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Islamic Studies

Can our MSA Conduct Meetings with Both Genders Present?

Question:

“Is it allowed for our MSA board to meet even though we have different genders on our board?”

The Answer:

All praise is due to Allah [alone]. May His prayers and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad, His family, companions and those who follow him.

The scholars stated that If a gathering between the sexes follows Islamic guidelines, then such a gathering, God willing, is permissible because Islamic law does not forbid general gatherings between males and females. The only thing that is explicitly forbidden is being alone with [a person eligible for marriage] where both are together, alone, in a place which no one could see them; not aware of what they are doing.

When a gathering occurs in which both parties are not alone, then what is forbidden is for either party to be dressed in a way that is not sanctioned by Islam; by showing any part of their body which is forbidden to expose, or acting in ways which are considered against Islamic standards.

Sh. Faisal al-Mawlawi writes:

“From here it becomes clear that the times in which such gatherings are forbidden are:

1. When both parties are alone together.

2. The absence of observing Islamic guidelines regarding dress and behavior.

Finally, in every situation the reason for such gatherings must be recognized by Islamic law. Such a reason could be obligatory in nature, recommended or permissible.”

The Ruling

There is no doubt that gatherings to discuss the affairs of the MSA are from the recommended affairs. Thus, God willing, there is nothing wrong with such gatherings if they meet the conditions above.

Allah knows best.

Suhaib

www.virtualmosque.com

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship.

Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards.

Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC).

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  • Very strange- Perhaps thats why they say women cant be poets- becausee they have access to different kinds of
    emotions… Women – the love of my life…

  • “Izzah (Passion)” Spoken word Poetry by River Redclay for Publish-

    The Egytpian poet once wrote “Make your Izza (passion, glory, dignity, respect) for Allah
    and know that it will last forever- But if you put your Izzah in something that dies, know
    that it will die one day- Egyptian Poet…

    I put my desire in her- She was like an
    Argentinian anserina wild flower in a red Hijab-
    My soul clinged to her with a passion of content-
    Every minute waiting for her- I knew she was not for
    me – for I saw it in a dream within a dream – the wolf
    lady, she was- taking my soul , I led myself on like a runaway train bleeding steel till dawn
    – I felt like the court jesture- juggling to impress her- please marry me, please marry me sister-
    No ! No ! and third time No! like a kid in a candy store- I could control my soul no more-
    Every corner, every memory, every thought of her leaving me in a painful anxiety… I
    surrendered my soul to her and not to God -Imprisoned by my own hands – I realized
    that I forgot to trust Allah and instead relied on my passion…

    She spat in my face and I took the road of disgrace- Embarrassed in the community – I was
    excommunicated by them with a voice in unity- She was so clear as day- Yet I pushed her passed
    her limits- Falling in love with the idea- The clowns inside of me have retired and
    embarrased…seems like i lost my soul to passion… she said she couldnt stay…
    i felt the other way… “I dont want to hear you, see you or speak to you she said…
    Man what a fool I was- and finally surrendering to the will of Allah… let it go… let it go
    surrender your passion and find your Izza with your Lord…

    A message to all Brothers out there- Man When a Sister says no- respect her desicion and
    just let it go man other wise youll destroy yourself and your repuation – And Trust that
    Allah will replace what you lost man with something that is better for you bro. This life
    is too short to let your passion take your soul. Don’t look for validation from others
    especially a sister that you may respect and feel that she will fullfil your life. She cant
    and you must become conmortable with yourself first.

    Peace -

  • “Asalamu alaykum,

    Muhammad:

    I think such a decision should be made by the female congregates.

    SDW”

    JazakAllah khayr for saying this, ya Shaykh. A lot of times sister might not want a physical barrier because it will hinder their contribution to the meeting, while other times it may be desired because of existing fitnah within the group. BarakAllah feek Shaykh Suhaib.

  • Assalamualakum,

    Can you please define acceptable Islamic standards? For example are things like joking or laughing allowed?

  • Assalamu alaikum

    Please can i ask what people think about getting to know a brother/sister for marriage over the internet?

    has anybosy tried this- was it successful, or a nightmare? did you find that the person was honest in what they said.

    this topic came up when i had guests recently, as some of the girls were saying that they are struggling to find someone in the local community so they are now using muslim matrimonial websites?

    my friend who goes on it regularly was telling me about it and to be honest it didn’t sound too good. you log on, check out peoples profiles and pictures, then you can contact them an e-mail to get to know them (a person could be e-mailing a number of different people at the same time), then if you don’t think they are suitable, you just stop e-mailing. they don’t have to tell their parents until they decide that they may be compatible.

    is it islamic for a woman to access these sites without the knowledge of her parents?

    is it a method that scholars have allowed? what should people do if they are stuggling to get married and there is little or no help from the community.

    i thought the discussion we had around this was interesting but also, its important to get the trues islamic opinion on what is closer to the deen

    may Allah help all those who are not married in seeking a suitable partner who will be good for their dunya and akhira

    jazakum Allahu khayr

    fi amanillah

  • I want to know, if someone knows the answer to this: I have spoken several times with a shaykh at a mosque, about some problems I have been having. We were in his office, is this considered alone?

  • Assalamu alaykum Iman,

    The hadith of the prophet (sw) is:

    In Muslim and Abu Daoud, it is narrated that the Messenger Muhammad (saw) said: “Whenever a man and a women are alone shaytan is with them.”

    The meaning of the word used in this hadith for “alone” (khalwa) is: “Being alone in a situation where harm can transpire.”

    “Harm can transpire” means that you are in a situation where no one can see you guys and no one has access to you.

    And Allah knows best.

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