Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: Assalam aleykum
I believe that a prayer in which men and women are mixed is forbidden. Is it true?
Answer: assalamu alaykum
If by the term “mixing” you mean men and women standing side-by-side in prayer then the general rule is that this would not permitted. However, if you mean women having their own space or rows in the mosque that is separate to the men and fulfills basic religious guidelines then this is permissible. In fact, our community should be strongly encouraged to ensure that suitable female spaces are alloted in mosques, and that women have similar access to mosques, knowledge, spiritual counsel, and the broader community of believers that men have.
As for Mecca, it should be noted that men and women have designated areas for prayer. In cases where they may end up mixing together, the reason is because of excessive over-crowdedness during certain times of the year, such as the Hajj season, and not any intentional plan to pray in this manner. Even here, it is often the case that women group together and make their own rows that may be in front of the men but cannot be viewed as praying side-by-side with men in an mixed fashion. Given this, the unintentional mixing that occurs sometimes in the Haram due to overcrowdedness and the like cannot be used to justify mixed prayer everywhere.
[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.