Free mixing in Islam is the intermingling of the opposite sexes namely men and women.
1. Mixing of women with men who are their Mahram (husband and men whom she
may never marry, e.g. father, brother, son etc). There is no doubt that
this is permissible in Islam.
2. Mixing of women with non-Mahram men for evil and depraved purposes.
There is no doubt that this type is not allowed (haram) in Islam.
3. Mixing of women with non-Mahram men in educational institutes,
shops, offices, hospitals, get-togethers, parties etc. At first a
questioner (asking fatwa) really might think that this does not lead to
one gender tempting the other. To expose the reality of this type, we
will reply (to the questioner) both briefly and in detail.
Briefly - is that Allah made men to have a natural inclination towards women and gave them power over the females. He made women to be naturally inclined towards men though He made them weak and soft in nature.
Hence, when free mixing occurs between women and (non-Mahram) men, its effects result in bad intentions, since the human self is inclined towards evil and (carnal) desires make a person blind and dumb, while Satan commands people to do indecent and evil things.
Detailed - The detailed answer is that Islamic Law (Shari’ah) is based on objectives and the means to achieve them. The means for an objective have the same rulings as the objective itself.
Women are the object of desire for men, and Islam blocks the doors leading to members of one sex becoming attached to the members of the opposite gender.
The evidence from the Qur’an that we will now mention for you will show this clearly.
There are six proofs for this from the Qur’an:
Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) says,
"And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him (to do an evil act), she closed the doors and said,
"Come on, O you.” He said: “I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)! Truly, he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable!
(So I will never betray him). Verily, the Zalimoon (wrong and evil-doers) will never be successful." (Surah Yusuf 12:23)
It is a proof (for saying that the third type of free mixing is prohibited) because when there was free-mixing between the wife of the Egyptian minister and Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him), she displayed what was hidden (her love for him) and asked him to have illicit sexual relations with her.
However, Allah had Mercy on Yusuf and saved him from her (advances), as He said,
"So his Lord answered his invocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower." (Surah Yusuf 12:34).
Similarly, if free-mixing occurs between men and women, members of both genders pick for themselves the one they please from members of the opposite gender and use all means to get that person.
Allah commanded men and women to lower their gaze. He said,
"Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.).
That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things)…" (Surah Al-Noor 24:30-31).
This verse is a proof for what we say since Allah ordered believing men and women to lower their gazes, and His ordering something means it is obligatory.
Then Allah tells us that it is purer and that only an accidental (unintentional) glance will be forgiven. ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"O ‘Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second." (Reported by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak (2/212 and 3/133), Ahmed (5/351,353 and 357))
Al-Hakim said it is authentic according to standard of Muslim, and Al-Dhahabi agreed with him in Talkhis). There are many a hadith with the same meaning.
Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) did not order people to lower their gaze except for the fact that looking at objects that are forbidden to see is counted as adultery (zina).
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
"The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the adultery of the tongue is the talk,… and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it." (Sahih Al-Bukhari (no. 6612), Muslim (no. 2657), Ahmed (2/276)).
Gazing at forbidden things is adultery since it is enjoying the sight of charms of a woman, results in these images becoming etched in the heart of the person and he tries to commit actual adultery with her.
If Islam forbids gazing at her due the resultant evil, then the same evil results from free mixing. Hence, free mixing too is forbidden, since it is the means to the same evil consequences as the forbidden gaze.
The evidences that we mentioned earlier that it is not permissible to gaze at women means that it is obligatory upon a woman to cover her entire body, since exposing it or part of it results in (forbidden) glances towards it, which in turn leads the heart to become attached to her and then utilizing the means to obtain her (for illicit relations). This is also the case with free mixing.
"And let them (Muslim women) not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment." (Surah Al-Noor 24:31).
Even though the act of stamping feet itself is permissible, still Since Allah forbade women from stamping their feet so that it does not become a reason for men to hear the sound of anklets worn by women.
This would arouse men’s desire for women, and the same evil consequences result from free mixing.
Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) says,
"Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal." (Surah Ghafir 40:19).
Ibn ‘Abbas and others said,
"It is (about) a man who visits the house of a family, which includes a beautiful woman too who passes by him.
When the members of the family are not watching him, he looks at her, but when they are alert, he lowers his gaze from her.
When they are not watching, he gazes at her and when they are observing him, he lowers his gaze. Allah knows that in his heart he wishes to see her naked and if he could, he would commit adultery with her." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir).
If Allah described the eye which steals a glance towards what is not permissible for it to look as ‘fraud’, then how about free mixing?
Allah ordered women to stay in their homes. He said,
"And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance." (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:33).
Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) commanded the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who were the most pure and chaste women, to stay in their homes.
This commandment is addressed to Muslim women in general too, since it is a well established principle of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) that directed speech is general in scope, except if there is an evidence proving that it is specific to whom it is addressed.
However, there is no evidence to make it specific (the Prophet’s wives) in this case. Hence, if women are commanded to remain at home except in case of a necessity that required them to go out, then how can free mixing between them and men of the kind mentioned earlier be permissible?
Moreover, in our times women have become too headstrong, have left modest all-covering garments and expose themselves want only to the extent of nudity in front of un-related (non-Mahram) men.
Husbands and other guardians of women have little control over women whose well-being they are entrusted with.
A person who ponders on the evidence presented by us will clearly see that the opinion that free mixing among men and women does not lead to fitnah (trials, temptation) is a figment of imagination of a few people.
However, in reality, it does lead to fitnah and that is why Islam forbade from it; in order to nip the evil in the bud.
The special circumstances which are due to necessity or extreme need in places of worship, e.g. the mixing of men and women in the Grand Mosque at Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina are exceptions to the rule.
We ask Allah to guide the misguided among the Muslims and to increase the guidance of those Muslims who are guided.
We ask Allah to make the Muslims rules to do good, leave evil and physically stop the foolish people. Indeed, Allah is All-Hearing, Near (by His Knowledge) and Responsive!