Friendship Between Man and Woman in Islam

It is not permissible to have a non-mahrams or opposite gender friendship between man and woman in Islam.  For example, after a tiring day’s work, your peers consisting of both men and women plan on hanging out. You may consider the female friends within the group, ‘a sister’. Although, you aren’t related to her. 

So, there should be certain boundaries. Nowadays, many brothers and sisters end up committing sins under the banner of ‘friendship’. Because these are relationships between non-Mahrams. 

In Islam, relationships between a man & woman are separated into two sections. 

  • MahramMahrams are considered to be sacred.
  • Non-Mahram – Interactions between non-mahrams are forbidden in Islam. Because it may give rise to unlawful emotions that inevitably lead to illegitimate relationships, between a man and a woman.

Allah SWT created everything that we see in existence today. Similarly, he has given physical attraction between a man and a woman. Therefore, through the process of marriage, non-mahrams can fulfill their physical needs, legally. 

Prophet Mohammad SAW (PBUH) – 
“No man is alone with a woman but the Shaytaan is the third one present.”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1171) and classed as Saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

What are Muslim Women supposed to do while Visiting their Non-Mahram Friends?

If you’re a young woman, then, it is mandatory to cover your face in front of non-mahram men. This is to safeguard you from any form of mischief. More importantly, you should cover your face from the fear of temptation (fitnah).

Is it possible for a Muslim woman to Uncover her Face under any Circumstances?

Depending on the fuqaha’, women may uncover their face while in front of a non-mahram when and if it is necessary. These non-mahram men may look at these women, provided that they don’t do anything unnecessary.   

Some of these special circumstances have been mentioned, below: 

  1. Testimony 
  2. Marriage Proposal
  3. Business dealings 
  4. Medical Treatment 
  5. During court cases 
  6. For Hajj and Umrah 

What does Islam say about Cross-gender Relationships?

When it comes to Muslim men and women, our intentions should always be to please Allah SWT. Muslim men and women must cover their bodies (Hijab) from non-mahrams

Although, free mixing with non-mahrams unnecessarily goes against the ideals of Hijab. You should only interact with a non-mahram while maintaining a professional manner. 

The whole idea of non-mahram women and men, hanging out under the banner of ‘friends’ goes again the values and teachings of Islam. Because this would likely lead to acts of committing greater sins.   

What are Some of the Studies made on Cross-gender Relationships? Can a Married Man and a Married Woman be just Friends?

The attraction between cross-gender ‘friendships’ is undeniable. This is proven by science. Our brains tend to give off increased levels of chemicals while we interact with people of the opposite gender. 

We will only be deceiving ourselves if we consider non-mahrams to simply be ‘friends’. Doing this means we will be susceptible to losing focus and hence commit sins. This invariably us further away from the bounty of Allah SWT. 

Based on various studies and research, the results that appeared strongly indicate that individuals only experience romance through cross-gender relationships. Hence, the unnecessary mixing of non-mahram relationships inappropriately leads to sins. 

Therefore, this shows that it is impossible for non-mahrams to simply be ‘just friends. Because this type of relationship does not begin with good intentions. 

“…for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs…”
Surah al Ahzab, verse 53
Meaning – 
“As I forbade you to enter their rooms, I forbid you to look at them at all. If one wants to take something from them, one should do so without looking at them. If one wants to ask a woman for something, the same has to be done from behind a screen.”

Opposite sex friendship in Islam 

We as Muslims are not immune to sins. It is not okay for a man with a ‘Sunnah beard’ and a woman wearing a ‘niqab’ to be friends. Simply because they are non-mahrams. Being Muslims, we must follow certain guidelines that would benefit us. 

Non-Mahrams friendships are prohibited in Islam. Hence, you must refrain from developing any sort of romantic relationship with the opposite sex. Because cross-gender relationships would lead to greater sins and Zina. 

Platonic Friendship in Islam

When it comes to platonic friendship, it generally refers to opposite-sex friendships or non-mahram friendships. As we see in western culture, non-mahrams hang out and spend time together. This is not permissible in Islam, intermingling between opposite sex is prohibited. 

This form of platonic relationship leads to immoral actions. It has been mentioned in the Holy Quran about the relationships believing between men and women. 

Source Arabic and Literal toolsArabic  ‏وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءُ بَعْضٍۢ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥٓ ۚ أُو۟لَٓئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌۭ

Transliteration
wal-mu’minūna wal-mu’minātu baʿḍuhum awliyāu baʿḍin yamurūna bil-maʿrūfi wayanhawna ʿani l-munkari wayuqīmūna l-ṣalata wayu’tūna l-zakata wayuṭīʿūna l-laha warasūlahu ulāika sayarḥamuhumu l-lahu inna l-laha ʿazīzun ḥakīmu
Meaning 
And the believing men and the believing women, some of them (are) allies (of) others. They enjoin the right, and forbid from the wrong, and they establish the prayer and give the zakat, and they obey Allah and His Messenger. Those, will have mercy on them. Allah Indeed, Allah (is) All-Mighty, All-Wise.

The aforementioned verse from the Quran refers to believers as ‘friend’. However, opposite-sex friendship, platonic friendship or non-mahram friendships is not permissible in Islam.  

Can a Married Woman Have ‘Just Friends’?

It is absolutely haram (strictly prohibited) for a woman or man to be friends with a Ghayr Mahram (non-mahram) man or woman. Even if it is necessary for the woman to communicate with a male, she needs to maintain a non-alluring voice. 

Because, if the male has passion within his heart, then, this may lead to aspiring the woman. Therefore, it is totally out of the question for a woman to have ‘just friends’. 

According to Shariah, a husband possesses the right to instruct his wife to maintain a hijab. However, if a man is lenient and allows his wife to talk to a Ghayr Mahram, then based on the Shariah, the husband is sinful.  

Advice for Young People to Save them from the Fitnah of Unlawful Relationships 

To prevent younger people from falling into the trap of committing unlawful relationships it is suggested that you get married early to a religious and righteous man or woman. Because marriage is half your deen.  It also ensures that your children are brought up having good morals as well as the proper religious commitments. 

It would be wise to stay away from any woman or man who agrees to go out with a non-mahrams. Because meeting and having an unnecessary conversation with a non-mahram would eventually lead to immoral actions. If someone is open to meeting up and being alone with a non-mahram then chances are this can lead to Zina.      

Things to keep in mind

Intermingling and mixing crowds of men and women in today’s society are unavoidable in places such as colleges, markets, hospitals, etc. So, we should keep the following things in mind – 

  • We should not willfully mix with crowds of the opposite gender. This includes religious classes and meetings during Islamic classes.
  • We need to maintain precautions and avoid mixing of men and women. Even if a task required men and women to work together, they should be designated separate sections. 
  • Microphones and video recorders can be used as means of communication by female teachers. 
  • If we fear Allah SWT, then, we must apply self-restraint and prevent ourselves from looking at the opposite sex.

Conclusion 

In a nutshell, it is not permissible to have a friendship between a man and a woman in Islam. Because it leads to sowing seeds of destruction for the morals that exist within a society. It is evident in today’s society as non-mahram relationships have flourished. 

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