Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Is a woman’s riding alone in a taxi driven by a man considered to be khalwa (impermissible seclusion)? What about when she needs to use a taxi alone for her daily needs and her husband doesn’t come back home until late?
Audio: Is a woman riding alone with a male taxi driver considered to be in unlawful seclusion (khalwa) http://www.sunnipath.com/resources/Questions/qa00003683.aspx
Recorded translation by Faraz Rabbani
Text translation by Shazia Ahmad
The khalwa that is haram is for a man and a woman not immediately related to be together in a place where the unlawful could happen. As for being alone in other than such a place, like where people pass by regularly, it is not seclusion, nor is it haram as long as she is wearing the hijab according to the shari`ah. Likewise, two women with one man and or several men is not khalwa. As for two men being along with one woman, it is khalwa in our school, but is not according certain scholars such as the Malikis school and in that is ease.
As for riding in a taxi, it is not considered to be khalwa in and of itself, but there is some detail regarding it. So one would say, that if the taxi is going along frequented routes and there is nothing that would prevent passer-bys by seeing inside the taxi, it is not khalwa, otherwise, if it is going along a route where there aren’t many passer-bys or in a place where there are, but there is something blocking people from seeing into the car [f. such as tinted windows] such that enables something haram to happen in the taxi, it is khalwa, unless there is someone else in the taxi with her such as a woman, or a mahram man, like her husband or even a child that is close to puberty, then it is not haram.
In our times, there are many forms of public transportation in which many women and men travel where there is no khalwa, so let her choose to use this transport instead of a taxi alone, for this could lead to impermissible khalwa or something dangerous and unbecoming. Also, one should know that the reason for such types of seclusion is to protect the woman’s dignity itself and to avoid anything unbecoming from happening, and also to protect righteous and dignified behaviour in society. It has been related in a hadith, “Whenever a man and woman gather alone, Shaytan is third amongst them”. And this is not denied except by someone who arrogant.
– Amjad Rasheed