Study & Work in Mixed Environments

These are hard realities indeed, but it does not help our situations to maintain blindness in respect of the Truth. May Allah aid us in implementing Islam in all aspects of our lives. For many of us living in the West, mixing is so common-place, so ingrained in our daily lives, it seems almost quaint to refer to what seems like such a non-issue.

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Muslim women and their daughters in western countries where there are Muslim minorities face very difficult circumstances in that education and work are mixed environments. We are caught between two possibilities. Either we cut-off our provision, stay at home and beg and as a result sink to a very desperate material condition, or, alternatively, wear our Islaamic hijaab and study and work in those societies which do not differentiate between mixing and separation. What is your esteemed opinion concerning this matter?

Response: Concerning this very crucial issue, I believe that it is obligatory for a Muslim to patiently adhere to and persevere with Allaah’s religion and not to be of those whom Allaah describes, saying: {And of mankind are those that say, “We believe in Allaah.” But if they are made to suffer for the Sake of Allaah, they consider the persecution of mankind as Allaah’s punishment…}, [Soorah al-‘Ankaboot, Aayah 10].

A Muslim must be patient and if it is not possible to gain a livelihood except by what Allaah has forbidden, namely through the mixing of men and women, then this livelihood must be abandoned and another sought from another direction or from another country. Was Allaah’s land not vast enough for you to emigrate therein? This is also true with respect to seeking knowledge. How good it would be if the Muslim minorities could establish their own schools based on the religion of Islaam, where boys and girls are taught separately. If that could be achieved it would be a great blessing. It is not possible, however, for us to permit the mixing of the sexes because of the seriousness of the issue and the level of temptation contained therein.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen
al-Aqalliyaat al-Muslimah – Page 74, Fatwa No.14

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Sounds tough, does it?

Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the strength to submit immediately to Islamic rulings as we should. The ability of the sahabah to submit immediately to Allah’s Decree is indeed an amazing and humbling thing. They heard (just as we do), yet they obeyed. Big difference.

Change, however, comes in steps (often tiny ones at that). So rather then allowing the Shaytaan to pull the wool over your eyes (That’s all fine and dandy, but there is NO WAY you could do that), try implementing wisdom in steps. So you may not implement all the advice at once, but insha’Allah, we’ll all get there.

So ask yourself, what’s your baby step going to be?

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One Response to “Study & Work in Mixed Environments”

  1. Nuur Mahmuud al-Ugaasiy Says:

    Very beneficial, JazaakAllaahu khayr. This question was regarding the women, but the men are in the same boat. Usually the men provide, with the Aid of Allah, so insha Allah we take heed and stay away from mixing and look for work that is male-oriented. Every second glance at a woman puts a black dot on our hearts. So do we want to be those whose hearts have turned blind due to sin? May Allah wipe away our sins and grant us Al-Firdaws without reckoning.

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