What Is The Concept Of CoEducation In Islam?


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Dear brother in Islam, let’s firstly voice our deep appreciation to this confidence you have in us and your important question. In fact, it is a great thing that you show keenness on understanding the teachings of Islam that enlightens the mind and save the person from the abyss of ignorance.

First of all, it should be noted that Islam cares much for the perseverance of morals and the maintenance of modesty and chastity in the Muslim society. To achieve this goal, Islam requires the highest degree of cautiousness when dealing with the members of the opposite sex. A Muslim is always asked to keep very remote from any thing that stimulates him or stirs his sexual urge. This includes looks, gestures, or free mixing.

The laws of Islam are from Allah, our Creator, who knows our weaknesses as well as our strengths better than we do. Women, by nature, desire to be looked at, adored and cherished, while man is inclined to look at women. Allah therefore warns us against our own nature, which may lead us astray if we do not exercise caution and take the necessary safeguards.

In the meantime, Islam has guaranteed the right of education for both men and women regarding it as an obligation upon every Muslim, male or female. The woman’s right to education is well established from the early days of Islam.

Undoubtedly, the free mixing of young boys and girls, close to the period of adolescence, in the relaxed environment of a school is very serious. It is a duty of Muslims to unite their efforts to eliminate this system in their countries and to set up schools, colleges and universities for both genders. Parents should search for separate schools to enroll their children. However, if a Muslim, male or female, is pressed to study at a mixed school, then he should exert his utmost to observe the Islamic standards of morality and keep away from all unlawful things.

Addressing the issue of co-education, we’d like to cite the following fatwa:

“There is a well-known principle in Islamic law, which may be rendered in translation as "blocking the means (of evils)." This applies to any situation or condition which may be permissible in the first instance, but is calculated to lead to something forbidden. If it is generally deemed that there is a direct relationship between the original, permissible situation and the resulting forbidden one, then the original situation is pronounced as forbidden.

This is the prohibition of something which is acknowledged to be permissible in the first instance, because of the results it produces. In other words, should the circumstances change and the situation in question is deemed not to lead to the forbidden act, then it can no longer be pronounced as forbidden.

Co-education is one of such things. In the first instance, there is no harm in a group of people, men and women, boys and girls, to be present in a classroom, listening to a lecture, provided that everyone behaves properly, abiding by Islamic teachings and codes of conduct. But when we put together a group of young boys and girls, close to the period of adolescence, in the relaxed environment of a school where they meet and play, then it is asking too much of such young people to observe Islamic standards of morality. The results may be very serious indeed.

Therefore, we say that co-education is Islamic unacceptable, because of what it leads to, not because of the process of teaching or of the meeting of the two sexes in a classroom.”

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from:

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