All praise is due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, his family and Companions. To commence:
The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ has read the request for Fatwa submitted by Jam`iat Al-Shari`ah Wal-Dirasat Al-Islamiyyah (Faculty of Shari`ah and Islamic Studies), University of Kuwait to his Eminence, the President of the Committee No. 269 in 8/2/1404 A.H., which states:
With regard to the suffering which students of the University of Kuwait face owing to co-education, especially as some girls wear indecent clothes, some scholars are still of the opinion that co-education is permissible. Their evidence is that men and women mix when performing Tawaf for Hajj or `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). It should be noted that Zina (adultery) is common among the students who violate Islamic rulings in the name of freedom. They go on journeys where boys and girls sit in seclusion.
The university has become a platform for the latest fashions, make-up and hairstyles. It should be mentioned that many students are unmarried.
Therefore, we ask you to issue a Fatwa and clarify what is right from what is wrong and guide us to that which is right. We hope you will give us a detailed answer for our questions which will be printed and distributed to the students. The questions are as follows: What is the ruling on mixed education substantiated with evidence and your reply to those who say that it is permissible relying on the fact that men and women mix during Tawaf? Who is responsible for the sin of the spread of free-mixing in the university? It should be noted that we reproach co-education and if we leave the university, corrupt will greatly increase. Can the need for abstracting buildings, saving expenditure in addition to the lack of teachers, equipment and labs be a pretext for the permissibility of co-education to save the expenses on facilities and teachers?
The Committee reply comes as follows:
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 Tawaf. During the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him), women used to perform Tawaf behind men. They used to wear their veils without mixing and without direct contact. The same was the case when they went to the Musalla (a place for Prayer) for Salat-ul-`Eid (the Festival Prayer). After delivering the Khutbah (sermon) of Salat-ul-`Eid 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 Salah (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 Fatwas 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 Imam (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 Shari`ah, Allah will make things easy for him, and guide him to the Straight Path as Allah (Exalted be He) says (interpretation of the meaning):
And whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). [Surah Al-Talaq, 65:2]
And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allâh, then He will suffice him. [Surah Al-Talaq, 65:3]
To His saying (interpretation of the meaning):
and whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him. [Surah Al-Talaq, 65:4]
May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!
[Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’, 12/163-166]