrier between men and women is an

illegal innovation. The truth is that it is a means of implementing certain Islamic injunctions. Besides, the Messenger of Allah (8%) did not forbid it. After he died, people’s circumstances changed. In line with the rising need, Muslims started to give more attention to the privacy of the women’s prayer area in the mosques in order to keep it out of the sight and access of men. They took into consideration measures that would not deprive women from following the imam through hearing and seeing him, and that would at the same time guarantee cross-movement and continuity between women’s and men’s prayer

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Proofs of the legitimacy of the barrier or screen It was reported on the authority of Ibn Jurayj, who said:

‘Ata’ informed

me that when Ibn

Hisham prevented women from per-

forming the tawaf with men, ‘Ata



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123

Mixing in the mosques

asked: How does he prevent them when the wives of the Prophet performed tawaf with men?

(4)

I (Ibn Jurayj) asked: Was that after the (verses of the) hijab or before? He (‘Ata’) replied: Yes, most verily, I saw that after the hijab. I asked: How did they intermingle

with men?

He said: They did not intermingle. ‘A’ishah (@%) used to circle the Kaaba while separated from men (or to the side), not intermixing with them.

A

woman said: Let us kiss (or touch) the black stone, O Mother of the Believers.

She replied: Forsake that, will you not?

She herself refused. The female Companions would go out (covered enough to be) unnoticed at night and circle the Kaaba with men, but when they wanted to enter the House, they used to stand (wait for a while) until the men had come out. I

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[‘Ata’] would go to ‘A’ishah with

‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr while she was staying inside the mount of Thabeer. I [Ibn Jurayj] asked: And what was her hijab? said: She was in a tent of Turkish felt, with a light screen.

‘Ata’

-OA0 ye

Ve

Gobet

ote (vr)

124

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

There was nothing else between her and us besides that, and I saw on her a rose-colored garment. (Bukhari) Hafidh ibn Hajar said in Fath ul-Bari: And in the narration of al-Kushmee-

duly

(ds)

hani, {the word is] ‘hajzah’, with the letter ‘zay’ [not ‘hajrah’, which would mean ‘to the side’ ], which is the narra-

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tion of ‘Abdur-Razzaq. He explained it at the end, saying: It means sepa-

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rated from the men by a curtain.!”

I referred back to al-Musannaf'” and

BBS LtSle Lydon)

found the explanation of ‘hajzah’ towards

Stl

the end of Umm Salamah’s hadith, which

follows this hadith of ‘A’ishah’s and describes the same events.

This hadith is the basis for the prescription of having a barrier between men and women during tawaf and in prayer, because the Mother of the Believers did so in the presence of the Companions, and no one condemned her. It is true that

the Mothers

of the Believers had their

special rulings, but we can deduce from the hadith that it is permissible to use a screen when needed.

The Mothers of the Believers used to pray with the rest of the women in the

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mosque of the Messenger ofAllah (#8). “4 Ton Hajar,

Fath al-Bari, 3:480.

as-San ‘ani al-Musannaf ‘Abdur-Razzdq, 5:68.

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125

Mixing in the mosques

Later, however, ‘A’ishah (@) put up a screen because of crowding in the sanctified mosque in Makkah.

Allah’s Messenger (34%) has said: «The prayer of a woman in (the family part of) her home is better than her prayer in the formal reception area, and her prayer in her own private quarters is better than her prayer in (the family part of) her home.» (Abu Dawood)!”

It can be deduced from this hadith if woman is given more privacy in the mosque, she can reap the rewards

that

a

of attending

the congregational prayer while also preserving her modesty.

It might be argued that the Messenger

ofAllah (38%) and his Companions were more deserving of this, but no one should see himself as preceding them to a merit that they fell short of. The answer is that he guided us to do this; there was no need for it at his time,

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but the need arose later. He left some

things to be carried out by his Companions after him, such as the compilation of the Qur’an into one book!” and the "8

179

The chain of narrators of this hadith is sound and according to the conditions of Imam Muslim. During the life of the Prophet (#4), the Qur’an was memorized by many of the Companions, and it was also written down; however, different people had different parts of it. After his death, Abu Bakr ordered that it be compiled into one copy. At the time of the third caliph, ‘Uthman (4s), one official copy was made and reproduced; this is the same as any copy in the world since. (Editor)

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

126

inclusion of the hijr'®! in the sanctified house

of Allah (4).

Some readers might object, saying that I am contradicting myself. On the one hand, I have stated that preventing women from going to mosques on the pretext that circumstances have changed is not justified; on the other hand, I have

recommended the use of screens. Yet the difference between the two matters should be obvious: the first was prohib-

ited by the Messenger of Allah (#48) in very clear terms; in contrast, his Sunnah specified that the second was recom-

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mended and even obligatory when necessary.

jd! tu

Blocking the means to

reer) SJ de

temptation This rule lends support to the legitimacy

of using a screen. Women nowadays go to mosques fully adorned. I was saddened to learn of photographs from asSalam Mosque that were published in newspapers in the U.S. At this mosque, they had pulled down the barrier segregating men from women, and some of the photographs showed young ladies wearing tight pants. To Allah (8) we complain.

181

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The hijr Ism4‘eel is the half-circle-shaped area next to the Kaaba, where Prophet Abraham (#22) built a shelter for his wife Hajar and his son Ishmael (#42). It used to be part of the Kaaba. (Editor)

127

Mixing in the mosques

Consideration of public welfare

doLall

In the current day and age, women come to the mosques from some distance, so they may need to stay there for some

time either before or after the prayer. A woman might wish to take off her hijab, recline, nurse her infant or the like.

How would a Muslim woman do any of these things in the presence

of men if the

sk

leges than women in the mosque, such as being able to rest and relax with their

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If'an objector insists that, concerning this matter, women must stick to what their ancestors used to do during the time of the Prophet we can only ask

IS

Women should to go to the mosque without perfuming themselves,'® and they should wrap themselves in outer garments similar to those

182

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him to replicate the rest of the matters at his time. We do not intend to incapacitate him by demanding a generation like theirs; we are just calling for the same practices and arrangements, such as:

Lal

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women’s prayer places were exposed?

Men would then enjoy more privi-

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

128

the female Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). +

Women should depart quickly after the prayers have ended. The female Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to leave in sucha manner that they were unrecogniz-

alt

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able; they would depart after the morming prayer while it was still dark. (Muslim) +

Men should not look back until all the women have left. (Bukhari)

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Women should observe modesty in their speech, neither speaking ten-

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derly nor raising their voices unnecessarily. (Abu Dawood)'*5

185

3

Asspecial door should be assigned for women to enter and leave the mosque. (A sound hadith recorded by Abu Dawood)

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There are reservations concerning this hadith, but the one preceding it supports it, since of Islamic law.

these are the fundamentals

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129

Mixing in the mosques -

If both men

and women are trying to enter or leave at the same time, the women should wait, in order to avoid racing with men to reach the

door of the mosque, the elevators or

OF

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the like.'” (Based on a sound hadith

downs]

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recorded by Abu Dawood)

See ‘A’ishah’s narration, which was mentioned earlier, about how she skipped touching the black stone; she explained: “...when they wanted to enter the House, they used to stand (wait for a while) until the men had come out...”

Since we have established the legitimacy of the screen, can we say that its use is obligatory?

This is something that might vary from one mosque to another. In some of the large mosques where there is a vast space separating men and women, a screen may not be needed, even though it is preferable for the comfort and reassurance of women. On the other hand, in small mosques where men and women, young and old, may have to sit facing and looking at one another after the prayer, a screen undoubtedly becomes obligatory. 199

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Abu Dawood. This hadith, even if it has its criticism, is strengthened by the one preceding it, as well as by the basic principles of Sharia. oS

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130

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

Some places of worship in the West have become places of questionable conduct. Indeed, we do not want our mosques to tread this path. Sometimes a screen interferes with a woman’s concentration (tranquility of the heart and stiliness of the body)

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during prayer; it also impedes listening to sermons of knowledge. The result is that the women’s prayer area becomes totally detached from what is taking

LSI lias paved celal! plows Saal aay lee WSL frase oT eile ail

place in the mosque. Therefore, emphasis should be strictly laid on protecting a Muslim woman’s right to learn, benefit

bet

and achieve concentration (tranquility of the heart and stillness of the body).

In the meantime, the women’s prayer

5,

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ay

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peat

dating

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tale-bearing, quarrelling and dissension. To achieve this end, the follow-

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area in the mosque should not become a place for entertainment, backbiting,

tenth

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pas

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ing should be implemented: 1.

The women’s prayer areas should not

cp

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be designated in rooms that are totally

ol

separate from the mosque itself.

2. The screen should not hinder

hearing, seeing or passing between the main hall and the women’s area.

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5. The imam should not ignore them.

«Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah reported: I observed prayer with the Messenger of Allah (3%) on the day of Eid. He commenced with

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Then they began to give alms out of their ornaments, such as their earrings and rings, which they threw on to Bilal’s cloth.» (Muslim) Such care for, and interaction with, women would have never been possible had they been in a separate room.

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ndoubtedly, the Internet has become one of the most characteristic features of contemporary times. Like most other tools, it is combination of a

good and evil, and both are of great significance. The question that arises now, pertaining to the issue of gender intermingling, is: what is the ruling on min-

gling in that virtual world? What is the impact of that ruling on our approach to the Internet itself? To begin with, the use of the term ‘mingling’ here is allegorical, since chatting between two individuals who are separated by thousands of miles does not fit the definition of mingling as stated near the beginning of this book.

Secondly, it is essential that we admit the benefits of the Internet and realize the necessity for Muslims to reap these benefits to the best of their ability.

This is a positive approach, exercised wisely by a vast majority. Nevertheless, is there any danger in men and women using and interacting over the Internet? By Allah (4%), the

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answer is yes. J hope the vast majority of the wise individuals will not ques-

tion this.

Many righteous men and women take a more permissive stand towards online chatting and correspondence. In that virtual world, as they call it, they behave in a way that is completely different from how they conduct themselves in the real world. This is mainly due to their sense of security that the other correspondents are unable to see them, and that even if or when they do,

they are far away. This results in the deterioration of modesty and the audacity to indulge in impropriety. People by now have realized that unguarded interactions frequently lead to infatuation and temptation. Moreover, they may lead to committing enormous sins, and that could happen even without any physical meeting. How often do women complain about their husbands’ disinterest in them and attachment to other women in the virtual world? The husbands spend a great deal of time engaging in improper conduct with those women.

Having recognized those dangers, is it now more appropriate to bar one or both of the two sexes from the Internet in order to block the means to evil? The question may be legitimate, since it is established in our religion that avoiding harm takes precedence over attaining

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benefit. Did Allah (4%) not forbid wine despite having mentioned its benefits?

Despite that, this conclusion does not appear valid to me because the harms of wine clearly outnumber its benefits, while this is not necessarily the case with the Internet. Moreover, it is not possible to attain the benefits of wine without incurring some harm. With regard to the Internet, it may be true

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that completely avoiding harm may not be feasible, yet it is possible to contain it to a great extent. The question now

is: how do we do that?

Firstly, it is essential that we do not waste our precious time in frivolous activities over the Internet. The Internet can be compared to a huge market; it has the potential to distract us with

vanities and devour our time. Even chat-

ting amongst the same gender, if done in excess, could waste one of the human’s — or you might say greatest assets: time life. The Prophet (#%) said:

«There are two blessings regarding which many people are losers: good health and free time.» (Bukhari)

He also said:

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it, and in what he wore his body (health) out.» (at-Tirmidhi; al-Albani graded it as authentic)

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It is incumbent on us to avoid evil and temptation as much as possible. It is also important to browse only those websites that do not display indecent

images or banners. There are usually alternatives; for instance, one can switch from one email provider to another for that very reason.

Sometimes a significant and legitimate benefit cannot be achieved without encountering some harm, such as inappropriate images that are found on news websites and in some beneficial docu-

mentaries. In this regard, I present to you the pertinent resolution of the sixth

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matters at the very least. Exempted from

that is the duff (tambourine) during weddings and the like. It is consented [permitted] to benefit with what others

prepared of instructional programs, documentaries, and historical programs that serve a purpose, as well as beneficial cartoons with regard to children. If something taints it of instruments that don’t incite lusts nor ignite desires, then considering the inability to avoid it (due to it being so widespread), the scarcity

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[End of AMJA resolution] I do not see any harm in the coexistence of men and women inside a virtual classroom or a virtual meeting for some da‘wah purpose. This would even be permissible in person as long as there was a reasonable distance between the sexes, so its permissibility online would be even more obvious. All of this would certainly be contingent

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

upon the attendees’ observance of the proper Islamic etiquettes and absence

of obscenity. The meeting of a man and a woman alone in a virtual room should be limited to rare cases for a significant need, and it may not exceed the time required to

realize that need. It is also impermissible for them to socialize or chat about matters not directly pertinent to the business at hand.

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suspicious websites must be avoided, especially certain social networking websites. This particularly applies to young men and women. The evil of such websites is almost uncontainable, although we must add here that we ought to make the appropriate alter-

natives available. Having affirmed that, ¥ must also add that those very sites may be a fertile land for da‘wah and introducing Islam to others. Therefore, the

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Correspondence via email is just like correspondence via conventional letters. There is no justification for it between the opposite sexes without a genuine need. When such a need exists, the scope of the correspondence should be limited to related, pertinent issues. It

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An important AMJA resolution regarding the supervision of youth’s communications is as follows:

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Should the parents monitor their children’s virtual communications?

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Fifthly: Regarding the Supervision of the Youth’s Commuunication(s): It is upon the parents and the educational and disciplinary institutions to make the youth aware of the rulings of interactions, relations, and communications amongst one another. It is important also that the relationship between the parents and children be based on a foundation of communication, openness, constant closeness, productive dialogue, giving advice and direction, and maintaining trust and good assumptions of the children. It is of the responsibilities of the parents to supervise the actions, relations, and communications of the youth that have yet to reach the age of responsibility in a wise and appropriate way. [End of AMJA

Resolution]

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If writing is sufficient,

it is not permissible for members of the opposite sex to use voice-chatting. Video-chatting should be avoided completely. Ifa woman needs to use her voice, such as when she is in a virtual classroom or an

online college, then whatever has been said about the guidelines of talking to men in the market or other public places

will apply here as well.

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of women, during the best of times and at the best of places. The Messenger of Allah (482) has also informed us about some people who will approach the false Messiah while thinking of them-

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selves as believers, only to return in a state of unbelief. Allah (4) has said:

€O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly], and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.} (Qur’an 2: 208)

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Finally, I hope that Satan will neither trivialize the danger of these trials nor diminish our ability to resist them. Allah (4%) ordained the Mothers of the Believers to refrain from speaking tenderly in order to avoid tempting those with sick hearts. That was said to the best

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OW the Muslims, need to appoint divine revelation as the superior judge in all our affairs; we must not put any

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of our personal preferences, our comfort level, or the traditions with which we have been raised.

On the one hand, we should not reject every new piece of knowledge that we encounter until we have thoroughly checked it against the revelation to ascertain whether it complements it or contradicts it. Indeed, Allah’s Messenger (#42), who was aided by

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the revelation, changed his mind about

prohibiting women from breastfeeding during pregnancy, after he learned that it had not harmed the children of Persia and Rome.

On the other hand, it is also not wise to rush to accept everything new, in the name of modernity, especially when every new thing that comes to us has been initiated by the non-Muslims, who

differ from us in their basic principles

of belief, action and ethical behavior. We should also ensure that we are not dazzled by everything that they possess

Just because they seem stronger and victorious. This is because neither material

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wealth nor scientific advancement (even

if they are both something to strive for)

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is a standard for success. Neither of them can bring happiness in this life or in the hereafter. If they had the potential to do so, then the Pharaohs, the people of ‘Ad, or the people of Iram (who built

such lofty pillars) would have deserved

them more than Moses

(3%) and his

companions, or even Muhammad (3%) and his Companions.

The effects of disobeying and violat-

ing the injunctions of Allah (8%) do not necessarily materialize within months or even years. If they did, everyone would be guided aright without the need for contemplating the revelation and submitting to it. However, it was Allah’s will to give His slaves respite and time in order to test them and distinguish the bad from the good. Sin and corruption have been left like cavities to rot away at the base of the tree until it perishes. Fortunate is the one who takes warnings from the mistakes of others. I know very well that what I have mentioned is my own comprehension of the textual proofs as the people of knowledge have understood them. I hope that all of it is correct, even if it is more likely that I have unintentionally erred somewhere. Still, my hope in Allah’s forgiveness has enabled me to dare to tread this rugged path. May

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He grant me the straight path and not deprive me of reward for whatever I have written in these pages.

All praise

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may blessings and peace be upon His Messenger (#8).

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Bibliography

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Abu Dawood, Sulayman ibn al-Ash‘ath as-Sijistani. Sunan Abi Dawood. Edited by Muhammad Muhyi ad-Deen ‘Abdul-Hameed. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d. —

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al-Albani, Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen. /rwd’ al-Ghaleel. Beirut/ Damascus: alMaktab al-Isl4mi, 1399 AH.

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al-Albani, Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen. Silsilat al-Ahddeeth as-Saheehah. Riyadh: Maktabat al-Ma‘arif, 1995. gh

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al-Bayhaqi, Ahmad ibn al-Husayn. Ma‘rifat as-Sunan wal-Athdr. Beirut: Dar alKutub al-‘Iimiyah, n.d.

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al-Bayhaqi, Ahmad ibn al-Husayn. Sunan al-Bayhagi al-Kubra. Makkah: Dar al-Baz, 1414 AH.

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[Tks] gayi oe Ge chal Glas egy Je lanes nee.IMs 5,84 —

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al-Buhooti, Mansour ibn Yoonus ibn Idrees. Kash-shdf al-Oind‘. Edited by Hilal Museelhi Mustafa Hilal. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1402 AH. [eg

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al-Bukhari, Muhammad ibn Ism4 ‘eel. Saheeh al-Bukhdri. Edited by Mustafa Deeb al-Bagha. Beirut: Dar ibn Katheer wal- Yamamah, 1987. Cg

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al-Hamawi, Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Hussayni. Ghamz ‘Uyown al-Basd’ir. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyah, 1985.

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al-Hattab, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Rahman al-Maghrebi. Mawdéhib al-Jaleel. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1398 AH.

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al-Haytami, Ibn Hajar. Al-Fatdwd al-Fighiyah al-Kubrd. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d.

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ye dot 65 oy Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr, Abu ‘Umar Yoosuf ibn ‘Abdullah an-Namari. At-Tamheed lima fil-Muwatta’ min al-Ma ‘ani wal-Asdneed. Edited by Mustafa ibn Ahmad al‘Alawi and Muhammad ‘Abdul-Kabeer al-Bakri. Morocco: Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, 1967.

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as SI Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Kufi. MusannafIbn Abi Shaybah., Riyadh: Maktabat ar-Rushd, 1409.

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al-Haj, Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-‘Abdari. Al-Madkhal. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1981.

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Ibn Hajar, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-‘Asqalani. Ad-Dirdyah fi Takhreej Ahdadeeth alHiddyah. Beirut: Dar al-Ma‘rifah.

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Ibn Hajar, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-‘Asqalani. Fath al-Bari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhdri. Edited by Muhib ud-Deen al-Khateeb. Beirut: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.

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sigeJ Lane Ibn Hanbal, Abu ‘Abdullah Ahmad ash-Shaybani. Musnad al-Imadm Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Egypt: Mu’sasah Qurtubah, n.d.

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Ibn al-Humém, Kamal ad-Deen Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul- Wahid as-Seewasi. Sharh Fath al-Qadeer. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d. —

SAIjlo tere cesil dle gf up cy dot

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gll

LOST] ab onl,oe

-ilell Aue

31

5b

dot

1

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Ibn Majah, Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yazeed al-Qazweeni. Sunan Ibn Majah. Edited by Muhammad Fu’ad ‘Abdul-Baqi. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d.

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7a

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[wks] ALS! Gy ge Oysll pre] gy daw 595 See ab Gaol! —

Ibn al-Qayyim, Abu ‘Abdullah Shams ud-Deen Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr. I ‘lam al-Muwagi ‘een. Beirut: Dar an-Nashr/ Dar al-Jeel, 1973. cal op

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13

all Lots] de alll Atel 632I

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‘Abdullah Shams ud-Deen Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr. At+-Turug al-Hukmiyah fis-Siydsat ash-Shar ‘eeah. Edited by Muhammad Jameel Ghazi. Cairo: Matba‘at al-Madani, n.d.

Tbn al-Qayyim, Abu

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Ibn Taymiyah, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdul-Haleem. lgtidd’ as-Sirat al-Mustaqeem Mukhdla-

fah As-hab al-Jaheem. Edited by Muhammad Hamid al-Figi. Cairo: Matba‘at as-Sunnat al-Muhammadiyah, 1950.

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

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Ibn Taymiyah, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdul-Haleem. Majmoo‘ al-Fatawd. Cairo: Maktabat Ibn Taymiyah.

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319

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wall

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¢ \4AY cy pal al-Kasani, ‘Ala’ ud-Deen. Badd

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as-Sand’i‘. Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘ Arabi, 1982.

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cp

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Malik ibn Anas, Abu ‘Abdullah al-Asbahi. Al-Mudawwanat al-Kubrd. Beirut: Dar Sadir, n.d. aN

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Malik ibn Anas, Abu ‘Abdullah al-Asbahi. A/-Muwatta’. Cairo: Dar Ihya’ at-Turath al-‘Arabi.

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Al-Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari. Al-Asrdar al-Marfoo ‘ahfil-Akhbar al-Mawdoo ‘ah. Beirut: Dar al-Amanah/Mu’assasat ar-Risdlah, 1391 AH/ 1971 CE. dost

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Muslim, ibn al-Hajjaj an-Naysaboori. Saheeh Muslim. Edited by Muhammad Fu’ad ‘Abdul-Baqi. Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, n.d.

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an-Nawawi, Yahya ibn Sharaf. Al-Majmoo‘ Sharh al-Muhadh-dhab. Beirut: Dar

al-Fikr, 1997.

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op

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jlo:

an-Nawawi, Yahya ibn Sharaf. Saheeh Muslim bi-Sharh an-Nawawi. Beirut: Dar Ihya’ at-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1972. Saheeh International. The Qur’an: Arabic Text with Corresponding English Meanings. Jeddah: Abul-Qasim Publishing House, 1997.

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as-San‘ani, ‘Abdur-Razzdq ibn Humam. Al-Musannaf ‘Abdur-Razzdq. Edited by Habeeb ar-Rahman al-A‘dhami. Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1983. —

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as-Sarkhasi, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ahmad. A/-Mabsoot. Beirut: Dar alMa‘rifah, n.d.

AMJA Resolutions

Sixth Annual Conference, Montreal, DhulQa‘dah 9 - 13, 1430 AH October 28 - 31, 2009

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If what is intended by it is the basic gathering of men and women in open places to take part in shared acts of reli-

gion or worldly affairs - along with the consideration of the Sharia etiquettes of hijab, lowering the gaze, and organizing the gathering with what aids that, then there is no harm in it. Of this is the gath-

ering of men and women in the open spaces to attend the two Eid prayers,

oh

dye

and women:

ntermixing is a concise expression. There is the permissible of it as well as the impermissible. Of this and that there is the agreed upon and of it is the differed over.

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Firstly: Regarding the intermixing between men

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Appendix A the rituals

of Hajj, the open gatherings

of knowledge whether they

are in the

mosque or elsewhere, and the going out of women to tend to their needs amidst

MS ols}

Po

the people. This is so alongside seeing that the women properly observe Hijab

and they are distanced from men as best they can. Also, both parties are to observe reservation and the lowering of the gaze. Emphasis is made though on the importance of separating between

the genders in the educational institutions, for this is more preserving of values, more distant from tribulation, more severing of means (towards prom-

iscuity), and more prompting of the student of knowledge’s mental focus.

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Some educational institutions in the West have even begun to realize this.

If what is intended by it is the mingling of the two parties and permeation of their ranks (by one another), then this is upon the default prohibition so long as no urgent necessity or strong need recognized by Sharia arises. Of these needs are those explicit in the

texts, and of them are those that are deduced by qiyds (i.e. juristic reasoning via analogy), and from them is what exists in wars, legal proceedings, medical treatments, and their like. This is so while keeping in mind that urgent necessities and strong needs are to be

given their proper estimate.

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

In the case where intermixing is per-

ols ses Lele missible due to an urgent necessity or Pe lye Ste Of bee de bed sl strong need, there are guidelines that must be attended to in all cases. Of uae lguey YS od cols al By 9

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them are: lowering the gaze, avoiding immorality and informality, forbidding

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crowding, reserved conduct, concealing the ‘awrah (i.e. body parts whose public visibility is forbidden in Sharia), and organizing the gathering in a manner that would aid in lowering the gaze as much as possible.

ly

the acceptable needs, while there are in the gathering men that can assume

these actions with the same degree of

performance.

Familial gatherings on shared, mixed tables for the sake of some social activity such as fundraising or a wedding dinner or its like isn’t included among the acceptable needs.

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this subject. What appears from textual analysis and the actions of the salaf (the

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Appendix A

differs depending on the ages of the men

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and women, the need prompting it, and the atmosphere it is found in of tribu-

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lation or lack thereof. The determining factor in this is the weighing of the pros and cons involved, and it is upon those responsible to seek the verdict of the

gall

153

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in that.

The prime stance in this issue is that it is mandatory to safeguard the Islamic values that the Sharia directs

of virtuosity, shame, concealment, and reservation, while acknowledging the need for men and women to share to

in the fields of good actions and cooperation upon righteousness and piety, da‘wah and reform, and the like - to give precedence to the outweighing benefit over the imagined harm (i.e.,

fallaciously assumed danger). [End of AMSA

resolution]

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A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

154

Mahrams Maternal

Maternal

Grandmother

OTe

Maternal

tc Bare

Grandfather

Paternal Grandmothe

mee

Mother

Uncle

Uncle

Cousin. Mother-in

Law

Stepfather

Husband Half Brother

~

Step brother

\

Grandson

Appendix B

el

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ol

Si sue

155

Glossary of Islamic Terms” ST at Allah is the Greatest

Allahu akbar

shail ‘helpers’: the Muslim citizens of Madinah who gave refuge to the Prophet (4%) and

Ansar

the other Muslim emigrants from Makkah as-saldému ‘alaykum

‘awrah

pS

pl 3596

a greeting, which means ‘peace’ the part of a person’s body that must be screened from public view; for males it is the area between the navel and the knees, and for females it is everything except the

hands and the face

wt Sn lit. ‘children (of)’; usu. referring to a tribe that claims a common ancestor

banu (or bani)

da‘wah

3565

Eid (‘eed)

disseminating the teachings of Islam and calling people to accept and embrace Islam lit. festival; the two celebrations: one at of Ramadan and the other at the

the end

culmination of the Hajj

Sigh

Islamic jurisprudence; understanding or interpreting Islamic law

fitnah

lit. trial, temptation; (attempting to sow) discord between Muslims

*

The Arabic words are transliterated according to the conventions of the Transliteration Chart found in this book. If word has become part of the English language (i.e., is found in a dictionary of Standard English), that spelling is used in this book and appears first in this Glossary, with the transliterated form in brackets after it. a

Glossary ofIslamic terms a statement or action

hadith (hadeeth)

mad

(28)

157

of Prophet Muham-

that was remembered and

recorded by his Companions and followers

Hadith (hadeeth)

the collected statements and actions

of

Prophet Muhammad (#8) that with the Qur’an form the basis of Islamic law the major pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque, site of the Ka‘bah at Makkah, to

Hajj (hajj)

be undertaken by every able Muslim once in his/her lifetime

hardm

¢!

forbidden according to Islamic law

veil ordained by Allah for believing

hijab (hijab)

women

hijr Isma ‘eel

ele

the crescent-shaped area next to the

Kaaba, where Prophet Abraham (322) built a shelter for his wife Hajar and his son Isma‘eel (82%)

‘illah

izar

effective cause (or basis for an analogy) in determining a religious verdict

J}

a garment which is worn wrapped around

the lower half of the body

jihad (jihad)

struggle or striving (in Allah’s cause)

Kaaba (Ka ‘bah)

the House

of Allah in Makkah, originally

built by Prophets Ibraheem and IsmA‘eel, and which Muslims face wherever they pray mahram

=

of consanguinity precluding marman whom a woman may never riage; marry due to the close blood or marriage relationship, e.g., father, brother, son, uncle, and father-in-law a degree a

158

A guide to male-female interaction in Islam

mufti:

gu

an Islamic scholar who is qualified to deliver formal legal verdicts which are

based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah

aa

qibla (giblah)

the bearing to the Kaaba from any point on Earth; the direction that all Muslims

must face in prayer

analogy: a method of deriving rulings in

qivas

jurisprudence

ws

Quraysh

the dominant tribe in Makkah at the time

of the Prophet’s mission; their society was based on polytheism

salaf

ast

Islamic law derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah

Sharia (shari ‘ah) subhdén Allah

the pious predecessors: the earliest generations of the righteous followers of Islam

Slaw glory be to Allah the practice and collected sayings of that together Prophet Muhammad

Sunnah

(3)

with the Qur’an forms the basis of Islamic law tabi ‘oon (sg. tabi ‘i)

VO

put

‘successors’; those who knew or met any of the Companions and transmitted hadiths from them

of saying Allahu akbar

takbeer

the act

tasleem(ah)

the act

tawéaf

circumambulation of the Kaaba

Ummah

community or nation: usu. used to refer to the entire global community of Muslims

‘umrah

a minor, non-obligatory pilgrimage to

of saying as-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat Allah to end the prayer

Makkah

Notes

Interaction between unrelated members of the opposite sex is inevitable at times, yet we need to know when it is permissible, to what extent, and what ethical guidelines should be observed.

A GUIDE TO

MALE-FEMALE INTERACTION IN ISLAM

Are men allowed to interact with female students, and vice versa, in a virtual classroom? Can a woman pursue a professional career that necessitates her interaction with men? Is it appropriate for a woman to serve her husband’s guests? Do mixed wedding ceremonies comply with the Sharia?

DOR.

HATEM AL-HAJ

In A Guide to Male-Female Interaction in Islam, Dr. Hatem al-Haj has taken a broad view of the subject, keeping in mind the opinions of scholars who have taken a stricter stance as well as those who are more flexible in their interpretation.

About the author Dr. Hatem al-Haj is Dean of the College of Islamic Studies in English, Mishkah University, and a member of the Fatwa Committee of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA). He holds PhD in Comparative Fiqh and a Master's in Islamic Law. Dr. al-Haj’s website, www.drhatemalhaj.com, is a useful resource for new Muslims, young Muslims, and Muslims living in non-Muslim societies. a

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