Intermixing between non-mahram men and women

Intermixing between women and non-mahram (marriageable) men occurs in some communities without being considered a problem, under the pretext that it is the custom of their fathers and grandfathers and that their intentions are good. In such communities, you see the woman sitting with her husband’s brother or her sister’s husband or with her cousins and other male relatives without wearing Hijab (Islamic clothing that covers the entire body, including the head, except for the face and palms).

It is known that wearing Hijab (which includes the veil) by the Muslim women and refraining from intermixing with non-mahram men are obligatory as proven by the Quran, the Sunnah (religious rituals that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) instructed to follow) and the Ijmaa (the consensus or unanimous agreement of the righteous predecessors of Islam on a religious jurisprudence).

Allah the Almighty Says (what means): {And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms…} [Quran 24:31]

Allah the Almighty Repeats (what means): 

{And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition} [Quran 33:53]

{O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful} [Quran 33:59]

Umm Salamah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her said, “When this verse was revealed, the women of the Ansar (the people of Madeena who supported and protected the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )) came out as if they had crows over their heads, out of tranquility, and they were wearing black garments.”

These Quranic verses are clear evidence that the woman’s head, hair, neck, upper part of the chest and face must be covered before non-mahram men and that revealing them before non-mahram men is unlawful.

As for the evidence from the Sunnah, when the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, commanded women to go to the place where the ‘Eed (the two festivals of Islam Eed Al-Fitr and Eed Al-Adha) prayer was performed to witness it, some women said, O Messenger of Allah! Some of us do not have an outer garment to wear!” Thereupon, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘Let her sister lend her a garment to wear.’ [Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim]

This proves that the women of the Companions used to wear an outer garment before going out and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not allow them to go out without it.

Moreover, ‘Aaishah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her said, “the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to pray the Fajr (dawn prayer) and the believing women would attend the prayer with him, wrapped in their veils, then they would return to their homes and no one would recognize them because of the darkness.”

She said, “If the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had seen of women what we have seen, he would have prevented them from coming to the Masjid as the Children of Israel prevented their women. [Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim]

This Hadeeth (narration of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )) proves that Hijab was the practice of the women of the Companions, who were the best generation and the most honorable in the sight of Allah the Almighty. They were also the best in terms of morals, manners, faith and righteousness; thus, they are role models for others.

‘Aaishah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her said, “riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in the state of Ihram (the state of having an intentio to perform Hajj or Umrah). When they came near us, we would lower our outer garment from our heads over our faces, and when they went away, we would uncover our faces.” [Imam Ahmad, Imam Abu Dawood and Imam Ibn Majah]

The words “When they came near us we would lower our outer garments from our heads over our faces” indicate that it is obligatory to cover the face, because what is prescribed in Ihram is to uncover it. If there was no strong reason to prevent uncovering it, it would be obligatory to leave it uncovered.

When women reveal their faces to non-mahram men, this involves many evil consequences including exposing men to temptation, which is one of the greatest causes of evil and corruption, and the woman suffers from losing her modesty and dignity as a result.

Hence, it is prohibited for the Muslim woman to uncover her face before non-mahram men and it is also prohibited for her to uncover her breast, upper part of her chest, arms, legs and other parts of her body in front of non-mahram men.

Similarly, it is prohibited for women to meet non-mahram men in seclusion or to intermix with them without wearing Hijab, because when the woman believes that she is equal to men regarding uncovering the face and going here and there, she will not feel ashamed to intermix with them, and this is an act that will cause great temptation and corruption.

One day, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was coming out of the Masjid, and men and women were mingling in the road, so he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said (to the women): “Draw back, for you should not walk in the middle of the street; keep to the sides of the street.” After that women used to walk along the sides of the street to the extent that that their garments used to stick to the walls.

Ibn Katheer  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him mentioned this Hadeeth in his commentary on the verse (which means): {And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision…} [24:31]

So, it is prohibited for the Muslim woman to uncover her face before non-mahram men, intermix with them, meet them in seclusion or shake hands with them.

Allah the Almighty mentions those who are allowed to see her adornment Saying (what means): {And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.} [Quran 24:31]

The husband’s brother, the sister’s husband, the maternal or paternal cousins and so on, are not mahram (non-marriageable) men and it is prohibited for them to look at the woman’s face. On the other hand, it is impermissible for the woman to take off her outer garment before such men so as not to tempt them. ‘Uqbah Ibn ‘Aamir  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘Beware of entering upon women.’ A man from the Ansar said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what about the brother-in-law (the husband's male relatives)?’ He replied: ‘The brother-in-law is death.’ [Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim]

The brother-in-law in this Hadeeth also refers to the husband’s uncle and other male relatives who enter his house without arousing any suspicion. However, they remain non-mahram to the woman and it is prohibited for her to uncover her adornment before them even if they were righteous and can be trusted because Allah the Almighty mentioned the men who are exclusively allowed to see the woman’s adornment and they do not include the husband’s brother, uncle, cousin or any other male relative.

Additionally, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “No man should meet a woman in seclusion except in the presence of one of her Mahram men.”

The Mahram is the man who is prohibited to marry a woman forever because of blood, marriage or a relationship through nursing such as the woman’s father, son, brother, uncle, and so on.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, forbade that so as not to give the devil a chance to tempt them and beautify the sin in their eyes. It was narrated on the authority of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Whenever a man meets a woman in seclusion, the devil becomes their third.” [Imam Ahmad reported this through authentic chain of narrators]

With regard to the people who belong to communities where the violation of these rulings is customary, they must endeavor to get rid of these prohibited customs and cooperate in eradicating them and getting rid of their evil in order to protect their honor and as a form of cooperation in goodness and implementation of the commands of Allah the Almighty and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

They also should repent to Allah the Almighty for what they did and do their best to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil. They should fear no one and pay no attention to ridicule or mockery when they support the truth and fight falsehood because the Muslim has to adhere to the rulings of Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) willingly, seeking the reward of Allah the Almighty and fearing His punishment, even if the people who are closest and dearest to him disagree with him.

Following the traditions, fabricated stories, and fancies that Allah the Almighty has not legislated and that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not accept are prohibited, as Islam is the religion of the ultimate truth, guidance and justice, which calls for noble morals and good deeds and forbids the opposite.

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