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Dear Brother / Sister,

Mixing together of a few things. The mixing of men and women, sitting together and mingling.

The religion of Islam does not approve of non-mahram men and women’s coming together and their excessive interaction with each other; Islam always wants a distance between them in daily life and orders the relations between them to be based on certain criteria and discipline because various evils and even major sins such as adultery that ruin family and social life can arise due to their mingling. The religion of Islam forbids not only evil as a principle but also situations and behaviors that cause and provoke evil as a precaution, putting a distance between man and evil, blocking the paths of evil.

The Prophet (pbuh) warned his ummah against the mischief of women with the words “Fear the mischief of women because the first mischief of the Sons of Israel was due to women” (Muslim, Dhikr, 99); he also stated that looking at non-mahram women was the fornication of eye and haram (Bukhari, Isti’dhan 12) and prohibited a non-mahram woman and man from being alone (khalwah) and a woman from travelling without a mahram (Bukhari, Nikah, 111).

It is certain that haram gaze will be inevitable in case of mingling of men and women. The following hadith is very remarkable in terms of determining the decree and measure of it: “Umm Salama narrates: While I was with Maymuna and the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), Abdullah b. Umm Maktum came and sat next to him. This incident happened after we were given the order of hijab. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Hide yourselves from him.” Thereupon, I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Is he not blind? He does not see us and cannot recognize us.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Are you blind? Do you not see him?” (Tirmidhi, Adab, 63).

In Islam, great importance is attached to Friday prayer and prayer in congregation in the mosque but the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) exempted women from these prayers in order to prevent the mingling of men and women together and stated that praying at home was more virtuous for women than praying in the mosque. “The best mosques for women are the corners of their homes” (Ahmad b. Hanbal, VI, 297).

When Aisha (ra) saw that men and women mixed during the Umayyad period, she said: “If the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had seen the women doing this, he would have distanced them from the mosque just like the women of Sons of Israel were prevented from entering mosques” (Bukhari, Adhan, 163).

There was a gate peculiar to women in Masjid an-Nabawi. Umar (ra) prohibited men from entering through that gate during his caliphate in order to prevent mingling of men and women together.

Our Prophet did not prevent women who wanted to go to mosque and ordered them not to be prevented (Bukhari, Adhan, 165). However, the women who went to pray in the mosque were not mixed with the men; they stood behind the men in prayer; when the Prophet (pbuh) saluted to end the prayer, he would sit for a while before standing up; he would stand up after the women left and the men would stand up after him (Bukhari, Adhan, 162).

Women also went to mosque for eid prayers. However, they had a separate place; after the Prophet finished his sermon, he would go to the women’s place and preach to them (Bukhari, I’dayn, 7).

When the Prophet (pbuh) was leaving the mosque one day, he saw men and women mixing with each other; he called out to the women: “Move aside! You have no right to walk in the middle of the road; walk by the side of the road.” Thereupon, the women began to walk next to the wall so much so that their clothes were caught on the wall (Abu Dawud, Adab, 179).

Uqba b. Amir (ra) narrates: The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Never go near (non-mahram) women”. When a man from Ansar asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What do you think about the in-laws?”, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The in-laws are death (that is, they are even more dangerous)” (Ahmad b. Hanbal, IV, 149).

All of the information above shows that assemblies, talks, and gatherings of non-mahram men and women are not compatible with the spirit and character of Islam. It is unthinkable for a religion that does not allow men and women to mix with each other even in places of worship, to allow them to be together haphazardly in other places, in other assemblies and talks, and to be in close contact with each other (see Mawdudi, Tafsiru Surah an-Nur, pp. 141-176).

However, in places where there is no risk of mischief and in case of need, it is permissible for a woman to help non-mahram men and to serve men who come to her house provided that she wears hijab and rules are observed. As a matter of fact, Abu Usayd, one of the Companions, got married, he invited the Prophet and some of his friends but he had not prepared anything to offer for them. However, his wife Umm Usayd had soaked dates in a stone bowl at night and when the Prophet finished his meal, she added some water to them (made sherbet) and served it to the Prophet (pbuh) and to the guests (Bukhari, Nikah, 77).

Muawwidh’s daughter, Rubayyi, narrates; We used to go to war with the Prophet (pbuh), and we would serve the soldiers, give them water, treat the wounded and take the dead bodies (of the martyrs) to Madinah (Bukhari, Jihad, 68).

It is necessary to follow the path of precaution in male-female relations under all circumstances. It is a great shame and irresponsibility for a Muslim to abandon the way of our Prophet and these traditions just to imitate the Western society though we have nice traditions such as haram and selamlik (men and women sitting separately without mingling), which are in line with the spirit of Islam.


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