Q104 :What is the Islamic view on co-education?

A104 : There is a well-known principle in Islamic law, which may be rendered in translation as "prevention of means." This applies to any situation or condition which may be permissible in the first instance, but is calculated to lead to something forbidden. If it is generally deemed that there is a direct relationship between the original, permissible situation and the resulting forbidden one, then the original situation is pronounced as forbidden. That is prohibition of something which is acknowledged to be permissible in the first instance, because of the results it produces. In other words, should the circumstances change and the situation in question is deemed not to lead to the forbidden act, then it can no longer be pronounced as forbidden. Co-education is one such matter. In the first instance, there is no harm in a group of people, men and women, or boys and girls, to be present in a classroom where a teacher is giving a lesson, provided that everyone behaves properly, abiding by Islamic standards of propriety. But when we put together a group of young boys and girls, close to the period of adolescence, and during adolescence, in the relaxed environment of a school where they meet and play, then it is asking too much of such young people to observe Islamic standards of morality. The results may be very serious indeed. Therefore, we say that co-education is unacceptable to Islam, because of what it leads to, not because of the process of teaching or of the meeting of the two sexes in a classroom.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )