MUSLIM WOMEN AND THE LIFT

Question number one is it permissible for a women in burqa to ride in a lift alone, and here alone means without a mahram and when no one else is in the lift.

(1) Yes, it is permissible for a woman to ride alone in a lift if she is properly clad in hijaab dress. But the problem is that she will not be able to guarantee that she will be alone in the lift. She might start off alone, but if the lift stops at a floor and men enter, what will she do? So, while in principle it is permissible for a woman to be alone in a lift, in practice it is not permissible because her safety and her Purdah cannot be guaranteed. If circumstances compel her to use a lift, she should be accompanied by her mahram.

Question number two is it permissible for a man to get into a lift when a women is in the lift with her fasiq husband who doesn’t care about purdah?

(2) It is not permissible for a man to get into a lift if there is a woman inside even if she is accompanied by a mahram who is not a faasiq. If the mahram is a fasiq, then the position is worse.

Question number three, is it better not to get on the lift when a man who is not a fasiq is on the lift with his wife who is in purdah?

(3) In our view it is not permissible for a man to get into a lift if the lift is occupied by a woman with even a pious mahram. The lift is a small room (cubicle). It is not permissible for a ghair mahram to be in such a small cubicle with a woman even if she is accompanied by a mahram. When Nabi Musaa (alayhis salaam) arrived in the Land of Madyan and when Nabi Shuayb (alayhis salaam) sent his daughter to call him, then when Nabi Musaa (alayhis salaam) began walking, he instructed the female to walk at a distance behind him. This was the demand of Purdah and to avoid the eyes falling on the woman if she had to walk in front. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘A woman approaches in the form of shaitaan, and she departs in the form of shaitaan.’ In other words, shaitaani temptation exists when she comes toward you as well as when she moves away, and you view her from behind.

Personally i’ve been avoiding all situations in my apartment complex, although i live on the seventh floor. if i’m alone and people get on the lift with me i get off the lift whether there is a mahram, or not and whether the woman is in burqa or not. my friends including the ulema feel i’m going to far.

(4) Your attitude and practice in this regard are 100% in conformity with the letter and spirit of Shariah. Maintain it, and do not worry what your friends and the Ulama over there say. Minds, hearts and attitudes today are all influenced by western liberalism, hence Islamic culture appears strange to even the Ulama of this era. The following Hadith aptly suits
our era: ‘Islam began forlorn. Soon will it return to that forlorn state. Therefore give glad tidings to the forlorn ones.’

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