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Old 08-07-2012, 04:38 AM   #5

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Oct 2005
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It is also important to note not everything that is done overseas works in other countries.
It is more important to heed the words of the Crown of Creation . "Culture" does not have precedence over Divine law.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) dealt with the issue of male-female relations at length

1. Imam Abu Dawud and Imam an-Nasai relate from Sayyidatuna Aisha (Allah be pleased with him) that she says: “A women extended her hand from behind a curtain to hand a piece of paper to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Messenger of Allah pulled his hands back and said: “I don't know if this is a mans hand or a women's hand.” Aisha said that it was a women's hand.

This Hadith is clear that the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to observe separation (hijab) in a way that there use to be a curtain or a veil between the sexes. If free mixing was acceptable, then there was no need for this. Besides, if such separation was against the spirit of the Sharia, the Messenger of Allah would have certainly pointed it out to her.

2) Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim narrate in their Sahih from Uqba ibn Amir (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not go near [non-Mahram] women.” A person inquired: “What about in-laws?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) responded, “The in-laws are death.”

The Prophet of Allah (Allah have mercy on him) compared male in-laws to death. This means that one should be even more careful with in-laws with regards to interaction as there is greater risk for fitna, especially given the comfortable, social atmosphere in which both parties may lower their guard and forget lowering their gazes.

3) Imam Muslim narrates from Jarir ibn Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) who says: ”Iasked Allah's Messenger about the sudden glance on a Non - Mahram. He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes.

4) Buraida reported that the Messenger of Allah said to Ali [Allah be pleased with him]: “O Ali! don't allow your glance to follow a glance, because the first [glance] is forgiven and not the second. [Narrated by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Imam Ahmad].

The above mentioned [and other] verses of the Qur'an and sayings of the Prophet [Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam] indicate the importance of observing the proper limits of gender interaction.

The following are the rules deduced from the Qur'an and Sunnah regarding the social behavior of men and women, as outlined by the scholars:

a) Both men and women should dress properly and modestly, such that their nakedness (awra) is covered with loose clothing that does not define the shape of the limbs below. This, of course, includes women being in proper hijab, both avoiding tight-fitting clothing;

b) Men and women who are not immediately related should not talk to each other unnecessarily. When there is a genuine need (such as work or education) to talk, the conversation should be in a modest, restrained manner, and be limited to the extent of the need;

c) It is from the guidance of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that women cannot wear fragrances that might catch the attention of strange men;

d) Both men and women should lower their gazes. It is disliked to look at someone young of the opposite sex even without the fear of desire; when one even fears desire, it is impermissible to look;

e) Particular care must be given to one’s interaction with in-laws, relatives, and others one is likely to have sustained contact with, such as co-workers.

In the light of the above, we can see that the free intermingling of both the sexes is not allowed. Islam enjoins on both men and women to cast down their looks in presence of each other. How is it possible for men and women to meet freely in dinners, tea parties and other social events with looks cast down?. There is not a single instance in the history of early Islam of men and women being allowed to meet each other freely in any social, political or religious gathering. Even in the Masjid men and women had their separate rows at the time of prayers. The Hadith considers the free mixing with in-laws as death, as there is a greater risk of Fitna.

In one narration, listening to the voice of a woman with lust has been termed as adultery. The scholars have debated whether the voice of a women is Awrah, although according to the Hanafi Madhab it is not considered awrah, but it shows the importance of keeping away from free mixing. If a young woman says Salam to a Non-Mahram, he should reply within himself and not let the woman hear his reply [see “Taqreerat” of Rafi'e on the “Hashiya” of Ibn Abideen].

Ibn Abideen says in his “Hashiya”: If one fears Fitna or lust then it will be Haram for him to look at the face of a woman. This was in the early days. However, in our times [Ibn Abideen's] one is not allowed to look at the face of a Non-Mahram woman, not because it's part of the Awra, rather due to Fitna.

It is thus clear that Islam insist on the segregation of sexes to the utmost extent compatible with individual and collective self-preservation. Its pattern of society is one in which men and women do not intermingle too freely. If intermixture becomes necessary at any time, then too much freedom must be avoided and all the rules and conditions must be observed.

In conclusion, mixed gatherings are not permissible. Men and women must sit apart from each other. If they sit apart and there is no free mixing [as was also mentioned in the Question] then it will be permissible. May Allah guide us to the straight path. Ameen

La ilaha illa'Llah Muhammadu r-rasulullah
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