Coeducation

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]

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Ruling on studying man-made laws

Question: What is the ruling on studying man-made laws, and teaching them?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

There is no doubt that Allaah has enjoined upon His slaves to rule according to His sharee’ah and to refer to it for judgement, and He has warned against ruling by any other laws and has stated that this is the characteristic of the hypocrites. He has also stated that any rule other than His rule is the rule of Jaahiliyyah (ignorance) and that there is nothing better than His rule. Allaah tells us that people do not truly believe until they refer to His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for judgement in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against his decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. In Soorat al-Maa’idah Allaah tells us that ruling by anything other than that which He has revealed is kufr (disbelief), wrongdoing and evildoing. All these things that we have mentioned here are clearly stated by Allaah in His Book.

With regard to those who study and teach man-made laws, they fall into different categories:

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Those who study it or teach it in order to understand its real nature, or to understand the superiority of sharee’ah to these laws, or to benefit from it in ways that do not go against sharee’ah, or to benefit others in such ways. It seems that there is no sin on the one who does this, indeed he may be rewarded for that if he seeks to expose its faults and demonstrate the superiority of sharee’ah. The ruling on people in this category is the same as the ruling on those who study the rulings on riba and the various kinds of alcohol and gambling, and false beliefs, or who teach about such matters so that he may know them and the Islamic rulings on them, or he may inform others of that, whilst also believing that they are haraam, just as those in this category who study law believe that man-made laws which go against the laws of Allaah are haraam. They do not come under the same ruling as those who learn or teach witchcraft and the like, because witchcraft is haraam in and of itself, as it involves shirk and worship of the jinn instead of Allaah. So the one who learns it or teaches it to others only attains it by means of shirk, unlike the one who studies law or teaches it to others, not because he thinks that it is permissible, but for a permissible or Islamically prescribed purpose, as stated above.

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Those who study law or teach it to others in order to pass judgements thereby or to help others to do so, even though they believe that it is haraam to rule by anything other than that which Allaah has revealed. But their desires or love of money makes them do that. These people are undoubtedly doing wrong and they are committing kufr, wrongdoing and evil, but it is minor kufr, minor wrongdoing and minor evil that does not put them beyond the pale of Islam. This view is well known among the scholars. It is also the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas, Tawoos, ‘Ata’, Mujaahid and a number of the earlier and later generations, as was stated by al-Haafiz ibn Katheer, al-Baghawi, al-Qurtubi and others. The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) also mentioned something similar in his book Kitaab al-Salaah. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Lateef ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) wrote an excellent essay on this topic which has been published in the third volume of al-Rasaa’il al-Oola.

Those who learn and teach man-made systems of law are likened to those who learn about different kinds of riba, alcohol and gambling and teach them to others for some whims and desires of their own or because of their greed for money, even though they do not regard that as permissible. They know that all dealings involving riba are haraam, just as they know that drinking intoxicants and gambling are haraam, but because they are weak in faith and are overwhelmed by whims and desires or greed for money, their belief that these things are haraam does not stop them from dealing in these forbidden things. According to the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah, they are not regarded as kaafirs because of their dealing in those things, so long as they do not believe that that is permissible.

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Whoever studies or teaches manmade laws and believes that ruling by them is permissible, whether he believes that sharee’ah is superior to them or not, is a kaafir in the sense of major kufr, according to the consensus of the Muslims, because by believing that it is permissible to rule by man-made laws that go against sharee’ah he is regarding as permissible something that no Muslim has any excuse for not knowing that it is haraam. So he comes under the same ruling as one who regards adultery or alcohol etc as permissible, and because by believing these laws to be permissible he is disbelieving in Allaah and His Messenger and rejecting the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The scholars of Islam are unanimously agreed that the one who regards as permissible something that Allaah has forbidden, or regards as forbidden something that Allaah has permitted, which is well known in Islam and no Muslim has any excuse for not knowing it, is a kaafir. Whoever studies the words of the scholars of all four madhhabs on the rulings on apostates will understand what we have said clearly.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 2/325-331]