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(bismillah) (salaam) I was hoping to get some advice on the topic of social hijab. I live in the UK. Before I explain my dilemma, I follow Sayed Sistani and I will give a brief summary of his rulings on this: 1. There is nothing wrong with talking to na-mahram out of necessity e.g. talking about work with opposite gender work colleagues, opposite gender doctors, cashiers, etc etc. 2. It is makruh to talk to na-mahram where its not necessary e.g. general chit chat with the opposite gender, laughing and joking with them, going out to cinema/restaurants with them 3. It is haram to talk to na-mahram to make them feel lust or if they make you feel lust or fall into any other type of sin. I work in a department of eight people, 6 are female and 3, including me, are male. This is how the seating plan is at work: male female female ------------------------------------------- (desks) female me female female female As you can see I sit in the centre amongst all female colleagues. We are all of similar age so like females of similar age they have become good friends and they talk about various things such as what they did on the weekend, their dating lives and so on. As you can see from the desk plan, I am in the middle of these conversations and can hear everything. The good thing is that they don't talk about anything inappropriate such as women stuff or backbiting and they are good people in that sense - just general stuff. My dilemma is that due to where I sit, I find myself getting drawn into the conversations with them that leads to joking around and laughter so something makruh under the marja that I follow and this is poking at my conscious and I am not sure what to do. I have tried different things such as I put on headphones and listen to lectures, nohas about ahlulbayt etc. so I can't hear what they say but also gives the impression I am busy and don't want to be disturbed and I even went through a phase where I kept my conversations strictly about work which worked but they thought something was wrong with me (lol). What do you guys think? A part of me feels we are social beings and what I am doing is normal. I don't hang out with them outside work hours. Other part of me is obviously aware of the rulings. I can keep my headphones in but all the time? Can I really expect myself to talk to them about nothing but work for the 8 hours or so I am at work? Also, are these general conversations necessary and fall under 1. in the marja rulings, in the sense that socialising is something necessary at work and harbours a healthy working relationship, meaning if I didn't do that, I would alienate myself. The good things is that I have established certain Islamic boundaries: - They accommodate my prayers and let me pray at work - Most of the females in my team are aware that contact with me it not allowed. Bless them, even when they accidentally tap my shoulder to get my attention or accidentally touch me in any way, they apologise! - They are happy with me not attending social events/work events where alcohol will be on the table I am sitting on Sorry this post is a bit unstructured, but given all the above, what do you guys think? I am leaning towards limiting it as much as possible so use the headphones (if you guys have other ideas and ways of limiting it let me know) and I even work home one a day a week which is helpful and generally try my best to uphold my marjas ruling. Some things I can definitely do is for example, not participate in work whatsapp convos etc ( we have two work whatsapp groups) cos thats not necessary and in my control, which I will look to stop. Other things I can't avoid e.g. next week I am travelling by car to a work meeting away from the office with a colleague so she will be in my car with me (just us two). I imagine this is makruh (being alone with na mahram) so is it possible to just talk about work and avoid general convo in an hour long journey? so I guess I should have just not offered her a lift and let her take the train? (its a fair distance to travel) but then would I come across rude and not courteous? Any advice appreciated Thanks, duas.
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