Asalamu alaykum my dear brothers and sisters in Islam! Today I will be blogging on the rules of Islam on interactions between women and men who are non mahrams to each other.
The first thing we must remember is Allah has not commanded us to completely not interact with non mahrams as that is impossible due to society these days, especially in the west. Allah has allowed women and men who are non mahrams to interact, BUT they must stay within the limits of Islam. Now, what are the limits of Islam on this you may ask? Allah has allowed us to interact with the opposite sex as long as 2 conditions are met. The 2 conditions are as follows:
1. When speaking to each other, they do not have the intention of lust
2. When speaking to each other, it must not lead to either one of them sinning
Another example we can find is eating together. In Surah Nur Allah (SWT) says:“The blind is not to be blamed, the crippled is not to be blamed, nor is the handicapped to be blamed, just as you are not to be blamed for eating at your homes, or the homes of your fathers, or the homes of your mothers, or the homes of your brothers, or the homes of your sisters, or the homes of your fathers' brothers, or the homes of your fathers' sisters, or the homes of your mothers' brothers, or the homes of your mothers' sisters, or the homes that belong to you and you possess their keys, or the homes of your friends. You commit nothing wrong by eating together or as individuals. When you enter any home, you shall greet each other a greeting from Allah that is blessed and good. Allah thus explains the revelations for you, that you may understand.” [24:61]
From this verse we can see it is allowed for men and women to eat together in the places mentioned in the verse above, such as the home of your fathers or your friends as it says, “You commit nothing wrong by eating together or as individuals”. However we should be careful that even though eating together with the women at a friends house is permitted, it is best to avoid it so we are completely avoiding our self from committing any sin, and if we do eat, we should leave once we have eaten and stay away from socializing with the opposite sex which would be exceeding the permit.
One main reason we should avoid talking to non mahrams and only interact with them if it is necessary is because Allah (swt) says: “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 say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” [24:30-31]
Ibne Qayyim (rh) writes: “The gaze is the prowler and the messenger of desires. It’s protection is, in reality, the protection of the private-parts. The person who does not control his gaze throws himself into the places of destruction. Allah (SWT) has made the eyes the mirror of the heart."
RasoolAllah (saw) said: “The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaytan. Whoever lowers his gaze for Allah, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness, which he will find in his heart on the day he meets Him.” [Mishkat]
And if we think about this, truly think about it, when we are interacting with non mahrams, are we lowering our gaze???????????
Abu Dawud narrates the Prophet (saw) said, “The best row for men is the front row (furthest from the women’s row), and the best row for women is the back row and the worst is the front row (just behind the men).” From this hadith, we can see that the Prophet believed it was best if the men and women were far from eachother, rather than near eachother.
In Abu Dawud, p.284, Hadith No. 4931, it is narrated upon the authority of Aisha (ra) that she said: "I used to play with my friends and whenever the Prophet (saw) entered, they would leave and whenever he (saw) went out, they would come back in."
Another main interaction is body contact. Body contact is not allowed between non mahrams, and every kind of touching of the body to any part of the other one’s body is haram and one must refrain from this. We are living in a Western country and attending colleges, universities, job interviews, and so on.. and whenever we meet our professors or managers or whoever, we are compelled to shake their hands, and if we don’t, then this sometimes makes the Muslims look as if they have bad manners; what we should do in this situation is we should explain to them that not shaking their hands is not due to bad manners, but instead, it is because of the beliefs in Islam and holding on to its commandments.
In Al Tabaraani in Al-Kabeer, the Prophet (pbuh) states: "For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron is better for him than that he should touch a woman who is impermissible for him."
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