All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Honest Messenger, his family and Companions.
All the implicit and explicit calls to women’s engagement in men’s work, which leads to free intermixing of men and women under the pretext that it is urgently needed and represents a civilized aspect, is a grave matter that results in fatal consequences. It goes against the texts of Shari`ah (Islamic law) which order women to stay at their houses and carry out their domestic duties.
Whoever wants to know the innumerable evil consequences of free intermixing can unbiasedly and impartially observe the societies inflicted with this grave affliction. It is easy to find people expressing their disapproval and grief at women leaving home and subsequentfamily breakup. This is apparent in writings and in the media, as this is the reason behind the destruction of societies.
There are many reliable proofs that prohibit being alone with and looking at an Ajnabiyyah (a woman other than a wife or unmarriageable female relatives) and the prohibition of the means that lead to committing what Allah has prohibited. All these indications prove the prohibition of mixing between the two sexes as this leads to evil consequences.
Letting a woman leave her house; her kingdom and proper place, is against her Fitrah(natural disposition) and the nature created in her by Allah.
Calling women to engage in men’s work has dangerous effects on the Islamic society. Among these dangerous effects is the free intermixing of men and women, which is considered one of the greatest means to adultery that destroys the morals and values of society.
Allah (Exalted be He) created women with a physique completely different from men, so that women will be able to carry out domestic affairs as well as other feminine duties.
When a woman engages in men’s work, this is considered against her physique and nature. It is a grave crime against women, for it destroys her character. The effect continues to her children, as they lose love and compassion. This is because no one can perform the role of a mother who, when she dismisses herself from her kingdom, she cannot find rest, stability, or tranquility elsewhere. The reality of these societies is the best example.
Islam entrusted the two spouses with different duties and each has to undertake their responsibilities to help build up their community both inside and outside home.
A man’s role is to earn livelihood and support his family financially while a woman’s role is to raise and love children and show compassion toward them. This is in addition to nursing, breastfeeding, teaching children, administrating female schools, treating women medically, as well as other duties proper for women. Abandoning the domestic duties destroys the whole family and, eventually, the society becomes an empty entity, a form without reality or substance.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allâh has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.(Surah an-Nisa 4:34).
It is Allah’s Law upon His creation that guardianship is the duty of man who supports the woman financially as mentioned in the previous Ayah. Allah has ordered women to stay in their houses and forbidden them from free intermixing with Ajanib (men other than a husband or permanently unmarriageable male relatives) in the same place, such as in work, markets, trips, and traveling. Women’s engagement in men’s work will lead to committing what Allah has prohibited and disobeying Allah’s Orders and neglecting the legal duties a Muslim woman has to perform.
Free intermixing of men and women and the means leading to it are prohibited by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
“And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salât (Iqamât-as-Salât), and give Zakât and obey Allâh and His Messenger. Allâh wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم), and to purify you with a thorough purification. And remember (O you the members of the Prophet’s family, the Graces of your Lord), that which is recited in your houses of the Verses of Allâh and Al-Hikmah (i.e. Prophet’s Sunnah – legal ways, so give your thanks to Allâh and glorify His Praises for this Qur’ân and the Sunnah ). Verily, Allâh is Ever Most Courteous, Well-Acquainted with all things.” (Surah Al-Ahzaab 33:33-34)
Allah has ordered the Mothers of the Believers (the Prophet’s wives, may Allah be pleased with them) and all the Muslim believing women to stay in their houses to protect and keep them away from the means of evil. When a woman leaves her house without necessity, this may lead to Tabarruj (woman’s public display of her adornment or charms) in addition to other evils. Allah has ordered women to perform good deeds that protect them, such as Salah (Prayer), Zakah (obligatory charity), and obeying Allah and His Messenger, which protect them from wrongdoing. Then He (Exalted be He) directed them to what benefits them in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, such as reciting the Qur’an and studying the Hadith frequently, as they both purify the hearts and guide them to the Truth.
Allah (Exalted be He) says:
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Al-Ahzaab 33:59)
Allah has ordered His Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform his wives, daughters, and the believing womento cover their bodies completely when they leave their houses when necessary to escape the harm of people with weak faith. How about working in the same places, free intermixing, expressing her demands to them, relinquishing her femininity and losing her shyness so that harmony is achieved between the two sexes who are different in form and content.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allâh is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyûbihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) (Surah Al-Noor 24:30-31)
Allah orders His Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform the believing men and women to lower their gaze and abstain from committing illicit sexual acts. Allah (Glorified be He) emphasizes the merit of this value. It is known that guarding one’s private parts can be realized through avoiding the means that lead to committing adultery. Undoubtedly, gazing and free intermixing of men and women in workplaces are dangerous means that lead to committing adultery. A believer cannot fulfill those two requirements while working with an Ajnabiyyah in the same place. It is impossible for the two sexes to lower their gaze, guard their private parts, and purify their soul while working in the same place.
Allah commands the believing women to lower their gaze, guard their private parts, and not show their beauty and adornments. He also orders them to wear Khimar (veil covering to the waist) to cover their heads and faces. How can they lower their gaze, guard their private parts, and not show their beauty and adornments when women work and intermix freely with men at the workplace? Free intermixing of men and women could certainly lead to committing these forbidden acts. How can a Muslim woman lower her gaze while walking with an Ajnaby (a man other than a husband or unmarriageable male relatives) side by side on the plea of being a workmate or that she is equal to him?
Islam has prohibited all the means that lead to committing prohibited acts. It also prohibited for women to soften their speech while talking to men as this might stir the desires of men with weak faith. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allâh), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery) should be moved with desire. (Surah al-Ahzaab 33:32)How can this be prevented in an atmosphere where men and women freely intermix?
Undoubtedly, if a woman works with men in the same place, they will exchange talks and soften their speech. Satan will beautify their deeds and invite them to commit adultery. Allah, All-Wise and All-Knowing, orders women to wear Hijab (veil), for people vary; some are good and some are bad, some are virtuous and some are indecent. By Allah’s will, Hijab prevents Fitnah (temptation), blocks its means, keeps men and women’s hearts pure, and shuns suspicions. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen: that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. (Surah al-Ahzaab 33:53)
The best Hijab for women after covering her face is to stay in her house. Islam forbids a woman to intermix freely with Ajnaby men so that she may not be exposed to Fitnah in a direct or an indirect way. It orders her to stay in her house and not leave it without necessity. If a woman leaves her house, she should adhere to the etiquettes of Shari`ah. Allah even called this act of staying in the house as ‘Qarar‘, i.e. settlement, stay, and composure, to convey the meaning of stability and heart-rest. This is a refined meaning as when a woman stays in her house, her soul becomes stable, feels peace at heart, and has self-assurance. On the contrary, when she goes out of her house, she feels uneasy, irritated, and tense and she may be exposed to evil consequences. Islam forbids Khulwah (being alone with a member of the opposite sex) with an Ajnabiyyah woman without a Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative). She should not travel without a Mahram. This is to block the means to corruption, cut off the means that lead to evil, and protect the two sexes from the intrigues of Satan. It was authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:I am not leaving behind me any trial more harmful to men than women. And: So beware of (getting infatuated by) this world and women. The first trial of the Children of Israel was due to women.
Some advocates of free intermixing of men and women take the superficial meanings of some legal texts to support their claims. However, these legal proofs may only be explored and understood by those whom Allah granted deep understanding of religion. Those who can collect the relevant texts to each other and deal with them all together. For example, they may argue that some women used to go out with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in some battles. In reply, these women accompanied their Mahrams. They went out for many interests, which will not lead to corruption for their faith and Taqwa (fear/wariness of offending Allah), and their Mahrams used to look after them. They were also wearing Hijab unlike women of the present time. It is evident that the case of women going out to work is completely different from the case of the female Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet). It is not appropriate to make an analogy between the two cases as it is not completely corresponding. What is the meaning derived by the Salaf (righteous predecessors) who were the most knowledgeable people in the meanings of the legal texts and their application? What are the statements traced to them in this regard? Did they call for working in the fields that are for men? Did they call for free intermixing of men and women? On the contrary, they understood that those were only special cases.
Examining the Islamic conquests and the battles unveils that this phenomenon was not there throughout history. As for those who call for women to join the armed forces and fight in battles like men, this is just a call to corrupt the morals of the soldiers in the name of entertainment. Its man’s nature to incline, feel at ease with, and like to talk with women when being in Khulwah. It is better to block the means that lead to Fitnah than regretting it in the future.
Islam is keen to bring the benefits and ward off and block the means to corruption. Free intermixing of men and women in the workplace plays a major role in the deterioration and the corruption of nations. It is known that among the reasons behind the fall of the Roman and the Greek civilizations was women’s engagement in the fields of men that led to men’s corruption and abandoning the acts that should lead to the prosperity of their nations.Women’s work will lead to the unemployment of men, deterioration of the nation, family disorders, and decline of morals. It also contradicts what Allah has mentioned with regard to men’s domestic authority over women. Islam is keen to protect women from all that is against her nature. Islam has prohibited her to rule a country or hold the position of a judge. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Never will succeed such a people who place a woman in charge of their affairs. (Related by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih) Allowing women to work in the fields of men is against her happiness and stability. Islam forbids women to work in fields that do not befit her. It is proven, especially in societies where the two sexes intermix freely, that men and women are not naturally equivalent. It is clear in the Qur’an and the Sunnah that both sexes are different in nature and duties. Those who call for equality between the two sexes; the females who are brought up in adornments and inclined to peaceful life, and males, are ignorant or intentionally ignore the basic differences between them.
We have mentioned many Shari`ah texts that prove the prohibition of free intermixing of men and women and women’s engagement in jobs that do not befit her. However, some people might benefit from statements by Eastern and Western intellectuals more than the Qur’an, the sayings of the Messenger (peace be upon him), and Muslim scholars. Therefore, it is more useful to cite the confessions of the intellectuals in the East and the West concerning the negative effects of free intermixing, so the opponents may be convinced and learn that the teachings of Islam are for the protection of women.
English writer Lady Cook said that men like and prefer a mixed environment. And thus women are lured to something that conflicts with their human nature. The greater the co-ed. Environment (between male and female), the more illegitimate children the society will have. This is the greatest disaster, she said, urging people to learn women that men are luring.The philosopher Schopenhauer said, “Hence, with that absurd arrangement which allows them to share the rank and title of their husbands, they are a constant stimulus to his ignoble ambitions. And, furthermore, it is just because they are Philistines that modern society, where they take the lead and set the tone, is in such a bad way.”Lord Byron said, “Thought of the state of women under the ancient Greeks – convenient enough. Present state, a remnant of the barbarism of the chivalric and the feudal ages – artificial and unnatural. They ought to mind home – and be well fed and clothed but not mixed in society.”The British writer Samuel Smiles said, “The system that has required women to work in factories and industrial areas, regardless of the national wealth it brings, has destroyed the family life. It has attacked, in fact, the basic structure and foundations of the home and destroyed the essential pillars of the family. It has cut and destroyed social ties as well.Stripping the wife from her husband, and depriving children of their rights of proper, tender and maternal care, has resulted in lower moral values for the women. The real job and profession of a woman is to raise a good, sound and moral family. She is mainly required to take care of household responsibilities, home economics and other domestic needs. Work in factories has stripped the woman, as we pointed earlier, of all these responsibilities which changed the looks and the realities of the inner home. Children, as well, were often neglected and raised with no sound standards. The love and affection between a husband and wife were somewhat extinguished. The woman was no longer the sought after, wanted, admired and loved by man, after he got used to seeing her in the factory next to him doing the same thing he does. Women came under many influences and pressures that changed her mentality and thinking pattern on which moral values and virtues were established.”An American professor called Adeline said that the reason for family crises in the United States and the increase in the crime rate is because a woman has abandoned her house in order to double the family’s income. The income increased but the morals declined. She added that woman’s return to her house is the only way to save the new generations from deterioration.A Congressman said a woman can truly serve her country if she stays at her house which is the essence of a family.Another Congressman said when Allah granted women the ability to produce children, He made it her duty to stay in her house to take care of children and not leave them to work outside her house.German philosopher Schopenhauer also said, “Grant woman total and absolute freedom for one year only, and check with me after that to see the results of such freedom. Do not forget that you (all), along with me, will feel sad at the loss of virtue, chastity and good morals. If I die (before then) you are free to say either: “He was wrong!” or “He hit the heart of the truth!” These quotations were mentioned by Dr. Mustafa Husny Al-Siba`y (may Allah be merciful to him) in his book ‘Al-Mar’ah bayn Al-Fiqh wa Al-Qanun.’
Following and gathering the numerous sayings of the unbiased Western writers on the disadvantages of free intermixing of men and women that followed after women’s participation with men at work may form volumes. However, the above quotations are enough.
In conclusion, it is better for a woman to stay in her house and carry out her domestic duties after performing her religious obligations as it is suitable for her natural dispositions. It is for the sake of her welfare as well as that of society and the youth. She may spend her spare time in fields that are for women, such as teaching, curing, and nursing women. Thus, they cooperate with men in developing society but each in one’s field. We are not to forget the role of the Mothers of the Believers and those who followed in their footsteps in teaching, directing, guiding the nation, and conveying the Message of Allah (Glorified be He) from His Messenger (peace be upon him). May Allah reward them the best! There are many Muslim women who are following in their footsteps while wearing Hijab and staying away from free intermixing with men in their workplaces.
May Allah help us carry out our duties in the best manner that pleases Him and protect us all from the means to Fitnah and Satanic tricks. He is the Most Generous. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His servant and Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions.
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