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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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Good questions. I bet a lot of people are in a similar dilemma, in classroom settings as well. Is there a way you can rearrange the seats so you are sitting with the other guys? By the way in your diagram, there is only you and one other male... Where is the 3rd male? 

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200 – Rule: Bodily contact that happens in busy places (such as markets, processions, Salat al-Jumu‘ah, funerals, the Sanctuaries (haram) of the A’immah (Peace be upon all of them), and the House of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى in an unintentional way between a non-Mahram man and woman is not a problem, with the condition that one does not go to these places with the purpose and intention of being touched. ABGKMST

Therefore: It is haram for one to go to or pass by a place, sit or stand beside a non-Mahram in a taxi or bus, with the intention of wanting to make body contact with a non-Mahram, and thus it must be avoided.

201 – Question: What is the ruling for going to places with a non-Mahram?

Answer: If it is done with the intention of lust, then it is not allowed. AGK

 

https://www.al-islam.org/code-ethics-muslim-men-and-women-sayyid-masud-masumi/rules-related-socializing

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This is a really good question. I would like to know an answer too. In my field of work (engineering) I've usually been surrounded by males and have been unsure how to handle working lunches, coffee break joking, and other usual office interaction. 

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3 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

Good questions. I bet a lot of people are in a similar dilemma, in classroom settings as well. Is there a way you can rearrange the seats so you are sitting with the other guys? By the way in your diagram, there is only you and one other male... Where is the 3rd male? 

I work in headquarters and everyone sits with their department so given my department is largely female, i'm not sure rearranging would help and how I would raise that question (they would ask why etc) Sorry yes the 3rd mail is our director and he sits behind us on another row of desks.

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3 hours ago, Fakeha said:

200 – Rule: Bodily contact that happens in busy places (such as markets, processions, Salat al-Jumu‘ah, funerals, the Sanctuaries (haram) of the A’immah (Peace be upon all of them), and the House of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى in an unintentional way between a non-Mahram man and woman is not a problem, with the condition that one does not go to these places with the purpose and intention of being touched. ABGKMST

Therefore: It is haram for one to go to or pass by a place, sit or stand beside a non-Mahram in a taxi or bus, with the intention of wanting to make body contact with a non-Mahram, and thus it must be avoided.

201 – Question: What is the ruling for going to places with a non-Mahram?

Answer: If it is done with the intention of lust, then it is not allowed. AGK

 

https://www.al-islam.org/code-ethics-muslim-men-and-women-sayyid-masud-masumi/rules-related-socializing

Thank you for the rulings. I am more looking for social interactions rather than bodily contact. Of course my intention is never lust or wanting contact. 

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2 hours ago, notme said:

This is a really good question. I would like to know an answer too. In my field of work (engineering) I've usually been surrounded by males and have been unsure how to handle working lunches, coffee break joking, and other usual office interaction. 

Yea its a tough one. At the moment my best option is to look unsociable i.e. wear headphones. I might run this by a scholar too and see what they think but I think the answer would largely be to limit as much as humanely possible. I mean if my female colleague says to me "hi how was your weekend" or starts telling me about her weekend, I can't just ignore her or whatever (hence whats humanely possible). Things like body language i.e. if the opposite gender starts a convo, don't swivel your chair or turn yourself towards them to indicate you are interested in a full conversation. One thing I do is keep doing my work e.g. typing, reading emails to give a hint I am busy. These arent scholary suggestions just things I have tried/will try.

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2 hours ago, notme said:

This is a really good question. I would like to know an answer too. In my field of work (engineering) I've usually been surrounded by males and have been unsure how to handle working lunches, coffee break joking, and other usual office interaction. 

Another I am going to try is take lunch breaks at different times to them to avoid a situation where you are walking to the shops/kitchen/communal areas with them

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19 minutes ago, ArifHussainRajabali said:

Another I am going to try is take lunch breaks at different times to them to avoid a situation where you are walking to the shops/kitchen/communal areas with them

Most of my colleagues go out to lunch. I'm a cheapskate, so it's natural for me to bring lunch from home and eat at my desk or at a nearby park. Something like that might work for you. 

Or rather, when I used to work. I stay home with my little kids nowadays. When they are older, I do hope to return to work. 

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Honestly don't worry if your appear as an unsociable guy. Your female coworkers will understand that not every guy is willing to talk to a group of girls. Just be nice and humble, and you won't affect the work culture.

I personally am soft spoken, and not like those super loud guys, so it made it easy for me during my vacation work. There were two female coworkers who sat beside me (they were old, while I'm in my early twenties). They did ask me personal questions at times, but I just gave very short and sweet responses. Now they just ask general questions such as "how was your weekend", "how's it going" and work related stuff. Therefore my advice for you is to keep your responses short and sweet, with a genuine smile. Try not to laugh a lot or to further ask questions. For example, if your coworkers ask you about your day, then ask them about theirs, but don't try to ask more pointless questions.  

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You wrote social hijab, I thought you're a sister :). I was looking at your diagtam and thinking what's wrong? She is female sitting next to females. That's not a problem.

Anyway, as other members mentioned, I think the best practice is to keep your convo as short as possible with gentle answers. Gradually they will understand that they should talk to you about work only.

 

Regarding your travel:

I'm friend of the our mosque Shaykh. I called him about this issue, and asked him. He said:" Tell him don't do that. Shaytan is accompanying him in his travel. Tell him to come up with an excuse (no lying) to take the train and his colleagues takes her car. If he couldn't come up with any excuse or anything to escape this situation, tell him to explain her that he cannot travel with a girl alone. In order to do that, he can do Mutah for the duration of time he is with her in the car (make sure she is not married)".

Edited by AmirAlmuminin Lover

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13 hours ago, ArifHussainRajabali said:

car to a work meeting away from the office with a colleague so she will be in my car with me (just us two).

Salam it's better a third person be with you during Travel 

Get out of that house, because if a man and a woman (Non Mahrams) are at home in isolation, the third person is Satan

من لا يحضره الفقيه / ج‏3 / 252 / باب المزارعة و الإجارة .....  ص : 244

Man La'Yahzara'Al'Faqih /v3/252/chapter of farming & Loanning ...p:244

https://www.welayatnet.com/fa/news/66533

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Riding in a car with non-mehram is makrooh, but not haram. No need to rescind your offer of a ride, but better to avoid it in the future.

If one of your male colleagues will be attending the meeting too, ask him to ride with you too, or if that's not possible, another female colleague would be someone else for the first colleague to socialize with during the drive. 

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Thank you everyone. Today was much better.

I limited my conversations to the bare minimum and I also made an excuse for why I am taking the train (without lying) for the meeting. The only thing is that my colleague is taking the train with me. So although we will be travelling together, we will be in a carriage with a bunch of other commuters so that should be ok, I think.

 

 

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On 7/31/2018 at 2:29 AM, shiarevert_1628 said:

I am a sister and honestly can relate to this post so much.

I'm a revert and going to the office gives me anxiety! 

When guys ask you out to lunch or coffee etc its so annoying to the point im thinking about leaving the UK and moving to Dubai!

I am a revert too (congrats!).

This week has been much better but sti room for improvement. Its a work in progress and gradually over time it will get better iA. I have been using my headphones to listen to lectures and so I look busy. Maybe try something like that or take lunch at another time.

 

iA make that first step and Allah swt will open opportunities

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Here's a tip: if you need silence to focus on your work: you can still wear the headphones but have nothing playing through them, and nobody will know but you. :)

 

Edited by notme
What are you doing, autocorrect?

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