Dangers of Coeducation
By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlullah
What is the view of Islam on mixed education?
The basic principle in Islam is against mixed education, despite its proponents' claim that separation may lead to negative mental or social consequences, probably affecting moral development, because it makes man look at woman from afar, and vice-versa.
Supposedly, this mutual glancing from afar may cause many to fantasize and to have unrealistic ideas; both genders may in the process be incapable of communication when later on in their lives they enter into normal social interaction.
I acknowledge that, in this respect, their argument may have certain validity, but life experience in the matter of ethics has proven that every mixing is at the expense of morality. And every time mental issues change, a near emergency results. The reason is that mixing, especially at adolescence, has a great influence on many, since sex underlies the thought of every adolescent boy and girl. This may lead to problematic mental issues if not actual corrupt practices.
Perhaps this is what many sociologists refer to on the subject of friendship between man and woman. They say that it is difficult for there to be pure friendship between the two, because the more friendship deepens, the more the instincts find their way to physical expression between the man and the woman. This is what we have noted in general.
When Western society made sexual liberty one of the issues of freedom and deemed it a natural thing, it did not perceive any moral problem with mixing. In fact, it found that lack of mixing led to negative results. However, in societies that live according to moral ideals, we find that it is difficult in reality to accommodate this value through mixing, since this only leads to greater problems for those who experience this mixing.
A Woman May Work in Every Field
What is the Islamic view regarding the work of the woman in special fields or fields which do not match her nature as a woman?
A woman has the same right as a man to work in any halal work she chooses, and the Shariah does not differentiate between the work of a man and the work of a woman. There are, however, some specifics which may concern the woman in her wifely duties and the natural state of motherhood. Her wifely duties may dictate that she not work except with the agreement of her husband.
On the theoretical plane, Islam certainly does not prevent the woman from working, no more than it prevents the man from working. The same ethical obligations apply to the woman in the workplace as to the man. If the work is in a moral environment, then it is as permissible for the woman as it is for the man.
Parental Monitoring of Children's Behaviour
Does the parental monitoring of the behavior of their sons and daughters constitute interference in the latters' private affairs?
There is a form of primitive, retrogressive supervision which causes the person to live in what is like a stifling nightmare that throws his life into confusion, with severe problems, where he finds himself besieged by your inquisitiveness or "spying", if one may use that term.
Supervision is absolutely necessary for knowing about our youth, students, and sons. We must make supervision something good that does not affect youth in such a way as to be a problem, except in certain situations where we wish to exert some pressure on them to let them know they are under supervision; so that they may not go astray or advance too far in what may cause them severe problems in life.
What we mean is monitoring of the youth's studies and associates, and trying to find out his weak points in order to draw attention to them afterwards. It is necessary that this monitoring be psychologically sound, not one that afflicts his mentality or presents a problem. You may find some children looking at their parents or their teachers with dislike or hatred, benefit little afterwards from any advice that these parents or teachers may have given them.
We must make our children and students like us. This may be done by astute methods which do not adversely affect them in their developmental stages of life.
Equitability between the Children
What does Islam want from parents in their interaction with their children, in accordance with equity and justice?
The fundamental principle in Islam is justice, and equity is a manifestation of justice. Such justice may be exemplified in matters of affection with respect to the children. This is what is reported from the Prophet: that he saw a man kissing one of his sons, and so he said to him, "Kiss the other one, so he may not feel anything against his brother or his father."
Equity is a fundamental principle in parents' care of their children, but sometimes we need to stay away from equality in justice, when one child is better in religion than the other; is better in his studies or morals; or is more obedient. In this case, we prefer him to his brother in order to influence that latter brother to be like him, so that he could receive the same treatment. In other words, we create a situation of competition, which needs some wisdom in its application, so the child does not assume that the father loves his brother more.