Today on Tuesday January 5, 2010 corresponding to the 19th of the month of Allah Al Muharram 1431H. in the City of Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi Arabia a question was asked to Sheikh Salih Ibn Muhammad Luhaydan, who was the president of the high judiciary committee of major scholars in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: “O sheikh May Allah preserve you, could you please give us some advice in America regarding the issue of women attending college.
The Sheikh (Hafithahullah) replied: “Ok what’s the problem with women going to college?”
The questioner asked: “Barakallhu feek Sheikh! (i.e. may Allah bless you) Some are of the opinion that a woman going to college is Harram (i.e. forbidden Islamically) because as you know, most of the colleges in the West are co-ed colleges where there is a mixture of male and female students, so the issue of intermingling becomes a dilemma?” However the woman in America may find herself in a situation where going to college is a necessity?”
So the Sheikh replied: “well is there a college in the dunya (i.e. world) where there is no intermingling? !! This is the reality of our condition today except those places where Allah has showered them with His mercy to escape such a thing! However to answer your question there is no problem with a woman going to college to obtain a university degree provided that she avoids the Fawahish (i.e. imprudent and sinful acts ) and being alone in a room with the opposite sex. If she can maintain this, then there is nothing wrong with her going to college. As attaining your provision is something that is a necessity and if that can be secured by obtaining a degree, then by all means and there is no problem with it.”
Translated by Abu Azzubayr Shadeed Muhammad on January 5th 2010 corresponding to 1431H./1/19
Translator’s Note: The reader will notice the sheikh (Hafithahullah) did not tackle the issue(s) related to financial aid, consolidation funding, federal and private student loans. As these issues involve various types of interest that require further clarification, so no one should take the generality of the sheikh’s statement about going to college and disregard the issue of interest bearing loans.