Women covering their face and hands and avoiding intermixing with men

Q 1: Is it permissible for men and women to sit together while visiting, if women are veiled? Here I mean wearing a veil and loose fitting garments that are not sheer, but the face is not covered. Is it permissible, when a Muslim brother visits me with his wife to sit all together in one place, wives and husbands talking together? The talk may not be about religious matters, it may involve our respective social affairs. Is it permissible for a man or two men to meet a group of women, some of them veiled and others not, or arrange women's meetings to discuss their affairs? To make it clear, we are students in the United States who are affiliated with The Muslim Students Association. We have come together as Muslim brothers and we have wives. We arrange weekly meetings in the Masjid (mosque). We hold Halaqahs (learning circles) (Part No. 17; Page No. 153) about the Qur'an, Sunnah (Prophetic Traditions), Sirah (the Prophet's biography) and the like. We used to give lectures over the microphone to women in a hall reserved for them. However, since some women lose interest in certain topics of discussion, a few brothers, including the chairman of the organization and his deputy, thought about meeting with the women to get their opinions and suggestions on the lectures. I objected to this because there is more than one way to get their opinions without meeting with them. The wife of one of the members can hear their concerns, or the women can meet together and send the information to the chairman or his deputy instead of men meeting with women. What is your opinion, Your Honor, and what is the legal ruling on this matter. May Allah reward you !

A: First, it is obligatory for the woman to cover her face and hands in the presence of Ajanib (men other than a husband or permanently unmarriageable male relatives). Second, intermixing between men and women is forbidden. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions.