Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friends of the opposite sex

I think it's no problem for a Muslim to work with people of the opposite sex, but an actual friendship can be something different. Can two people of the opposite sex really be just friends? I think so, but that considering the temptation, it's not worth it to go out and look for opposite sex friends! Just like I feel it's OK for someone to celebrate Christmas as long as they're clear about what it means to them (celebrating with family or something similar, NOT celebrating Jesus). But I think it would not be a good idea for someone who has no Christian background to just go ahead and start celebrating Christmas!

I was thinking about when my male friend came over to visit me a bit back. My husband would not leave us alone! I thought it was totally annoying!! He is really just a friend and nothing else, and I hadn't seen him in a really long time. My husband tagged along everywhere we went. He kinda stayed back and out of the conversations, which made it even weirder. I mean, he decides he needs to tag along and then he makes himself look like he can't socialize at all and doesn't care about anything that is being said.

I understood later that this was his way of being a chaperone. I guess I kind of appreciate it. It is the most proper way for me to have a male friend, I suppose.

Do you believe that in Islam, it can be OK to have a friend of the opposite sex? What are the conditions to be able to hang around together?

8 Comentários:

Bengali Muslimah said...

I'm undecided on that matter. I've been there though when i've become really good friends with someone and thought "oh we're cool, nothing can go wrong" i guess it's only "cool" until it start climbing to the next level. And if it's destined to happen that everytime two people of the opposite sex meet, there will be a spark sooner or later, i don't know how to like find a solution or come to a conclusion about that. But I refuse to like avoid and ignore every male classmate.

Lisa said...

I think it can be okay. One of the issues is that we would love to bring our husband's along. Well at least most of us. But they have nothing to say to these friends or anything in common. I found that my husband usually managed to embarrass me with a loud booming voice. Then he'd talk about American politics which he knows NOTHING about and it was always a recipe for disaster.

Obviously, this could become a problem. But, if you limit it to a nice hello and a few words at the office, it's ok. When you start engaging in Happy Hour, just because all the guys are, there's obviously a problem.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

I think it's possible for 2 mature adults to be friends without letting other feelings get in the way. I find I get different things from my male friends than from my female friends, so I like having both. I think it's all about maturity.

Also this sounds like something that came from Arab culture, the whole "don't have friends of the opposite sex". It really doesn't make sense to me, and I don't recall anything in Islam saying that this is not allowed.

It annoys me when a man won't shake my hand or when women get pissed off because a man accidentally brushed their arm. Seriously.

Being modest and respectable doesn't mean avoiding all contact with the opposite sex; it can also mean handling the contact in a mature and grown up manner.

Candice said...

I think that Islam is all about modesty and avoiding contact that *could* lead to something inappropriate. I think that being alone with a male friends is one of those things that could lead to inappropriateness and I would tend to go towards the belief that it is not so much allowed. But at the same time, I think that a person will not be judged negatively by God for being in such a situation if they were 100% sure it would lead to nothing. Think gay friend, cousin you see as a brother, asexual friend, those types of people. But I think that regular men that are your friend but you aren't interested in are not a good idea to hang out with. That can change so quickly and the mature thing would have been to not have been in the situation at all.

Solace In Islam said...

I used to have a lot of male friends, but since getting married most of those friendships ended. I think husbands get jealous quickly and then you have to ask yourself if such a frienship is worth it if it can cause potential problems in your marriage. I won't like it if my husband had female friends either;-)

miseducation of the cushitic girl said...

Asalam alaykum sister,

In Islam, when there are 2 non mahrams together, they are not together, the devil is the third party. The Prophet sallalahu alayhi waslam said this in a hadith, (Hadith - Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi 3118)

and another hadith he says "Do not visit women whose husbands are away from home, for the Devil circulates in you like your blood." He was asked if this applied to him also and said, "To me also, but Allah has helped me against him so that I may be safe." (Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi 3119)

You may have the best of intentions sister but Allah knows us better than we know ourselves. Some thoughts can come creeping up. I know we women can be more pure of mind (no offence to men) but their minds are something else, they have weaker sexual natures.

I realised that after deciding to cover up with hijab, men had more respect for me and there was an air of distance, physically and emotionally, they didn't want to be friends with me as much as before showing their intentions in the first place.

I think having a male friend brings fitna, complexities, I understand where your husband is coming from.

Barakallahu feeki!

Candice said...

Thanks for your comment. As I wrote, I think the best way is to have a chaperone. My husband is the perfect person for that and I appreciate what he did. I don't wear hijab but I dress, speak and act modestly and I feel that men respect me for what I say and who I am. And, as you said, they don't usually want to be friends with me, they just treat me with respect. It's really worth it to be modest and I think hijab is a very positive thing, but not necessary to get respect from men. It has other benefits though, of course.

Nikki said...

I was browsing some of your past posts this morning and found this one very interesting, and relevant. I had many, many close male friends prior to my conversion to Islam. As a whole, meals were just easier to get along with than females, less drama, more laid back, etc.

When I met my husband and we started "dating" (which isn't allowed Islamically so we were in a temporary marriage, although as I was nonMuslim for the most part I just considered us dating)my other male friendships gradually started to change. I remember one Christmas my good (guy) friend was supposed to come over and get his gift from me. My husband threw a fit about the two of us hanging out alone... At the time, I was offended, but in all actuality, at the height of our friendship (me and the friend coming to get his gift) we did have feelings for each other, we were just never given the opportunity to act on them.

So, I guess, although it bothers me at times, because I truly enjoyed their company and feel very rude writing them off, some with no explanation at all, there is some logic to it because I know how easy it can be to grow feelings for someone just by enjoying their company.

With that being said, one of my very close guy friends, who I went to prom with twice, I've found it difficult to cut off contact with. He is gay, so do the same restrictions apply? He lives out of state with his boyfriend now so we only correspond via e-mail. I only send pictures of our family with me wearing hijab (even though I don't wear it full time) and I have quit with the cute little "Love you!"s and such. Even so, I try to keep correspondance down to two or three times a year, and strictly through e-mail. Although he keeps mentioning "meeting up."

He knows that I'm Muslim and is more supportive than anyone else I've told. I fear his support will cease if I suddenly tell him that Islam means I have to ditch him and the years of friendship that we've shared.

So, in one sense, I see the logic, but on another level, is Islam really about severing ties with people who have always been there for you?

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