Male professors in girls’ colleges!


Male professors in girls’ colleges!


Dr . Khaled M. Batarfi



Nora and Albukairyah universities for girls were under attack for a while. According to critics, student rights to privacy and segregation have been violated. Male teachers were allowed in and some parents were crying foul. Sports were introduced. Dangerous trends are taking place in the sanctuary of virtue threatening our Islamic values, Arabic heritage and the innocence of our girls!

The devil, however, is in the details. The issues are:

• In medical schools of both universities, some male professors were teaching girls and training them in labs.

• Girls were running in a marathon inside Nora university.

What is new and shocking? Male professors have taught girls in every medical school in the country, and medical female students have worked in labs, clinics and hospitals, mixing with patients and their male family members.

Isn’t that normal? How can a professor teach in a lab, a morgue, during a surgery or a treatment of a patient, if his students are not in the same place, working on the same project, treating the same patient? If “Closed Circuit TV”—despite its limitations and constraints—is useful for some theoretical lectures, it cannot be of use in laboratory and practical training.

Insisting that girls can only be taught by female professors means we have to find thousands of quality professors in all scientific and medical disciplines for all medical schools in the Kingdom. And if we managed to do so in these colleges, how can we provide the same segregated environment for out-of-school training and at real-life work environment —pharmacies, laboratories and hospitals?

If a student or her family cannot accept mixing under such conditions, it is their right, but they have to choose another college where she won’t have to mix during her study or beyond—with any man, even if it was an elderly professor!

After graduation, she might need to find a job where she could avoid mixing with men in all places, including courts and government departments. Males are males, whether they are judges, officials, sheikhs or professors. We cannot allow mixing with one type but not with the others.

However, it is not acceptable for families to cost the government billions only to produce doctors with certificates for show and graduates to stay at home. If a family believes that a woman’s natural and exclusive mission is serving her husband and family, then she has to give up her college seat to someone who believes in the service of society and the nation as well.

As for the marathon and women sports, I would only remind our “Super Sheikhs” that the Prophet (peace be upon him) raced regularly with his wife Ayesha (she won most of the time). Women, then, learned to ride and fight.

If women sports were encouraged during our best of times, why not now?

Here are some of your comments about the issue, dear readers.


  • “Gender segregation is the root of some of the social issues confronting Saudi society like sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Saudi men don’t develop the social skills in dealing with the opposite sex and the result is they behave like prehistoric cavemen in front of women.” Joey

  • “There is no absolute restriction of gender mixing in Islam, except if done for bad motives and intentions.” Dr. Atta


  • “At the primary level, mixing is good and productive. When it comes to higher level and colleges, segregation is more productive. Mixing will undermine Saudi best values.” Muhammed Ashraf Olavattur


  • “Women used to sit behind men, in mosques, and if needed, ask questions—but no free discussion! They did work as nurses in war situation, but that was the exception, not the rule. Tomorrow, shameless people can even give Islamic examples to justify girls and boys dancing in clubs.” Muneer Alam


  • “Saudis need to realize and make their children understand that God has created women as equal beings.” Faiz Al-Najdi


  • “Our society is very repressive and none of this is Islamic. We have invented far too many restrictions. Sexual abuse is rampant and men do not know how to interact with a woman not covered from head to toe. This has made our society an embarrassment in the world.” Younas


  • “There is no research regarding free mixing in a real Muslim society. The so-called moderate Muslims think like Westerners.” Mujibur Rahman


  • “There is no direct references in the Qur’an and Sunnah that say “free mixing” between men and women is unlawful. However, this does not mean that such conduct is permissible, or that Islam has failed to address the matter.” Zaqam Pasha


  • “I feel that everywhere culture is vastly confused with religious acts in all fields and forms. What we need is to understand our religion more deeply so that we can make our basic concepts clear, and differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, easier.” Maria Khan

— Dr. Khaled M Batarfi can be reached at and followed on Twitter: @kbatarfi