Is co-education allowed in Islam? What does Islam say to us about Co-Education or Mix Gender Education? In this article, I will explain the co-education system and what Islam says with the help of references from the Quran and Ahadees.
This topic requires a high level of attention. We need Shareeha Guidelines to understand this matter. Some people hesitate when discussing this topic. There is a detailed list to be understood that if you follow this then it is right, if this then wrong. Answers to such questions should not be taken as black and white.
People want to be modern and they think that co-education is important for a modern society. To be modern is not a bad thing but if it goes against Islam, then it is not permissible. There also exists disadvantages of coeducation. No one can say that co-education is purely haram or halal but within some Islamic limitations.
People say that there is free mixing everywhere in a society like in a bus, a taxi, in the markets, in government institutes, and even in Haram. People use this theory to say that co-education is the same as these activities are. It is absolutely right that there is free mixing but not the same as in the educational institutes. Everybody knows that one institute is better than the other in many circumstances, then you have to count the drawbacks when you are choosing the right institute. Now let me discuss this topic in detail.
What is Co-Education?
Co-Education is a system of studying where both male and female gender students go together for their study purpose. They study at the same place and share their ideas and thoughts. They taste the same kind of benefits from the organization like the same class, same subjects, same assignments, same curriculum activities, and games. Also called mixed-sex education, mix-gender education, co-ed or coed.
There is no restriction on both sexes in schools, colleges, universities, and academies. Students can sit, talk, gossip, can study in a group, and can have fun.
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Co-Education Concept in Islam | Is Co-Education Allowed?
This section deeply explains what Islam says about mix-sex education. Here I will discuss what Islam says about education and mix-gender education at the same institute. It will all depend upon you, what you will understand and make practice on this.
First of all, you should understand the Shareeha(الشريعة) of Islam. Sharia is an Islamic religious law that governs day-to-day life. Islamic Sharia is derived from four sources: Quran, Sunnah, Qiyas(Analogical reason), and Ijma(Consensus of ulama). A man who follows the rules of Islamic Sharia is called a Muslim. I will drive a result on Co-Education from the Islamic Sharia.
It is not a new philosophy, since in Islam women prayed Namaz in Masjid, Participate in Ijtimah, go out to work.
“And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.” [Surah-al-Ahzab:53].
Boys in co-education see girls without any hesitation and start to gaze at them whenever they saw any girl. Allah says: “Say to the believing women that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste)…”
“…and not display their beauty except what is apparent, and they should place their khumur over their bosoms…”
“O Prophet! Say to your wives, your daughters, and the women of the believers that: they should let down upon themselves their jalabib.” [Surah Ahzab Ayat No. 60]
Stop and think that if you are not allowed to talk with the most pious and modest woman called Ummul Mohmineen, then how other females are allowed to interact freely with males. It means a Hijab is necessary for females. So, here is the first thing we have found the Hijab is necessary for females to interact and communicate with other genders.
Our beloved Holy Prophet HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H) never encourages these types of activities.
The Prophet (P.B.U.H) Said:
“Haya does not bring anything except good.”
Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) once saw men and women mixing together on the road upon their departure from the mosque. He said to the women. ”Hold back a bit. You do not have to walk in the middle of the road. You may keep to the side”.[Sunan-abi-Dawod].
Some people say that free mixing is not permitted in Islam, but they have to define and explain in the light of Islamic Shareeha how they are using it to apply. The concept of Halal or Haram, Mahram or Non’mahram, Fitnah, Modesty or immodesty. The thing in which they are going against the rules, means they are opposing the Islamic Shareeha.
Islam says if you look accidentally at a woman return your eyes, and the second look is haram for you.
Co-education is not allowed in Islam if you violate the Islamic rules ( الشريعة), but if students and institutes follow the Islamic guidelines regarding the law of Hijab and Haya then, in this perspective coeducation/mix-gender education is permissible in Islam.
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Non-Muslims about Co-Education:
On the other hand in Non-Muslims, there is no difference between males and females in terms of modesty, halal, haram, Mahram, or Na’mahram. Thus they don’t count any disadvantages of mixed gendering.
Even some western countries do have not any difference between sister and wife. They only focus on modernism and the advantages of co-education.
Everything is legal and equal for both sexes. So, they are so far from the Islamic concept of Halal and Haram. This is not a development of confidence. But only a way of making students immodest. Don’t be free with someone and don’t let anyone be free with you.
Islamic Scholar’s Guidelines
Muslim scholars interpret this problem and they gave a solution to Ummat in the light of Islamic Shareeha. This is called Ijtihad. It is originally derived from Quran-o-Hadees.
Co-education does not match with the teachings of Islam. Some situations differ from one case to another case.
In many matters, Shareeha gives us detailed guidelines like Namaz, Roza, Jihad, etc. But some situations are there that need to solve by Ijtihad of Ummat.
Keep in mind that the relationship between male and female is not the same as the relationship between a male and male or between a female and female. Compare two places, and ask yourself which is safe against fitnah. Then you will understand that definitely co-education is promoting fitnah.
Doctor Zakir Naik says about co-education in his lecture: “Do you want to send your child to a school to get educated, or do you want to send your child to the school, to pick up illicit techniques, or be harassed? then If it is the first, I would advise you to put them in Unisex schools and there are several of the kind in the city.” Islam opposes the co-education system as there are more disadvantages to co-education.
You can permit primary school students to study combined.
But, it is very critical for class six to twelve students when they are grooming, and having a change in the body. They are not mature in this part of age. They are emotional, energetic, and will for whatever they want.
But if there is a Compulsion of studying in co-education and there is no other way to study then you have to follow the Muslim scholar’s guidelines.
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Precautions and Guidelines for Co-Education System
- The first Guideline is to Fear Allah as much as you can
- If you feel the fear of fitnah, then not allowed
- Proper Dressing with Hijab. The dressing is a mirror of our personality
- Not a loose behavior of girl’s to boys and boys to girls
- What topic they are discussing with each other?
- Why and where they are sitting?
- Be away from those things which are clearly Haram in Islamic Shareeha
- Touching and Hand Shaking of the opposite sex
- The gap between a boy and a girl
- No extra talk like how are you? Do you see the movie? How was yesterday? etc.
- No group study without the presence of a teacher
These guidelines and limitations are to be followed if you have no other choice except co-education.