Theme 1: Muslim male and females sitting separately at tables in public/ table segregationGender segregation at tables in public is part of the practice in Islam where boys and men are separated from girls and women in social settings (Khimish, 2014: p133). Often referred to as the prescriptive prohibition of mixing freely, this separation is normally represented as a way of societal and individual protection. This separation is presented as necessary for the prevention of social chaos, wide-spread vice, moral corruption, adultery, and fornication. Generally, this separation between males and females in public places is justified as a supposed commandment by God against the socialization or interaction with each other except for respective mahram and spouses (Van Geel, 2016: p358).

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Theme 2: Muslim/Arabic traditional colors commonly use sofas, gold features in their architecture.
The four most common colors in Islam are green, black, white, and red, which continue t dominate the national flags of most Arabic countries and other Muslim countries around the world (Jinkun et al., 2017: p8). The white color is worn particularly when attending prayers, while black is the color of mourning and modesty and the color green is considered the color of the prophet Muhammad. The popularity of sofas in Islam is an extension of tradition in which seating furniture is either placed on the floor directly or raised on a frame. Finally, gold is a dominant color in traditional Islamic architecture because it is considered to have a close association with the sun, which enhanced the splendor and awe of gold (MahdiNejad & Zarghami, 2016: p1078).

Theme 3: Women do not interact much in public; they are fairly quiet or silent, compared to males at restaurant/cafe tables.
Gender roles in Islam are based on spiritual equality in the Qur’an between males and females, as well as the idea that men must exemplify masculinity and women femininity (Awde, 2013: p32). Islam places specific emphasis on the masculine/feminine polarity, which results in the fairly withdrawn nature of women in public since the man’s sphere of operation is considered as the outside world compared to the woman’s sphere of operations which is the home. Women are expected to preserve their femininity in public, which requires them not to show off their beauty and charms in public (Awde, 2013: p33).

  • Awde, N. (2013). Women in Islam: An Anthology from the Qu’ran and Hadith. Abingdon: Routledge
  • Jinkun, J., Yalan, L., & Xizhu, Y. (2017). Application of Islamic Decorative Art in Interior Design. Furniture & Interior Design, 1(2), 8-19
  • Khimish, H. A. (2014). The impact of religion on Arab women. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 5(3), 132-142
  • MahdiNejad, J., & Zarghami, E. (2016). A Study on the Concepts and Themes of Color and Light in the Exquisite Islamic Architecture. Journal of Fundamental and Applied Sciences, 8(3), 1077-1096
  • Van Geel, A. (2016). Separate or together? Women-only public spaces and participation of Saudi women in the public domain in Saudi Arabia. Contemporary Islam, 10(3), 357-378