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Mixed Schools and Talking to Other Students

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan answers a question about how to deal with having to sit next to a person of the opposite gender in a mixed school.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I go to a school that is mixed and in one of my classes, I sit near a boy. I do my very best to avoid him, but is it okay if I talk to him now and again – obviously staying in the limits?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you’re well insha Allah. Jazakum Allah khayran for your question and may Allah reward you for being concerned about your religious practice.

Unfortunately, mixed gender schools are now part of most people’s lives and for some, there are no alternatives. Religious individuals and groups must therefore learn how to deftly maneuver within the reality of their environment; balancing the often difficult task of remaining firm on clear principles of social conduct while at the same time doing their best not to isolate or repel others.

We often have to remind ourselves that traditional gender barriers that religion places are no longer understood or observed by most people, especially in the West. Of course, we should maintain these barriers for they serve a necessary purpose, however, we must also be sympathetic in attitude to people to whom such formal interaction may seem strange or extreme. Acknowledging this at least allows us to view and interact with others in a merciful and respectful manner. In time, they may even admire and appreciate the wisdom in our customs.

In these situations, one can only do the best one can, observing proper etiquette and modesty while remaining genuine and good-natured. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Suggestions on Mixed Schools

You could ask the teacher if it is possible to seat you next to a female student.

If you must sit next to a boy, then just ensure that you are properly covered and avoid physical contact. Talking now and again to greet him or when needed is fine. Be natural and don’t be harsh. It’s also not his fault he is sitting next to you!

Simple questions and answers usually suffice to be pleasant yet succinct.

You may also refer to this post: How to Deal with Free Mixing in Public Schools.

I wish you the very best. Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Intimate Conversations on the Phone Before Marriage.

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Recently I spoke to a brother with the intention to get married, but after a while the conversion turned sexual and he would talk about sex acts he would perform on me. He would ejaculate and I would have an orgasm. I know this is wrong and I shouldn’t speak to him, but I enjoy myself. Would phone sex be permitted between husband and wife?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam,

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate

Any intimate contact or conversation is impermissible (haram) before marriage, as clearly established by the Quran, the Sunna and the consensus of the scholars of Community of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Not only would the actual intimate contact (such as the sexual phone talk) be impermissible, but the means that lead to the starting of such talk would also be impermissible, because of the decisively established principle that, “The means to the impermissible are themselves impermissible.” [Ibn Abd al-Salam, al-Qawa`id al-Kubra]

Thus, you have to be very wary of such phone conversations: they are absolutely impermissible. It is only permitted to talk to someone of the opposite sex who is unrelated if it is done within the limits of dignity and propriety–within limits of need or benefit.

When you find yourself slipping, remember Allah and the Last Day: If you died this very moment, is this a state you would want to die in?

Faraz Rabbani

Is it Bad Manners to Be “Cold” to Protect Yourself from Developing Feelings for Someone?

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