Are the women allowed to go the universities that is prevailed for education at this point of time where there is co-education and intermingling and there are male teachers?
This answer being given from the Social Department, by a person with the following qualification: Trained General Nurse, (King Edward Hospital.....cum laude); Trained Midwife, (Peninsula Maternity Hospital); Trained Psychiatric Nurse (Ireland.....cum laude; and South Africa.....cum laude). B.A. (Psychology & Sociology) UNISA. B.A.Cur. (Community Nursing Science & Nursing Education) UNISA (presently completing Psychology Honours degree (UNISA), Insha Allah.
Jazakallah for the questions you have forwarded. They deal mainly with education for Muslim women and men. You also ask how relationships should be conducted in educational institutes and the workplace between men and women.
Muslims are encouraged to seek knowledge "from the cradle to the grave" to obtain knowledge. Over the years many Muslims have used these terms glibly, not fully understanding the responsibility attached to how one should come by this knowledge.
Indeed, in the early days of Islam, there are records of illustrious students of Deen who travelled far to learn the Quran and also seek "first hand" accounts and narrations of hadith from those who had a direct chain of links to our beloved Nabi (sallalaahu alayhi wassallam). Such was their zeal and love for Allah that they left family and the comforts of home to travel through dangerous, rough and unknown dessert terrain to seek knowledge which would be of benefit to them in this world and the hereafter. They did this purely to earn the pleasure of Allah.
It is mentioned in a Hadith-e-Qudsi, Allah Ta’ala says, "I was a hidden treasure. I desired to be known so I created the creation." Allah created the world for our pleasure but it is Fard to love Allah Ta'ala and Nabi (sallalaahu alayhi wassallam). That degree of love is compulsory which would keep the person away from the disobedience and displeasure of Allah Ta'ala and Nabi (sallalaahu alayhi wassallam) which would cause one to fulfill all the commandments of Allah Ta'ala for HIS pleasure alone.
In addressing your question on higher education, one needs to look at the individual's upbringing. The home is every child's first school. The mother, it's first teacher. The theme of her "Tarbiyah" (lessons) to her children should always connect them to Allah Ta'ala. Parents should give priority to Deen and Shariah before everything else so that the children develop within themselves the LOVE of Allah Ta'ala to such an extent that it becomes easy to obey Allah Ta'ala.
Parents have a responsibility to prioritize their duties to their children. A fundamental right a Muslim child has over it's parents is Deeni education. Parents have a desire to protect their children from poison and it's disastrous effects. They have to recognize that the Muslim's poison is shaitaan. Thus, parents have to address the need to create an environment in their homes and communities which free their children away from many "Dajjaals" who are around in abundance extending invitations to all sorts of "isms" and promoting activities and morals which are the very antitheses of Shariah. This endeavor requires sincerity from the parents. If they leave the education of their children to outsiders, then there is no point in blaming the kuffar and the educational systems for the filthy literature, dating, pornography, gambling, disgusting dress and emulating of movie, soccer or whatever sports stars etc. our children fall into.
Most certainly there is a need for female doctors, nurses, teachers, psychologists, physiotherapists, accountants, mathematicians etc. Muslims need to be independent and man their own industries, hospitals, and countries too. As Muslims, we may be faced with more questions than answers when it comes to choosing tertiary education for our offspring. What guidelines do we use? Is there one set of rules for our daughters and another for our sons? Do we go ahead to justify the means to an end? At what cost? How do we strike a balance?
Somehow, one has to strike a balance. We are living in a world of means. We can make use of the means but not trust in the means. Nabi (sallalaahu alayhi wassallam) is reported to have said, Tie your camel and trust in Allah."
Needless to say, most tertiary education occurs within the context of a "western culture" in most parts of the world. The media and advanced communication systems have turned the world into a "global village." This is evident even in Jeddah where recently a young school girl was forbidden from wearing a headscarf to school.
Parents may decide to send their child to a co-ed university as they have brought up their child with an Islamic ethos and they fully trust their child's judgement and sincerity. If this young adult has a spiritually pure heart, she/he may escape going astray and not loose her imaan. Alhamdulillah, many young girls have inspired non-Muslims to accept Islam and they have fostered knowledge of Islam on the campus.
However I put it to parents that right here in South Africa, many young girls have given up university education because of the "Unislamic" behaviour they have witnessed from so-called "pious" girls. Parents drive their pious obedient daughters to university. These girls are dutifully dressed in black cloak and scarf. Once the parent's car is out of sight, so is the cloak and the scarf. The day is spent off the campus in the company of some "guy or the other." When the parent returns to collect their daughter at the end of the day, she is waiting , scarf and cloak where they belong and "laden with lots of homework."
Parents also trust that their intelligence and the intelligence of their children will save them from deviation. The choice of subjects made by both boys and girls is important and the question needs to be asked, "Will this knowledge be of benefit to me in this world and the hereafter?"
Many an intelligent person of great learning has gone astray. Either by way of "The illicit glance", friendships, and "isms" (subjects chosen which are contrary to Sharia and the teachings of Nabi (sallaahu alayhi wassallam) which lead to the erosion of the person's Imaan. This person becomes toxic on an accumulation of facts which lead him away from the love of Allah Ta'ala. Young adults and parents are thus faced with a double-edged sword in choosing educational institutions of higher learning as far as secular education is concerned.
One has to keep in mind that one has to make use of the halaal means to aquire what is permissible and possible to aquire and to be satisfied and content with whatever is achieved.
From my personal experience I wish to urge my sisters to think very seriously about seeking deeni knowledge after they complete Grade 12. Give yourselves the opportunity of spending at least three years in an institute where you seek Allah Ta'ala and truly learn what it is to be a Muslim woman and the great role and honour Allah Ta'ala has bestowed upon you as His treasured creation. ( After that, if you wish, continue with secular education).
When a Muslim woman is armed with the knowledge of as many aspects of Deen as possible (and also her honourable role and position in Islam) etc., then she is ready to raise and lead an army in the path of Allah's deen. Such learning has a totally different effect on an individual. One doesn't just accumulate facts. This knowledge transforms one's life and heart most beautifully, alhamdulillah. This education is a wealth of treasure from Allah Ta'ala's special gifts. She is ready to serve not just her family but also mankind. Her Islamic knowledge can be the most liberating experience in her life, especially if she has previously been "charmed" by the values and culture of the kuffar. The wife of our beloved Nabi (sallalaahu alayhi wassallam), Ayehsa (R.A) narrated thousands of hadith and many Sahaba(RA) came to learn from her. She also participated in a war and served her community in many ways.
Considering the recent events of the past two years in the world, there is a greater keenness from non-Muslims to learn about Islam. Muslims are being attacked on many fronts yet on the positive side it is almost as if Allah Ta'ala has opened the doors of learning and provided us with a golden opportunity to invite to Deen. There are so many new Muslims and there is a great need for people who are sufficiently qualified to provide answers and teach these new sisters / brothers and their families about the religion they have now adopted. Muslims who previously neglected and shunned this part of their "CV" are now seriously seeking hidayah, learning to read the quran as it should be read, searching for their place in Islam and knowledge of Deen. Alhamdoelillah, many sisters who were previously Muslim by name have the courage to carry the "banner of Islam" openly. They have adopted the scarf, niqab and are "covering-up" and proud to do so!
In seeking to study secular subjects, one can attend women's only / men's only colleges in Pakistan which offer science courses etc. There are numerous colleges and universities which offer numerous subjects by correspondence in many countries and their standards are high, e.g. The University of South Africa. There is a women's medical college in Malaysia. If you wish you may write to firstname.lastname@example.org
they will be able to provide you with more information and addresses, inshallah.
In dealing with the workplace, besides "lowering the gaze", there tend to be many situations in the workplace where contact between non mahrams leads to fitnah. When talking to a non mahram male/ female, it is important to lower the gaze, to speak in a firm clear tone so as not to appear flirtatious or inviting. Discuss work related matters only and avoid small talk and joking with the opposite sex. Personal comments should be avoided and maintain a clear distance so as to avoid all physical contact, accidental or otherwise. Do your utmost never to be alone with the opposite sex. Avoid conversations which involve lurid talk by one's own sex as this is another way shaitaan hopes to ensnare you. Try your utmost to find employment in an institution where only men/ or only women are employed, (whichever the case may be).
Many marriages break up because the husband finds that his receptionist or co-worker is more co-operative, helpful and more "intelligent" than his wife. He can have " intellectual" conversations with her whereas his wife makes mundane comments and has nothing substantial to speak about. A husband may freak out with jealousy if his wife has projects to complete with her male colleague. As a result, suspicion and rage can destroy the marriage. A study done by a Canadian psychologist reveals that the Islamic taboo on NOT shaking hands with "non mahram" men in the workplace (office) has helped maintain the distance between non mahram co-workers. (There is no need to remove the niqab in front of a non-mahram unless a "law" or necessity dictates e.g., for identification or at the doctors.) As Muslims, we need to concentrate on " not coming near" to zinna and temptation. One needs to make career choices very carefully taking into consideration one's imaan, values, feasibility and how one can be of greatest service to one's family and community. Seeking knowledge purely for the sake of this world or obtaining accolades is worthless and sinful. One should seek knowledge to earn the PLEASURE OF ALLAH TA'ALA. We should seek to become the slaves of Allah Ta'ala with hearts which are spiritually alive with the love of Allah Ta'ala and Nabi (sallalaahu alayhi wassallam) in every aspect of our lives.
May Allah Ta'ala guide me and all Muslims on the straight path which leads to HIS pleasure, ameen.
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.