Can you please explain the issue of intermingling of the sexes, quoting evidences from the Quran and Sunnah?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Islam is a religion that instructs its followers to be moral and modest and thus prohibits the free mixing of the men and women.
Allah (SWT) says to the believing women: “And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance…” (Al-Ahzab, 33)
Further in Surah Al-Ahzab Allah (SWT) says “…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…” (Al-Ahzab, 33)
Imam Abu Abdullah Al-Qurtubi (Allah have mercy on him) states: “This verse indicates the permissibility to ask and communicate with the wives of The Prophet from behind a screen or a curtain. All Muslim women would be bound by the same regulation. (Tafseer –e- Qurtubi, Vol14, P201)
There are many Ahadiths on the prohibition of men and women intermingling.
Jarir ibn Abdullah narrates that I asked The Prophet about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-Mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes. (Muslim, 1015)
Uqba bin Amir narrates that The Prophet said, “Beware of entering upon the ladies.” A man from the Ansar said, “Allah’s Apostle! What about the in-laws of the wife?” The Prophet replied, “The in-laws of the wife are death itself.” (Bukhari, Vol7, 159)
The above verses of the Quran and the Ahadiths of The Prophet indicate the importance of observing segregation. A person is instructed to turn the gaze away when a glance is cast on a non-Mahram.
In another hadith Aaisha, Ummul Mu’minin (RA) narrates: A woman made a sign from behind a curtain to indicate that she had a letter for The Prophet . The Prophet closed his hand, saying: I do not know if this is a man’s or a woman’s hand. She said: No, a woman. He said: If you were a woman, you would make a difference to your nails, meaning with henna. (Abu Dawood, 1938)
From the above hadith it is clear, that the companions of The Prophet used to observe segregation hence the curtain. If intermingling was acceptable and permissible then there would not have been a need for the curtain.
In conclusion it is apparent from the above that Islam prohibits free intermingling of the sexes. Even when there is a genuine need to intermingle and talk, the conversation should be held in a modest way, to the point, and be limited to the extent of the need only.
Allah knows best.
Darul Ifta, Birmingham