Is gender mixing ‘haram’?


Is gender mixing ‘haram’?


Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi



A “Sabq” journalist sent me questions regarding my views on gender mixing. He wanted to know if I am supporting the trend and what are my stands on mixed environment in different school levels and at work.

I wrote him back that I understand the concerns of many conservatives and sympathize with them. They are afraid that mixing will ignite the natural desires and lead to sins. Our women and men are not used to direct contact with each other outside the immediate family circle. Sudden openness may lead them to dangerous, explosive magnetic fields.

However, I don’t share their stand that the answer to these concerns is to isolate women even more. It is punishing the victim.

Instead, we should start reeducating our society. Islam never prohibited gender mixing. In the mosque of the Prophet (peace be upon him), they sat at the back, praying, listening, discussing and participating. The Prophet’s wife, Ayesha, was authorized to teach Islamic studies to men, let alone children.

Then they may go out to the market or farms, “driving” their camels and horses, buying and selling, even regulating (a woman was assigned to oversee the market in Madina.)

In wars, they joined the army as soldiers and nurses. Once we fully understand that women isolation in our society is not Islamic, we should start changing the situation wisely and gradually. Teaching boys in girls schools is one step in the right direction. Teaching them to respect women and deal with the other sex with Islamic attitude and “akhlaq” is badly needed.

If we succeed in doing that, it will be safer for our girls to study, work and drive in mixed environment. By then our boys will act naturally and in a civilized manner when in direct contact with women, whether mothers and sisters, or neighbors and colleagues. Now to your comments, dear readers, on my last article “The “Super Sheikh” and education issues”:

Respect women!

“If young boys are taught that women are not as important as men, why would they respect female teachers? Wake-up!” E. E.

Modern ’Super Sheikhs’

“There is no better "Super Sheikh" than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who taught us Muslims the art of humility, discussions, accepting others views, persuasion, etc. (think democracy!). The modern "Super Sheikhs" are giving Islam a bad image.” T. Tawfiq

Mothers and discipline

“My sons’ school shifted to male teachers from Grade 1 this year and the teachers are incapable of teaching the boys. Females are best at teaching kids under age 10. Discipline starts at home. Some mothers don’t discipline their kids and that is why female teachers are unable to handle them in class.” Ummu Rayyaan

Ask those who know!

“I assume you are not a professor in Islamic studies. Allah says if you do not know, ask the ones who do. If islam is not learnt from the ones who have knowledge, then how?” Abu

Men are harder!

“I agree, female teachers are best for the primary classes as they are tender and caring. Nurturing students needs patience. Men could be a little hard for tender students.” Manzoor

Correction course!

“Using religion to demean and judge women is not fair. It has not done good to the Saudi society in the past - and it will not in future. A correction course is therefore required.” Faiz Al-Najdi

Home teachers!

“My wife teaches my son and he always gets A grades. Both men and women can be excellent teachers. My mother was also an excellent teacher.” Irfan Ahmed

Beyond gender!

“The world now thinks beyond gender and looking for best means of education.” Dr. Atta

Using religion!

“Both men and women can be excellent teachers. There is no need using religion to demean women and judge them harshly!” Saudi Expat

Teaching and discipline!

“Teachers are people and the issue is not just genders. Teaching is not about discipline but about education. If teachers make the curriculum more creative and interesting for students to learn, gender issues would not exist.” Ramon Mohamed


“Women carry and bring forth life so why would educating young boys an impossible task for them! Boys should learn to respect women at a young age so they become better fathers, husbands and human beings.” faith777

Teacher’s character

“I taught in boys and girls schools for a long time. I believe the character of the teacher, whether male or female, is the core factor. Mixing religion with every subject is not right. We need more studies to help.” Ageeb

Patience and love

“Female teachers are best at first three grades. They are more capable in finding out the individual differences and dealing with greater patience and love.” Hema

References please!

“Title and theme are good. References to advanced research work on children behavior and education may have put more weight.” Afxal

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