Segregating men and women in family visits. Man is naturally gregarious and sociable; he needs friends and friendships entail visiting one another.
When there are visits between families, we should block the path of evil by not mixing. One of the indications that mixing is haraam is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“… And when you ask his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts…” [al-Ahzaab 33:53]
If we were to look for the evil results of mixing during family visits, we would find many objectionable things, such as:
1. In most cases the hijab of women in these mixed gatherings is non-existent or is not proper, so a woman may display her beauty before someone in front of whom it is not permissible for her to uncover herself. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And tell the believing women… not to reveal their adornment…” [al-Noor 24:31]. It may happen that a woman adorns herself for strangers in a mixed gathering in a way that she never does for her husband.
2. When men see women in one gathering, this is a cause of corruption in the religion and morals, and provokes desires in a forbidden manner.
3. The spouses may argue and ignore one another in an alarming fashion, when one looks at or winks at another man’s wife, or laughs and jokes with her, and she with him. After a couple returns home, the settling of scores begins:
Man: Why did you laugh at what so and so said, when he did not say anything funny?
Woman: And why did you wink at so and so?
Man: When he spoke, you understood him quickly, but you do not understand what I say at all!
Thus they trade accusations and the matter ends in enmity and even divorce.
4. Some men and woman may regret their luck in marriage, when a man compares his wife to his friend’s wife, or a woman compares her husband to her friend’s husband.
A man may say to himself: “So and so talks and answers questions… she is well-educated and my wife is ignorant, she has no education…” and a woman may say to herself, “So and so is so lucky! Her husband is smart and eloquent, and my husband is so boring and speaks without thinking.” This spoils the marital relationship or leads to bad treatment.
5. Some people may show off to one another by pretending to have things that they don’t really have. So a man may issue instructions to his wife in front of other men and pretend that he has a strong personality, but when he is alone with her at home he is like a tame pussycat. A woman may borrow gold and wear it so that the other people may see that she has such and such. But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The one who shows off with something that does not belong to him is like one who wears a garment of falsehood.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 9/317)
6. These late-night mixed gatherings result in wasted time, sins of the tongue, and leaving small children home alone (so that they do not disturb the evening with their cries!)
7. These late-night mixed gatherings may even develop to the extent of involving many kinds of major sins, such as drinking wine and gambling, especially among the so-called “upper classes”. One of the major sins that occur during these gatherings is following the kuffaar and imitating them in fashions and various customs. TheMessenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 2/50; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2828, 6025).
Muhammad Salih Al-munajjid