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In the Name of God بسم الله

How to interact between genders in the West?

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Considering some ulama go as far as to not allow laughing and joking between the two genders (Sistani), and recommend that men and women don't interact at all - let alone those who go even more than that - but since most of the site follows Sistani and not the even more strict ones, how can one have a positive and good life in the workplace or while they are studying, when the places are sometimes mixed?

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6 minutes ago, Sumerian said:

Considering some ulama go as far as to not allow laughing and joking between the two genders (Sistani), and recommend that men and women don't interact at all - let alone those who go even more than that - but since most of the site follows Sistani and not the even more strict ones, how can one have a positive and good life in the workplace or while they are studying, when the places are sometimes mixed?

there's nothing wrong if it's purely workbased, according to sistani

but islamically its better to not initiate the laughing and joking to the opposite gender if you know what i mean

it depends on the situation and where you are, like if you're in a mixed workplace and you're talking to the opposite sex in public there's nothing wrong with it, but if it were to be in a closed area then that's where it becomes haram

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3 minutes ago, 3wliya_maryam said:

there's nothing wrong if it's purely workbased, according to sistani

He doesn't allow joking and laughing at all with the opposite gender, no matter what context. He considers it a sin in and of itself. That's according to his website. To him, everything is wrong with it.

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22 minutes ago, Sumerian said:

He doesn't allow joking and laughing at all with the opposite gender, no matter what context. He considers it a sin in and of itself. That's according to his website. To him, everything is wrong with it.

I don't blame him... With all the ... Erm.. Things that I hear these days at my office. Affairs and people sleeping around, many non Muslims do it like it's completely normal now. Now shame no care. 

I really wish some companies could start in the west where they had a Muslim culture, run my some Muslim entrepreneurs/billionaires. We need this you know. Like where is the Muslims version of BMW? With the Muslim CEO laying out the culture for the company... Prayer times, and expectations of how to interact, and just an overall Muslim culture in the business ya know? 

Edited by YAli
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I think that wherever you live in the world, interacting with the opposite sex is inevitable. If you're in the West, you need to equip yourself moreso. The ways of the West are different to those of the East. I, personally think that joking with anyone in school or at the workplace is inevitable. Unless you are a robot, or you speak to no one unless it's very, very, strictly work-related (to the extent where you come across as rude) then jokes between any colleague will happen. You can either decide to tackle it respectfully or just ignore and deny the flow of natural conversation. I don't know about the rulings, but I do think you can laugh and joke respectfully. In a way that you're not being disrespectful to the opposite sex or yourself.

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4 hours ago, Sumerian said:

Considering some ulama go as far as to not allow laughing and joking between the two genders (Sistani)

Source? I’ve been looking for years for rulings on laughing/joking and never seen anything that specific, rather they’re quite general on friendship and being alone. I’d really appreciate it if you could show me.

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9 hours ago, IbnMariam said:

Source? I’ve been looking for years for rulings on laughing/joking and never seen anything that specific, rather they’re quite general on friendship and being alone. I’d really appreciate it if you could show me.

Can I be in a friendly relationship with a girl in my class.

Answer: All kinds of relations with a non-mahram including joking, expressing mutual love, talking with the intention of deriving pleasure, looking at the body of a girl (except her face and hands up to the wrists) and at her hair or looking at her face with pleasure are haram (forbidden). In fact, if it is feared that they might fall into a sin, it is forbidden for them to have any kinds of relationship with each other.

https://www.sistani.org/english/qa/01151/

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8 hours ago, starlight said:

Can I be in a friendly relationship with a girl in my class.

Answer: All kinds of relations with a non-mahram including joking, expressing mutual love, talking with the intention of deriving pleasure, looking at the body of a girl (except her face and hands up to the wrists) and at her hair or looking at her face with pleasure are haram (forbidden). In fact, if it is feared that they might fall into a sin, it is forbidden for them to have any kinds of relationship with each other.

https://www.sistani.org/english/qa/01151/

Much appreciated. I’m surprised I haven’t seen this before as I’ve asked various people specifically about joking/laughing, they would all discourage it but were very hesitant to label it haram outright, so it’s nice to finally get a solid answer.

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3 hours ago, IbnMariam said:

Source? I’ve been looking for years for rulings on laughing/joking and never seen anything that specific, rather they’re quite general on friendship and being alone. I’d really appreciate it if you could show me.

I made a thread on it before;

https://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235037038-sistani-haram-to-joke-with-the-opposite-gender/

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8 hours ago, starlight said:

Can I be in a friendly relationship with a girl in my class.

Answer: All kinds of relations with a non-mahram including joking, expressing mutual love, talking with the intention of deriving pleasure, looking at the body of a girl (except her face and hands up to the wrists) and at her hair or looking at her face with pleasure are haram (forbidden). In fact, if it is feared that they might fall into a sin, it is forbidden for them to have any kinds of relationship with each other.

https://www.sistani.org/english/qa/01151/

The caveat here is "with pleasure" so professional interaction should be okay, no?

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3 hours ago, ShiaMan14 said:

The caveat here is "with pleasure" so professional interaction should be okay, no?

I think that condition is only referring to talking and not the two points beforehand, so all three points are independent of each other. I don't think they're saying expressing mutual love is only haram if done with the intention of deriving pleasure

8 hours ago, starlight said:

Can I be in a friendly relationship with a girl in my class.

Answer: All kinds of relations with a non-mahram including joking (1), expressing mutual love (2), talking with the intention of deriving pleasure (3), looking at the body of a girl (except her face and hands up to the wrists) and at her hair or looking at her face with pleasure are haram (forbidden). In fact, if it is feared that they might fall into a sin, it is forbidden for them to have any kinds of relationship with each other.

https://www.sistani.org/english/qa/01151/

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2 hours ago, IbnMariam said:

I think that condition is only referring to talking and not the two points beforehand, so all three points are independent of each other. I don't think they're saying expressing mutual love is only haram if done with the intention of deriving pleasure

Yes, I am talking about 1, 2 and 3.

For example, "  looking at the body of a girl (except her face and hands up to the wrists) and at her hair or looking at her face with pleasure   "

So we can talk business.

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2 hours ago, ShiaMan14 said:

The caveat here is "with pleasure" so professional interaction should be okay, no?

I agree with @IbnMariam I think these three are independent of each other. 

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Expressing mutual love, as in, saying that a man or woman (who are getting married, as an example.) expresses his or her care for each other is haram?

Basic forms of affectionate words are what keep the couple strong, and this shouldn’t be repressed. It’s no wonder that many Muslims struggle with affection of all sorts, be it emotional or physical, moreso than the general population, in their marriages. How do you expect someone to think it’s haram to express he or she loves someone, (as in, just saying he or she loves you, not acting on it.) to suddenly being able to switch to an affectionate person overnight or just because the couple is married?

All this haram, haram, haram, but they don’t understand or give solutions to very real problems with love and affection and intimacy and then they are told to just “be patient” instead of communicating and perhaps seeking couple’s counseling for any blocks. 

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13 hours ago, starlight said:

I agree with @IbnMariam I think these three are independent of each other. 

 

11 hours ago, Sumerian said:

Read my previous thread that I linked up before bro, joking and laughing are haram in and of themselves independent of context.

I am trying to understand if this includes business meetings with co-workers, etc. where you discuss work.

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6 minutes ago, ShiaMan14 said:

I am trying to understand if this includes business meetings with co-workers, etc. where you discuss work.

I have no idea. I am guilty of the above too sometimes, though I keep a polite but serious interaction with male coworkers but there are times we go out for lunch etc and once out of the work atmosphere everyone is more relaxed. I think the best thing would to be to send a question to Sistani.org.

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On 8/22/2018 at 2:28 PM, starlight said:

I have no idea. I am guilty of the above too sometimes, though I keep a polite but serious interaction with male coworkers but there are times we go out for lunch etc and once out of the work atmosphere everyone is more relaxed. I think the best thing would to be to send a question to Sistani.org.

I will but that i why I am trying to make the distinction.

Can I be in a friendly relationship with a girl in my class.

Answer: All kinds of relations with a non-mahram including

joking,

expressing mutual love,

talking with the intention of deriving pleasure,

looking at the body of a girl (except her face and hands up to the wrists) and at her hair or looking at her face with pleasure

In fact, if it is feared that they might fall into a sin, it is forbidden for them to have any kinds of relationship with each other.

I read the above as doing the above "for pleasure" is wrong therefore doing it for work would be okay.

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On 8/22/2018 at 2:17 PM, ShiaMan14 said:

I am trying to understand if this includes business meetings with co-workers, etc. where you discuss work.

Includes all situations bro. If you can read Arabic, you will see he considers it haram mutlaqan (unconditionally).

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23 hours ago, Sumerian said:

Includes all situations bro. If you can read Arabic, you will see he considers it haram mutlaqan (unconditionally).

I have read Sayyid Sistani's book 'Code of Practice  for Muslims in the West' 

https://www.sistani.org/english/book/46/2069/

I read in English, but I have also read some of his works in Arabic and the translation of this is pretty good, though not perfect, and inline with the general sense of his fatawa regarding interaction between non mahram. 

As was stated above, the things that are forbidden(haram) in all circumstances is 

1) Looking at a non mahram with lust, deriving pleasure from that. 

2) Expressing feelings of love toward non mahram

3) Talking with the intention of deriving pleasure (exciting lust) from the conversation

4) Being alone in a close room with non mahram or touching them (skin to skin) (exceptions are made for life threatening situations)

In the overwhelming majority of work situations in the West, all 4 of those can be easily avoided (except for maybe the first half of 4, being alone in a closed room or skin to skin contact in certain situations such as certain parts of the medical field and /or restaurant industry.These can also be avoided, but sometimes you need to find creative solutions.). 

What makes all these things haram is first the niyyat (intention). If someone goes into a workplace situation, or a situation outside the workplace, with the intention of exciting lust thru looking, touching, talking, or joking with a non mahram, this is haram. That is clear. 

I have worked in the West in a professional position for almost a decade. I have worked in many different situations with muslim/as and non muslim women. I have been in situations where there was a grey area and I was not quite sure if I crossed a line or not. So what you do in that situation is to find out what they right thing to do is, and if you made a mistake ask Allah(s.w.a) for forgiveness and try your best not to make the same mistake in the future. The only brothers that I knew of who got into clearly haram situations at work were ones who were either marginally religious or not religious at all (i.e. they didn't care about halal and haram) or had a wrong intention when going into a certain situation. 

Most women in the West, muslim/a or non muslim have a degree of professionalism and morals and will meet you 'where you are', in other words if you are trying to be moral and do the correct thing in Islam, they will try to help you with this. If you are not trying to be moral, they won't try either. Most people in the West, at least in the US, are members of some religion, so they understand when you have a religious objection to a certain situation and they will try to work with you to accommodate your religious beliefs. Of course, there are exceptions, there are some women who are not professional and some companies that don't care about trying to accommodate your beliefs, but these are the minority and you always have the option to change jobs if you find yourself in such an environment and around such women (people). 

The hardest thing to avoid in the workplace in the West (by far) is shaking hands. I have tried to avoid this completely but I have not been 100% sucessful. I' m not sure if there is an ideal solution for this one. 

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22 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

I have read Sayyid Sistani's book 'Code of Practice  for Muslims in the West' 

https://www.sistani.org/english/book/46/2069/

I read in English, but I have also read some of his works in Arabic and the translation of this is pretty good, though not perfect, and inline with the general sense of his fatawa regarding interaction between non mahram. 

As was stated above, the things that are forbidden(haram) in all circumstances is 

1) Looking at a non mahram with lust, deriving pleasure from that. 

2) Expressing feelings of love toward non mahram

3) Talking with the intention of deriving pleasure (exciting lust) from the conversation

4) Being alone in a close room with non mahram or touching them (skin to skin) (exceptions are made for life threatening situations)

In the overwhelming majority of work situations in the West, all 4 of those can be easily avoided (except for maybe the first half of 4, being alone in a closed room or skin to skin contact in certain situations such as certain parts of the medical field and /or restaurant industry.These can also be avoided, but sometimes you need to find creative solutions.). 

What makes all these things haram is first the niyyat (intention). If someone goes into a workplace situation, or a situation outside the workplace, with the intention of exciting lust thru looking, touching, talking, or joking with a non mahram, this is haram. That is clear. 

I have worked in the West in a professional position for almost a decade. I have worked in many different situations with muslim/as and non muslim women. I have been in situations where there was a grey area and I was not quite sure if I crossed a line or not. So what you do in that situation is to find out what they right thing to do is, and if you made a mistake ask Allah(s.w.a) for forgiveness and try your best not to make the same mistake in the future. The only brothers that I knew of who got into clearly haram situations at work were ones who were either marginally religious or not religious at all (i.e. they didn't care about halal and haram) or had a wrong intention when going into a certain situation. 

Most women in the West, muslim/a or non muslim have a degree of professionalism and morals and will meet you 'where you are', in other words if you are trying to be moral and do the correct thing in Islam, they will try to help you with this. If you are not trying to be moral, they won't try either. Most people in the West, at least in the US, are members of some religion, so they understand when you have a religious objection to a certain situation and they will try to work with you to accommodate your religious beliefs. Of course, there are exceptions, there are some women who are not professional and some companies that don't care about trying to accommodate your beliefs, but these are the minority and you always have the option to change jobs if you find yourself in such an environment and around such women (people). 

The hardest thing to avoid in the workplace in the West (by far) is shaking hands. I have tried to avoid this completely but I have not been 100% sucessful. I' m not sure if there is an ideal solution for this one. 

Thank you. That is what I am trying to understand and was focusing on "with pleasure" .

If your intent is clean, then surely Allah is All-Forgiving.

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18 hours ago, ShiaMan14 said:

Thank you. That is what I am trying to understand and was focusing on "with pleasure" .

If your intent is clean, then surely Allah is All-Forgiving.

There is no "clean" intent for joking bro. Today I asked my father to ask a Shaykh to clarify and he said to me as per Sistani's opinion, joking is haram in and of itself. No way around it. Even if lust is 0%.

Here are Sistani's fatwas where he does not mention anything in regards to "pleasure" or "lust", and in fact refutes it;

http://www.sistani.org/arabic/qa/0410/#4002

Question: What is the ruling upon joking with the stranger female even if there is no fear of falling into haram?

Answer: It is not permissible to joke with the stranger female

More; 

https://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235037038-sistani-haram-to-joke-with-the-opposite-gender/

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:salam:

Sayyid Sistani's fatwa is a unique one, it's not a very common opinion as others will say it is only problematic when accompanied with the intention of lust and pleasure or fear of falling into sin. The one or two traditions that are used to discuss this matter (of joking with a stranger woman) are very vague and it would seem far-fetched that he used them to arrive at this explicit fatwa. However, the tradition may have played some role alongside his resort to the idea of closing the doors to haram to issue this verdict. Unfortunately, we do not have any deductive works of Sayyid Sistani on these matters.

However, if we can determine somehow (good luck) that this is actually his tashkees of prohibiting that which generally results in fasad then at that point his verdict is no longer binding and people can do their own tashkees on the subject and determine for themselves whether joking with a na-mahram is from those things that generally results in fasad.

Wasalam

Edited by Ibn al-Hussain
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12 hours ago, Sumerian said:

There is no "clean" intent for joking bro. Today I asked my father to ask a Shaykh to clarify and he said to me as per Sistani's opinion, joking is haram in and of itself. No way around it. Even if lust is 0%.

Here are Sistani's fatwas where he does not mention anything in regards to "pleasure" or "lust", and in fact refutes it;

http://www.sistani.org/arabic/qa/0410/#4002

Question: What is the ruling upon joking with the stranger female even if there is no fear of falling into haram?

Answer: It is not permissible to joke with the stranger female

More; 

https://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235037038-sistani-haram-to-joke-with-the-opposite-gender/

I am talking about these:

talking with the intention of deriving pleasure,

looking at the body of a girl (except her face and hands up to the wrists) and at her hair or looking at her face with pleasure

In fact, if it is feared that they might fall into a sin, it is forbidden for them to have any kinds of relationship with each other.

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On 8/21/2018 at 10:30 AM, Sumerian said:

 how can one have a positive and good life in the workplace or while they are studying, when the places are sometimes mixed?

Actually, I believe following the advice and explanation of the honorable Grand Ayyatullah Ali Al-Sistani , will give you that, not only in the workplace but in general. It might surprise people since they are not familiar with that kind of behavior, attitude and state of you (the one who acts differently). But if  they react badly after that (which most won't I would say)

 then that only tells you more about them. 

Sticking with the wise and truthful and beautiful principles is my answer to this issue. Thus being strong without being violent, being humble except with those who are not/ are arrogant, then you should be straightforward with them (read more on al-islam.org about that if you like, that's where I read it), carrying mercy and kindness. 
Not loving in others what you hate to see in yourself, and not hating in others what you love to see in yourself. 
Being wise, remembering/considering why they are there and for what reasons they should be there if they are. Smile even if your heart bleeds. Paying attention that one keeps himself well mannerd and polite. This give yourself so much goodness while it will affects others seriously and chages how they interact and look to you. You might do more then that and Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى Knows Best of course

and more.

All this helps, and one could experience well even if it gets difficult sometimes. In my humble opinion of course.

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