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Free intermixing of men and women
From `Abdul `Aziz ibn `Abdullah Ibn Baz to whoever may receive it. May Allah guide us to do good and to avoid Bid`ah (innovation in religion) and evil. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!).
It is my duty to alert people and warn them against the free intermixing of women and non-Mahram (people who are not a spouse or an unmarriageable relative) in some places and villages. Some ignorant people see that it is all right, being the tradition of their fathers and grandfathers and that their intention is good. One may find a woman sitting with her brother-in-law, cousins, and relatives without a veil.
It is well-known that a Muslim woman should be veiled in the presence of Ajanib (men lawful for the woman to marry). It is Obligatory or mandatory. Wajib is a religious task or duty that has become definite through sound evidence but that is not ordered as strongly as fard; like sacrificing an animal, performing witr and eid prayers. More (obligatory) upon her to cover her face and body as indicated by the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the Ijma` (consensus of scholars). Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says,Surah Al-Nur, 24: 31 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 AlAhzab, 33: 53 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. and,Surah AlAhzab, 33: 59 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. Jilbab [translated above as ‘cloak’, and it means ‘a loose outer garment with no front opening’] is a cloak worn over
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the veil, like an `Aba’ah (a loose outer garment). Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “When this Ayah (Qur’anic verse) was revealed, the women of Al-Ansar (Helpers, inhabitants of Madinah who supported the Prophet) came out as if they had crows on their heads out of calmness and they were covered with black clothes.”
These noble Ayahs provide clear evidence that a woman should cover her head, hair, neck and breasts before non-Mahram relatives. It is Haram (prohibited) for her to uncover before non-Mahrams. It is reported that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered women to go out to the place of performing Salat-ul-`Eid (the Festival Prayer), one of them said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if she does not have a Jilbab?” He replied, “Then, let her sister lend her one of her Jilbabs.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)This Hadith shows that the wives of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) only went out while wearing a Jilbab. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not allow them to go out without wearing a Jilbab.
Itis authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim)on the authority of `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to offer the Fajr Prayer and some believing women, covered with their cloaks, used to attend the prayer. Then, they would return to their homes unrecognized by anyone because of the darkness.” She also said, Had the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) seen women [how they go out] as we see (now), he would have prevented them from going to the Masjids (Mosques) as the Children of Israel prevented their women. This Hadith implies that covering was the practice of the female Sahabah who were the best and most honored generation in the Sight of Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) for their high morals, good manners, perfect faith and upright deeds. They are an ideal example for others.
It is reported on the authority of `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said, Caravans would pass by us when we accompanied the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) while we were in the state of Ihram (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah). When they came by us, one of us would let down her outer garment from her head over her face, and when they had passed on, we would uncover our faces.” (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah)Her saying lends support to the fact that women have to cover their faces because women should uncover their faces in the state of Ihram and if there was not a strong reason, they should have kept it uncovered.
Thinking about unveiling as well as women showing their faces to Ajanib, it is evident that
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it involves many bad consequences, such as Fitnah (temptation) which occurs because of displaying her face and it is one of the greatest causes of evil and corruption, losing shyness and arousing men’s lust. Thus, it is prohibited for a woman to uncover her face, bosom, arms, legs or any part of her body, in the presence of an Ajnaby. Likewise, it is forbidden for a woman to be alone with or to intermix freely with non-Mahrams. If a woman thinks that she is equal to men in uncovering her face and going around unveiled, she will not be modest and will not feel too shy to mix with men. This leads to a great deal of Fitnah and widespread corruption.
It is reported that When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was coming out of the Masjid, he saw men intermixing freely with women in the street. He (peace be upon him) said (addressing women), “Draw back, for you must not walk in the middle of the road; keep to the sides of the road.” Women were keeping so close to the walls that their garments were rubbing against it. This Hadith was mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (exegesis) of Allah’s saying,Surah Al-Nur, 24: 31 And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) It is prohibited for a Muslim woman to uncover her face before a non-Mahram. She should rather cover it. It is also prohibited for her to be in privacy, intermix freely, and shake hands with non-Mahrams. In the following Ayah, Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) clarifies the group of people in front of whom she is permitted to reveal her adornment,Surah Al-Nur, 24: 31 … and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islâm), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allâh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.
Brothers-in-law and cousins
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are not Mahrams. They should not look at the woman’s face and it is not permissible for her to uncover her face in their presence to avoid causes of temptation. It is reported on the authority of `Uqbah ibn `Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Beware of entering upon women.” Then, a man from Ansar said, “O Messenger of Allah! What about Al-Hamu (the wife’s in-law, i.e. the brother of her husband or his nephew, etc.)?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Al-Hamu is like death.” (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)The Hadith refers especially to the [male] in-laws for they can enter the house without any suspicion, because they are the husband’s relatives even though they are non-Mahrams. Therefore, it is not permissible for a woman to reveal her adornment before them even if they are known for righteousness and trustworthiness. Allah (may He be Exalted) has limited permissibility of showing adornment to a group of people mentioned in the previous Ayah. The husband’s brother, uncle, cousin and the like are not mentioned in this group. The Prophet (peace be upon him) saidin an agreed-upon Hadith reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, No man should be alone with a woman except in the presence of her Mahram. A Mahram refers to a woman’s husband or a male relative who is permanently unmarriageable to her, such as her father, son, brother, paternal uncle, maternal uncle and the like.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade this lest that Satan should make them fall into temptation and corruption making the sin fair-seeming to them. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, No man should be in privacy with a woman, for the third of them is the devil. (Related by Imam Ahmad with a sound Sanad (chain of narrators)on the authority of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him))
It is the duty of all those who live in countries where this practice is customary to strive and cooperate to get rid of this practice and eliminate its evil. By doing this, they will be guarding their honor, cooperating in righteousness and piety and carrying out the Commandments of Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) and His Messenger (peace be upon him). They should repent to Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) of what they have committed in the past and do their best in enjoining Ma`ruf (that which is judged as good, beneficial, or fitting by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) and forbidding Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect). They should remain constant in this and should not feel ashamed of defending the truth and defeating falsehood. They should not let the scorn or criticism of others deter them from defending the truth. It is mandatory upon a Muslim to follow
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Allah’s Shari`ah willingly, wishing for Allah’s Reward and fearing His Punishment even if the closest and dearest people to him disagree with him. It is not permissible to follow the whims and the traditions which Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) did not legislate, as Islam is the religion of the truth, guidance and justice. It calls for high moral standards, the best deeds and forbids what is contrary to that.
May Allah grant us and all Muslims guidance to what pleases Him. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of ourselves and from our misdeeds for He is the Most Generous. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!
As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh!