Question 33: Praise be to Allaah alone. Peace be upon the last Prophet.
The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Researches and Ifta’ have leafed through the issue submitted to his Eminence; the general chairman, by the director of King Sa`ood University which was referred to the Committee from the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars no. (432) in 25/ 5/ 1411 AH. His Eminence asked a question which states:
Your Eminence knows that the University of King Sa`ood includes the largest number of female students compared to other universities in the Kingdom. It includes more than 11,000 female students because it was badly needed in this country to give female students the chance to complete their education, as well as the great importance of educating Muslim women to meet the needs of this country regarding the professions needed by women and to dispense with them rather than the phenomenon of having foreign maids to avoid the negative consequences that resulted from that. Moreover, it is necessary to provide education to the Saudi female students inside the Kingdom and not to let them travel abroad to study in a different environment that is far from their belief, customs and cultures. Our concern to secure the curriculum of the university and our desire to complete its affairs in the course of the eternal Islamic view for man and its arrangement in all worldly affairs. So it is necessary to coordinate with your Eminence regarding some problems which the university is facing in teaching female students scientific and medical curriculum, postgraduate studies, and other subjects which are difficult to explain through the television circuit where lectures depend on live experiments that are difficult to explain through television such as anatomy. Moreover, there are other downsides which resulted from teaching through television. For example, operating problems where transmission are interrupted or distracted which affect academic lectures and cause lectures to overlap. From these effects, female students disturb one another during these kinds of lectures, not paying much attention to the lecturer, and the difficulty of controlling the class especially for female supervisors who are few in the university. Besides there are other huge expenses that are spent for establishing the transmission and sites because of the great number of female students. There are many troubles regarding maintenance, the difficulty of obtaining qualified technicians with high salaries, or contracting maintenance companies at expensive prices which cost the university a lot of money. All this dilemma is originated because of the low number of female teaching staff, for most of them can not come to the Kingdom on time. Moreover, there is absolutely no confidence in those who are brought here from abroad, specially foreigners whose religion, morals, and habits are different from ours in this secure country. That necessitates that we double our efforts to graduate qualified Saudi females who may serve as teaching staff to handle the process of teaching female students in the future. In order to reach this stage, with the will of Allaah, in a short time, we have to pave the way by re-considering the teaching of female students according to Sharee`ah whether at theundergraduatee stage or post-graduate studies. You know that our religion is singled out from other legislation with ease which is represented in the saying of Allaah (Exalted be He): So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can We present to you this problem and we would like to hear your legal opinion regarding men teaching girls (in case of necessity where no female staff are available) directly provided that those female students shall be wearing their full Hijaab (head covering to the waist) or Niqaab (veil) where only their eyes will appear for the sake of following the explanation written on the board. Also, they are at the end of the rows as happens in religious lectures in Masjids (mosques) and sufficient caution is taken to choose honest members of the teaching staff and the female students are monitored strictly and closely to make sure that they maintain Hijaab and decency. We will punish those who violate these regulations by depriving them from sitting for tests or exiling them from the university if they frequently violate the regulations along with other measures which will be later discussed after applying this system.
We believe that your Eminence will empathize with us in the problem which we are facing concerning female education in the university of King Sa`ood. We are also sure of your care for the public interest of this nation; men and women. From this point, we present to Your Eminence this idea, hoping that you will have a look and advise us with the answer that may bring about good and benefit for the cause of Allaah (Exalted be He). We ask Allaah to help and guide you to the best in the world and in the Hereafter. He is All-Hearing, All-Responding. Peace be upon you.
Answer: After studying the case, the Committee answered with the following… read more here.