How does Islam look at the "male-female Friendship".

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear brother, I have a question of 2 parts, which has been confusing me for the last few months, about the Islamic view of the male-female relation in the society as a whole.

 

First part is: What is the exact "Hokum" about Mixing (men and women being in the same place & etc…) what is allowed and what isn`t ?? what are the limits of that and how could one of us determine and differentiate the situations??

 

Second part is: how does Islam look at the "male-female Friendship" (to have a friend who you share feelings, thoughts, interests, go out with) And to have a "group" of friends (males/females) which you have social activities together? And what are the limits for that (if any)?

 

Thank you in advance

Your brother

 

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

Segregation of sexes

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Your Question: First part is: What is the exact "Hokum" about Mixing (men and women being in the same place & etc…) what is allowed and what isn`t ?? what are the limits of that and how could one of us determine and differentiate the situations??

Dear and beloved brother, to detail and explain every ‘hukum’ or law of Shariah pertaining to the ‘mixing’ or ‘associating’ between a man and woman, or to provide the details of what exactly is allowed and dis-allowed, or to outline the limits would frankly require a book, if not a volume of books, to do justice to your question!  What we can do here is merely provide you a guideline, and if you seek any specific clarification on the matter, we would strive to the best of our ability to address your query in light of the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah, Insha Allah.

 

Shariah guides that one divide the women one wishes to associate or mix with into two categories:

  1. Mehrams (those women to whom it is absolutely forbidden to marry)
  2. Non-mehrams (those women to whom it is lawful to marry)

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 23:

Forbidden to you are your mothers,  daughters,  sisters,  paternal aunts,  maternal aunts,  brother’s daughters,  sister’s daughters,  your foster mothers who have given suckle to you,  your foster sisters who have taken suckle with you,  the mothers of your wives,  the daughters of your wives whom you have brought up,  the daughters of your wives with whom you have conjugal relations,  and it is not sinful for you to marry their daughters (after having divorced them).   Also forbidden to you are the wives of your sons who are from your loins,  and it is unlawful for you to keep two real sisters as wives at one and the same time,  though what has happened in the past is excepted,  for Allah is indeed Forgiving,  Merciful.

 

Ref: Associating with ‘mehrams’.

It is absolutely lawful for the believers to associate and mix freely with their ‘mehram’ relatives.

 

Ref: Associating with ‘non-mehrams’.

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands,  their fathers,  their husbands' fathers,  their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.  And O you who have believed! Turn you all together towards Allah that you may attain Bliss.

 

When in the presence of non-mehram males, Islam has commanded the believing women to guard her modesty and scrupulously observe and honor the ‘hijaab’. 

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 24 Surah Noor verses 30-31:

Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

And Allah commands the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty in the above Verse.

 

Islam does not prohibit the essential meeting or associating or talking between non-mehrams, provided the laws of the segregation of sexes and the ‘hijaab’ are scrupulously honored.  If one has a genuine need and needs to talk to a non-mehram member of the opposite sex, one should lower ones gaze and talk to them in a business-like and straight forward manner.  What Islam strictly prohibits is the free and casual mixing of the sexes and vain and casual talk amongst non-mehrams. 

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzaab verse 53:

If you (the noble companions of the Prophet (saws)) have to ask the wives of the Prophet for something, ask for it from behind a curtain.  This is a better way for the purity of your, as well as their hearts.

 

The above command is for some of the most noble and best people who ever lived on this planet earth;  the noble companions of the Prophet (saws), and the chaste and noble wives of the Prophet of Allah (saws).  Allah commands the companions of the Prophet (saws) that if they have to ask for something from the wives of the Prophet (saws),  they should do so from behind a veil or a curtain,  because this way is better and purer for both. No people could have controlled their emotions and feared Allah more than the noble companions and the chaste wives of the Prophet (saws);  but even to such noble souls, Allah has commanded that it is purer and better that if they need to talk to the wives of the Prophet (saws), they should do so from behind a veil: that would be akin to piety and righteousness in the Sight of Allah Subhanah.

 

Your Question: Second part is: how does Islam look at the "male-female Friendship" (to have a friend who you share feelings, thoughts, interests, go out with) And to have a "group" of friends (males/females) which you have social activities together? And what are the limits for that (if any)?

Islam does not prohibit a believing woman from having a male friend, nor a believing man from having a female friend, provided there is a mehram relationship between them (father, brother, uncle, husband, children, etc.).   One is at absolute liberty to share one’s ‘friendship’, feelings, thoughts, interests, and go out with one’s mehram relative of the opposite sex.

 

Because of the inherent natural attraction between the man and the woman, Islam absolutely discourages and prohibits having a close or very friendly relationship with  non-mehram members of the opposite sex; but if one has an absolutely genuine need there is absolutely no harm in interacting with them, provided one fears Allah, scrupulously guards the conditions of the ‘hijaab’ and interacts with them in a strictly professional and business-like manner.    

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

 

Burhan

 

 

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