1) I live in Toronto and I am going to a free mixing university. I am in my third year, and I have one more year to go. Each year costs about $8300. Is it permissible for me to finish my college if I take online courses as much as I can, go to class only to write exams, and only when needed, and if I go to class when needed I sit in the front rows so I would not have to look at females. Is this OK for me?
2) There is another college here, and it is a relatively new college. The main students there are immigrants, and adults. I was told that in my program there are about 5 females; so the ratio of males outweighs the females by what seems to be a lot. If I cannot go to my current university, can I stop and go to this college?
Shaykh Abū Bilāl al-Haḍramī said, “It is not permissible to study in a mixed environment (where men and women study together) even if he has already spent much money. In shāʾ Allāh, Allāh will replace what he has spent with some thing better. Besides, how will he answer to Allāh if he were to die in this state while he was studying in this environment. So he should leave that immediately. And also it is not permissible to study in mixed environments even if there is one female student in class. And, it is the same with the one who attends the college during exams alone. If there is mixing between men and women in the exams, then it is not permissible.”
End of the speech of Shaykh
The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Iftāʾ was asked regarding co-education, they answered:
First, mixing between males and females in education is unlawful and an abominable act because it leads to temptation and corruption and is likely to lead to prohibited matters. Its evil consequences such as temptation and corruption is hard evidence that it should be prohibited.
There a significant difference between mixing in education and mixing during Ṭawāf (circumambulation around the Kaʿbah). During the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him), women used to perform Ṭawāf behind men.They used to wear their veils without mixing and without direct contact. The same was the case when they went to the Muṣallah (a place for Prayer) for Ṣalāt-ul-ʿĪd (the Festival Prayer). After delivering the Khuṭbah (sermon) of Ṣalāt-ul-ʿĪd for men, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to give sermons to the women. So, there was no mixing between men and women at all. Likewise, when women went to offer Ṣalāh (Prayer) in the Masjid (mosque), they used to cover themselves well with their garments and pray behind the men in rows that were far from the men’s rows. May Allah help the officials in charge of education in Muslim countries to bring co-education to an end! May Allah set their conditions right; He is the All-Hearing and Answerer of Supplication!
Second, rulers and scholars are responsible for co-education, as they give Fatāwā and they should execute them. Also, they are the woman’s guardian. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“All of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges, The Imām (ruler) is the guardian of his charges and is responsible for them and the man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for them and the woman is the guardian of her husband’s house…”Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Third, the need to reduce expenditure on facilities, equipment and teachers does not make it permissible to allow co-education. Education is obligatory if it is within the scope of capability. Some co-ordination would solve many problems. Women’s wearing according to the legal code of dress in Islam would bring many aspects of temptation to an end. Finally, whoever intends to do good and follow the Sharīʿah, Allāh will make things easy for him,and guide him to the Straight Path as Allāh (Exalted be He) says:
“And whosoever fears Allāh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allāh, then He will suffice him.” To His saying: “…and whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.” Surah aṭ-Ṭalāq 65:2-4
May Allāh grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
Answered by: Shaykh Abū Bilāl al-Haḍramī
Translated and Summarized by: ʿAbdun-Nūr al-Hindī