Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
Question: I have a husband and we are constantly having this same “conversation” about gender interaction in Islam. He insists on adding female friends on Facebook, saying they are my friends from primary/high school (age 8-18), and that they are married. I have advised and explained to him the rulings of it yet he doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to. Its killing me inside knowing that he chats to these women, and that he has the opportunity to look at their photos. I tell him I don’t like it but he continues. Please help.
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Thank you for your question. I pray this message finds you well.
My suggestion would be to overlook your husband’s Facebook friends unless you have some strong basis for believing his interactions with these women are inappropriate.
I can understand why you are concerned. Ideally, a man would only have males in his social network and women would only have females. The reality, however, is that social media have made it possible to network and communicate with members of the opposite sex in ways that would not have been possible in traditional Muslim societies.
The way to handle that is not by banning your husband from Facebook or resenting his female “friends.” The way to handle it is to establish parameters. Islam mandates ways to interact with the opposite sex wherein modesty is maintained. You can remind your husband of this important point, but do so in a way that is pleasant.
Another point to be aware of is that husbands and wives come into marriage with their own unique history and backgrounds, including friends. You cannot do anything about the fact your husband went to school with females and seems to want to stay in touch with them. This is a part of who he was before he married you.
What you can do is make sure his screen time is not interfering with your married life, your family time, your worship, and your time to really connect as a couple. What you can do is remind your husband that women need to feel safe in their marriage. Is he making you feel safe with his behavior? Probably not. If that’s the case, he needs to interact with his FB “friends” on the basis of Islamic adab and keep in mind that the real friends in our lives are those with whom we share hearth and home.
May Allah Ta’ala make things easy,