In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “There is no doubt that enabling women to free mix with men is the root of every calamity and evil. It is one of the major causes of sweeping divine punishment as well as one of the cause of corruption of the general and specific affairs. Free mixing between men and women is a cause of many immoralities and adultery, and it is one of the causes of widespread death and continuous plagues. When the prostitutes mixed with Musa’s [peace be upon him] army and immorality spread among them, Allaah sent a plague on them, and seventy thousand died in one day. The story is well-known in the books of Tafseer. One of the greatest causes of sweeping death is when adultery becomes rife, women are able to free mix with men and walk among them whilst dressed in an un-Islamic manner and beautified. If those in authority knew what is accompanied in this affair of corruption of this worldly affairs and the people – even before corruption in the religion, then indeed it would have been one the things they would more robustly seek to prevent. (1)
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: All praise and thanks belongs to Allaah, and Salaah and Salaam (a) be upon Allaah’s Messenger, his family and companions. To proceed: I have seen what was published by As-Siyaasah newspaper- issued on 7/24/1404 AH, Number 5644 – and attributed to the Dean of Sana’a University Abdul Azeez Al-Maqaaleh, in which he claimed that the demand to isolate female students from male students is in opposition to the Sharee’ah, and he utilized as proof – for the permissibility of mixing – that Muslims – from the time of the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]- used to pray in the same mosque- men and women- and he said, “Therefore, education must be in one place”.
I (i.e. Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz) was surprised to hear this speech from a Dean of an Islamic university in an Islamic country, and asked him to direct his people – men and women – to what will bring about happiness and salvation in this worldly life and the Hereafter. There is no doubt that there is in this speech that which is tantamount to a great crime against the Islamic Sharee’ah, because indeed the Sharee’ah did not call for free mixing, such that the demand to prevent it would be in opposition to it; rather it forbids it and did so in a very strong manner, just as Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى – And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance]. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Verse 33]
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فلا يؤذين وكان اللهه غفورا رحيما
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e.screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Verse 59]
Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] said:
وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنََ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلاا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess…
وَلا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينََ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful. [Surah An-Nur. Verse 31]
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ – And when you ask (the Prophet’s wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts]. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Verse 53]
In these noble verses, there is a clear indication that it is legislated for women to stay in their homes to guard against temptation, and that they only come out of their homes if there is a need. Then Allaah [Glory be to He and free is He from all imperfections] warned them that they should not display themselves in a manner similar to the era of pre-islamic ignorance, which is the display of their beauty and cause temptation among men. It has been authentically reported from Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] that he said, “I have not left after me a trial more harmful to men than women”. This hadeeth is agreed upon (i.e. recorded by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) and it was narrated by Usaamah Bin Zayd [may Allaah be pleased with him].
Imaam Muslim recorded in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Usaamah and Sa’eed Bin Zayd Bin Amr Bin Nufayl [may Allaah be pleased with them both], and also in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Abu Saeed Al-Khudri [may Allaah be pleased with him] from the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] that he said, “Verily the worldly life is sweet and green, and verily Allaah is going to place you as successors upon it in and will see how you act. So, be mindful of the worldly life and be mindful of women, because indeed the first trial for the Children of Israa’eel was due to women”. [Saheeh Muslim. 2742]
And indeed Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] spoke the truth, because indeed the temptation by way of women is great, especially in this era in which most of them do not have the Hijaab and they display themslves in a manner similar to the era of pre-Islamic ignorance. Immorality and evil has become rife due to this, and many youth (male and female)- in many countries- became reluctant to get married based on that which Allaah has legislated. Indeed, Allaah has made it clear that the Hijaab is purer for the hearts of everyone and this shows that its removal is most likely to defile the hearts (i.e. corrupt the hearts) of everyone and deviating them from the path of truth. It is known that the female student sitting with the male student is one of the greatest causes of temptation, one of the reasons for abandoning the Hijaab that is legislated by Allaah for believing women and forbade them from showing their adornment others (i.e. non-Mahrams) (b), which Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] made known in the previous verse of Surah An-Nur. Whoever claims that the command regarding Hijaab is only for the mothers of the believers is mistaken and far removed from what is correct – contradicted the many evidences pointing to a generalization and contradicted Allaah’s statement: [ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ – that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts], because indeed it is not permissible to say that the Hijaab is purer for the hearts of the mothers of the believers and the male Companions and not for those after them. There is no doubt that those who came after the mothers of the believers and the male companions [may Allaah be pleased with them] are more in need of Hijaab, because of the great difference between them in the strength of faith and insight with regards to acquaintance with truth. That is because the Companions [may Allaah be pleased with them] – men and women, including the mothers of the believers- are the best of people after the Prophets [peace be upon them] and the best of generations established by the Messenger’s [peace and blessings be upon him] statement in the hadeeth recorded in the Saheehayn [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].(c) Therefore, when it is the case that Hijaab is purer for their hearts, then those who came after them have a far greater need of this purity.
It is not permissible to specify the texts of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah to anyone in the ummah without valid evidence that shows this specification; therefore, they are generally applied to all the Ummah during the era of the Messenger [peace be upon him] and after him until the Day of Resurrection; because, Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] sent His Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] to humankind and Jinn during his era and after him until the Day of Resurrection, as Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
[وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا ڪَآفَّةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرً۬ا وَنَذِيرً۬ا – And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all humankind]. [Surah Saba. Verse 28]
The Noble Qur’an was not only revealed to the people of the Prophet’s era [may peace and blessings of Allaah ne upon him], rather it was also revealed to those after them, as Allaah [The Exalted] said:
[ هَذَا بَلاغٌ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيُنْذَرُوا بِهِ وَلِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌٌ وَلِيَذَّكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ [إبراهيم – This (Qur’an) is a Message for humankind (and a clear proof against them), in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is the only One Ilah (God – Allah) – (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and that men of understanding may take heed]. [Surah Ibraaheem. Verse 52]
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [ وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنْذِرَكُمْ بِهِ وَمَنْ بَلَغَ – this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach]. [Surah Al-An’aam. Verse 19]
In the era of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], women did not intermingle with men- neither in mosques nor in the markets – (in the manner people intermingle nowadays), which the callers to rectification forbid in this era- (the type intermingling which) the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the scholars of the Ummah warn against in order to caution against temptation; rather, women – in the Prophet’s mosque – prayed behind the men in the last rows- away from the men. The Prophet used yo say, “The best rows for the men are the first ones and the worst are the last ones. The best of the women’s rows are the last ones and the worst of them is the first”. During the era of the Prophet, the men were commanded to wait until the women left the mosque so that the men would not mingle with them at the doors of the mosques, despite the faith and piety they had; so how about those after them?! Women were forbidden from walking in the middle of the road in order to be careful of having contact with men and thus temptation occurs through touching each other when walking on the road. Allaah [Glorified be to He and free is He from all imperfections] commanded the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies so that they cover their adornment with it, in order to prevent temptation. Allaah forbade them from showing their adornment to other than those mentioned by Allaah in His Mighty Book (d) in order to curtail the causes of temptation, urge towards chastity and distance from the the manifestaions of corruption and (the evil effects) of free mixing.
So, how can the Dean of Sana’a University – [may Allaah guide and inspire him to His guidance] – after all this call for mixing?! He claims that Islam calls to it- that the university campus is like a mosque and the hours of study are like the hours of prayer! For the one who understands Allaah’s command and prohibition, knows Allaah’s wisdom in what He has legislated for His servants and explained in His Great Book with regards to rulings for men and women, it is well-known that there is a great difference between these affairs and the difference is vast. How is it permissible for a believer to say that a female student sitting with a male student is like sitting with her sisters in their rows behind the men (in the Masjid)?! No one with the least handhold of faith and insight (in this affair) would say this. We might not even be safe together with the presence of the legislated Hijaab (except by the help of Allaah), so how about if she is sitting with the male student whilst dressed in an un-Islamic manner, displaying her beauty and attractive looks, and with speech that will lead to temptation? Allaah’s Aid is sought, and there is no power nor might except with Allaah. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
[فَإِنَّهَا لا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَكِنْ تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ – Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind]. [Surah Al-Hajj. Verse 46]
As for his statement: “Indeed, since the time of the Messenger, Muslims have been performing prayer in the same mosque, men and women, and therefore education must be in one place)”; the answer to this is: this is true, but the women were at the back of the mosques with Hijaab – with care and being careful of what would cause temptation, and the men were at the front of the mosque. They [i.e. the women] used to listen to admonitions and sermons, participated in prayer and learned the rulings of their religion from what they heard and witnessed. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] used to go to them on the day of Eid – because they were at a distance and could not hear the sermon – after delivering admonition to the men and gave them an admonition and reminder. There is no problem in all of this, but the problem is in the statements of the Dean of Sana’a University [may Allaah guide him, reform his heart, and give him understanding of his religion]. How is it permissible for him to compare education in our time with women praying behind men in one mosque, although there is a vast difference between the reality of education that is known today and the reality of women praying behind men in the Prophet’s era?! And due to this reason, the callers to rectification call for the separation of women and men in the arena of education- women in a separate place and the young men in another, so that a female can acquire knowledge from female teachers with comfort without Hijaab or hardship, because the time period for education is longer than the time period of prayer. And due to the fact that learning from female teachers in a specific place (i.e. away from men) protects everyone and keeps them away from the causes of temptation, and it is the safest thing for young men not to get tempted through women. And because young men being alone and separated from girls, together with the fact that it is the safest thing for them against temptation, is most likely to make them pay attention to their lessons and occupy themselves with it- listening well to teachers and receiving knowledge from the teachers whilst distanced from paying attention to girls, being preoccupied with them, exchanging glances that will intoxicate the hearts and mind with evil desires and statements that leads to immorality.
As for his claim [may Allaah rectify him] that the call to isolate female students from male students is tantamount to rigidity and an opposition to the Sharee’ah, this is an untrue claim; rather separating male students from female students is an act of sincere devotion to Allaah, sincere advice to Allaah’s servants, taking good care of the religion ordained by Allaah and adherence to what has already been transmitted from noble verses of the Qur’aan and the two Prophetic reports. My advice to the Dean of Sana’a University is to fear Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic], repent to Allaah for what he has done, return to the truth and what is correct, because indeed returning to (truth and what is correct) is virtue itself and a proof regarding the search for truth and equity by the student of knowledge.
And Allaah is the One asked to guide all of us to the path of righteousness, protect us and other Muslims from speaking about Him without knowledge, (protect us) from the misleading trials and satan’s enmity, just as we ask Allaah to grant success to the scholars of the Muslims and their leaders – in every place – to that which contains rectification (uprightness, wellbeing) for the country and the servants, in the life and the next; and to guide everyone to the straight path, for Allaah is Jawwaadun Kareem [Al-Jawwaad – The Munificent. The One Whose generosity covers everything in existence. The One Who gives liberally and generously to those in need – even when they reject and disbelieve in Him. The One Who – from His generosity – has prepared in Paradise for His believing servants that which no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard of, and which has never been imagined by anyone]; Al-Kareem [The Bountiful, The Generous One. Abundant in good. The One Who causes and makes easy every good. And Who bestows generously. The One so generous that He even bestows favors upon those who reject His favors, and use them as a means to disobey Him]. (e) And may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of judgement. (2)
Footnote (a): Salaah and Salaam upon the Messenger:
Footnote (b):The Mahaarim by Shaikh Abu Khadeeja [may allaah preserve him]:
Mind map illustration showing the mahrams (male chaperones) of a woman for travel and sittings: https://www.abukhadeejah.com/mind-map-illustration-showing-the-mahrams-male-chaperones-of-a-woman-for-travel-and-sittings/
Footnote (c): Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood [may allaah be pleased with him] reported that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “The best people are those of my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then, there will come people after them whose testimony precedes their oaths and their oaths precede their testimony”. [Al-Bukhaari 6065 and Muslim 2533]
Footnote: (d): Allaah said:
وَقُل لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ يَغۡضُضۡنَ مِنۡ أَبۡصَـٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحۡفَظۡنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡهَاۖ وَلۡيَضۡرِبۡنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِہِنَّۖ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ أَوۡ بَنِىٓ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ أَوۡ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَٲتِهِنَّ أَوۡ نِسَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّـٰبِعِينَ غَيۡرِ أُوْلِى ٱلۡإِرۡبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفۡلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يَظۡهَرُواْ عَلَىٰ عَوۡرَٲتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِۖ وَلَا يَضۡرِبۡنَ بِأَرۡجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعۡلَمَ مَا يُخۡفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّۚ وَتُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful. [Surah An-Nur. Verse 31]
Footnote (e): Names and Attributes of Allaah by Shaikh Abu Talhah [may Allaah have mercy upon him and his wife]: https://www.salafisounds.com/the-names-attributes-of-allaah-by-abu-talhah-dawood-burbank/
Finally, benefit from clarification by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him]: https://www.abukhadeejah.com/free-mixing-between-the-sexes-in-islam-a-detailed-discussion/
[Ref 1: At-turuq Al-Hukmiyyah. page 281. slightly paraphrased]