In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
All perfect praise is due to Allaah; I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; may Allaah exalt his mention, as well as that of his family and all his companions.
Intermixing between the sexes, in the specific sense, applies to when marriageable men and women sit together, it may or may not include them looking at each other and conversing. What is the Islaamic ruling regarding such intermixing?
Is intermixing, as defined above, prohibited or permissible? In order to answer this question, let us ask the following question: Is intermixing between a woman and a man the same as that between a man and another man?
The answer is certainly no; nobody ever said that the two are the same, as intermixing between men is permissible, in principle, while it is prohibited, in principle, between people of the opposite sex.
The following are real life stories of incidents that resulted from this prohibited intermixing:
· A woman began to develop feelings for her husband’s friend and started hating her husband, which eventually led her to divorcing him.
· A man began telephoning his friend's wife in an attempt to convince her to have an illicit sexual relationship with him. When she reacted furiously, his reply was to say: “Why do you not talk in the same manner to your husband? He is having exactly this type of relationship with the wife of so and so.”
· A married woman worked for a married man. He fell in love with her and exerted all efforts in order to have an illicit sexual relationship with her; he also hoped that the woman's husband would divorce her so that she could be his.
Before intermixing became prevalent, a western man asked a Muslim: “Why don’t your women mix with (marriageable) men?” The Muslim replied: “Because they do not wish to become pregnant from other than their husbands.”
Words from the west regarding intermixing:
A female British writer wrote: “It is a disgrace that our country makes its girls an example of immorality and indecency by allowing them to intermix with men.”
Another female British writer wrote: “The more intermixing occurs, the more illegitimate children we will have. Statistics in our country have consistently proved that the rate of pregnancies out of wedlock is increasing as a result of men intermixing with women. Teaching women to stay away from men and enlightening them of the evil consequences of this intermixing will have a very positive effect in reducing the numbers of such pregnancies.”
H. Stanberry, who was a western reporter who spent a few weeks in an Arab capital said of her experience there: "The Arab community is healthy and perfect; it adheres to its traditions and restricts the intermixing of its young men and women, within reasonable limits. This community is quite different from the European and American communities; it has manners that it has inherited that sets limits for young women, and it also necessitates respect of parents. Moreover, it forbids the licentiousness that has destroyed American and European communities and families. They (i.e., the Arabs) forbid intermixing between men and women, limit the freedom of their young women, and go back to the age of Hijaab, and this is far superior to the licentiousness and shamelessness of the American and European communities."
Scandals of intermixing
The following are shocking facts and statistics that were the case twenty-five years ago in the United States. If that was the case then, how would it be now?
· 70-90% of working women committed adultery with colleagues or managers.
· Half of those who were asked in a survey stated that they have had sexual relationships with their bosses, whether willingly or otherwise.
· Many male university professors had sexual relationships with their female students, and likewise, many female professors had such relationships with their male students; this is in addition to such relationships that took place between the students themselves.
· 50-70% of married men and 32% of married women had extra marital affairs.
· 90% of married women were not virgins at the time of their marriage.
· More than half a million husbands practiced wife-swapping on a regular basis.
· 50% of youths had sex before the age of fifteen.
· One in every eight women was raped at least once after the age of puberty, which made a total of almost a million women.
· One and a half million babies are aborted every year.
Evil consequences of intermixing:
Intermixing between the sexes in the west has done nothing except enflame people’s lusts and desires, which has resulted in indecency becoming prevalent; this is a refutation and a rebuttal of those who claim that intermixing reduces people’s lusts, helps them to better manage their desires, releases the sexual tension and suppression that they undergo, and guards them against suppression and psychological complexes.
Contrary to this claim, the similitude of intermixing is like that of a thirsty person who drinks sea water to quench his thirst, which does nothing except to add to his craving. It is evident in those countries that have set no limits regarding intermixing or how exposed their women can dress that none of what was claimed has materialised, in fact, it has only added to people’s lusts rather than controlling or regulating them. People in those lands have become wild, just like the thirsty man who drinks sea water only to become progressively thirstier.
The psychological complexes and diseases that they claimed were a result of depriving people from intermixing or by veiling women were actually fuelled by intermixing; moreover, homosexuality has also become prevalent in their lands. These two matters are a direct result of intermixing.
No sane person would suggest that it is possible to throw a person in the middle of the sea and demand from him not to get his clothes wet, nor would he request a person who was thrown in the middle of a huge fire to avoid being burnt; likewise, no sane person can believe that allowing women and men to intermix can preserve people’s chastity.
Therefore, the Muslims who call for such intermixing are, in reality, holding in their hands a lethal instrument by which they will destroy their families and the Muslim community at large, under the pretext of being 'modern' and 'civilised.'
The Islaamic ruling on intermixing:
This is a forbidden matter in Islaam because it arouses lusts and desires and leads to immorality and sin. There are many texts from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah proving this. The following are some of them:
وَإِذَا سَأَلتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعاً فَاسأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُم أَطهَرُ لِقُلُوبِهكُم وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ
which means: “…And when you ask [the wives of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts…” [Al-Ahzaab: 53]
Additionally, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam prohibited intermixing, even in the mosque, by separating the rows of the men from those of the women.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam would remain sitting in the same position that he prayed in, with his back to the congregation, in order to give enough time for the women to leave the mosque, according to a narration of Umm Salamah, may Allaah be pleased with her [Al-Bukhaari]
Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “Let this door (i.e., one of the doors of his mosque) be exclusively for women.” Naafi’, may Allaah have mercy upon him, who was the servant of Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, said that Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, never again entered the mosque from that door after hearing this statement. [Abu Daawood]
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, according to the narration of Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him: “The best rows (in prayer) for men are those furthest to the front, and the worst of them are those furthest to the back; and the best rows (in prayer) for women are those furthest to the back, and the worst of them are those closest to the men’s (rows).” [Muslim] This encouragement is to prevent intermixing in a location where ill-thoughts are unlikely to cross the minds of people. If this is the preventive measure used in the mosque, then it is surely much more applicable outside the mosque.
Abu Usayd, may Allaah be pleased with him, was once coming from the mosque when he heard the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam addressing women due to him seeing that the men and women were walking very close to each other after having exited from the mosque: “Stay back! You should not walk in the middle of the street, rather, walk to one of its sides.” Abu Usayd, may Allaah be pleased with him, added: “Thereafter, the women would walk so close to the walls on the side of that street that their garments would scrape against it.” [Abu Daawood]
We know that this sin has become prevalent nowadays but the following should be noted:
· We do not approve of it, nor willingly do it, especially during Islaamic lectures and gatherings.
· We must try to avoid it as much as possible and take all measures to reduce it, like designating separate entrances for men and women.
· We must fear Allaah and lower our gaze.
The following is an advice from Imaam ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz, may Allaah have mercy upon him, to all Muslims, may Allaah enable them to perform acts of obedience and refrain from sin and religious innovations.
A Warning Against Intermixing:
As-Salaamu 'Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh.
It is an obligation upon me to extend advice to my fellow Muslims and remind them of a matter that nobody should remain silent about, and one which we should indeed warn sternly against, namely the intermixing between men and women. This is something that is practiced by certain ignorant people who see no problem in doing so, with the excuse that it is something that their fathers and forefathers would do, and that they do not intend anything evil by doing it.
We, therefore, witness Muslim women sitting with marriageable men like their brothers-in-law, cousins, and so forth without even adhering to the Hijaab.
It is a well known fact that a woman is obliged to cover herself, including her face, in the presence of (marriageable) men, as there are evidences from the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, which proves this to be an obligation. Allaah says:
وَقُل لِّلمُؤمِنَاتِ يَغضُضنَ مِن أَبصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحفَظنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلا يُبدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنهَا وَليضَرِبنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ
which means: “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not display their adornment except that which [ordinarily] appears thereof and to draw their head covers over their chests…” [An-Noor: 31]
Allaah also says:
وَإِذَا سَأَلتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعاً فَاسأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُم أَطهَرُ لِقُلُوبِهكُم وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ
which means: “…And when you ask [the wives of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts…”” [Al-Ahzaab: 53]
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لأَزوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ المُؤمِنِينَ يُدنِينَ عَلَيهِنَّ مِن جَلابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدنَى أَن يُعرَفنَ فَلا يُؤذَينَ وَكَانَ اللهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
which means: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their Jilbaab [i.e. the outer garment that is defined as a cloak covering the head and reaching to the ground, thereby covering the woman's entire body] That is more suitable that they will be known [as chaste believing women] and not be abused. And ever is Allaah Forgiving and Merciful.” [Al-Ahzaab: 59] Umm Salamah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “When this verse was revealed the women of the Ansaar (i.e. residents of Madeenah) came out wearing black garments.”
The above verses form clear evidence that the woman’s head, hair, neck, breast and face are part of what she must cover in front of all marriageable men. When the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam commanded that women attend the ‘Eed Khutbah, some of them said: “O Messenger of Allaah! Some of us do not have a Jilbaab.” He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “Let them borrow (one) from their sisters (in faith).” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim] This proves that a woman may not come out of her home except when wearing a Jilbaab. This also proves that chastity and adhering to Hijaab was the common practice of the female Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, who were the best generation ever and the most honourable with Allaah; they possessed the finest manners, were the most perfect in faith, and the best in performing righteous deeds. Indeed, they set a righteous example for others to follow.
‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “When men would pass us by whilst we were in the state of Ihraam (i.e. during Hajj) we would draw down our veils over our faces.” This is evidence that covering the face is mandatory, despite the woman being commanded to uncover her face whilst in the state of Ihraam.
Failing to adhere to the Hijaab and uncovering the face leads to many evil consequences, such as instigating desires, causing bashfulness to vanish, and the seduction of men.
Additionally, a woman may not sit in seclusion with a marriageable man or intermix with him.
When the woman considers that she is equal to a man in the way he dresses and what he uncovers of his body, then this will certainly lead to great corruption and trials.
Once, the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam came out from the mosque after prayer and saw that the men and women had begun to intermix on the street, so he sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said to the women: “Stay back! You should not walk in the middle of the street, rather, walk to one of its sides.” Thereafter, the women would walk so close to the wall on the side of that street that their garments would scrape against it.
Thus, a woman may not be in seclusion with men, shake hands with them or even look at them. Allaah says:
وَقُل لِلمُؤمِناتِ يَغضُضنَ مِن أَبصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحفَظنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلا يُبدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنهَا وَليَضرِبنَ بِخُمرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلا يُبدِينَّ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَو آبَائِهِنَّ أَو آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَو أَبنَائِهِنَّ أَو أَبنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَو إِخوَانِهِنَّ أَو بَنيِ إخوَانِهِنَّ أَو بنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَو نِسَائِهِنَّ أَو مَا مَلَكَت أَيمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيرِ أُولِي الإِربَةِ مِنَ الرِجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفلِ الَّذينَ لَم يَظهَرُواْ عَلَى عَورَاتِ النِّسَاءِ وَلا يَضرِبنَ بِأَرجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعلَمَ مَا يُخفِينّ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُواْ إِلى اللهِ جَمِيعاً أَيُهَ المُؤمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُم تُفلِحُونَ
which means: “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not display their adornment except that which [ordinarily] appears thereof and to draw their head covers over their chests and not display their adornment [i.e. beauty] except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess [i.e. slaves], or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allaah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [An-Noor: 31]
As regards to the brothers and cousins of the husband, they are marriageable men with whom the woman may not be in seclusion. `Uqbah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “Never (enter a place) in which women are (uncovered, simply to mix with them in seclusion).” A man from the Ansaar said: ‘What about the in-laws from the husband's side (i.e., his brothers and cousins)?’ He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, replied: “The brother of a woman's husband is death (for her).” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim] Such in-laws can usually enter the man’s house without arousing suspicion, but they are not included in the Mahram (non-marriageable) category, and thus temptation is more likely to happen when they are in seclusion. The woman may not come out adorned in front of such men, even if they happen to be the most pious and trustworthy of people, because Allaah has limited and restricted the permissibility of her exposing her beauty to the people mentioned in the above verse, and such in-laws are not included in it.
The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: “Never should a man be with a woman, except in the presence of a Mahram (i.e., her non-marriageable man).” A Mahram is a man whom she may never marry under any condition, either due to a blood-relationship (such as her brother, father and so on) or due to her breastfeeding from the same woman as that man, or due to marriage (like her father in-law).
This prohibition is to prevent Satan spreading immorality and arousing lusts and thus instigating fornication and adultery. `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “It is never that a man sits in seclusion with a (marriageable) woman except that Satan is the third (who is) present.” [Ahmad]
Those who have such practices as part of their culture and traditions must struggle and exert all efforts to eradicate these evils in order to preserve people’s chastity and honour. This must be a collective effort and people must therefore join hands to forbid this evil, as an implication of the command of Allaah. People must repent to Allaah from this practice and should strive to support the truth, regardless of what others say or how they mock them, because a Muslim is commanded to adhere to the commandments of Allaah and willingly fulfil them in hope of the reward that Allaah has prepared for those who adhere to them, and in fear of His severe punishment which He will give to anyone who fails to do so, regardless of who he is.
Finally, one may not shun the Islaamic commandments for the sake of customs, traditions, or his desires, because it is only Islaam that commands people to that which is best, and to the noblest of morals.