KAU president bans staff from gender mixing

KAU president bans staff from gender mixing

Saeed Al-Suraihi

Saeed Al-Suraihi

Some Muslim scholars are convinced that the intermingling of men and women is not permissible in Islam, basing their decision on several religious texts. On the other hand, some scholars say that such mixing is permissible, only attaching a few conditions. For example, mixing should be governed by rules of modesty in order for it to be permissible, according to those scholars.

However, this issue is confusing. Today’s reality makes it necessary for men and women to mix because it is important for work. It is a perplexing issue, because some scholars prohibit any form of mixing, even if it is for business or academic purposes.

King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah recently issued a circular warning staff against holding mixed meetings with male and female officials. The circular’s tone was harsh and it threatened violators with penalties, calling upon male and female officials to use the TV circuit system to hold such meetings, despite the fact that such systems are used specifically by male professors when lecturing a class of female college students.

How can a university that is supposed to be a research center send such a circular and give such a harsh warning to its staff? The circular said the university president would not tolerate such behavior. If anything, sending such a circular was not a wise decision. It is not the president of the university who prohibits or bans something, this is determined by laws and regulations. We have laws in this country.

As an academic institution, the university should not have issued such a circular. It should have instead explained why mixing between men and women is permissible in malls, airports, hospitals, chamber meetings, the meetings of boards of directors and of the Shoura Council while in our nation’s universities it is not.

Male and female professors are adults, and clearly mature. It is not appropriate to threaten them and to give them warnings against the mixing that occurs everywhere in the Kingdom.