Question: What constitutes seclusion with the opposite gender? Are there exceptions to this rule if it is for work?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,
What is Considered Seclusion?
Seclusion with the opposite gender is prohibitively disliked. Seclusion occurs when an unmarriageable man and woman are alone in a secluded private place such that a third-party is not expected to enter or cannot enter. [Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya]
The Prophetic Guidance
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Let not any man be secluded with a woman for Shaytan is the third of them.” [Tirmidhi, Ahmad]
Commentators of this narration have said, “Shaytan is the third of them” means that he is with them, stirring up each’s desires, casting love for the other in each’s heart till eventually leading them to fornication.” [al-Zidani, al-Mafatih Sharh al-Masabih]
Real Estate Agent and Seclusion
It is prohibitively disliked for your husband to be alone in a house with another marriageable woman if there is no possibility or likelihood of a third party entering unannounced. [Ibid.]
If there is any way that your husband can bring a third party along when showing houses to an individual woman, he must do so. Furthermore, if he can let the individual woman enter the home and explore on her own while he remains near to open entrance or outside, this is not seclusion.
The fact that the seclusion occurs due to work does not affect the ruling at hand.
I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani