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Can a woman give a lecture in front of audience that includes non-mahram men that can see her?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

I am trying to convince someone near and dear to me that a muslimah cannot give a lecture in front of non-mahram unless it is behind a screen or curtain, but then she says, “What abouta muslim guy?” and I tell her that a man can, while a woman can not and she responds that she doesn’t believe that I am right, that if a woman can not give a speech in front of non-mahram males, then a man can’t in front of non-mahram females if they aren’t muslim, and even if they are, should be hijab-wearing. Am I right that a woman cannot in front of non-mahram males, but a man can in front of non-mahram females, even if they are kafir or dont wear hijab….or is she right that either both can, or both cannot?….Jazakullahu khair


It is not permissible for a woman to expose her face in the presence of
Ghayr Mahrams.

It is mentioned in the noble Qur’aan, ‘They (the women) should draw veils
upon themselves by means of their garments.’ (Surah Ahzaab).

This Aayat specifically commands the covering of the face of a woman in the
presence of strange men. Allah Ta’ala states, ‘And remain within your homes
and do not go about displaying yourselves as was the custom of displayment
during the time of ancient ignorance.’ (Surah Ahzaab).

After the revelation of this verse, the Muslim woman during the time of the
Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) began covering their faces with veils.
The habit of walking with an exposed face was stopped. Without any valid
reason no woman left her home.

Hadhrat Thanwi (RA) has written, ‘It is certainly (Haraam) prohibited for a
woman to come in front of a Ghayr Mahram (strange men).’ (Imdaadul Fataawa
vol.2 pg.122)

Ghayr Mahram is a person with whom marriage is permissible. Allah Ta’ala
states, ‘When you ask the wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)
for something, ask them from behind a curtain, in it there is excellent
purity for your hearts and theirs.’ (Ahzaab)

Here, the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) are being ordered to ask questions
and to speak to the pure wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)
behind a curtain. This is an order and command for pure souls. So, who are
we to consider ourselves free of this command. From this Aayaat, were learn
that it is not permissible for a male to give a lecture to woman without any
Hijaab (curtain, screen, etc.)

The Female Voice
Allah Ta’ala states to the beloved wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi
Wasallam), ‘Do not speak in soft (alluring) tones (with men) for them, he in
whose heart there is a disease will lust.’ (Ahzaab Aayat 33)

The female voice possesses the ability to incite passion in man. In the
libertine of the west, this ability is even cultivated and intensified under
tuition. Allah Ta’ala, the Creator, being fully aware of the propensities of
all things He has created commands that exercise Hijaab on even their voices
and not speak to men. When there is a need to speak in, she should not adorn
her voice, may not speak in soft and alluring tones, or seductively. She
should speak from behind a screen with harshness in her voice.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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