What is Islam’s stance on teaching at a co-ed school?

Question:

I teach in a coeducational college in the middle east.  Even though  this is a co-educational institute, girls and boys do not sit next to each other. They are seated separately, girls on the right hand side and boys on the left hand side. Girls are required to wear abaya with faces exposed or uncovered. I try my best not to look towards the side where girls are seated during my lecture.

Very soon, I might be offered an administrative position in this organisation and my boss would be a woman, with whom I have to interact very often.  The most important thing is that I might be asked to do things which go against the principles of Islam, like interacting and coordinating with female staff. The administrative duties include co-ordinating with the staff members (male and female) regarding the Quality Assurance in terms of teaching, appraisal of the staff (male and female), sometimes inviting female speakers to speak on various issues. I am really confused? What does the shariah say regarding this?  If I don’t take up this position, I fear that someone, who does not follow deen or a hypocrite, might take up this position, which will be more detrimental to the society. Pls advice..

What should I do in todays situation where most of the colleges are co-educational institutes? Jazakallah

Answer:

Brother in Islam,

It is encouraging to note that you are trying your best to live your life in accordance with the laws of Sharī’ah and are mindful of your duties as a Muslim.

Looking at a non-mahram woman[1] and engaging in activities involving direct contact with them[2] is strictly forbidden. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

كُتِبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ نَصِيبُهُ مِنَ الزِّنَا، مُدْرِكٌ ذَلِكَ لَا مَحَالَةَ، فَالْعَيْنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا النَّظَرُ، وَالْأُذُنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا الِاسْتِمَاعُ، وَاللِّسَانُ زِنَاهُ الْكَلَامُ، وَالْيَدُ زِنَاهَا الْبَطْشُ، وَالرِّجْلُ زِنَاهَا الْخُطَا، وَالْقَلْبُ يَهْوَى وَيَتَمَنَّى، وَيُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ الْفَرْجُ وَيُكَذِّبُهُ 

Allah has written for the children of Adan their share of zina which he commits inevitably. The zina of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the zina of the ears is to hear, the zina of the tongue is the talk, the zina of the hands is to touch (that which is forbidden), the zina of the feet is to take steps (towards that which is forbidden) and the heart wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it.[3]

As such, it is our advice that you forego taking up such a position that will be detrimental to your spirituality and will have a negative impact on your Īmān. It is not logical to put yourself in such a situation out of fear of someone else taking this position who has a weak connection with his deen. Taking such an offer itself is a sign of weakness, and leaving such an offer is a sign of your taqwa.

In regards to your current line of work, it is advisable that you seek a job at an only-boys institute where you will not have to deal with the dangers of a wandering eye.

May Allah Ta’ālā grant you success in this life and the hereafter. Āmeen.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

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