Mixed Gender Classes

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked if it is permissible for men and women who are students of knowledge to attend classes where both genders are present.



Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Can women and men be in one classroom when they are seeking knowledge?



Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

In principle, as long as there are a number of men or women, then it is permissible.

For more detail, please see Mixed Gatherings: A Detailed Response Regarding Gender Interaction and How to Deal with Free Mixing in Public Schools.



Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Am I Sinful to Live With a Husband Who Is Not Concerned With Avoiding Usury?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: My husband does not listen to my financial advice and we have to pay interest every month. For him it is not a problem and discussing this issue makes him very angry. What is my religious responsibility in this situation as I have to use his credit card? Should I get a job to avoid these issues despite having kids?

Answer: As-salam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

The essential problem here is that your husband does not appear to take riba (usury) seriously and regard it as the grave sin that it is. Riba (usury) has been clearly and explicitly prohibited in the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Holy Qur’an has declared war on those who do not abstain from this grave sin. Regarding this, the scholars point out that of all types of sins and sinners, only two people have a declaration of war from Allah: the one involved with riba (as in the verse below) and the one who harms a wali (friend) of Allah.

Allah Most High says:

“Those who swallow usury cannot rise up save as he arises whom the devil has prostrated by (his) touch. That is because they say: Trade is just like usury; whereas Allah permitted trading and forbidden usury. He unto whom an admonition from his Lord comes, and (he) refrains (in obedience thereto), he shall keep (the profits of) that which is past, and his affair (henceforth) is with Allah. As for him who returns (to usury) – Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein.

Allah has blighted usury and made charity fruitful. Allah loves not the impious and guilty.

Lo! those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.

O ye who believe! Observe your duty to Allah, and give up what remains (due to you) from usury, if ye are (in truth) believers.

And if ye do not, then be warned of war (against you) from Allah and His Messenger. And if ye repent, then ye have your principal (without interest). Wrong not, and ye shall not be wronged.” [Qur’an, 2.275-279]

The scholars of Qur’anic interpretation, such as Imam Alusi (Allah have mercy on him) have explained ‘Allah has blighted usury,’ as meaning that Allah, “Removes all baraka (blessing) from it, and destroys the wealth of the one who enters into it.” [Alusi, Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani, 3.51]

Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Usurious money, even if much, becomes paltry in the end.” [Ahmad, Ibn Maja, and Hakim, with a rigorously authentic chain of transmission].

Abdullah bin Handhalah (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “A single coin of usury taken by a person knowingly (i.e. knowing it to be usurious) is worse than committing adultery 36 times.” [Ahmad, al-Daraqutni, and al-Bayhaqi].

Therefore, you should continue to attempt to convince your husband to avoid riba and avoid the means that lead to it (e.g. spending beyond one’s means). In doing so, you should use wisdom and good manners. Depending on the situation, this may entail remaining silent about the issue of riba itself, while you gently encourage your husband to improve spiritually, increase in sacred knowledge, and draw nearer to Allah. When this begins to happen, your husband will naturally incline towards eliminating the haram from your lives. Also, you may want to consider enlisting the help of someone who has influence over your husband such as his parent, sibling, community leader, or religious scholar.

With regards to you working, you should know that the sacred law places full responsibility for financial support of the wife and children upon the husband. A husband cannot force his wife to work outside the home, and she does not have to obey him if he commands her to do so. For further details, please read Shaykh Nuh Keller’s article “What is the meaning of qawwamuna as used in Surat al-Nisa’, verse 34?,” available at Furthermore, Abdullah bin Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Women are the overseers of their husbands’ households and children, and they are responsible for them” [Bukhari and Muslim]. In light of this, if you feel that working outside the home and leaving the children at daycare would cause them worldly or spiritual harm, then it would be wrong to do so. This is because it entails leaving your responsibility (i.e. safeguarding the children) for something that is not your responsibility (i.e. working outside the home). Furthermore, perhaps if you went to work and earned additional income it would only lead to a commensurate increase in spending (as is often the case in our time), and the household would still require usurious credit to cover the expenses. Hence, you should focus on rectifying the root cause of the problem, which is your husband’s lack of concern for the grave sin of riba.

Finally, after taking all worldly means to resolve this situation, you should not forget the greatest means of all: turning to Allah, the One who brings ease after hardship. This can be done by increasing in all forms of worship such as prayer, dhikr, fasting, giving sadaqah (charity), etc. In particular, prayer and supplication in the last third of the night is one of the greatest means for one’s requests to be answered. Also, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us to make the prayer of need (salah al-hajah) for any worldly or other-worldly need that we have. The prayer of need is very simple: It is essentially to raise one’s need to Allah Most High, by performing ritual ablution (wudu), praying 2 rakats (or four), and then making whole-hearted dua to Allah. Any dua is acceptable, but duas that have been transmitted in the Sunnah are best. The dua which has been specifically transmitted in relation to the prayer of need (as recorded by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) is as follows:

لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ الْحَلِيمُ الْكَرِيمُ
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِبَاتِ رَحْمَتِكَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغْفِرَتِكَ وَالْغَنِيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِرٍّ وَالسَّلامَةَ مِنْ كُلّ إِثْمٍ
لا تَدَعْ لِي ذَنْبًا إِلا غَفَرْتَهُ وَلا هَمًّا إِلا فَرَّجْتَهُ وَلا حَاجَةً هِيَ لَكَ رِضًا إِلا قَضَيْتَهَا يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ

There there no god but Allah the Clement and Wise.
There is no god but Allah the High and Mighty.
Glory be to Allah, Lord of the Tremendous Throne.
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
I ask you (O Allah) everything that leads to your mercy, and your tremendous forgiveness, enrichment in all good, and freedom from all sin.
Do not leave a sin of mine (O Allah), except that you forgive it, nor any concern except that you create for it an opening, nor any need in which there is your good pleasure except that you fulfill it, O Most Merciful!”



Photo: B Rosen

What Is the Ruling Regarding Sharing Food or Water With Non-Mahrams?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Could you share the ruling regarding sharing food or water with non-mahrams? I study at a co-educational university and my friends and I face instances where boys ask for water.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

This would be permitted although it would be better to avoid when possible.

It goes without saying that our religion has particular guidelines when it comes to interacting with the opposite gender the details of which can be found in the links below:

A Reader On Gender Interaction


Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Should I Deal with a Husband Who Gets Emotionally Involved with Other Women?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: How do you deal with your husband who when dealing with women (when I am not there) is free, and takes their problems as his own? He just feels when women tell their situations to him, that he needs to solve them. I am very uncomfortable with this.

Please give me some advice on how to go about this. Should I mention this to him?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Spouses talking to the opposite sex without need or restraint can have damaging effects on relationships.

Seek out ways to strengthen your relationship, and ways to bond and spend more time together. Be tactful and see if you can indirectly get your point across.

If the problem persists, you need to have a frank discussion with him, and if need be, get some professional or religious assistance.

Pray the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah), and ask Allah to facilitate that which is best. [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)? and: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

Please also see: What Are the Principles of Gender Interaction in Islam? and: A Reader On Gender Interaction

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I Call Others of the opposite Gender to Islam?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: As-salāmu ‘aleykum,

Can I call others of the opposite gender to Islam?

Answer: Yes, you can call others of the opposite gender to Islam.
You should at the same time keep in mind general guidelines related to what is considered appropriate interaction between the genders.

Please see this: A Reader On Gender Interaction

With that in mind, do what is good, and stay away from anything that falls outside the scope of your work, or does not sit well with you.
May Allah reward you for your effort and bless your work.

Shuaib Ally

Is It Allowed to "Fist Bump" with the Opposite Sex?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalamu Alaikum,
Some of the women in my class offer their hands for me to shake, and I try to refuse because I have read a hadith that Rasulullah said, “it is better for a man that a steel nail be driven through the center of his head rather than for him to touch the palm of a strange woman.” This is narrated by at-Tabarani in Mu’jam al kabir.
Instead, I just pound those girls’ fists, so that my knuckles comes into contact with theirs. It is not as professional, but I am still a student, and not in a professional setting, so a somewhat casual attitude is not frowned upon. Is this permissible? I have read different versions of the above hadith, some of which read “than if he touches a strange woman.” Is it if he just touches any part of her (in which case pounding a fist would be included?) or only if he touches her palm? Jazakallah
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, it would not be permissible for you to touch classmates of the opposite sex, even by doing so with your knuckles.
It is soundly reported from the Messenger of Allah that he said: “It would be better for one of you to have himself stabbed on the head with an iron nail than to touch a non-mahram woman.” [Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Kabir]
Leave what you have been doing by asking Allah for facilitation (tawfiq) and mindfulness (taqwa), and pray the Prayer of Need. [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?]
Allah Most High said, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass–and Allah has made a clear decree for everything.” [65.2-3]
When there is taqwa, Allah sends the way out. Yet we take the means whilst relying upon Allah as the spiritual master, Ibn `Ata’illah, said, “No task is arduous if you seek to fulfil it through your Lord, and no task is facilitated if you seek to fulfil it through yourself.”
Then just be courteous, smile, and let them know that you’d prefer not to shake hands.
Please see: Ruling Regarding Shaking Hands with Members of the Opposite Gender and: Guidelines for Interacting with the Opposite Sex and: A Reader on Gender Interaction
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How to Respond When Women Feel Unwelcome in the Mosque

Answered by Ustadha Noura Shamma
Question: Assalamu alaykum,
Regrettably, there are some masajid where women are made to feel unwelcome. Though of course women can pray in the home, going to the masajid seems to me part of the call to seek knowledge. I would like to know the best way to respond, with proper adab and relying on the Qur’an and sunnah, when I or my sisters find ourselves made unwelcome.
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Assalamualikum wa rahmatullahi wa baraktu,
Dear Sister,
I pray insh’Allah you and your family are in the best of health and high Iman.
May Allah reward you for asking about an unfortunate situation that continues to arise in some mosques. Let me begin by saying I am sorry that you or any sister was made to feel unwelcome in any of the houses of Allah. This is not the way of our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.
We must remember the mosque was the center of the community in Madinah and it was a place open for all, men, women, children, young and old, Muslim and non-Muslim. The mosque was a place of prayer but also of teaching, a shelter for the new immigrants and new Muslims, it was a the place of celebration when the occasion arose, like the walima of the Prophet’s, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and it was the place of governance and the court of law. I could go on, the main point is that the mosque was the vital center of the community and all were welcome and present in it.
Now given that the mosque played such a role in the life and well being of the community it is necessary that the Muslims know what is the proper adab/etiquette of the mosque and follow it consistently as was taught to the Companions by the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. So we have guidelines for how to attend and interact in the mosque in a proper fashion, hence it is not permissible to bar any group from the mosque.
While there is a general principle that the prefered place for prayer for women is at home, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t times and places when not only can a woman be at the mosque but it may even be important for her to be there. Hanafi ulama both in the Middle East and in the subcontinent have said that given the current situation when there is wide spread corruption, even in the homes with the presence of TV and satellite stations etc…, that for many women the mosque is the one of the last remaining places for her to find good righteous companions, to learn her religion and increase in her practice.
So women should go to the mosques. These ulama were saying this about Muslim majority countries so even more so when the Muslims are in a minority situation. Taking all these points together, there isn’t any shariah reason to prevent women from coming to the mosque.
Sadly however there are situations where some people feel that women shouldn’t come to the mosque and so even if the door is technically open, they directly or indirectly let the sisters know they aren’t welcome. So what should one do in this situation? Without knowing the specific situation we can only make general recommendations.
Always begin by returning to Allah for help and assistance in any endeavor and to ask Allah to purify our intentions. Secondly strive to remain calm and non confrontational in addressing the situation. This is the sunnah of our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to address a shortcoming with gentle reminders, indirect statements that are understood but without pointing fingers and without anger.
Consider talking to some of the other sisters who attend that mosque and see if it is the routine situation or maybe it was a unique situation. If it is a frequent occurrence or is the general atmosphere of that mosque, consider bringing the matter to the attend of the imam or a member of the board in a level headed and non-harsh way; maybe consider when bringing the matter up, offer ways you would like to help out or at least let them know you would like to help and volunteer to expand the good the mosque is doing. Focus on what positive you can and bring up the issue within a generally positive tone.
Insh’Allah with patience and gentle nudges changes will come. At the same time reminding ourselves change takes time and continue to make dua and persevere in your quest for knowledge, Allah is with those who are patient.
May Allah grant you every good and tremendous openings and may Allah make our mosques places of welcome and benefit for all.
And Allah alone knows.
Noura Shamma

Can a Young Man and Woman be Platonic Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Is it prohibited for a Muslim girl and a Muslim boy to be best friends while studying in a co-educational institute when they have no interest in each other?To the extent that they can exchange text messages after school hours one of which is quoted below.

‘A very very Happy Birthday to my dearest, most awesome friend!
I wish you all the happiness in the world and that you may never ever have any reason to be sad and that you may always have that cute smile on your face all the time.

I feel very lucky to have the best ‘best friend’ anyone could have, who’s always there in times of sadness and gladness. who makes me feel better when everything seems to fall apart and most importantly who cares what goes on in my life and what I’m going through. You should know that you’re one of the most sweetest and most honest and good people that I have ever met and I hope that we stay best friends till the end! Stay happy, always! :)’ 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question.

While the message exchanged appears innocent enough, one has to be realistic about human nature and the natural attraction Allah has created between the male and the female. One must also keep in mind that if the young people have reached adolescence, they are experiencing a life stage where the pull towards members of the opposite sex is quite strong, but the ability to critically judge the impact of their actions and anticipate consequences is diminished.

Islamic gender etiquette is strict, yes, but it is strict for a reason. Unfettered access to members of the opposite sex, including casual friendships, can lead to emotional dependency, infatuation, and the physical behaviors that are associated with falling in love.

Unchecked, these developments can have a devastating impact on young people, particularly if the relationship is broken off by one of the parties, or, in the worst case scenario, a physical relationship happens outside of marriage.

My husband teaches young people in a co-educational institution and he can attest to the many seemingly-innocent exchanges he’s witnessed that often result in life-changing consequences for the young people involved.

My advice is to err on the side of Islamic manners and limit unnecessary interaction with your friend. If you’re old enough, however, and you genuinely enjoy each other’s company, why not pursue marriage? After all, the strongest marriages often begin as friendships.

May Allah bless you,

Zaynab Ansari

Related Answers:

Can I Chat With the Opposite Sex Online About Decent and Moral Subjects?

A Reader On Gender Interaction

Guidelines for Interacting With the Opposite Sex

Should I Marry Someone I Had a Premarital Relationship With?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: I made a mistake by doing unisamic actions with a girl I really liked. Afterwards, I felt guilty and did not want to see her anymore because it reminded me of the bad things we did. I see her as a bad influence even though I fully participated and initiated a lot of things. She is upset but wants to marry me. She is more religious, (prays regularly and is willing to make more changes) but i feel like it’s fake and just to get me. Is it wrong that I question her intentions? Or could this be the time Allah brings her back to Him? Am I wrong for letting go and not trying to marry her? I wanted to marry her initially.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum,

Dear Brother,

Thank you for your question.

There was a time in the United States, in the not-too-distant-past, when a man would “do the right thing” by a woman and marry her if they had had intimate relations and particularly if those relations resulted in a pregnancy. Although this was viewed as the honorable thing to do, it did not always ensure the longevity of the marriage since the marriage’s very foundation was shaky. Sometimes, however, strong marriages did arise from an unfortunate start, particularly if the couple were determined to look forward.

What you have to do is figure out if there’s the possibility of a strong marriage after this, or a lifetime of mutual resentment.

Speaking according to the strict letter of Islamic law, you are not required to marry the young woman if you have repented. That is, you do have the option of trying to start over with a clean slate and marry someone with whom you share less baggage.

From a human-relationships standpoint, though, you should probably consider her predicament. After all, both of you consented to the actions and it is wrong to blame her for a sin that you both committed.

If your negative opinion of her outweighs any good you see in her, despite her remorse, then it’s probably best to move on. If you see a future with her, then you need to leave the past and accept her repentance, just as you would hope she accept yours.

Please pray on it (salat al-istikhara).

May Allah make things easy,

Zaynab Ansari

Longing to Marry Someone I Had a Physical Relationship With

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: I am a teenager and I had a physical relationship with a brother. We want to get married as soon as we are old enough but we got caught by parents. Now our families hate each other and the guy has been sent away. I can’t even think about being with anyone else. Is there any dua i can read or do anything for us to be together again, and for our families to accept our relationship?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question. I pray this message finds you well.

As difficult as it is to accept, you are better off without this person in your life. A man who truly values a woman will marry her before having a physical relationship with her. A soulmate is supposed to lead you to Allah, not entice you to commit sin. It would not be appropriate to ask Allah to bring someone back into your life who encouraged you to commit a major sin. Instead, you should thank Allah this person has been removed from your life. You should focus on repenting to Allah and reevaluating your life. You’re only a teenager and have many years, God willing, in store. Why weigh yourself down with a toxic relationship? You should move on with your life and let him move on with his. If he had wanted to do right by you, he would have married you. Period. Trust me, he will recover from this; men almost always do. You, on the other hand, might have a longer road to travel, hence my insistence on repentance and getting things right with God.

May Allah Ta’ala give you healing from this,

Zaynab Ansari