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Co-Education and Islam

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Co-Education and Islam

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  • November 2010
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Question: What does Islam have to say regarding co-education in schools? What are your viewpoints regarding this? Please elaborate on the pros and cons of such a system. Two popular arguments in favor of co-education are: 1. Coeducation builds confidence in a person and makes him/her a more complete person to live in a real world. In other words, studying in the same-sex education system makes a person lack in self confidence. 2. Another argument given by the proponents of co-education is that a person’s moral and Islamic values are built at home, thus neither co-education nor same-sex education plays any part in damaging or improving these values. My personal argument is against co-education and I say that in co-education environments students have more opportunity and temptations to go astray. They cannot maintain the right etiquette of intermingling as prescribed by the Islamic Shari‘ah, at all times during school hours. Also, students in a co-education school might become more consumed by how they appear or present themselves to the opposite sex as compared to their studies.

Answer: I think you yourself have well described the pros and cons of subjecting students to co-education. I however would like to mention that co-education is not an issue that has specifically been addressed by the Shari‘ah. In other words, what we should keep in mind is the fact that co-education has not categorically been proscribed by the Almighty. However, there is no question about the view that it should be avoided, keeping in view the essence of the Islamic teachings regarding gender interaction and also the dictates of our intuition. As far as the arguments in favor of co-education are concerned, I believe that the strongest argument put forth by its proponents, who also have little knowledge about Islam, is the exhortation that Islam has extended to Muslims to allow their women into mosques and let them offer prayer in congregation if they want to. Why...

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