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Friday, July 19, 2024

Respecting Boundaries: Gender Separation in the Islamic Paradigm

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By Dr. Mateen A. Khan

Abstract: As a comprehensive doctrine, Islam establishes a distinct framework through which Muslims navigate the world. Within this framework, gender interaction is best approached through a policy of gender separation. Gender separation is based on principles prevailing since the pre-Prophetic era and continuing to this day. Deviating from this established practice is not only unwarranted but also detrimental to the well-being of Muslim Americans. This article presents solutions for Muslim and non-Muslim spaces that align with the Islamic paradigm and its principles.

Note: For the sake of accuracy, this paper will utilize the following as italicized terms:

Gender intermingling refers to the situation when men and women mix in one area, often sitting or standing next to each other. This can include a shared entrance for both genders.

Gender gathering refers to gathering men and women in one area while allowing them to see each other. This could involve gathering the two genders on opposite sides of an area without any significant barrier obstructing their view of one another.

Gender segregation refers to segregating men and women in one area with near elimination of seeing one another. This could involve distancing the two genders behind one another without any significant physical barrier.

Gender separation refers to separating men and women into distinct spaces (e.g., two rooms) with separate entrances or separating them with a physical barrier within a shared room, effectively creating two different spaces.

Islam as a Comprehensive Doctrine

Islam is a comprehensive doctrine[i] – an all-encompassing set of beliefs and principles that create a comprehensive framework that gives Muslims a coherent outlook of the world. In other words, as divine guidance, it is inherently consistent, self-contained, and provides a unified perspective on every aspect of life. Islam, as a doctrine, stems from the guidance of the prior Messengers, peaking with our beloved Prophet ﷺ, and then continuing through his spiritual and intellectual heirs, the ‘ulamā and those that follow them. Islam, as we shall demonstrate, has had millenniums-long consistent policy, congruent with its worldview, on shielding the gaze and separating the genders to protect the heart and prevent the illicit. A Muslim today need only evaluate their context through an Islamic lens, i.e., the same rubric inherited throughout the ages, to understand that gender separation is consistent and coherent.[1]

In Surah al-Isrā’, Allah, the Exalted, outlines the Islamic paradigm by stating, “Do not go near unlawful intercourse. It is truly a shameful deed and an evil way.” (al-Isrā’ 32) Not simply sufficing on the prohibition of unlawful intercourse, Allah and His Messenger ﷺ block many of the means to unlawful intercourse, chief being lowering the eyes and covering the ‘awrah. In Surah al-Nūr, Allah, the Exalted states, “˹O Prophet!˺ Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them… And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity, and not to reveal their adornments (i.e., their ‘awrah).” (al-Nūr 31-31) In mentioning the gaze and chastity, He outlined both the starting point and the outcome of the temptation of men through women and the temptation of women through men.[ii] Since a cohesive community is built upon the duality of male and female and the individual’s integrity rests upon protecting the heart and limbs, Islam’s approach to gender interaction colors just about every aspect of Muslim society. After having outlined its importance, we proceed with a discussion on gender interaction through the Islamic worldview.

Gender Interaction Through the Prophetic Era

Perhaps the first narrated incident about inappropriate gender interaction comes about the pre-Islamic Jewish tribes. As transmitted in Muslim, the Prophet ﷺ said, “The world is sweet and lush. Indeed, Allah has placed you as vicegerents in it to see how you act. So, fear the (attractions of) the world and women. Verily, the first trial to afflict Banī Isrā’īl occurred regarding women.” Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah explained from the Prophet ﷺ that “the women of Banī Isrā’īl would use wooden stilts to [elevate themselves to] look at men in the masjids.” Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Masʻūd confirmed, “The men and women of Banī Isrā’īl prayed as one group. If a woman had a male friend (in the masjid), she would wear wooden stilts raising herself to see him.”  In response to these transgressions, both Companions related that Allah punished Banī Isrā’īl by prohibiting women from the masjid.[iii]

Here is an ancient precursor to the initial approach of our Sharīʻah and what transpired in early Islam. The general rule for the Jewish tribes was one of permissibility for women to attend their gatherings in the masjids, conditioned with not viewing the opposite gender. As Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah and Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Masʻūd noted, Allah revoked their permission to attend the masjid space once their behavior changed.[2] This will be a recurring theme that the Sharīʻah not only separates the genders but also prevents the gaze.

Another incident occurred in the Prophetic era. When a particularly attractive woman came to pray in the Prophet’s ﷺ masjid, some men would stand in the front rows to protect their eyes from falling upon her. In contrast, others stood in the back rows to see her better. Acknowledging the harm of the gaze and seeking to block it, Allah, the Exalted, states in Surah al-Ḥijr, “We certainly know those who went ahead (in the rows) from you, and we know those who remained behind.” (al-Ḥijr 24)[iv] Further, His Prophet ﷺ encouraged the men to seek the frontmost rows and the women to seek the backmost rows positioning them behind the rows consisting of boys.[v] This illustrates an important point: the separation of men and women in the Prophet’s masjid was to prevent the gaze of one from the other. Hence, he ﷺ placed the men at the front and the women at the back, with the boys in between. Otherwise, he ﷺ could have gathered the men to one side of the masjid (e.g., the left side) and the women to the other (e.g., the right side), but that would not have adequately obstructed their gaze. Thus, he ﷺ instituted gender segregation in the masjid by having the women leave immediately after the farḍ prayer before any of the men could get up (or see them), expressed for them to have a separate entrance, and segregated them in the streets leading to it.

An Important Aside

Before we continue the discussion on gender interaction, let us highlight other relevant and connected issues. The verse of Surah al-Isrā’ prohibited unlawful intercourse (zinā’) and made impermissible any behavior that possibly leads to illicit relations or creates such desires in the heart, such as touching, gazing, isolation (khalwah), immodest speech, dress, and behavior. We find the steps of that path are blocked (sadd al-dharā’iʻ) to varying degrees by the Sharīʻah. We will divide examples of these generally into two categories: those items that are categorically prohibited (ḥarām) and those that are impermissible (taḥrīmī).[3] The former requires a life or limb-threatening need (ḍarūrah) to make it permissible, whereas the latter requires a less stringent need (ḥājah). In both categories, the underlying ratio legis (‘illah) is the prevention of temptation that may lead to unlawful intercourse in the physical sense and the protection of the heart from the harms of unlawful gaze in the spiritual sense.

Seclusion with the Opposite Gender (khalwah)

As a term, khalwah refers to an unrelated (non-maḥram) male and female being alone in an enclosed space. Both Bukhārī and Muslim relate that the Prophet ﷺ said, “A man should not be secluded with a woman except in the presence of a maḥram.” (B 5233, M15)[vi] This is a categorical prohibition that is bypassed only with a life or limb-threatening emergency (ḍarūrah), e.g., a female tending emergently to an injured male in an enclosed space.

An example of an impermissible khalwah would be one that we term near-khalwah. Examples of this are being alone in a virtual space or along with another non-maḥram female due to the fear of temptation that normally exists between two healthy individuals. Although khalwah in the technical sense is not found, the near-khalwah situation is still impermissible, to be avoided, and sinful if done intentionally.[vii] The barriers to the near-khalwah situation are less compared to khalwah.[4]

Covering the ‘Awrah, Lowering the Gaze (ghaḍḍ al-baṣar) & Touching (lams)

The term ‘awrah refers to the parts of the body that must be covered before another person. The ‘awrah of a woman categorically prohibited for her to reveal before a non-maḥram man is her entire body except for her face, hands, and feet. This categorical prohibition is bypassed only with a corresponding need, e.g., a male tending to a female afflicted by trauma to a part of her ‘awrah. Likewise, looking at the ‘awrah of a non-maḥram or touching it is categorically prohibited except for an appropriate need.

In the example of impermissibility, the face of non-elderly females should be covered before non-maḥram men.[viii] Although uncovering it is not as severe as the rest of her ‘awrah, it is impermissible and sinful if done. The ḥājah to overcoming impermissibility is comparatively less, e.g., when needing to be identified before a judge or government official. Likewise, looking at her face, if the possibility of temptation exists, is impermissible except for an appropriate ḥājah.[ix] However, touching any part of a non-maḥram, including the face and hands, is categorically impermissible as the Prophet ﷺ and jurists prohibited it as a necessary means to blocking any avenue to temptation and unlawful intercourse.[x]

Avoiding Attention

Rather than the antagonism often found in the modern Liberal mind, Muslim men and women are fellow passengers in their spiritual journey. When one group is tasked with protecting themselves, the other group is tasked with assisting them. Just as one is tasked to lower their gaze, the other is tasked to not call attention to themselves. In Surah al-Aḥzāb, Allah, the Exalted, states to women, “Do not display yourselves as women did in the days of ˹pre-Islamic˺ ignorance (jāhiliyyah)” and “Do not be overly effeminate in speech ˹with men˺ or those with sickness in their hearts may be tempted but speak in a moderate tone.” (al-Aḥzāb 32-33) Thus, the Prophet ﷺ, to assist the men in lowering their gaze, forbade women from calling attention to themselves. He ﷺ also said to the women, “Any of you who goes out to the masjid should not come near perfume.”[xi] Scholars extrapolated this principle and included attractive clothing and adornment in the prohibition as well.[xii]

Likewise, zinā’ exists along a prism. From unlawful intercourse to misusing other organs, they are all prohibited or impermissible, although their severity may vary. Thus, the Prophet ﷺ also assigned a type of zinā’ to the eyes, ears, tongue, hand, foot, and heart.[xiii] This illustrates that the Sharīʻah does not simply forbid the above in the categorically prohibited and strictest sense only. Instead, it makes impermissible those things that approach them.[5]

Gender Separation After the Prophetic Era

As Islam is a comprehensive doctrine, the principles underlying its outlook are coherent and consistent in all spheres and times. Among the primary means by which the Sharīʻah avoids temptation and unlawful intercourse is the prevention of ikhtilāṭIkhtilāṭ is a word used in the Prophet’s ﷺ time and by subsequent generations of ‘ulamā to indicate the mingling of people. It can be general, as Imam al-Bukhārī narrated from the Prophet ﷺ, “The Believer who mingles (yukhāliṭu) with people and remains patient with their harm is rewarded greater than one that does not mingle and remain patient with their harm.”[xiv] However, it is often used specifically for when men and women mingle, as in a narration reported by Abū Dāwūd, “[The Companion Abū Usayd al-Anṣārī] heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ say to the women while he was standing outside the masjid and the men were mingling (ikhtalaṭa) with the women in the street, ‘Step back for you should not take to the middle of the street. Keep to its sides.’” Like the subsection examples above, ikhtilāṭ may sometimes be ruled categorically prohibited and sometimes impermissible based on context and circumstance in keeping with the Islamic paradigm. The following subsections outline that the simple absence of gender intermingling does not make a gathering permissible.

The Congregational Prayers

Recall the previous hadith in which the Prophet ﷺ informed us of the punishment and trials of the Jewish tribes. When they violated the conditions of attending the masjid by gazing at one another, their women were then prevented from it. Very soon after the passing of the Prophet ﷺ and his close Companion Abu Bakr, attitudes and practices began to drift. Men and women neglected the divine command to lower their eyes, cover themselves properly, and avoid attention. Their interactions increased to such an extent that it concerned the muftiyyah, confidant, and wife of the Prophet ﷺ, ‘Ā’ishah. She recalled the principle mentioned above about the Jewish tribes and expressed what the Prophet ﷺ would have done, saying, “Had Allah’s Messenger ﷺ witnessed what has befallen the women, he would have prevented them (from the masjid) as the women of Banī Isrāʻīl were prevented.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 569) Likewise, the Companion-Jurist ‘Abdullah ibn Masʻūd made the same connection, ruling, “Remove them from the masjid as Allah had removed [the women of Banī Isrā’īl].”[xv] Similar sentiments have been transmitted from the Companion-Jurists ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb and Zayd ibn Thābit. Superficially, this may appear as a shift away from the Prophet’s establishing gender segregation. However, those with deeper insight and an Islamic outlook will see that it is a continuation of the principles laid out in the time of Banī Isrā’īl and confirmed by the Prophet ﷺ. When the circumstances changed, the principles dictated a change from gender segregation to gender separation.[6]

The ‘Īd Gatherings

A similar thing took place with the ʻĪd gathering. In the Prophet’s time and for much of Islamic history, the ‘Īd gathering took place on the city’s outskirts in an open area, rather than the confines of the masjid as we are used to in America. He ﷺ requested the children and women to attend the open area. He encouraged the women to veil themselves and to bring even those menstruating who cannot pray or enter the masjid usually, indicating that ‘Īd, at that time, was more about the gathering than the prayer. As the ‘ulamā expounded, he wished to show off the numbers and strength of the Believers. However, his method of gender segregation while blocking the mutual visibility of the genders continued, even outdoors. After that, as the people’s conditions changed, Imam Abū Ḥanīfah and other jurists of the Tābiʻīn transitioned into an era of gender separation consistent with prior Islamic principles. They ruled it impermissible for all women, except the elderly, to attend any of the daily congregational prayers, Jumuʻah prayers, or ‘Īd gatherings.[xvi]

Miscellaneous Gatherings

As for other gatherings in the time of the Prophet ﷺ, the women approached him to ask about an exclusive gathering for them. Since the circumstances are different than the prayer (only one congregation takes place for each ṣalāh), the female Companions asked for an assembly concordant with gender separation so they could be educated and admonished.[xvii] The salaf al-ṣāliḥīn and subsequent ‘ulamā continued this practice for all gatherings in which separation was achievable, like gatherings before a judge (qāḍī), celebratory gatherings (e.g., weddings), funeral processions, and family gatherings in which non-maḥrams are present. One of the early Jurists Fakhr al-Islām al-Bazdawī said, “When being present in the masjid for prayer is impermissible, indeed being present for gatherings of admonition is (even more) impermissible, especially with those ignoramuses who wear the garb of ‘ulamā.”[xviii]

The Islamic outlook on gender interaction is clear and consistent with its principles and paradigm throughout time. As a means to eliminate unlawful intercourse, the Sharīʻah has blocked the avenues to gender intermingling, prime among them ikhtilāṭ. As the nature of ikhtilāṭ changed, the ‘ulamā, who embody the Islamic paradigm, limited gender interaction from the time of the Tābiʻīn to the modern era with policies of gender separation to protect the Believers.[7][xix]

In al-Aṣl, Imam Abū Ḥanīfah (d. 120h/ 767CE) is quoted, “No, I do not permit women to leave [for the prayers] except for the extremely elderly female (al-ajūz al-kabīrah). I only allow her to leave for the two ‘Īds and the congregational prayers of Fajr and ‘Ishā’.”[xx] Thereafter, a thousand years of scholarship continued this as evidenced in al-Hadiyyah al-‘Alā’iyyah by Shaykh ‘Alā’ al-Dīn al-Dimashqī al-Ḥanafī (d. 1306h/ 1888CE): “Women attending the congregation is impermissible, whether for jumuʻah, ‘Īd, or admonition, for the elderly female, day or night, except for the women in the extremes of age (al-‘ajūz al-fāniyah); just as it is impermissible for a man to lead women in a house when there is no one else present from his (female) maḥram.”[xxi]

The Role of Leadership in Gender Interaction

The role of Muslim leadership, including the ‘ulamā, is to safeguard the religion and continue the prophetic mission of purifying and teaching the people.[xxii] Part of this is to safeguard the people’s hearts and minds from the harms of avoidable gender interaction such that only good comes from one another. Consistency in framework demands consistency in jurisprudence and spirituality. What is harmful spiritually, e.g., sights that negatively affect the heart, should also be impermissible or disliked in jurisprudence. Numerous scholars, like Imam al-Ghazālī, pointed out the physical and spiritual harms in this world and the next. Ibn al-Qayyim stated, “From this, it is known that it is binding for the one in authority to forbid intermingling in the marketplaces and the gatherings of men, the ruler is responsible for that, and the temptation (fitnah) that results from intermingling is immense indeed.”

Our American context lacks Islamic authority, so the task falls upon the ‘ulamā and Muslim leaders to create environments that safeguard the hearts and minds of Muslims. When guidance related to gender interaction is abandoned for practices of gender intermingling and gender gathering or Muslims no longer adhere to the principles mentioned in the Avoiding Attraction subsection, it is incumbent upon Muslim leadership to rectify the environment to protect the Believers. On some level, this responsibility falls on every Believer. The Prophet ﷺ turned away the face of Sayyiduna Faḍl ibn ‘Abbās when he caught him gazing at a woman. Sayyiduna ‘Umar chastised the unnecessary mixing of men and women. They did not leave one another to their own devices. For what merciful brother or sister would do that?

Thus, men and women are complementary. They are to assist one another in chastity and not leave them to their desires. Men are not to look at women without need; women are to assist their brothers by covering. Women generally desire to be looked at, and men are to assist their sisters by not looking. Allah, the Exalted, indicates as much in Surah al-Nūr when He commands the men, “Lower your gaze and protect your private parts (from sin),” and then addresses women with the same commands but adds, “Do not display your beauty except what becomes apparent from it” and “Do not display your beauty except to your husbands and [maḥram men].”[xxiii] In essence, saying, “O men, protect your eyes and your private parts, and O women, assist them as their partners in religion by not displaying what is impermissible for their eyes to fall upon.” We have already addressed how our sisters assist our brothers in the Avoiding Attention subsection above. The role of ‘ulamā, leadership, and every Muslim is to assist one another in keeping their eyes and hearts safe from disobedience and spiritual disease.

Solutions for Contemporary America

As illustrated, the Prophet ﷺ established gender segregation by minimizing visibility within enclosed Muslim spaces. However, he conditioned this setup and opened the door for gender separation by hinting towards prohibition: segregating men and women out of sight in the masjid, having women exit separately when they came, encouraging them to pray at home, and gathering them separately in other settings. The knowledgeable among the Companions, including his ﷺ wife and the example for all Muslim women to come, ʻĀ’ishah, furthered the separation and absence of visibility. The ‘ulamā from the Salaf and subsequent generations continued the same trajectory concordant with a changing population throughout Islamic scholarship until our time.

Today, in America, Muslim spaces abound in the form of madrasas, masjids, and other venues for Muslim gatherings. Additionally, the need for women’s education and admonition has always existed and continues to in our time. Just as those before us instituted gender separation in Muslim lands based on an Islamic paradigm and principles, how do we continue them while living in non-Muslim America, whose foundation is western Liberalism?

Muslim Spaces

Muslim spaces are those spaces in which Muslims control the environment’s setup. In Muslim lands, this includes the entirety of their spaces. In non-Muslim lands like America, this includes spaces in which Muslims are able to create an environment keeping with our principles, including our homes, masjids, maktabs, third spaces, ceremonies, and other gatherings. In these spaces, Muslims should be in their natural, supportive element, an environment conducive to their iman and purification. Since we lack an ethos conducive to our principles by being surrounded by actualized modern Liberalism, Muslim spaces in non-Muslim lands are essential to foster an Islamic outlook. As mentioned, this responsibility falls upon our ‘ulamā and leaders specifically and on every Muslim generally.

We have seen how our predecessors implemented gender separation by restricting congregations of the daily, jumuʻah, and Īd prayers for those upon whom they are obligated, i.e., men. A divider is not discussed much in the prior texts because our predecessors implemented gender separation by separating men to the public sphere and women to the private. Both spheres inculcated an Islamic outlook for their members.[8] A divider was unnecessary. In contrast, the attendance of women in public spaces in America is completely normalized with little to no prospect of a reverse in trends. In other words, in our contemporary American context, their presence is a foregone expectation. This, coupled with the ongoing need for female education and rectification, requires a solution consistent with our principles.

More than nine-hundred years ago, Imam al-Ghazālī suggested a barrier erected between the two genders that effectively separated them and prevented the gaze. “When the speaker is a non-elderly man (shābb), attractive to women in dress and appearance, with plenty of poems, gestures and movements, and women attend his gathering, this is an abomination (munkar) which must be prevented, since the corruption in this is greater than the benefit…It is obligatory to erect a screen/barrier between men and women that prevents seeing [one another], as that is also an anticipated cause of corruption. Norms bear testimony to these abominations.”[xxiv] Our outlook and principles in contemporary America are best achieved by actualizing gender separation in Muslim spaces.[9] Depending on resources, this may be done by having their gatherings in different buildings, different rooms, or one room with an effective barrier, eliminating not only intermingling but also visibility. Organizers should use electronics, media, and other comforts to maximize learning and maintain principles.

Non-Muslim Spaces

Non-Muslim spaces are those spaces in non-Muslim lands where Muslims do not have control over the setup, including workplaces, schools, and other public institutions.[10] When one is unable to alter the environment meaningfully, one must constantly be aware of lurking dangers and keep themselves on guard. When able to improve the environment towards that which is Islamic, they will encourage the good and discourage the evil. Non-Muslim spaces are not, nor should they be expected, to foster an Islamic outlook, protect the eyes, or be conducive to a pure heart. They are spaces in which modern Liberal values and outlook are actualized. Thus, Muslims will lower their gaze in non-Muslim spaces, protect their limbs and hearts, and be wary of falling into the impermissible as a means of damage control in a harmful environment.

Closing

The above discussion clarifies that gender separation is the Islamic outlook and the result of principles laid down as early as the time of the Jewish tribes, confirmed in the Muḥammadan Sharīʻah, and continued consistently by the ‘ulamā. A ruling that has consistently stood throughout prior Shariʻahs and nearly a millennium and a half in ours requires a monumental burden of need to overcome.[11]

Thus, gender separation is most conducive to a normative Muslim mind and an ideal we must necessarily strive to continue. In the Islamic paradigm, it is communally and individually protective and an act of piety.[xxv] The modern Liberal, from his perspective, may find it a strange, inegalitarian practice. However, that is not from our perspective or principles.[12]

Since we find barakah in our elders’ words, we close with a profound warning from Shaykh Muḥammad Yūsuf Binorī[xxvi]:

We (Muslims) are not tasked by Allah, the Exalted, to make people into Muslims by whatever means possible. Yes, we are tasked to exert ourselves in conveying the religion’s message through all lawful means and resources available to us. Islam has instructed us on the honorable ways and etiquettes of preaching wherever we are commanded to spread the message. Our responsibility is to convey the message while adhering to these boundaries of decorum and methodology.

If we succeed in our preaching through these permissible means and etiquettes, then that is the desired outcome. However, if hypothetically we do not achieve complete success using lawful methods, we are not tasked to employ forbidden methods and disregard the etiquette of preaching. We should not resort to any means to win people over, whether permissible or impermissible.

If, through lawful means and etiquettes of preaching, we can guide a single person to commit to the religion, then our preaching is successful. However, if we manage to attract a hundred followers by adopting forbidden means, such success holds no value in the sight of Allah. Preaching that violates the commands of religion is not calling to the religion but to something else.

Wa bi -llāhi al-tawfīq


[1] In contrast, Western Liberalism is also a comprehensive doctrine traced from Greek philosophers through Christian history, European Enlightenment, and the Western intellectual tradition of modern America. It is the de facto framework of those born and bred in America. As America is the home of millions of Muslims, we now have a group of people that are, perhaps unknowingly, foundationally Liberal and functionally Muslim or, at least, identify as such. Both scholar and layperson are susceptible. Since it is impossible for two frameworks to coexist in one mind, Muslim Americans cannot both be Islamic and Liberal at the same time. Thus, it behooves Muslim Americans to reevaluate their stances and ask, “Have we adopted a stance that is built upon a competing comprehensive doctrine (western Liberalism) or the Islamic doctrine?”

In terms of gender interaction, the two doctrines stand in stark contradistinction. Western Liberalism has long been at odds with the gender separation and the Islamic veil, having taken it as an excuse for furthering racist tropes, colonialist foreign policy, and even justification for genocidal invasions. Modern Liberalism no longer acknowledges differences in gender or in the roles assigned to them traditionally. Through its lens, Islam seems preoccupied with gender interactions, as according to them, a delineation between the two genders is a false construct and a barrier to progress. Hence, to evaluate or reinterpret gender separation with a Liberal foundation will lead to inconsistencies in a host of rulings in both jurisprudence and spirituality.

[2] In Surah al-Anʻām, Allah, the Exalted, instructed the Prophet ﷺ, “These ˹prophets˺ were ˹rightly˺ guided by Allah, so follow their guidance.” (6:90) Meaning, if the Sharīʻah of Muḥammad does not alter a ruling, the rulings of the prior Prophets that are known with certainty still stand. The prior ruling for Banī Isrā’īl was for a conditioned permission to attend the masjids. When they and our ummah changed, permission was revoked. (al-Durr al-Mukhtār 1:91)

[3] The reader should clearly note that the differentiation here does not imply that the latter is permitted. Both are impermissible and sinful. The difference is a juristic one to illustrate what level of need is required to remove the prohibition.

[4] This is an important distinction to make. The argument for gender gathering is often made by saying that khalwah does not take place. Khalwah is the most prohibited of situations, but impermissibility starts well before it.

[5] In other words, it is incorrect to state gender gathering is permissible because unlawful intercourse, seclusion, uncovering the ‘awrah, looking at, and touching it does not take place in the worst sense.

[6] We see a clear pattern and principle implemented by the Prophet ﷺ in his Sharīʻah. In applying them in his time, he also illustrated the path for future contexts. For example, although the Prophet ﷺ said, “If the wife of one of yours requests permission to go to the masjid, do not prevent her from it.”, in keeping with the Islamic outlook demonstrated in the above hadiths, this is not an unconditional statement for the following reasons:

  • In other narrations, he ﷺ conditioned this statement for the night prayers. When many of the female Companions, including the Prophet’s wives, attended his masjid, they came in the night. Sayyida ‘Ā’ishah and others explained the reason was to attend the prayer and return without catching the gaze of men.
  • Although he ﷺ gave permission to attend the masjid, he did not encourage them but rather, encouraged them to pray at home with a promise of greater reward.
  • Besides his masjid, narrations do not suggest they attended other masjids in Madinah.

These points when taken together in the context of our discussion, indicate that although the Prophet ﷺ allowed women to attend the masjid employing gender segregation, the option of not coming, i.e., gender separation, to the prayer was superior. This is analogous to the time when the Jewish tribes were permitted to have women in their areas of gathering but later prohibited.

[7] Imam al-Haytamī wrote in al-Fatāwā al-Fiqhiyya al-Kubrā that [Imam Al-Ghazālī] wrote in al-Iḥyā’, “Preventing women from attending the masjids for ṣalāh and the gatherings of remembrance when temptation on their account is anticipated is obligatory.” These are ‘ulamā’s statements on the change in ruling because of the change in the times. Those who made these statements are the majority of the ‘ulamā from the mujtahids, the proficient imams, and the righteous jurists, who are the experts. It is necessary to accept their statements, as they are the guides of the ummah, and their preference for us is better than our preference for ourselves. Whoever opposes them follows his desire. If it is said what is the response to the earlier jurists who said otherwise, then when they did not intend impermissibility, it was because the anticipation of temptation did not result upon their emergence. When it does, then it is categorically prohibited (ḥarām) without doubt…What is meant by ‘temptation’ (fitnah) is unlawful intercourse (zinā’) and its precursors like glances, seclusion (khalwah), touching (lams), and the like of that.”

[8] To be clear, what is best for women is to remain in their homes and take the example of the Prophet’s ﷺ wives. Allah, the Exalted, states in Surah al-Aḥzāb, “Settle in your homes, and do not display yourselves as women did in the days of ˹pre-Islamic˺ ignorance. Establish prayer, pay alms-tax, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only intends to keep ˹the causes of˺ evil away from you and purify you completely, O members of the ˹Prophet’s˺ family!” The leniency provided reflects the state of American Muslims and an attempt to adhere to the Islamic paradigm while mitigating damage. We ask Allah to return us to the Islamic ideal.

[9] Arrangements of gender gathering are capitulations to the Liberal doctrine and mind. It is not from the Islamic paradigm. As discussed, this is foundationally unsustainable for Muslims.

[10] The analogy, in these spaces for a Muslim, is like stepping into the “bad part of town.” It would be silly to think that one should stroll through it as one would in a safe, suburban street to avoid hypocrisy in action.

[11] Arguments of maṣlaḥah (benefit) made today to justify gender gathering are subjective and temperamental. One could take it to the absurd by arguing for a gender gathering of admonition in a bar with alcohol and karaoke. Where does one draw the line? No wonder that scholars of juristic principles (‘uṣūliyyūn) leave such distinctions for the gifted, elder scholar after a lifetime of engrossment in ‘ilm and outline many conditions to invoking maṣlaḥah. The concept has been subject to much abuse. Moreover, if instead of taking preventive measures (dafʻ al-muḍirrah), we resort to making excuses in hopes of achieving greater benefits (jalb al-manfaʻah), we ultimately inflict considerable harm on each other by compromising our principles. Furthermore, when a person commits a sin, it leaves a mark on their heart. The individual may then seek istighfār and strive to cleanse the stain and its effects. However, when a wrongdoing is justified and made acceptable, there is no incentive for the person to seek the removal of the stain.

[12] Note that current arguments for gender intermingling or gender gathering employ either emotion-based deflections or an isolated re-evaluation of the Prophetic era while ignoring subsequent scholarly heritage. The former is comparable and perhaps derived from a postmodern Liberal approach. The latter is like the approach of the Protestant or Salafiyyah movements in their rejection of a thousand years of heritage in their respective faiths.


[i] A comprehensive doctrine refers to a systematic and all-encompassing set of beliefs, principles, or ideas that provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing various aspects of life, such as ethics, politics, social organization, and spirituality. It is a broad and integrated worldview that offers a unified perspective on how individuals or societies should navigate the world and make decisions. A comprehensive doctrine often incorporates elements from multiple disciplines, including philosophy, religion, and social sciences, to form a coherent and consistent outlook.

OpenAI. (2021). ChatGPT. Retrieved from https://openai.com on 5/21/2023.

[ii] Reliance of the Traveller. Nuh Ha Mim Keller. 2015. f12.6.

[iii] يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّ الدُّنْيَا حُلْوَةٌ خَضِرَةٌ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ مُسْتَخْلِفُكُمْ فِيهَا فَيَنْظُرُ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ فَاتَّقُوا الدُّنْيَا وَاتَّقُوا النِّسَاءَ فَإِنَّ أَوَّلَ فِتْنَةِ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ كَانَتْ فِي النِّسَاءِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَفِي حَدِيثِ ابْنِ بَشَّارٍ ‏”‏ لِيَنْظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ (البخاري 2742)

المصنف ابن عبد الرزاق، المجلس العلمي، 3:149، حديث 5114

عن هشام بن عروة، عن أبيه، عن عائشة قالت: «كان نساء بني إسرائيل يتخذن أرجلا من خشب، يتشرفن للرجال في المساجد فحرم الله عليهن المساجد، وسلطت عليهن الحيضة»

المعجم الكبير للطبراني، مكتبة ابن تيمية، 9:295، حديث 9484.

عن ابن مسعود، قال: ” كان الرجال، والنساء في بني إسرائيل يصلون جميعا، فكانت المرأة إذا كان لها الخليل تلبس القالبين تطول بهما لخليلها، فألقى الله عليهن الحيض، فكان ابن مسعود يقول: أخروهن حيث أخرهن الله ” قلنا لأبي بكر: ما القالبين؟ قال: «رقيصتين من خشب»

[iv] جامع البيان للطبري، سورة الحجر 24

وقال آخرون: بل معنى ذلك: ولقد علمنا المستقدمين منكم في الصفوف في الصلاة، والمستأخرين فيها بسبب النساء.

ذكر من قال ذلك… حدثني محمد بن موسى الحرسي، قال: ثنا نوح بن قيس، قال: ثنا عمرو بن مالك، عن أبي الجوزاء، عن ابن عباس، قال: كانت تصلي خلف رسول الله ﷺ امرأة، قال ابن عباس: لا والله ما إن رأيت مثلها قط، فكان بعض المسلمين إذا صلوا استقدموا، وبعض يستأخرون، فإذا سجدوا، نظروا إليها من تحت أيديهم، فأنزل الله ﴿وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْنَا الْمُسْتَقْدِمِينَ مِنْكُمْ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْنَا الْمُسْتَأْخِرِينَ﴾ . حدثنا أبو كريب، قال: ثنا عبيد الله بن موسى، قال: أخبرنا نوح بن قيس، وحدثنا أبو كريب، قال: ثنا مالك بن إسماعيل، قال: ثنا نوح بن قيس، عن عمرو بن مالك، عن أبي الجوزاء، عن ابن عباس قال: كانت تصلي خلف رسول الله ﷺ امرأة حسناء من أحسن الناس، فكان بعض الناس يستقدم في الصفّ الأوّل لئلا يراها، ويستأخر بعضهم حتى يكون في الصفّ المؤخر، فإذا ركع نظر من تحت إبطيه في الصفّ، فأنزل الله في شأنها ﴿وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْنَا الْمُسْتَقْدِمِينَ مِنْكُمْ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْنَا الْمُسْتَأْخِرِينَ﴾ .

[v] عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ خَيْرُ صُفُوفِ الرِّجَالِ أَوَّلُهَا وَشَرُّهَا آخِرُهَا وَخَيْرُ صُفُوفِ النِّسَاءِ آخِرُهَا وَشَرُّهَا أَوَّلُهَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ (مسلم 440)

[vi] فَقَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ يَدْخُلَنَّ رَجُلٌ بَعْدَ يَوْمِي هَذَا عَلَى مُغِيبَةٍ إِلاَّ وَمَعَهُ رَجُلٌ أَوِ اثْنَانِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ (البخاري 2173)

[vii] https://www.banuri.edu.pk/readquestion/mard-ustad-kitni-umar-ki-larrkion-ko-online-ya-phr-samne-bitha-kar-quran-parha-sakta-he-144407101151/04-02-2023, see Fatāwā Rahīmīyyah ref. at bottom)

عَنْ عُقْبَةَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ إِيَّاكُمْ وَالدُّخُولَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَفَرَأَيْتَ الْحَمْوَ قَالَ ‏”‏ الْحَمْوُ الْمَوْتُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ عُمَرَ وَجَابِرٍ وَعَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى حَدِيثُ عُقْبَةَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏ وَإِنَّمَا مَعْنَى كَرَاهِيَةِ الدُّخُولِ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ عَلَى نَحْوِ مَا رُوِيَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ يَخْلُوَنَّ رَجُلٌ بِامْرَأَةٍ إِلاَّ كَانَ ثَالِثَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَمَعْنَى قَوْلِهِ ‏”‏ الْحَمْوُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ يُقَالُ هُوَ أَخُو الزَّوْجِ كَأَنَّهُ كَرِهَ لَهُ أَنْ يَخْلُوَ بِهَا ‏. (الترمذي 1171)‏

رد المحتار على الدر المختار 6:368

وفي الأشباه: الخلوة بالأجنبية حرام إلا لملازمة مديونة هربت ودخلت خربة أو كانت عجوزا شوهاء أو بحائل

رد المحتار على الدر المختار 1:566

 (كما تكره إمامة الرجل لهن في بيت ليس معهن رجل غيره ولا محرم منه)… ظاهره أن الخلوة بالأجنبية لا تنتفي بوجود امرأة أجنبية أخرى وتنتفي بوجود رجل آخر تأمل

[viii] The Niqab and Its Obligation in the Hanafi Madhab. Mufti Husain Kadodia. https://daruliftaamw.com/the-niqab-and-its-obligation-in-the-hanafi-madhhab/. Accessed 5/24/2023.

[ix] المرأة فلا يحل لها النظر من الرجل الأجنبي ما بين السرة إلى الركبة ولا بأس أن تنظر إلى ما سوى ذلك إذا كانت تأمن على نفسها والأفضل للشاب غض البصر عن وجه الأجنبية وكذا الشابة لما فيه من خوف حدوث الشهوة والوقوع في الفتنة يؤيده المروي عن عبد الله بن مسعود – رضي الله عنهما – أنه قال في قوله تبارك وتعالى {إلا ما ظهر منها} [النور: 31] أنه الرداء والثياب فكان غض البصر وترك النظر أزكى وأطهر وذلك قوله عز وجل {قل للمؤمنين يغضوا من أبصارهم ويحفظوا فروجهم ذلك أزكى لهم} [النور: 30] وروي «أن أعميين دخلا على رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وعنده بعض أزواجه سيدتنا عائشة – رضي الله تعالى عنها – وأخرى فقال لهما قوما فقالتا إنهما أعميان يا رسول الله فقال لهما أعمياوان أنتما» إلا إذا لم يكونا من أهل الشهوة بأن كانا شيخين كبيرين لعدم احتمال حدوث الشهوة فيهما. بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع 5:122

[x] سَمِعْتُ أُمَيْمَةَ بِنْتَ رُقَيْقَةَ، تَقُولُ جِئْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي نِسْوَةٍ نُبَايِعُهُ فَقَالَ لَنَا ‏ “‏ فِيمَا اسْتَطَعْتُنَّ وَأَطَقْتُنَّ إِنِّي لاَ أُصَافِحُ النِّسَاءَ ‏”‏ ‏(ابن ماحه 2874)

المعجم الكبير للطبراني، مكتبة ابن تيمية، 8:205، حديث 7830.
عن أبي أمامة، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: «إياكم والخلوة بالنساء، والذي نفسي بيده، ما خلا رجل وامرأة إلا دخل الشيطان بينهما، وليزحم رجل خنزيرا متلطخا بطين، أو حمأة خير له من أن يزحم منكبه منكب امرأة لا تحل له

المرجع 486

سمعت معقل بن يسار يقول: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «لأن يطعن في رأس أحدكم بمخيط من حديد خير له من أن يمس امرأة لا تحل له

[xi] عَنْ زَيْنَبَ، امْرَأَةِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَتْ قَالَ لَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِذَا شَهِدَتْ إِحْدَاكُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ فَلاَ تَمَسَّ طِيبًا ‏”‏ (مسلم 443)

[xii] إكمال المعلم بفوائد مسلم، قاضي عياض، 2:355

ونهى النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم للنساء عن الخروج إلى المساجد إذا تطيبن أو تبخرن؛ لأجل فتنة الرجال بطيب ريحهن وتحريك قلوبهم وشهواتهم بذلك، وذلك لغير المساجد أحرى، وفى معنى الطيب ظهور الزينة وحسن الثياب وصوت الخلاخيل والحلى، وكل ذلك يجب منع النساء منه إذا خرجن بحيث يراهن الرجال

[xiii] عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ كُتِبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ نَصِيبُهُ مِنَ الزِّنَى مُدْرِكٌ ذَلِكَ لاَ مَحَالَةَ فَالْعَيْنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا النَّظَرُ وَالأُذُنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا الاِسْتِمَاعُ وَاللِّسَانُ زِنَاهُ الْكَلاَمُ وَالْيَدُ زِنَاهَا الْبَطْشُ وَالرِّجْلُ زِنَاهَا الْخُطَا وَالْقَلْبُ يَهْوَى وَيَتَمَنَّى وَيُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ الْفَرْجُ وَيُكَذِّبُهُ ‏”‏ ‏(مسلم 2658)

[xiv] الأدب المفرد، 388

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ‏:‏ الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ، وَيَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ، خَيْرٌ مِنَ الَّذِي لاَ يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ، وَلاَ يَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ‏.‏

[xv] المعجم الكبير للطبراني، مكتبة ابن تيمية، 9:295، حديث 9484.

عن ابن مسعود، قال: ” كان الرجال، والنساء في بني إسرائيل يصلون جميعا، فكانت المرأة إذا كان لها الخليل تلبس القالبين تطول بهما لخليلها، فألقى الله عليهن الحيض، فكان ابن مسعود يقول: أخروهن حيث أخرهن الله ” قلنا لأبي بكر: ما القالبين؟ قال: «رقيصتين من خشب»

[xvi]بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع، دار الكتب العلمية، 1:275

وأما النسوة فهل يرخص لهن أن يخرجن في العيدين؟ أجمعوا على أنه لا يرخص للشواب منهن الخروج في الجمعة والعيدين وشيء من الصلاة؛ لقوله تعالى {وقرن في بيوتكن} [الأحزاب: 33] والأمر بالقرار نهي عن الانتقال ولأن خروجهن سبب الفتنة بلا شك، والفتنة حرام، وما أدى إلى الحرام فهو حرام. وأما العجائز فلا خلاف في أنه يرخص لهن الخروج في الفجر والمغرب والعشاء والعيدين، واختلفوا في الظهر والعصر والجمعة قال أبو حنيفة: لا يرخص لهن في ذلك وقال أبو يوسف ومحمد يرخص لهن في ذلك.

إجماع الأئمة الأربعة واختلافهم، ابن هبيرة الخنبلي، دار العلا، 1:172
واتفقوا : على أنه يكره (للشواب) منهن حضور جماعات الرجال.
ثم اختلفوا : في حضور عجائزهن ، فقال مالك ، وأحمد : لا يكره على الإطلاق ، وقال أبو حنيفة : يكره لهن الحضور ، إلا في العشاء والفجر خاصة في إحدى الروايتين (عنه)، وهي رواية محمد عن أبي يوسف عنه ، وفي الرواية الأخرى عنه : يخرجن في العيدين خاصة . وقال الشافعي : (يكره لها كالشابة إن كانت عجوزا يشتهى مثلها) (وإن كانت لا تشتهى لم يكره.

[xvii] عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ،‏.‏ قَالَتِ النِّسَاءُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم غَلَبَنَا عَلَيْكَ الرِّجَالُ، فَاجْعَلْ لَنَا يَوْمًا مِنْ نَفْسِكَ‏.‏ فَوَعَدَهُنَّ يَوْمًا لَقِيَهُنَّ فِيهِ، فَوَعَظَهُنَّ وَأَمَرَهُنَّ، فَكَانَ فِيمَا قَالَ لَهُنَّ ‏”‏ مَا مِنْكُنَّ امْرَأَةٌ تُقَدِّمُ ثَلاَثَةً مِنْ وَلَدِهَا إِلاَّ كَانَ لَهَا حِجَابًا مِنَ النَّارِ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَالَتِ امْرَأَةٌ وَاثْنَيْنِ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ وَاثْنَيْنِ ‏”‏‏.‏ (البخاري 101)

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، – رضى الله عنها – قَالَتْ أَوْمَتِ امْرَأَةٌ مِنْ وَرَاءِ سِتْرٍ بِيَدِهَا كِتَابٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَبَضَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَدَهُ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مَا أَدْرِي أَيَدُ رَجُلٍ أَمْ يَدُ امْرَأَةٍ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَتْ بَلِ امْرَأَةٌ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ لَوْ كُنْتِ امْرَأَةً لَغَيَّرْتِ أَظْفَارَكِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ يَعْنِي بِالْحِنَّاءِ ‏.‏ (سنن ابي داود 4166)

[xviii] قال شمس الأئمة السرخسي رحمه الله (من مدينة سرخس بفارس “إيران اليوم” ت: 483هـ) : “وَيَنْبَغِي لِلْقَاضِي أَنْ يُقَدِّمَ النِّسَاءَ عَلَى حِدَةٍ وَالرِّجَالَ عَلَى حِدَةٍ ; لِأَنَّ النَّاسَ يَزْدَحِمُونَ فِي مَجْلِسِهِ ، وَفِي اخْتِلَاطِ النِّسَاءِ مَعَ الرِّجَالِ عِنْدَ الزَّحْمَةِ مِنْ الْفِتْنَةِ وَالْقُبْحِ مَا لَا يَخْفَى ” انتهى من “المبسوط” (16/8) .

وفي “مختصر خليل مع شرحه منح الجليل” لعليش (8/308) (من طرابلس المغرب وسكن القاهرة ت: 1299هـ) : “وَيَنْبَغِي لِلْقَاضِي أَنْ يُفْرِدَ يَوْمًا مُعَيَّنًا مِنْ الْأُسْبُوعِ أَوْ وَقْتًا مُعَيَّنًا مِنْ الْيَوْمِ لِقَضَاءٍ بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ سَتْرًا لَهُنَّ وَحِفْظًا مِنْ اخْتِلَاطِهِنَّ بِالرِّجَالِ فِي مَجْلِسِهِ …….وقال أَشْهَبُ (مصري ت:204هـ) “أَرَى أَنْ يَبْدَأَ بِالنِّسَاءِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ أَوْ بِالرِّجَالِ …… ، وَلَا يُقَدِّمُ الرِّجَالَ وَالنِّسَاءَ مُخْتَلِطِينَ ، وَإِنْ رَأَى أَنْ يَجْعَلَ لِلنِّسَاءِ يَوْمًا مَعْلُومًا أَوْ يَوْمَيْنِ فَعَلَ” انتهى .

قال ابن الجوزي (بغدادي ت: 597هـ) : “فأما ما أحدث القصاص من جمع النساء والرجال فإنه من البدع التي تجري فيها العجائب من اختلاط النساء بالرجال ورفع النساء أصواتهن بالصياح والنواح إلى غير ذلك” انتهى من “كشف المشكل من حديث الصحيحين” (1/776) .

حاشية الشرنبلالي على درر الحكام شرح غرر الأحكام، دار إحياء الكتب العربية، 1:86

(قوله وفي الكافي الفتوى اليوم على الكراهة في كل الصلوات إلى آخره) قال غيره وأفتى المشايخ المتأخرون بمنع العجوز من حضور الجماعات كلها اهـ. وهو أولى كما لا يخفى. وقال في الكافي ومتى كره حضور المسجد للصلاة لأن يكره حضور مجالس الوعظ خصوصا عند هؤلاء الجهال الذين تحلوا بحلية العلماء أولى، ذكره فخر الإسلام – رحمه الله -.وقال الكمال والمعتمد منع الكل في الكل إلا العجائز المتفانيات فيما يظهر لي دون العجائز المتبرحات وذوات الرمق والله سبحانه وتعالى أعلم. اهـ.

[xix]  الموسوعة الفقهية الكويتية، 2:290

يختلف حكم اختلاط الرجال بالنساء بحسب موافقته لقواعد الشريعة أو عدم موافقته، فيحرم… ويجوز الاختلاط إذا كانت هناك حاجة مشروعة مع مراعاة قواعد الشريعة.

الفتاوى الفقهية الكبرى، أحمد بن محمد بن علي بن حجر الهيتمي، المكتبة الإسلامية، 1:202-203.

ثم قال فإن قلت أتقول بمنع خروج النساء إلى المساجد والمواعيد وزيارة القبور غير قبر النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قلت: كيف لا أقول به وقد صار متفقا عليه لعدم شرط جواز الخروج في زمنه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وهو التقى والعفاف…

أن المفتى به في هذا الزمان منع خروجهن ولا يتوقف في ذلك إلا غبي تابع لهواه؛ لأن الأحكام تتغير بتغير أهل الزمان وهذا صحيح على مذاهب العلماء من السلف والخلف فمن ذلك ما قاله في شرح مسلم نقلا عن القاضي عياض قال اختلف السلف في خروجهن للعيدين فرأى جماعة أن ذلك حق عليهن منهم أبو بكر وعمر وابنه وغيرهم – رضي الله عنهم – ومنهم من منعهن من ذلك منهم عروة والقاسم ويحيى الأنصاري ومالك وأبو يوسف، وأبو حنيفة أجازه مرة ومنعه أخرى، وفي شرح العمدة لابن الملقن: ومنع بعضهم في الشابة دون غيرها وهو مذهب مالك وأبي يوسف قال الطحاوي كان الأمر بخروجهن في ابتداء الإسلام ليكثر المسلمون في عين العدو اهـ.

وفي شرح ابن دقيق العيد وقد كان ذلك الوقت أهل الإسلام في حيز القلة فاحتيج إلى المبالغة في إخراج العواتق وذوات الخدور وفي مصنف ابن العطار وينبغي للمرأة أن لا تخرج من بيتها بل تلزم قعره فإنها كلها عورة والعورة يجب سترها وأما الخروج إلى المساجد في الغلس عند أمن الضرر والفتنة فقد كان مأذونا فيه زمن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وزمان بعض أصحابه. ثم منع منه لما أحدث النساء من الافتتان بهن والتبهرج والتطيب وفتنتهن بالرجال…

قال حجة الإسلام في الإحياء وقد كان أذن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – للنساء في حضور المساجد والصواب الآن المنع إلا العجائز بل استصوب ذلك في زمن الصحابة – رضي الله عنهم – حتى قالت عائشة – رضي الله عنها – وذكر ما مر عنها وقال فيه أيضا في كتاب الأمر بالمعروف ويجب منع النساء من حضور المساجد للصلاة ومجالس الذكر إذا خيفت الفتنة بهن فهذه أقاويل العلماء في اختلاف الحكم فيها بتغير الزمان. وأهل الأقاويل المذكورة هم جمهور العلماء من المجتهدين والأئمة المتقين والفقهاء الصالحين الذين هم من الممهرين فيجب الأخذ بأقاويلهم؛ لأنهم علم الأمة واختيارهم لنا خير من اختيارنا لأنفسنا ومن خالفهم فهو متبع لهواه فإن قيل فما الجواب عن إطلاق أهل المذهب غير من مر فالجواب أن محله حيث لم يريدوا كراهة التحريم ما إذا لم يترتب على خروجهن خشية فتنة وأما إذا ترتب ذلك فهو حرام بلا شك كما مر نقله عمن ذكر والمراد بالفتنة الزنا ومقدماته من النظر والخلوة واللمس وغير ذلك.

[xx] الأَصْلُ، محمد بن الحسن بن الشيباني، دار ابن حزم، ه1433، 1:365

قلت: أرأيت النساء هل ترخص لهن أن يحضرن ذلك؟ قال: لا أرخص للنساء في شيء من الخروج إلا العجوز الكبيرة، فإني أرخص لها في الخروج في العيدين وفي صلاة الفجر والعشاء. وقال أبو يوسف: أما أنا فأرخص لهن في الخروج في الصلوات كلها وفي صلاة الكسوف وفي الاستسقاء إذا كانت عجوزاً، ولا بأس بأن تخرج في ذلك كله، وأكره للشابة ذلك. وهو قول محمد.

[xxi] الأَصْلُ، محمد بن الحسن بن الشيباني، دار ابن حزم، ه1433، 1:365

قلت: أرأيت النساء هل ترخص لهن أن يحضرن ذلك؟ قال: لا أرخص للنساء في شيء من الخروج إلا العجوز الكبيرة، فإني أرخص لها في الخروج في العيدين وفي صلاة الفجر والعشاء. وقال أبو يوسف: أما أنا فأرخص لهن في الخروج في الصلوات كلها وفي صلاة الكسوف وفي الاستسقاء إذا كانت عجوزاً، ولا بأس بأن تخرج في ذلك كله، وأكره للشابة ذلك. وهو قول محمد.

 الهدية العلائية، محمد علاء الدين، دار ابن حزم، ه1439، ص 81.

ويكره حضورهن الجماعة ، ولو لجمعة ، وعيد ، ووعظ ، ولو عجوزاً نهاراً أو ليلا ، إلا العجوز الفانية ، كما تكره إمامة الرجل لهن في بيت ليس معهن غيره ، ولا محرم منه

حاشية الصاوي على الشرح الصغير، أحمد بن محمد الصاوي المالكي، مكتبة مصطفى البابي الحلبي، 1:160.

[وجاز خروج امرأة متجالة]: مراده بالجواز بالنسبة للمتجالة الندب. وبالنسبة للشابة خلاف الأولى كما يؤخذ من الخرشي، قال ابن رشد: تحقيق القول في هذه المسألة عندي أن النساء أربع: عجوز انقطعت حاجة الرجال منها، فهذه كالرجل فتخرج للمسجد وللفرض ولمجالس العلم والذكر، وتخرج للصحراء في العيد والاستسقاء ولجنازة أهلها وأقاربها ولقضاء حوائجها. ومتجالة لم تنقطع حاجة الرجال منها بالجملة فهذه تخرج للمسجد للفرائض ومجالس العلم والذكر ولا تكثر التردد في قضاء حوائجها أي: يكره لها ذلك كما قال في الرواية. وشابة غير فارهة في الشباب والنجابة تخرج للمسجد لصلاة الفرض جماعة وفي جنائز أهلها وأقاربها، ولا تخرج لعيد ولا استسقاء ولا لمجالس ذكر أو علم، وشابة فارهة في الشباب والنجابة فهذه الاختيار لها أن لا تخرج أصلاً اهـ. ذكره في حاشية الأصل.

المرجع 1:105

(و) عورة الحرة (مع رجل أجنبي): منها أي ليس بمحرم لها جميع البدن (غير الوجه والكفين): وأما هما فليسا بعورة. وإن وجب عليها سترهما لخوف فتنة.

[xxii] لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ (3:164)

[xxiii] A similar statement was directed to the wives of the Prophet ﷺ and the male Companions. Despite their near perfection of character and morals, Allah taʻālā commanded them in Surah al-Aḥzāb, “When you (male Companions) ask [his ﷺ wives] for something, ask them from behind a screen. That is purer for you and them.” In other words, assist one another in remaining pure despite your excellent character. May Allah taʻālā be pleased with them all. (Evidence that this applies to all women: Ibn Kathir, Ahkāmul Quran from Ibn Arabi, and Qurṭubī)

[xxiv] إحياء علوم الدين، دار المعرفة، 2:337

ومهما كان الواعظ شاباً متزيناً للنساء في ثيابه وهيئته كثير الأشعار والإشارات والحركات وقد حضر مجلسه النساء فهذا منكر يجب المنع منه فإن الفساد فيه أكثر من الصلاح ويتبين ذلك منه بقرائن أحواله بل لا ينبغي أن يسلم الوعظ إلا لمن ظاهره الورع وهيئته السكينة والوقار وزيه زي الصالحين وإلا فلا يزداد الناس به إلا تمادياً في الضلال

ويجب أن يضرب بين الرجال والنساء حائل يمنع من النظر فإن ذلك أيضاً مظنة الفساد والعادات تشهد لهذه المنكرات ويجب منع النساء من حضور المساجد للصلوات ومجالس الذكر إذا خيفت الفتنة بهن فقد منعتهن عائشة رضي الله عنها فقيل لها أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما منعهن من الجماعات فقالت لو علم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أحدثن بعده لمنعهن

الكتاب: رد المحتار على الدر المختار 6:368

قال في القنية: سكن رجل في بيت من دار وامرأة في بيت آخر منها ولكل واحد غلق على حدة، لكن باب الدار واحد لا يكره ما لم يجمعهما بيت اهـ ورمز له ثلاثة رموز، ثم رمز إلى كتاب آخر هي خلوة فلا تحل ثم رمز ولو طلقها بائنا، وليس إلا بيت واحد يجعل بينهما سترة لأنه لولا السترة تقع الخلوة بينه وبين الأجنبية، وليس معهما محرم فهذا يدل على صحة ما قالوه اهـ لأن البيتين من دار كالسترة بل أولى وما ذكره من الاكتفاء بالسترة مشروط بما إذا لم يكن الزوج فاسقا إذ لو كان فاسقا يحال بينهما بامرأة ثقة تقدر على الحيلولة بينهما كما ذكره في فصل الإحداد.

[xxv] For a critique of modern gender diversification read Mobeen Vaid’s thoughts: https://occasionalreflections.substack.com/p/on-gender-diversifying-our-spaces-687f7277c962

[xxvi] https://www.banuri.edu.pk/readquestion/1e2d00161f6aaf51a1cb307471f5beb5/05-01-2018

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