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Segregation

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher

Please can you tell me the ruling for segregation at a wedding. Does there need to be a screen in between? I have been to weddings where the men and women sit separately but there is no screen. As a result men and women can still look at each other, women are dressed up, there is mixing around the stage as people go up to take photos with the bride and groom. In addition, there are DJ’s present playing Indian music. As far as I am aware attending such wedding is showing acceptance to such acts; however I am finding it difficult to elicit the evidence that supports this. Please help!

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Dear Questioner,

Assalamu alaikum,

I pray that you are doing well.

Generally, it is better to have men and women in separate rooms at weddings. This is because it is unlawful to have men and women in the same room where there’s free mixing and the women are not covered properly.
I would venture to say that at most Muslim weddings, this gender etiquette is usually not observed. Also, given the large numbers of people that are usually invited to South Asian weddings, and the impossibility of requiring everyone to wear hijab when they normally don’t, it’s simply better to have the men and women in separate rooms. If this isn’t possible, then a screen is definitely advisable. However, if everyone is properly attired, then the screen really isn’t necessary, although better.

Your going to the wedding is not an endorsement of any unlawful practices. If you are close to the family, or you are related, then you might want to make an appearance to avoid offending them or cutting ties. However, if the environment is not halal, try to keep your participation to a minimum.

Please see the following SunniPath articles:

The Islamic Social system and implications on gender interaction.
Gender Interaction On Campus 
Maintaining ties of kinship: Interaction with relatives who are not cautious in mixing with non
Mixed Gatherings: A detailed response regarding gender interaction  

And Allah knows best.

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