Attending Mixed Gatherings for Good Purposes

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Posted: 27 Rajab 1424, 12 September 2004

Q.) I pray that Allah gives you much reward Insha'Allah for taking time for this response as it's deeply needed. Ameen. Jazak Allahu Khair

My husband and I have read much about how attending and hosting mixed gatherings are not permissible.   We hold separate gatherings in our home and observe purdah as much as possible so it isn't that we're looking for any way possible to go against the commandments of Allah.  

The problem is that when we don't attend gatherings we hurt others' feelings and put bitterness in the relations. It's not that we value their feelings over Allah's commands, but if we keep trying to give them dawah or to positively impact them to bring them to deen, then doesn't it seem counterproductive to NOT go to the gatherings....mainly because they threaten to not associate with us anymore or even if not threatening, a broken heart etc.  

It's an extremely difficult and delicate situation that keeps coming in our life and it's very stressful.  We dread to get the phone call for an invitation, and then when we do go to the gathering we feel very upset at what goes on there, although we had an idea beforehand.

I just need to know if this is not allowed to attend a mixed gathering, even if the intention is to go there to give dawah or with intentions of giving dawah to encourage deen.  Is this something that should strictly be done before their functions get planned?  Or should we go say Salaam then leave immediately? Is it possible that something good could come out of holding a haram type of function and attending it which is haram and expecting that good could come from that? [The Munir Family]

A.) Jazakumullah for the email. We understand your concerns to encourage following deen in a productive way. This issue is discussed by the fuqaha (jurists) and they have issued clear guidelines on it. On one side, the express law of Allah regarding Hijab is broken. It is our religious obligation to avoid that. On the other side, there may be some benefits while turning a blind eye to the violations of Allah.

It is important to point out that Shari'ah does not consider every benefit. Drinking wine and gambling also have their benefits, but Shari'ah declares that the harms are greater. Based on this, the rule in Shari'ah is avoiding a harm gets preference over gaining benefits. If one knows ahead of time, that the laws of the Shari'ah will be violated, then it is not permissible to attend such a gathering. Shari'ah is clear on this. If one does not know ahead of time that the laws of the Shari'ah will be violated and one suddenly witnesses violation of Shari'ah in the gathering, one is duty bound to correct the wrong openly. If the person is an alim or an influential person, he must immediately leave the gathering as his presence will be mudahanat (complacency) in deen. In essence, your query is about express and open violation of Shari'ah versus possible benefits. One cannot apply his/her own rules of diplomacy in such a situation.

Following the guidelines of the fuqaha who are imbued with wisdom and diplomacy is the ideal situation and solution to the problem. You will be more respected by turning down the invitation and clearly expressing your reason for doing so. We have observed in South Africa that people who were ultra modern have now changed their attitude and are sensitive to deen. All their happy occasions are celebrated within the confines of deen. This is the outcome of a few being steadfast.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best