Was there Co-Education in The Messenger’s Era?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Nowadays there is a group of lecturers and self-appointed daaees who claim that men and women attended classes together during the time of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم). This claim is far from the truth. From the passage below, written by the great muhaddith, historian and faqeeh, Ibn Rajab Hanbali (رحمه الله), it becomes clear that education in the era of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was imparted in total segregation. While men were taught in the Masjid, women were not.  Rather, women’s classes were conducted at someone’s home.

Hafiz Ibn Rajab Hanbali (رحمه الله) explains:

It is narrated in the two authentic books (Bukhari, Muslim)[1] from Abu Said Al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه), who said: The women said to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), “The men have overcome us with regards to your time, so fix a date for us with yourself. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) then promised a day in which he would meet them. So he admonished them and ordered them, and from what he said to them was the following, “There is not a woman from amongst you whose three children die except that they (the children) will be a veil between them and the Fire.” So a woman asked, “What if two die?” He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) replied, “Even if two die.”

This indicates towards the fact that the gatherings of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) regarding understanding the Deen, reminders and the like, did not have women present with the men. They only used to attend the obligatory prayers at the very back of the Masjid during the night, and would then leave immediately (following the prayer). They also used to attend the two Eid prayers with the Muslims, but were, however, separate from the men i.e. meaning behind them. Due to this, when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) gave the Khutbah on the Eid day, he noticed that the women did not hear (the Khutbah). When he finished (his Khutbah) he went with Bilal to the women folk and advised them, reminded them and ordered to give charity. He made the men remain sitting until he finished the admonition he delivered to the women.[2]

The crux of all this is that the mixing of men and women in gatherings is a reprehensible innovation, just like Hasan Al-Basri (رحمه الله) said. This is the reason the women folk said to him, “Oh Messenger of Allah, The men folk have overcome us with regards to your time.”

It is narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayra (رضي الله عنه): The women folk said, “O Messenger of Allah, verily we do not have the ability to sit with you in your gatherings. Surely, the men have overwhelmed us (regarding spending time with you), so appoint for us a time in which we may come to you.” The Prophet ﷺ said “Your appointed place is in so and so’s house.” The Prophet ﷺ came to them and lectured them.[3]

Allah Ta’ala ordered the Prophet ﷺ to convey what was revealed to him to the men and women folk, and to instruct all people. Allah said to him, “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw down their shawls over them.”[4]

Allah Ta’ala also says “And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls.”[5]

The Prophet ﷺ observed that which Allah had commanded him, and he promised the women folk a specific gathering for themselves in the house of a woman, and most probably that woman was from amongst his wives or non-marriageable relatives.”

[Majmooah Rasaail of Ibn Rajab Hanbali Vol.1 Pg.389-390]

May Allah protect us from deviation and may He help us to practice our Deen in accordance to the Quran and Sunnah as understood by the Salafus Saliheen.

[1] Bukhari #101 Muslim #2633

[2] Bukhari #98, #978 Muslim #884, #885

[3] Muslim #2633

[4] Ahzaab: 59

[5] Nur: 31

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2 thoughts on “Was there Co-Education in The Messenger’s Era?

  1. Mohamed

    As salamu alaykum please who wrote this beautifull article? Have you the original link of this or the original website? Jazak Allah for your work.

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