Answered by Ustadha Jameela Jafri

Question: Assalaamu alaykum,

I stopped talking to a Muslim guy I know from work because I developed feelings for him.  Now if I see him, I’ll only give greetings and nothing else.  I don’t behave like this towards anyone else. Am I being a bad person by ignoring him and minimizing the contact? Is it bad adab to be a bit “cold” when speaking with him?

ma’asalaam

Answer: Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

Dear Sister,

Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. InshAllah this finds you in the best of states.

In itself, there is nothing inappropriate or wrong with speaking to a person of the opposite gender. In everyday situations, such as school, work, or business, men and women often have to interact with one another. As long as this is done with good manners, a sound heart, and respectful conduct, then one should not feel “bad.” In fact, when there is obvious need, then it is not disliked to speak to someone of the opposite gender.

It is normal that, at times, two people will be attracted to one another or that one person is attracted to another. There is nothing inherently wrong with this natural feeling. This feeling of attraction to a person of the opposite gender is a gift from Allah Most High and facilitates people getting married for the sake of pleasing Allah and following the sunnah of the Prophet ‘alay salatu wassalam. Again, one should not feel “bad” when one is not married and is attracted to someone and desires marriage. Like any situation, however, what matters is how we behave and conduct ourselves in these circumstances.

If one is attracted to someone but steps are not being taken to facilitate marriage, then it is important to safeguard one’s heart and soul. This caution is recommended in our deen and it is the reason why the Sharia has guidelines for the way that men and women should interact with one another. In your situation, there is romantic interest but it seems that steps are not being taken towards marriage. Given this, your inclination to avoid needless conversation is best for you. There is no need to be rude or harsh to the other individual, but if there is no obvious benefit in speaking with him and if conversing only causes more confusion or heightens romantic interest, then being cautious is best. In public spaces, it is fine to exchange salams and have minimal conversation to avoid being rude. Private conversations between the two of you should be avoided completely.

As we know, it is very difficult to remove memories and feelings from one’s heart. Allah Most High reminds us in the Qur’an, “Tell believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them for them. Verily, Allah is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest.” (24:30-31). Avoiding needless conversation when one has romantic interest is a way to lower one’s gaze and be modest. It will inshAllah protect your heart.

Place your full reliance on Allah Most High that He will provide you with a caring and righteous spouse when the time is right. Although avoiding this person and protecting your heart may be difficult right now, find comfort in the promise of Allah Most High that “verily with hardship comes ease” (94:6).

I hope this helps,
Jameela

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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