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Dheen

Shocking changes at Zaytuna College, California USA

Shocking changes in attitude at Zaytuna College

Not so long ago, back in the late 90′s, around 1998/99, i remember zaytuna college, the foremost Islāmic establishment in America to preach & teach traditional Islam, looking like this:

where there used overwhelming spiritual benefits pouring out of the highly charged and inspiring Islāmic environment built within the confines of zaytuna’s classes. They used to lay special emphasis on the Islāmic mannerism’s and code of ethics. Segregation was at the top most priority. (As you can translate from the above picture).
The whole atmosphere was a good reflection of the contents being taught. Generally, the whole setting, lighting and the general ethos of people was an integral part which helped to deliver zaytuna’s promises. That being, teaching traditional Islam to its western audience. It was a place to escape from the fast paced, dog chase of the western life. With everyone being constantly busy and having no time to reflect, relax and re-connect with their lord. From the picture alone one can gather numerous understandings. The place was full of serenity, with students and teachers alike dressed in sunnah, the thowbs, beards and hats, it helped a person get into the Islāmic mind frame, to learn true love and to be truly loved by the teaching of Islam and the sunnah. The environment helped a person be taken back and transported to the times of classical Islam. To the times where Islāmic lifestyle was at its highest. It gave a taste of what it must have felt like, to learn the Islāmic sciences from people like Imam abu Hanifah, and to learn the sciences of medicine from people like Imam ghazali. One even felt you were in a truly Islāmic environment where the mannerism’s being taught were implemented and clearly viable on the students and teachers alike. The environment was a spiritual backbone which catapulted the success of the early zaytuna days.

It further helped a person escape into an surreal Islāmic world where the whole environment was different to the norm of the day.
Unfortunately, as with everything in life, the highly inspiring Islāmic environment which was once so prevalent in zaytuna college’s classes seems to be deteriorating very rapidly! and i lay the emphasis on the word ‘rapidly’.
This is what it has become now:

The presence of a physical barrier has been completely removed and thrown right back into the garden shed!

The post 9/11 era has really battered the idea of ‘traditional and classical’ Islam being taught in the western world. I remember zaytuna being at the forefront in teaching traditional Islam which our greatest generation of the past, used to practice and teach.
Now the idea of traditional Islam has been replaced with an idea of ‘liberal Islam’, an Islam which shows to its non-Muslim onlookers ‘look we too can do things like you. We do not need to have classes which segregate the men and women. Or, have to avoid dressing in ‘normal’ western attire of skin-tight jeans and shirts. We too have classes where the men and women sit side by side and interact with each other, often times sharing jokes and having a good college life’.

As sad as it is, zaytuna college looks more like a typical western college/university. It simply has a Muslim name or a tagline to it. Other than that, there is hardly anything Islāmic about it. Its classes, the students, the teachers in many aspects, and the whole approach at zaytuna now, is western. In every sense of the word!
Don’t give me excuses why they have become like this. ‘Its out of their control, they have no choice but to be like this. It’s no longer a ‘Islāmic’, school but a ‘liberal arts college’. Even if that’s the case, and they have changed their outlook from classical Islam, to modern, toned-down version of Islam. It is still in the control of the board of directors (one of them being Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, the founder and patron of zaytuna college) to enforce the lost Islāmic environment they had, in the classes. As the whole campus of zaytuna college belongs to the muslim community. So, they have the right to present and teach in classes the way they see fit. Whatever happened to the freedom of religion and the freedom of rights America champions itself with everywhere?

Lastly, with the media downplaying the madrasah systems in the Muslim world to being ‘terrorists training camps’ and ‘places where extreme teachings are taught’. These leading western Islāmic institutions, like zaytuna, are quickly distancing themselves from appearing to ‘look’ like these much hated ‘madrasahs’ of the Islāmic world. Where there are only boys or men in one room and there is no sight of a woman amongst them.

Zaytuna college distancing themselves into this; a ‘new’ and modern, ‘liberal arts’ Muslim school. Where there are both Muslim men and women learning side by side:

The greatest fear of humans has always been the fear of the unknown. This is what is eating up these leading Islamic institutions in the west. Fear that they ‘might’, just ‘might’, get called a ‘madrasah’, the feared ‘training camps for extremists’ in the western world.

Further reading:
The Phases of a Convert Muslim
Dangers of American Islam/Muslim’ism’
Neo-Sufi Conservatism

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Discussion

71 thoughts on “Shocking changes at Zaytuna College, California USA

  1. That is just like any other college and school , no way near traditional madrasa except they teach the subject

    Posted by Shihab | August 6, 2012, 5:06 pm
  2. Very, very sad.

    May Allah guide us.

    Posted by Abdur Rahman ibn Faiz | August 6, 2012, 11:42 pm
  3. INNALILLAHIWAINNAIALAHIRAAJIOOON:(((

    Posted by abdullatif | August 7, 2012, 1:25 am
  4. So these are the future ulama and muftis that Hamza Yusuf is producing to guide the Muslims of America?

    Posted by Muhammad M. | August 7, 2012, 5:20 am
    • The terribly alarming thing is, these are the very people who are supposed to lead others once they qualify towards ‘traditional Islam’. If their teachers are so relaxed on exercising shariyah rules. – On segregation and modest dressing, then what would these ‘future’ ulema would do. They would go one step further. Maybe even introducing unislamic ethics/practices in their classes and lessons. Making many of the haram, halal.

      Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | August 7, 2012, 9:16 pm
  5. It has become knowledge for the sake of knowledge, more like the secular schools or it’s going to that level

    Posted by Noori | August 7, 2012, 10:53 pm
  6. Allahumma ahfazna fainnaka kairul hafizeen

    Posted by Mufti Sadiqur Rahman | August 8, 2012, 12:33 am
  7. Assalaamu’alaykum wa rahmatullah

    Is ghiba part of this “straight up, telling like it is” approach to blogging? I appreciate that you have insights into how things might be changing and I think it’s important for teachers and students of knowledge to consider these things. I, however, can’t take you entirely seriously when your words are also giving people reason to suspect the worst of fellow Muslims. You come off as completely condescending and judgmental. While you have every right to express an opinion, let Allah be the one to judge and quit planting false ideas with things like “maybe they’ll go to the point of considering halal haram.” That’s Shaytan’s job, and he does a fine job of it by himself. For believers, such comments are out of line.. along with comments like, “what’s next, music classes?” What benefit did that serve?

    Part of the sunnah is to address others with good words. If you really care for the state of the ummah and the change in Islamic schools in the west, then speak TO not AGAINST your brothers and sisters. Don’t backbite (and yes, what you’ve done on this blog is backbiting, don’t kid yourself thinking otherwise). Criticism is fine, but if it’s not done constructively it will be destructive.

    This “us against them” attitude will not serve our ummah. In fact, it’s not a wonder that the Muslim world is in the situation we see now given that we are neglecting to work with each other and instead opt to work against each other.

    If you have criticisms, fair game. Share them with those who can address them and make changes. If you’re not brave enough (or simply not prepared) to do that, then save yourself from falling into haram i.e. bad mouthing and judging, and instead go and do the work of educating Western Muslims as you feel it should be done. “If you’re gonna knock it, then be ready to rebuild it.”

    I read your post with interest hoping for your constructive feedback.. it never came.

    I do hope that you hope to have a part two where you can OFFER something to the ummah instead of trying to annihilate what you believe to already be a broken leg.

    May Allah guide us all, ameen!

    Posted by Farzeen | August 8, 2012, 5:44 am
    • Thank you for your opinion on this matter. Regarding the issue of a quote ‘what next, music?’ was not something I wrote. Someone must have used this username as a means to vent their own anger. I will when given the chance remove this comment and make amends. Secondly, inshAllah I will be doing a part two in due course. This was an initial post to being attention to the matter. I have in previous attempts tried to directly witer contact the relavent people concerned but I was completely blanked and blocked from many of the usual routes to contact. Seeing no way through this, it was the only option I had at my disposal.

      Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | August 8, 2012, 6:23 am
    • @Farzeen
      Walaykum salam.
      First of all, let it be noted that there are many different kinds of backbiting (gheeba). In some cases, gheeba is certainly permissible – for example, when speaking about a marriage or business reference. Warning others of this kind of danger (as shown above) is certainly one of the conditions in which backbiting is allowed, especially when the offending party acts openly and without scruple, and ignores all calls to dialogue and reformation.

      I myself graduated from Berkeley (when Zaytuna College was starting up and moving to Berkeley), used to go to the Lighthouse Mosque, was roommates with brothers working/volunteering for Zaytuna, and am known by some of the shuyookh there. I have incredible respect for the shuyookh such as Imam Zaid and Sh Abdullah Ali, and loved the feeling of serenity when spending time with Imam Zaid. I do believe there can be much potential benefit from Zaytuna and Zaytuna College insha’Allah.

      At the same time, if we would like to get our actions accepted by Allah (`azza wa jall), we (as one of the pious predecessors said) must ensure that they are in accordance with the Sunnah and Shari’ah. After all, who are we trying to please? Our actions must have so much ikhlaas that they are done solely with the intention of pleasing Allah (SWT), and no one else. A Hadith Qudsi relates that Allah (SWT) is so independent of His creation, that any action which is done for His sake and for the sake of anyone else, is rejected. If we desire to please Allah (SWT) alone, then it follows that the action should be done the way Allah (SWT) desires – that is, following the Sunnah and Shariah. How can we expect Allah (SWT) to accept our actions if they are done in a way that He has clearly forbidden?

      When Habib Umar (may Allah protect him) visited the US not long ago, his parting advice was to make sure our actions have ikhlaas – that is, ensure that they are done solely with the intention of pleasing Allah (SWT). If you’ve ever been to Hadramout (in Yemen), you’ll know that they have a strong emphasis on separation of genders – and this solely for the purity of the hearts. Allah (SWT), in the Qur’an, tells the wives of the Prophet (S) to “speak to them (non-related males) from behind a curtain” – why? “That is purer for your hearts and for theirs.” Which women could have purer hearts than the wives of the Prophet (S), and which men could have purer hearts than the Sahaba (RA)? Do we believe that our hearts are purer than theirs? That is why the commentators of this verse have noted that, while it is addressed to the wives of the Prophet (S), it, in fact, applies to all Muslims.

      We only need to look inside our hearts and look at what our hearts are telling us. I have been in some mixed classes (i.e. neither barrier nor separation of genders) of Zaytuna before, and honestly, although there was good “information” to be gained, Wallahi my heart was not at rest. On the other hand, one only needs to go to a gathering in which people are following the Sunnah, inwardly and outwardly, and in which one’s glance is free from the poisonous arrow of Shaytan, to feel that his/her heart is being filled with Noor. There are such gatherings in the Bay Area. Anyone who peers into his/her own heart can see the difference. You yourself can feel your internal state. Don’t lie to yourself – accept what your heart reveals to you, though your nafs may not like it.

      My humble plea is for the shuyookh of Zaytuna to go back to the ways of their own teachers, true masters of sulook and spirituality – the shuyookh of Yemen and Mauritania, of the Haba’ib and of the ulemaa of Mauritania. We are but students – they are the teachers. Let’s not fool ourselves by calling ourselves Shuyookh in light of them. Let us take their advice and consultation, and act in a pure way which truly shows the noor of Islam.

      Posted by ahmed | August 9, 2012, 11:23 am
      • Assalaamu’alaykum wa rahmatullah brother Ahmed

        Thank you for your response. I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree in how these criticisms against Zaytuna College is presented. I do not know the stories of those who have attempted to engage in dialogue around this situation nor what occurred, but in my heart of hearts this method is unproductive and treading a fine line between khayr and shar.. wa Allahu ‘alem.

        I read half of your comment before I needed to attend to other things, and I thought about it before returning to read the rest. You asked if we believe our hearts purer than theirs.. who made such a claim? None.

        I understand your sentiments entirely as I wouldn’t be at ease sitting next to brothers, but I don’t believe it warrants enveloping judgment on the teachers and that one can thus suggest it’s foolish to call these teachers shuyukh/scholars.

        You must remember that situations and circumstances change approaches that people might take.. As I see it now, while having not spoken to anyone whose opinion I trust on the matter yet, I’m considering the changes you see a beginning approach. For better or worse, lifestyles such as those in Yemen and Mauritania and the like cannot be introduced to mainstream American Muslims immediately – or perhaps ever. The students sit in mix-gendered classrooms for hours with teachers in university, and while I’m not saying that it’s the best approach in an Islamic class, I’m saying that a lot of those students are more comfortable in such a setting and opening the door to them allows them a chance to seek that knowledge. I’m glad you brought up the content of the lessons because a continued discussion about the outward alone is in vain.

        This situation, as I see it now, is analogous to meeting a believer who is a good person, calls to good, but perhaps he’s blemished.. maybe he even imposed this blemish on himself like a tattoo. The reason I say this is that some part of practice in the shariah is upon the student too and I think it unfair to put sole responsibility on organizers. There is again a lot of room for discussion about why things are the way they are there, but I don’t accept that these “changes” remove these shuyukh of their positions of respected scholars in the West nor does it discredit the worth of the school and what it aims to teach. Having a discussion where there is no room for excuses or “I see this and think this, but submit to there being some hole in my thinking” (i.e. giving some benefit of the doubt) calls others to engage in gheeba. My heart of hearts, since you asked me to go to that, tells me that what meets the eye is uncomfortable, but it’s not the full story, and judgment is not for me to pass .. I will not allow myself to do so.

        So I cannot agree with your assessments and judgments.

        With regards to Habib Umar.. Allahu yahfazuhu.. do you know how things started at Dar Al Mustafa? The young men in Tarim at the time didn’t come knocking on his door, he went to them. And in doing so, he invited them to attend lessons after spending time with them while they played soccer. And during the first few meetings, he left them as they engaged in behaviour that is blameworthy.. then they learned to appreciate his non-judgmental ways and they studied with him. They are our shuyukh today. Sometimes teachers have to “drop” to the level of others before others can understand what’s going on and step up to the plate of the ideal sunnah behaviour.

        Don’t be deceived about women in Yemen. Tarim is an exception, but the rest of Yemen is not “beautiful cloaks of black all following the sunnah.” There is more to it than meets the eye. It’s not our place to point fingers. If there is some benefit for some Muslim American students to gain from Zaytuna, then there is khayr in it. If it doesn’t suit you, then go elsewhere and guard your tongue or wagging fingers.

        I think if you made mention of this to Habib Umar in the way it’s done here, he might still advise us to have ikhlaas.

        Wa Allahu ‘alem.

        Posted by Farzeen | August 9, 2012, 5:27 pm
      • Your remarks of “…For better or worse, lifestyles such as those in Yemen and Mauritania and the like cannot be introduced to mainstream American Muslims immediately – or perhaps ever”. Typifies the reasons why I had to write this piece.

        This sort of new-age/neo Sufi ideology is almost redefining Islam. People who have an approach of ‘live and let be’ is alien to our pious predessosers, the saliheen and the awliyah!

        I find it strange how prior to 9/11 Zaytuna and other institutions, managed to successfully hold classes with 100% segregation with physical barriers in place. (As the first picture speaks for it self) and it was not an issue at all. No one then, saw that “lifestyles such as those in Yemen and Mauritania and the like cannot be introduced to mainstream American Muslims immediately – or perhaps ever”.

        Amazingly after the 9/11 era we seem to be up in arms as it were. That we need to take down the barriers, take down the established frameworks of interaction and introduce ‘new’ ideas, completely strange to the sunnah, just to appease the non-Muslim on looker.

        Were the people who converted or lived in the west prior to 9/11, not from the west or ‘mainstream america?’. Were they aliens who came from some other planet?
        It is silly to suggest this, ‘lifestyles such as those in Yemen and Mauritania and the like cannot be introduced to mainstream American Muslims…’

        As I mentioned already, the 9/11 episode has really battered the idea of the once-held-in-high-regard, ‘classical Islam’.
        People are afraid to be seen, heard and even thought of being a Muslim. Most institutions, especially in the west, like Zaytuna are introducing frankly speaking, childish excuses to compromise the very fabric of Islamic fundamentals. segregation and modest dress code are just the tip of the iceberg. It is as if they are afraid to be classed as being the dreaded ‘madrasahs’ of the middle eastern Muslim world. As I mentioned before.

        You see, once you let down one barrier to sin and lust. Rest of the barriers then start to fall one after the other. The ‘multiplier effect’. Many people say, segregation is not such an issue to worry about, or hardly ‘shocking’. Well, if one has a low sense of shame and modesty there is nothing that a person will see as ‘shocking’.

        During the hight of the Muslim influence in the world around the mid 18th to 19th centuries. When muslims were the leading lights in science, literature, art, poetry etc. People from the west would go and learn from leading institutions of learning. In bagdad, chiro, morocco etc. There was no special place allocated to these people from the ‘west’ that they will find it hard to fit into the Islamic styled classes, which had full segregation etc. No! That was not the case.

        In fact many western academics who learned at the hands of the Muslims were so influenced that when they came back to teach in places like Oxford and harvard. They had full beards, turbans and used to wear thowbs. Just like the muslims. To the extent many people would ask them have you accepted Islam? Just by seeing the drastic change in them.

        This the impact of doing dawah with actions. There is no point in simply doing dawah with words. How can we show the non Muslims, how the pious predecessors lived without having the infrastructures in place?

        For example, a person can never know how a mango tastes without being given the chance to taste it. No matter how much you explain it’s qualities or the taste. He or she will NEVER know how a mango tastes without being placed in the situation. – giving him a mango.

        Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | August 10, 2012, 4:59 pm
      • Assalaamu’alaykum

        You’re right..mashaAllah. I was venturing a guess as perhaps that this is the beginning route for those who wouldn’t even enter an Islamic class only because of the separation and thus classes that allow for it give them an opportunity to at least learn and then take it from there. But I really don’t know.

        Lifestyles of segregation in Morocco and Yemen and even Syria (at least 12 years ago) are also harder to come by.. less so in Yemen because their culture is separation, but from it, subhanAllah, you’d be shocked at how people find ways to engage the opposite gender, both men and women. Where there is action without understanding, there are a lot of opportunities for sin. Wa Allahu ‘alem.

        I appreciate your effort in explaining the angle you’re coming from. It really is more fruitful.

        May Allah guide us to that which is pleasing for Him and to work together to strive in such endeavours, ameen.

        BarakAllahu fikum.

        Posted by Farzeen | August 10, 2012, 5:21 pm
      • There will always be avenues for sin. What matters is the number of avenues we close, which leads that way. Barriers and such generally prevent fitna from occurring. Making it harder to “come by” to commit sin. For instance: An open door of a house will always be more inviting for a burglar to steal. Than a house with a closed door.

        Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | August 10, 2012, 7:13 pm
    • Well said farzeen. The contributor seems to be in denial that the world is changing and it is up to us Muslims to accommodate that change within the true spirit of Islam. If zaytouna don’t want to have their classrooms as they may be in Pakistan or Arabia or Indonesia, then so be it. Hamza yousef is an American Muslim and is free to excercise his cultural leanings and diversity within the Islamic spirit. It is still Islamic.
      Islams strength comes from its diversity. Our unity comes from a belief in Allah.
      On another note ( but sort of not) My wife is a convert to Islam and is sick of all the Pakistani food wheeled out at every function we attend. Next, the contributor will be telling her that that’s how it is in the east and that she shouldn’t ask for a light chicken soup ( her pallet is different) as this is not eastern and away from Islam… She is English and Western after all. This is the level that this guys objections are at. Islam is for east and west and the Quran is for all peoples and all times.

      Posted by Siraj ahmed | August 5, 2014, 8:52 pm
      • Typical lukewarm and sloppy words bro. I get what you saying just not a strong enough argument. Yes the world is changing this calls for us to be more closer to the sunnah and the blessed ways of the best companions.

        Posted by Shamsul Abbasi | August 5, 2014, 9:00 pm
  8. Sorry sister Farzeen it was me writing about “what next music classes ” I take that back and also I mistakenly wrote on the NAME part the web address of this blog instead of my name .
    May Allah unite our hearts for the love of the beloved Nabi s.a.w

    Posted by Hafiz Kamal | August 8, 2012, 7:15 am
  9. Salam

    Your website is \”mybeliefs.co.uk\” How do you know so much about Zaytuna? Are you a student there? Isnt your website showing you are from UK? How can you write about US? Please dont mind me asking.

    Posted by anonymous | August 8, 2012, 4:48 pm
    • In our world, we have something called ‘planes’. Using these vehicles of transportation we can travel from country to country. So, several years back a number of the brothers, (prior 9/11) around 98/99 (like i mentioned in the article). Had the chance to go to Zaytuna from UK and learn at the blessed shuyukhs there. Secondly, for your information to write about a country or an institution anywhere. There are several ways a person can do this; 1) Traveling there. 2) Research. 3) First hand accounts of people who went/go to these countries/institutions.

      Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | August 8, 2012, 5:28 pm
      • ‘planes’ comment is an insult. Are we losing traditional islam now?

        Isnt insults like this from the west?

        Did lay people in the classical days expressed their views about organisations like this?

        I wonder if my comments are a insult?

        Posted by muhammod | August 18, 2012, 2:50 pm
  10. Salams,

    Thank you Sr. Farzeen for your comments. I couldn’t agree more.

    To the blogger, I really think it is people like yourself that are part of the reason why Muslims are in the condition we are in today- disunited and under attack.

    These Shuyukh have sacrificed their time, health, wealth, family life so so much to build this colle, and I believe they have really done it for the sake of Allah and instead of receiving love and support and even constructive criticisms from fellow Muslims they receive blogs filled with sarcasm and bitterness criticizing their hard work?!

    I agree with Sr. Farzeen. If you have some constructive criticism, please share it. Call the school, write them a letter, maybe even ask questions trying to understand why things appear to look so “liberal”. There is nothing wrong with that. But bashing them online and getting other people worked up against the effort of some of the greatest and most sincere ulama of the West, that is a shame. May Allah (swt) help you and guide you and show you how to push forward His message and the message of our beloved (saw) in a beautiful way, not by what you just did above.

    I really don’t understand when we are going to start putting each other down and will instead help build one another be successful and improve as an ummah. This not only makes me angry it makes me really really sad for the state of the Muslims.

    Masalam.

    Posted by Anonymous | August 8, 2012, 7:06 pm
    • you can think of a million excuses – some totally invalid others ludicrous – but nothing can beat what those pictures say.

      hamza yusuf has continuously proven himself to be a good house slave, wish him the best of luck with that in the Akhirah. The fact that he’s studied does not mean we cannot question him, it just means more sinful than those pour souls in the pic who are deluded into thinking they are gaining islamic knowledge, when simply, they are sinning.

      Posted by umm dujaanah | August 9, 2012, 1:32 am
  11. How do you recognize a scholar? He doesn’t just turn up out the blue. He is known to his people, I have also seen pictures of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf with Shaykh Dabbagh. Check the link below and find out how to seek out true scholars.

    Posted by Mohsin@hotmail.com | August 8, 2012, 11:59 pm
  12. Here are the qualities of a good shaykh:

    1. He possesses necessary religious knowledge.

    2. His beliefs, habits and practices are in accordance with the Sharī‘ah.

    3. He does not harbour greed for worldly wealth.

    4. He has himself spent time learning from a good shaykh.

    5. The scholars and good mashā’ikh of his time hold a good opinion about him.

    6. His admirers are mostly from among the people who have good understanding of the religion.

    7. Most of his followers follow the Sharī‘ah and are not seekers after this world.

    8. He sincerely tries to educate and morally train his followers. If he sees anything wrong in them, he corrects it.

    9. In his company, one can feel a decrease in the love of the world and an increase in the love for Allāh ta‘ālā.

    10. He himself regularly performs dhikr and spiritual exercises.

    In searching for a shaykh, do not look for his ability to perform miracles (karāmāt) or to foretell the future. A very good shaykh may not be able to show any miracles. On the other hand, a person showing supernatural feats does not have to be a pious person, or even a Muslim. The prominent Shaykh Bayazid Bustami says: ‘Do not be deceived if you see a performer of supernatural feats flying in the air. Measure him on the standards of the Sharī‘ah.’

    Posted by Mohsin@hotmail.com | August 9, 2012, 3:01 pm
    • after having all these qualities, the shaykh or person must know the A-Z of path to Allah and how to guide and take people there. The person may be pious or wali himself however, he is not qualify or doesn’t have the ability to guide people. “everyone can eat but not all people can cook”

      Posted by shihab | August 11, 2012, 5:51 pm
  13. So the sign of a good school is one in which you dont see any sight of a woman? This is a judgmental article, may Allah forgive you. Ah yes, indeed it’s the lack of barrier, thobe, and turban that has led to our demise! Not the judgmental attitudes that run people from the mosque, nor the women’s unequal access to scholars and speakers, nor the rampant abuses that we minimize/hide under the rug. Talk about self-Orientalization: Iif you need the token symbols of Islam around you to be in an “islamic state of mind” then you have completely missed the boat.

    Posted by thecivilmuslim | August 13, 2012, 5:04 am
    • It seems your knowledge in Islaam is seriously deficient.
      And remain in your homes,and do not make your selves a display like the women of former times ! i.e Jahilliyah (ignorance) Qur’aan.
      There is no such thing as female emergence from the home to attend mixed classes at the hands of deviate scholars…

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 2:52 pm
  14. Salam
    Good u raised this issue. However your article mentions 2 things that has been lost and only 2? That doesn’t mean they lost traditional islam yet?

    Posted by muhammod | August 18, 2012, 2:26 pm
  15. if this is the level of Islam in practice being shown by thepeople who are meant to be bastions of thedeen then what hope .Shame.These people seem to be a sign of the coming of the prophetic hadith (nearest meaning) There will come a time when the muslims will follow the christians and jews to such an extent that even if they were to enter a lizard hole they would follow behind

    Posted by shab | August 20, 2012, 4:45 pm
  16. Adis Duderija the author fails to see that there changes might be internal and reflect an evolution in the thinking on behalf of its directors. for me these are welcome changes which are more in the spirit of what i consider to be the normative Qur’an and Sunna teachings. also we must problematise the Islamic vs western dichotomy the author is using here.

    Posted by adis | August 23, 2012, 2:43 pm
  17. Does anyone know their Islamic history? “truly Islāmic environment” was when men and women were NOT segregated! Where men and women interacted, where women served side by side with men! Yes, Islam IS liberal.

    Posted by Ani | August 23, 2012, 4:24 pm
    • You are kidding, right?

      Posted by Google | August 23, 2012, 5:25 pm
      • I guess women did not participate in sustaining the early Muslim community? What did Khadijah do? How about Aishah? How about proving your point with facts instead of some male chauvinistic view point.

        Posted by Ani | August 23, 2012, 7:06 pm
      • You have completely missed the point of the discussions here. – Signing from a completely different hymn sheet to everyone else. I wonder if you even read what i wrote or just simply jumped to the comments sections. ill advise you to start from the top and work your way down. – The logical way of joining a discussion on the net.

        Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | August 23, 2012, 7:12 pm
      • Aisha R.A. totally forbade female unnecessary female emergence from the home for even mandatory prayers.
        Go back into Islamic history and do your research

        Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 2:54 pm
    • THE QUR’AN IS A PATRIARCHAL BOOK AND THE RELIGION OF ISLAAM IS A PATRIARCHAL RELIGION.
      DO YOUR RESEARCH THEN COME AND EXPRES YOUR STUPID VIEWS.

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 3:22 pm
  18. I did read what you wrote. You are aghast at the evolution of the de-segregating process (thus your heading “Shocking Changes…”). You attribute that to trying to ‘fit in’ with Western values. Sorry. We were there 1400 years ago. I am claiming Islam as enlightened, where men and women sitting and working together was the norm back then. The way men and women in Muslim communities are forced into segregated spaces today is NOT Islam.

    Posted by Ani | August 23, 2012, 7:26 pm
  19. Most kids in US have been learning in an integrated classroom since their childhood. The problem is not that people are scared of being labeled. The problem is that most Muslim people in the US are no longer inspired by institutions that are “traditional.”

    Posted by Fox | August 24, 2012, 5:53 pm
  20. Assalam-o-Alaikum Author,

    This post reeks of sermonizing, self-righteousness and holier-than-thou attitude directed against an organization and its people who have dedicated their lives, despite all hardships, for the cause of Islam. Do you think the shuyukhs who teach at Zaytuna are not God fearing? If something about them is surprising to you, should not you first ask them, express your concern and wait for their reply? You are passing your judgement on them even without giving them a change for explanation. If their reply and justification does not convince you and you have equally valid and strong arguments to back your view, then you have every right to express your opinion whithin the manners of sunnah.

    >> You wrote in one of comments: “…I have in previous attempts tried to directly witer contact the relavent people concerned but I was completely blanked and blocked from many of the usual routes to contact. Seeing no way through this, it was the only option I had at my disposal.”

    =>> Did you tried to message them on their facebook page? They are as reponsive. Or may be you can fly to Zaytuna sometime? After all you are an alumni and its your alma mater. And what could be better than an in-person discussion? And you said you wanted to bring this to attention. Attention of whom? People who cannot do anything about it and can only discuss online the way millions of Muslims do world wide every day and nothing changes on the ground about the pathetic state of affairs of Muslims around the world.

    >> You wrote: “… now the idea of traditional Islam has been replaced with an idea of ‘liberal Islam’, an Islam which shows to its non-Muslim onlookers ‘look we too can do things like you. We do not need to have classes which segregate the men and women. Or, have to avoid dressing in ‘normal’ western attire of skin-tight jeans and shirts. We too have classes where the men and women sit side by side and interact with each other, often times sharing jokes and having a good college life.”

    =>> How did you know they are following liberal Islam? I have never heard them using the term ‘Liberal Islam’. And how did you know this is their definition of liberal Islam? Actually this is your definition of liberal Islam through which you judging them.

    >> You wrote: “…As sad as it is, zaytuna college looks more like a typical western college/university. It simply has a Muslim name or a tagline to it. Other than that, there is hardly anything Islāmic about it. Its classes, the students, the teachers in many aspects, and the whole approach at zaytuna now, is western. In every sense of the word!”

    =>> Now this is what is called ‘Hasty Generalization’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasty_generalization). Based on just few pictures, you gave the verdict. And what is the problem with ‘western’? West is not all bad. It has many good things to offer the world. No body is saying to copy-cat them but if there something good that does not go againt Quran and sunnah , what is the problem in adopting it. And about “…there is hardly anything Islāmic about it”, besides the couple of points you raised (and we are yet to hear from Zaytuna what they have to say about it), what else do you not find Islamic?

    >> You wrote: “The greatest fear of humans has always been the fear of the unknown. This is what is eating up these leading Islamic institutions in the west. Fear that they ‘might’, just ‘might’, get called a ‘madrash’, the feared ‘training camps for extremists’ in the western world.”

    ==> Again a case of hasty generalization. How did you know that they have these ‘fears’? Have you done a study or survey on these Islamic institutions or talked with staffs?

    I am not sure if you have studied about sociology and how does social changes come into being. Society does not change overnight and it takes generation for people to adopt to a new mind set and culture and code of living (you may quote few exceptions to these but exceptions don’t make rule). Only a gradual change is deep and permanently enters the heart.

    The Quran came down over a span of 23 years. The complete sharia came over period of 23 years. For e.g. prohibition of alcohol came in three stages and similarly with many other things. Many of earlier rulings were abrogated and replaced by new rulings. The theme of the meccan period of life of Prophet (pbuh) was about individual correctness, morality and spirituality and that of medinian period was of muslims as a community and flag bearer of kalima of Allah. If Allah would have willed, He could have send Quran and the full sharia in one go and would have made prophet(pbuh) change the tribal Arabia into the likes of sahabas (r.a) overnight. But He did not did so. Ever wondered why? Is there some wisdom behind it that Allah is teaching us? In the treaty of hudaibiyyah, Prophet(pbuh) did many compromises and agreed even to change his addressing from ‘prophet of Allah’ to ‘son of abdullah’. Why? Is there some widom in this that Allah is teaching us through sunnah of his beloved prophet(pbuh)?

    I am sorry and apologize if I sounded rude. I do not intent it. I was in my office and happend to come on to your post during my lunch time. And after reading it, I was very sad and could not stop myself from commenting.

    -
    Jazakallah

    Posted by Syed Hasibur Rahman | August 28, 2012, 3:37 am
    • The same way you could not help but to comment on this blog ,i too cannot sit back and let you propound your modernistic beliefs to ignorant and unwary Muslims deviating them further into the lizards hole.
      The person who started this blog is a 100% correct in all he said.
      A picture SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS (even though taking it was Haraam)
      In Islam there is no way males and females can mix together in any situation
      ALLAHS Curse descends down upon the gathering where these men and males and females mix so freely

      Allah says so emphatically in the Qur’aan
      And remain (Resolutely/Glued) in your homes, and do not make a display of yourself like the women of Jahilliyah (Ignorance) !

      1)What is best for Women ? Answering this question Faatimah R.A said neither should they look at males nor allow males to look at them !
      (The so called scholars of zaytuna could adhere to this advicee of Faatimah with which the Prophet S.A.W said i happiness ”Faatimah is part of me”)
      2)Many will be the women who wore clothing in the world, but will be naked in the Akhirah (that is because of the evil styles of their worldly garments).”
      3)Never will prosper a nation who hand over their affairs to a woman
      4)When a woman applies perfume (or adorns herself with garments of pride,show and fashion) then passes by a gathering of men (i.e in public) she is like an ADULTERESS !

      Islaam does not say a Women cannot be educated !
      There are rules and regulations to follow in order for these women to receive the necessary knowledge needed to get through this temporary life.

      You and many others on this blog speak and think from warped mind.
      A mind that is infatuated with The love and awe of a satanic cult.
      The satanic cult of western and eastern liberalism.

      It iss better you repent now and revert back to the original Orthodox and fundamental Islaam, than to carry on with this nonsensical modernistic/satanic attitude which will result in your life wallowing away only to result in the Angel of death ripping your soul very harshly from your body !

      WASALAAM

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 3:13 pm
    • I am not sure if you have studied about sociology and how does social changes come into being. Society does not change overnight and it takes generation for people to adopt to a new mind set and culture and code of living (you may quote few exceptions to these but exceptions don’t make rule). Only a gradual change is deep and permanently enters the heart.

      In Islaam we don’t need to adapt to a western/modernist/deviated mindset.
      The only mindset we have to adopt in Islaam is the mindset of the Sahabaah whose lives and example are still gleaming at us after 14 hundred yrs !
      Today your talking about a different mindset, tomorrow you will talk baout a different Shariah !
      what ! do you reject part of the book and accept part of it ! Al Quraan !

      Your statements are very unthought of and leading you down the slippery slope of Irtidaad (Kufr)

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 4:25 pm
      • Bravo. Well said brother. These people need to be grabbed by their shoulders and shuck violently. So they wake up from their misguided ways.

        Posted by Munib Altaf | October 17, 2012, 5:50 pm
    • The Quran came down over a span of 23 years. The complete sharia came over period of 23 years. For e.g. prohibition of alcohol came in three stages and similarly with many other things. Many of earlier rulings were abrogated and replaced by new rulings. The theme of the meccan period of life of Prophet (pbuh) was about individual correctness, morality and spirituality and that of medinian period was of muslims as a community and flag bearer of kalima of Allah. If Allah would have willed, He could have send Quran and the full sharia in one go and would have made prophet(pbuh) change the tribal Arabia into the likes of sahabas (r.a) overnight. But He did not did so. Ever wondered why? Is there some wisdom behind it that Allah is teaching us? In the treaty of hudaibiyyah, Prophet(pbuh) did many compromises and agreed even to change his addressing from ‘prophet of Allah’ to ‘son of abdullah’. Why? Is there some widom in this that Allah is teaching us through sunnah of his beloved prophet(pbuh)?

      for the people of those times Islam was sent in stages.
      for us it has been sent fully/completed !
      We are expected to follow the shariah or if we cant fully then at least try to..
      What we should not do is try to justify something that the prophet and the Sahaabah made HARAAM into HALAAL.
      That is termed Istikhfaaf AND ISTIKHFAAF LEADS YOU TO KUFR !

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 4:29 pm
    • =>> How did you know they are following liberal Islam? I have never heard them using the term ‘Liberal Islam’. And how did you know this is their definition of liberal Islam? Actually this is your definition of liberal Islam through which you judging them.
      THE BROTHER JUDGED THEM BY WHAT HE SAW.
      THE PICS SPOKE A THOUSAND WORDS AND HE SOUNDED THE ALARM ND MAY ALLAH REWARD HIM FOR THAT !
      If there was no proof (pic) then we can claim ”do not judge them”
      The pics are a gleaming shiny example of liberal deviates leading future liberal deviates.

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 4:33 pm
  21. This post is a major joke. How dare you pass judgement on people who have more taqwa in their finger nail than you have in your entire body?

    You and your ilk are the terrorists blowing up fellow Muslims. Please go apply your neanderthal version of reality in Saudi Arabia and let the rest of us live in peace and civility. Thank you and good night.

    Posted by Musa | August 29, 2012, 3:10 am
    • Read this http://mybeliefs.co.uk/2012/09/06/progressive-muslims-a-new-fitna-on-our-shores/
      and next time be more considerate and mature in your approach to dealing with other Muslims.

      Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | September 6, 2012, 3:31 pm
    • by saying the following ”Please go apply your neanderthal version of reality in Saudi Arabia and let the rest of us live in peace and civility. Thank you and good night”
      You are implying that the Holy Prophet S.A.W. was a ”neanderthal” the companions were all ”neanderthasl”
      You are such a stupid idiot.
      You just lost your Imaan !
      If your married your Nikaah is now broken and you are living in Sin !

      IT’S THE NEANDERTHAL VERSION OF ISLAAM THAT WAS COMPLETED 14 CENTURIES AGO !
      IT WAS THE NEANDERTHAL VERSION OF ISLAAM THAT HAS BEEN FOLLOWED FROM THE TIME OF THE SALAF E SALIHEEN !
      IT IS THE NEANDERTHAL VERSION OF ISLAM THAT WILL GAIN YOU SALVATION ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.
      THE SUNNAH IS THE NEANDERTHAL METHOD WHICH WILL GAIN YOU ALLHS LOVE
      THE NEANDERTHAL BOOK (QUR’AAN) IS THE ONLY BOK THAT WILL PROTECT YOU..
      WHAT UTTER STUPIDITY YOU PEOPLE BLURT OUT..!
      MAY ALLAH GUIDE THE UMMAH FROM FURTHER DEVIATION !

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 3:20 pm
  22. Bismillah,
    Zaytuna college is an islamic college open to those who are muslim as well as non-muslim. The way it’s structured is necessary for a situation like that. The purpose to zaytuna college is not to embrace a certain form of Islam but simply to embrace islam and not only to muslim but non-muslims as well. If we want to embrace islam to non-muslim we must first show them our similarities to make them more open to our religion and not strictly show them the “classical islamic ways” that you talk about that would just close them off to our religion.
    Jazakallah Khair.

    Posted by Believer | August 29, 2012, 5:06 am
  23. some of these comments are just lol… Such Aashiq’s and Lovers of the Sunnah. The Prophet SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam never changed the Methodology of Dawah to Non Muslims… so why do we feel we should…? Forget your own aqal, your own intellect, and use the Intellect of RasulAllah SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam, and that intellect was his Blessed Sunnah, which were the Greatest gifts he had given to his Ummati, SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam.

    Posted by Bubu | August 29, 2012, 6:26 am
  24. Author has been left speechless by Syed Hasibur Rahman

    Posted by James | September 1, 2012, 5:52 am
    • I have not been made ‘speechless’ as you say. The reason I did not bother to reply to hasib is, he (like others) are continuously regurgitating the same arguement and points. Which I have on almost countless occasions given a rebuttal. To be frank and straight to the point, I have no time to play a tag game which children play in school yards. I have made my points clear. People should read these. Despite them being there, they ‘still’ express the same arguments and sentiments.
      I am a person who prefers not to reinvent the wheel!

      Posted by MyBeliefs.co.uk | September 1, 2012, 11:46 am
  25. “During the hight of the Muslim influence in the world around the mid 18th to 19th centuries. When muslims were the leading lights in science, literature, art, poetry etc. People from the west would go and learn from leading institutions of learning. In bagdad, chiro, morocco etc.”

    You are joking right? Who were the leading lights? Please name them. Who were the westerners who went to these so called places of learning? The universities of Europe outstripped any progress that Islamic institutions ever made during the middle ages after religious conservatism, which you applaud took over. The Muslim world didn’t even have a printing press until the 18th century. Illiteracy was rife and still is in the Muslim world. We are talking about backward nations here, who still practice slavery due to so called religious reasons. Hardly progressive. If Muslim nations were the leading lights of learning, why have they regressed so far? It is completely illogical and you are talking fairy stories here.

    During the Ottoman Empire – the guilds of writers had denounced the printing press as “the Devil’s Invention”, and were responsible for a 53-year lag between its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in Europe in c. 1440 and its introduction to the Ottoman society with the first Gutenberg press in Istanbul that was established by the Sephardic Jews of Spain in 1493 (who had migrated to the Ottoman Empire a year earlier, escaping from the Spanish Inquisition of 1492.) However, the printing press was used only by the non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire until the 18th century. In 1726, Ibrahim Muteferrika convinced the Grand Vizier Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha, the Grand Mufti, and the clergy on the efficiency of the printing press, and later submitted a request to Sultan Ahmed III, who granted Muteferrika the permission to publish non-religious books (despite opposition from some calligraphers and religious leaders.) Muteferrika’s press published its first book in 1729, and, by 1743, issued 17 works in 23 volumes (each having between 500 and 1,000 copies.) Not much considering the volume of work now circulating throughout the Western world. How many books are published in the Middle East each year apart from the Koran?

    BTW, the Europeans invented modern paper, along with the fountain pen and the pencil which has been adopted worldwide. Contact with the Muslim world during the period mentioned was connected to trade, not to learning. No European would willingly try to become a visitor to any of the Muslim lands due to safety reasons and the subsequent Barbary war, fought over the white slave trade that had been in practice since the middle ages. Escapees describe a cruel and backward society, not your imaginary utopia.

    Places of learning can only flourish in an open atmosphere and this began during the Renaissance period in Europe with the exchange of ideas – mostly through publication of books via the printing press which was unheard of in the Muslim world. The institute you are criticizing is doing just this – providing an atmosphere where ideas can flourish. And in case you missed it, the Renaissance was able to progress due to the Reformation of religion and the ideas of personal and religious freedom that began to manifest in the Europe. This is impossible under the type of Islam you promote. Otherwise, why are the places where your type of Islam is practiced so backward in literacy, science and the arts? For heaven’s sake, you even have people on here opposed to music!

    LOL at your cultural advancement. You would plunge people back into the Dark Ages with your mindset.

    Posted by Really? | September 4, 2012, 12:44 am
    • You must be retarded!

      Posted by Aisha Peterson | September 4, 2012, 11:22 pm
    • ”Places of learning can only flourish in an open atmosphere and this began during the Renaissance period in Europe with the exchange of ideas”

      Your kidding us all with this type of garbage right..lol
      It clearly shows that you lack knowledge in Islaam !!!!!!!

      Go back to the time of the ilustrious companions of the Holy Prophet S.A.W
      and the first 3 golden ages of Islaam (described by the beloved master himself S.A.W.) you will see places of learning that flourished and ideas the wonderful ideas that were exchanged.

      It seems that you also like many deviates on this blog speak from a mind that prefers the ways and methods of education of the Kuffar over the wonderful ways,methods and education of scholars that formulated laws of the Shariah in the first three centuries of Islaam.

      There is a Hadith to the nearest meaning:
      There will come a time when the Masaajids will be full of people praying (if your a women then because your not allowed in the Mosque-at home-) not one person will be a Mumin !

      People like you on this blog have helped materialize this very conspicuous sign of Qiyaamah !

      May ALLAH guide us all from deviation !

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 3:40 pm
  26. Check here: (your limited knowledge of islamic contributions to the western world left me no room but to reply) -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_contributions_to_Medieval_Europe

    http://www.medievalhistory.net/scientia.htm

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_were_the_contributions_made_by_Muslim_scholars_in_science_geography_mathematics_medicine_art_and_literature

    http://www.1001inventions.com/

    The internet is full with information as the ones presented above. These few links are just the taste of the actual food of muslim contribution available to read on the net. do a simple google search and you’ll see the results.

    Posted by HAFIZ Mumin | September 4, 2012, 7:55 pm
  27. Check again. There is a vast difference between the time of the Middle Ages and the 18th century. Try about 500 years. But so what anyway? Your society did not prove to be fertile soil for it to grow and develop as in the West, where science and logic did away with the absurdities of religion.

    Again. How many books apart form the Koran are published in the Middle East using “the Devil’s Invention”?

    Posted by Really? | September 5, 2012, 8:52 am
  28. People create Barriers, not God………… Get over yourself…….. This is a great move for this University to end gender segregation…. And for those that do not like it, well don’t go there…

    As far as the traditional Medressa’s are concerned. I have been to many and i have observed as a child and now as an Adult the amount of BS things that happen. For instance; child abuse and inappropriate touching by the molana.

    This is the 21 century if you hate the west so much then go back,.,……

    Adios

    Posted by Brazilian Caraval | September 6, 2012, 10:20 pm
    • I agree with you when you say bad things happen.
      But you must have heard of the saying (to the nearest extent)
      ”The majority is not evil, only the very minority is”.

      well the same goes for the evil things that happen in the traditional madrasaahs you hate so much !

      Allah is the God that made Islaam a Patriarchal Religion and created barriers in the Qur’aan between males and females ! if you actually took the time and studied the Qur’aan/Islaam with a proper Maulana you would have been educated in that aspect !

      You must have been the problem and the magnet for evil because i have also been to many traditional places of learning/Madrasahs and not ever seen any evil perpetrated on my watch,.

      and btw,
      How can you brand the traditional Makaatib and Madaaris all evil when a small minority of deviates in all of these places you attended were involved in HARAAM EVIL !

      Bottom line:
      Whether you like it or not.it was from these Places of learning that Islaam flourished around the world and it will be from these institutions of learning that Islams greatest scholars will be born until the day of Qiyaamah !

      People with your mindset have come and gone with their stupid hybrid views.
      they have never been successful enough to lead the masses in Islaam the way the products of the institutions you hate so much have !

      WASALAAM

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 4:15 pm
  29. Gender segregation IS ACTUALLY UNISLAMIC. It’s cultural that got mixed up with Religion. End of story, Show me one verse in the Quran that says gender segregation should be applied at schools and public places??

    Posted by Rashed | September 9, 2012, 4:28 am
    • Gender Seperation is as ISLAAMIC as black is black and white is white..

      It seems your knowledge in Islam is very weak..
      There are only four ways/principles to establish proofs in Islaam.
      1)The Qur’aan
      2)Sunnah
      3)Ijma (Consensus)
      4)Qiyaas (Analogical reasoning of the Fuqaha-professional jurisits.

      Without these four principles there is no way to understand the laws of Islaam.
      You cannot dig directly into the Qur’aan or evn Hadith for answers.
      You must look at hadiths proofs and the Noble Sunnah (way) of the prophet S.A.W. and his companions to establish what the Qur’aan says.

      for example (and he answer to your stupid comment)

      ALLAH COMMANDS WOMEN IN THE QUR’AAN TO
      +
      REMAIN (GLUED) IN THE HOME, AND DO NOT MAKE A DISPLAY OF YOUR SELVES LIKE THE WOMEN OF JAHILLIYAH (IGNORANCE)
      +
      HIjaab means concealment-total concelament.
      +
      (Hadith) A women is an object of concealment, when she emerges (unnecessarily) from the home shaytaan waits in ambush for her !
      +
      Sunnah of the Prophet and his companions was total segregation

      IJMA/QIYAAS of The jusrists (of all four schools of thought viz,Hanafi,Shafi,Maliki,Hambali) are unanimous of the opinion that Women are an object of concealment therefore their (unnecessary) emergence (because it warrants fitnaah) is not allowed AT ALL.

      = Segregation !

      (i can quote more but i have no time to argue with uninformed deviates like you.)

      Posted by Riaaz | October 17, 2012, 3:58 pm
  30. Consulting an qualified Expert, The Mufti of Egypt Shaykh Ali Gomaa (may Allah preserve him):
    Question:
    Is it permissible for a female to teach males the science of Qur`anic recitations and its related topics such as the [variant]recitations, Qur`anic orthography and classical religious books since there are no males specialized in this science in our area?

    Answer:
    There is no legal objection to men teaching women or vice-versa. Muslims have always maintained that the mere presence of women in the same place as men is not prohibited in itself. The prohibition only concerns the manner of mixing when it contradicts the guidelines of Islamic law such as men and women exposing those parts of their bodies which must remain covered, males and females gathering for an unlawful purpose or an unlawful seclusion between the sexes [being alone together in a place where no one could have access to them] or touching.

    Evidence from the sunna

    Sahl ibn Sa’d al Sa’idy, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Abu Usayd invited the Prophet [pbuh] and his Companions to his wedding feast and his wife, Um Usayd, served them food and drink herself” [Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim].
    Al Bukhari placed this hadith in a chapter which he entitled On [the permissibility] of a woman serving [food and drink to] men at her own wedding.
    Al Qurtuby stated in his exegesis of Qur’an: “Our scholars said: The report demonstrates the permissibility of the bride serving [food and drink to] her husband and his friends at her wedding.”
    Ibn Batal said in his explanation of Bukhari’s collection of authentic hadith: “Separating between men and women [when they are in the same place and in direct interactions] is not obligatory for Muslim women in general but was specific to the wives of the Prophet; Allah says:

    And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. [Qur'an 33: 53]

    Ibn Hajar, the scholar of hadith, said in his book Fath al Bari: “The hadith demonstrates the permissibility of a woman serving [food and drink to] her husband and his guests. There is no doubt that this permissibility is valid only when the legal guidelines (lack of temptation and a woman covering what must be concealed) are met.”

    The two foremost scholars in hadith, al-Bukhari and Muslim, mention a report about Abu Talha al-Ansari and his guest: Abu Talha and his wife invited a guest into their home. As they did not have enough food to go around, they pretended to eat, and spent the night hungry. In the scholar Ibn abu Dunya’s version, Anas narrated that Abu Talha told his wife: ‘Crumble the bread and put it in butter, and tell the servant to blow out the lamp.’ Then they pretended to share the food with their guest.” It is apparent from this report that they were all eating from the same dish. The Prophet [pbuh] told Abu Talha:”Allah is pleased with what you did tonight.” The following verse was sent addressing this event:

    They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. [Qur'an 59: 9]

    Abu Juhaifa, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet [pbuh] established a bond of brotherhood between Salman and abu al Dard’a. Salman visited Abu al Dard’a and found his wife, Um al Dard’a disheveled. “What’s wrong?” he asked her. She replied: “Your brother, Abu al Dard’a, has no worldly desires…”

    Commenting on this hadith, Ibn Hajar said: “This hadith includes some benefits … the permissibility of talking to non-mahram women and asking about that which concerns their life.”

    Women teaching men

    The Prophet’s [pbuh] wives used to teach Islamic law and spread religion. This was mentioned in the books of Sunna as well as the fact that later generations of women delivered religious knowledge and men reported hadiths from them. In his book, Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani mentioned 1543 women from among female scholars, hadith narrators, and literary figures.
    Muslim women participated with men in public life while observing Islamic decorum. Some females from among the Companions of the Prophet [pbuh] were even in charge of looking after the morality of the city.

    Posted by EbuSinan | February 2, 2013, 2:09 am
    • Jazzallaah hu khair brother for giving this valuable piece of answer. However, I have to say you have got the wrong end of the stick here. No one is discussing the validity of men teaching women or vise versa. For it was the mothers of the believers, (the ummul munimeen) who would teach from behind a veil. What seems to be the problem with the people on this blog and elsewhere is the way in which men and women are now freely interacting with each other. More than just out of need or necessity. Teaching and learning the sacred sciences of Islam, the way in which many non-muslim institutions of learning do. Where men & women sit side by side and learn knowledge. The sunnan way of applying and doing things, for example women teaching men behind a veil and vise versa. Have been left behind and a foreign approach has been adopted.

      Posted by Nur Ferdus | February 2, 2013, 7:43 am

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