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Is It Permissible for a Woman To Teach in a Coeducation Classroom at the University Level?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Maulana Mohammed Dilwar Hussain


I am asking on behalf of a sister. Is it permissible for a woman to teach in a coeducation classroom at the university level? Is it within the limit of Allah’s order and satisfaction?

Please note that she will be wearing a proper abaya and niqab during her working hours in the classroom and the office, and all of her colleagues are female, except one. And regarding her voice, will it be considered as awrah or not.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Noble Quran:

قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾

Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks (they keep away from prohibited), guard their chastity; that is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do. ( Surah Nur, Verse 30)

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاء وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ٣١﴾

And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks (they keep away from prohibited) and guard their chastity. They should not display their ornaments except what is visible (hands, face and feet), and let them wear (cover) their head-coverings over their collar. And they should not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sister’s sons, or women, or those whom their right hands possess (concubines), or the male servants not having need of women, or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women. And let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known. O believers repent to Allah altogether! So that you may have Salvation. ( Surah Nur, Verse 31)

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا ﴿٣٣﴾

And stay in your houses. Do not display (your embellishments) yourselves like the Time of Ignorance. And keep up the Prayer and pay Alms (Zakat). Obey Allah and His Messenger. O people of the House! Allah only wishes to keep away the sin from you and to cleanse you with a thorough cleansing. (Suratul Ahzab, Verse 33)

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) also says:

وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا ﴿٥٣﴾

When you ask them (the wives of The Prophet) for anything then ask from behind a screen. This is a means for greater purity for your hearts and their hearts…” (Suratul Ahzab, Verse 53)

Sayyidatuna Um Salamah (رضى الله عنها) and Sayyidatuna Maimunah (رضى الله عنها) were with the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) of Allah (عز و جل), she said:

فَبَيْنَا نَحْنُ عِنْدَهُ أَقْبَلَ ابْنُ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ فَدَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ وَذَلِكَ بَعْدَ مَا أُمِرْنَا بِالْحِجَابِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ احْتَجِبَا مِنْهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَلَيْسَ هُوَ أَعْمَى لاَ يُبْصِرُنَا وَلاَ يَعْرِفُنَا فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَفَعَمْيَاوَانِ أَنْتُمَا أَلَسْتُمَا تُبْصِرَانِهِ ‏”

“So when we were with him, Ibn Umm Maktum ( رضى الله عنه ) came, and he entered upon him, and that was after veiling had been ordered for us. So the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) of Allah (عز و جل) said: ‘Veil yourselves from him.’ So I said: ‘O Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) of Allah! Is he not blind such that he cannot see us or recognize us?’ So the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) of Allah (عز و جل) said: ‘Are you two blind such that you cannot see him?”. 1

It is not permissible for a woman to teach adult boys without observing the laws of the hijab.

A co-ed educational environment is against the Shariah laws of Hijab.

Furthermore, the harm of a free-mixing environment of a co-ed institute is well known to many people, as harm shall be repelled to the best of one’s capability.2

As long as there is a veil between the female teacher and the male students it will be permissible.

If this is the case that the male can see the female or the female can see the male then it will be impermissible.

As for the voice; “It is permitted for women to speak with non-Mahram men at the time of necessity. 3

On the contrary, it is not permissible for women to stretch, soften and raise their voice in a melodious way.” 4

The reason for not talking in an attractive voice is stated in the verse:

فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا

Lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.” (Surah Ahzab, Verse 32)

In the aforementioned case, it is permissible out of necessity for a woman to teach in a coeducation classroom at the university level where she will be wearing a proper abaya and niqab during her working hours in the classroom and the office.

Only Allah knows best.

Written by Maulana Syed Johir Miah

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

1 Sunan Tirmizi, (Bashshar) Hadith 2778, 399/4, Darul Gharbil Islami, Beirut, Lebanon, 1998.

2 الضرر يدفع بقدر الإمكان

Al-Qawaidul Fiqhiyyah, Abdullah Bin Yusuf Al-Juday, Page 31, Darut-Tirmizi, Damascus, Syria, 1409 H.

3 كَلامُ المُصَنِّفِ (قَوْلُهُ وصَوْتِها) مَعْطُوفٌ عَلى المُسْتَثْنى يَعْنِي أنَّهُ لَيْسَ بِعَوْرَةٍ ح (قَوْلُهُ عَلى الرّاجِحِ) عِبارَةُ البَحْرِ عَنْ الحِلْيَةِ أنَّهُ الأشْبَهُ. وفِي النَّهْرِ وهُوَ الَّذِي يَنْبَغِي اعْتِمادُهُ

Raddul Muhtar, Ibn Abidin, 406/1, Darul Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, 1412 H.

4 ولا نُجِيزُ لَهُنَّ رَفْعَ أصْواتِهِنَّ ولا تَمْطِيطَها ولا تَلْيِينَها وتَقْطِيعَها لِما فِي ذَلِكَ مِن اسْتِمالَةِ الرِّجالِ إلَيْهِنَّ وتَحْرِيكِ الشَّهَواتِ مِنهُمْ،


This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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