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The Social System in Islam

Taqiuddin an-Nabahani

1424 AH - 2003 CE

(Updated on 20.11.2013)

:: Content ::


The View of Man and Woman

The Impact of this view on the relationship between Man and Woman

Regulating the Relations between Man and Woman

Private Life

It is Obligatory to Separate Man from Woman in Islamic Life

Looking at Women

It is not obligatory for the Muslim Woman to cover her face

Man and Woman before the Shari’ah Commandments

The Activities of the Woman

The Islamic Community


Women to whom Marriage is Prohibited


The Prophet’s (saw) Marriages

Married Life

Coitus Interruptus (al-‘Azl)


The Lineage (An-Nasab)

The Imprecation (al-Li’aan)

The Guardianship of the Father

Custody of the Child

Maintaining Good Relations with Kith and Kin (Silat-ur-Rahm)


Many people overstep the mark and apply the term ‘social system’ to all systems of life. This is an erroneous application; given that the systems of life befit more to be called the ‘systems of society’ since in reality that is what they constitute, as they organize the relationships which arise between a people living in a particular society regardless of their meeting or dispersing. The meeting of people is not considered, what is noted is only the relationships (‘Alaqat). Consequently, they will be diverse and differ according to the different relationships. They include economics, ruling, politics, education, penal code (‘Uqubat), societal transactions (Mu’amalat) and the rules of (testimonial) evidences (Bayyinat) etc.

Thus, the application of the term ‘social system’ to all of these relationships is meaningless and inapplicable. Besides, the word ‘social’ is a description of a system, thus the subject matter of this system should be the organization of the problems arising from the meeting (of people) or the relationships that arise from people meeting together. The meeting of a man with a man and a woman with a woman does not require a system because no problems arise from it, nor do relationships arise which require a system. Only the organization of their interests requires a system in view of the fact that they live in the same country even if they did not meet. As for the meeting of a man with a woman and vice versa, it is from this meeting that problems and relationships arise which need to be organized by a system. Thus, this meeting (Ijtima’) befits more to be designated as the social system, because in reality it is this system which organizes the meeting between men and women, and the relationships which arise from such meetings. That is why the social system is confined to the system which demonstrates the organization of the woman’s meeting with the man and vice versa, and organizes the woman’s relationship with the man and vice versa. Thus the social system addresses the relationships that result from men and women meeting and not from their interests (Masalih) in society, and it clarifies all that branches out from this relationship. Thus, trade between men and women pertains to the systems of society and not to the social system, because it falls within the economic system. As for the prohibition of (Khalwa) seclusion between men and women, or when a woman has the right to instigate divorce for herself, or who has the right of custody for a child, all of these issues pertain to the social system. Therefore, the social system is defined as: the system which organizes the meeting of a man with a woman and vice versa and organizes the relationship which results from their meeting and all that branches out from this relationship.

Peoples’ conception, especially the Muslims, of the social system in Islam became extremely confused. Their understanding became far removed from the reality of Islam due to their alienation from its thoughts and rules. They went to the extreme, holding the view that a woman has the right to be inseclusion (Khalwa) with a man as she wished, or that she can go out with her ‘Awrah uncovered wearing whatever she pleased. Others went far to the other extreme taking the view that women do not have the right to practise trade or meet with men under any circumstances, and viewed the whole of the woman’s body as ‘Awrah including the hands and face. Due to this extremism there was degeneration of morals and a stagnation of thinking (Tafkeer). The results of all this has been the break up of the social aspect, unrest within the Muslim family, the prevalence of dissatisfaction and discontent amongst family members, and numerous disputes and divisions between its individuals.

The need to unite the family and to ensure its happiness was felt by all Muslims, and the search for a solution to this serious problem occupied the minds of many people. Different attempts of various sorts appeared to present such solutions. Many books were written demonstrating the societal solution and amendments were made to the laws of the Shari’ah courts and electoral systems. Many tried to apply their views on their families in terms of their wives, sisters and daughters. Changes were made to the school system with regards to the mixing of boys and girls. Thus, these attempts continued to appear in these and similar guises. However, none of them could succeed in finding a solution, or come with a system or find a method to implement what they conceived as reform (Islah). This is because the issue of the relationship between the two sexes became obscure in the minds of many Muslims. They were unable to comprehend the way in which the two genders can co-operate with each other, even though the well being (Salah) of the Ummah stems from this co-operation. They were completelyignorant of the thoughts and rules of Islam, which relate to the meeting of the man and the woman. This led them to discuss and debate over the means of treatment, avoiding the study of its reality, until as a consequence of their attempts anxiety and confusion increased. A chasm began to exist in society due to which grew a concern for the entity of the Islamic Ummah, in its capacity as an Ummah with distinct characteristics. It was feared that the Muslim household would lose its Islamic character, and the Muslim family would lose the guidance of the thoughts of Islam, and stray from valuing its rules and thoughts.

Therefore, we must study the Islamic social system comprehensively. We must study it deeply until it is realised that the problem is the meeting between the man and the woman and the relationship that results from their meeting and that which branches out from this relationship. And that what is required is the treatment of this meeting and the resultant relationship and that which branches out from it. It should be understood that this solution is not dictated by the mind but by the Shar’a. As for the mind, its role is to understand the solution, that the solution is for Muslim men and women who live a specific lifestyle which is the lifestyle which Allah (swt) has obliged them to live. They are most definitely obliged to restrict their living solely to this lifestyle as Allah (swt) has commanded in the Qur’an and Sunnah irrespective of whether it contradicts with the West or disagrees with the customs and traditions of their own fathers and forefathers.