It is very sad to see Muslims, including supposedly knowledgeable Muslims, whine and pout about the very basic Islamic principle which is avoidance of ikhtilat (blameworthy gender mixing).
I tweeted the following statement, thinking it was hardly controversial:
Gender mixing (ikhtilat) leads to flirting. Flirting leads to touching. Touching leads to zina. Zina leads to the destruction of marriage. The destruction of marriage leads to the downfall of family. The downfall of family leads to the end of humanity. Keep the partitions up.
Was I exaggerating? Not at all. Anyone who has eyes, has knowledge, and is honest knows that blameworthy gender mixing can potentially not only leads to all this, it can also lead to much worse: The Fire.
I expected the usual liberal feminist nonsense. But liberal feminists in shaykh’s clothing also chimed in with truly asinine statements that do nothing but show the pettiness and ignorance of the people making them.
If you disagree with my simple statement, please answer these questions:
Does blameworthy gender mixing — as is common in today’s society with Muslims and non-Muslims in social settings involving casual friendly interactions — involve plenty of flirting (not to mention other problems like sexual harassment, unwanted attention, etc.)?
the prevalence of zina in society destroy marriages and lead to all kinds of societal harms with over 50% of children born in the West born into single mother household.
Does this interaction, in many cases, lead to things that are clearly haram, e.g., gazing at non-mahrams, touching them, smelling them, etc.?
Does the prevalence of zina in society obstruct marriage as well as destroy marriages and lead to all kinds of societal harms with over 50% of children born in the West born into single mother households (where children born into single mother households are significantly more likely to get into crime, drugs, drop out of school, be unemployed, fall into depression, etc., etc.)?
Is the state of marriage in today’s society anything but complete chaos, where over 50% end up in divorce and around 25% of married men admit to cheating and 15% of women admit to it, where adultery sites like “Ashley Madison” have millions of registered users, etc., etc.?
Hard to understand how a Muslim can know about all these things and not be alarmed. Hard to understand how a Muslim can know that one of the signs of the Last Day is the increase of zina and even zina being committed in the street and not be alarmed by everything around us. What do you think is the PRIME contributor of such a state of affairs at the end of times? If you don’t think it is ikhtliat, please enlighten us with your own explanation.
And save the “Muslims just need to have taqwa” argument. Very surprising to see this new modernist line being used to dissolve some of the clear boundaries set by the sharia and agreed upon by all scholars. It doesn’t matter how much taqwa you have, if you are a man or a woman, being alone with the opposite sex is prohibited (whereas what constitutes khalwa itself has further details and difference of opinions, but no one denied the prohibition of khalwa). Casually hanging out with the opposite sex just for the purpose of socializing, having fun, joking around is prohibited. Yes, again there are MANY details and many situations that fall into a gray area. But let’s not pretend like Islamic law is OK with the kind of free for all that characterizes Western liberal cultural standards.
As for partitions in the masjid, I will save discussion of that for a separate post. But I find it shocking how inconsistent the people opining on this are in arguing that partitions are illegitimate. They know, of course, that they cannot argue that partitions are haram or blameworthy innovation. So they avoid that by making simplistic statements about the Prophet’s mosque not having partitions between the men and women’s prayer area. They conveniently don’t comment, however, on all the ahadith that describe how the Sahabiyyat were dressed, what times of day they attended the masjid, how they were positioned in the masjid, in what conditions they were prohibited by the Prophet ﷺ from going to the masjid, etc., etc.
The prohibition of ikhtilat is not something Muslims should be ashamed of. Not only is the lack of ikhtilat required by piety and God-consciousness, It is the mark of high civilization, culture, and class that unmarried men and women do not freely mix, flirt, and roll around with each other like animals. This is the Islamic ethos which has been practiced for centuries throughout the Muslim world.
Muslims today who are embarrassed about this and hide it behind cherrypicked narrations to justify a liberalized view should just stop embarrassing themselves.
PS: Imam Ghazali wrote the following: “If the first inward thought is not warded off, it will generate a desire, then the desire will generate a wish, and the wish will generate an intention, and the intention will generate the action, and the action will result in ruin and Divine wrath. So evil must be cut off at its root, which is when it is simply a thought that crosses the mind, from which all the other things follow on.” [Ihya]
Wow, is Ghazali an extremist? He thinks that a spontaneous thought in the inner depths of one’s heart can lead to existential ruin and Divine wrath? Talk about a slippery slope! How much more slippery is it when the first step is not a secret thought but actual physical activity and mixing?