Friendship with the opposite gender?
In modern times, there have been many issues that arose, ever since the pre-colonialism era, many Muslims have fallen into ignorance and immorality. One such issue is the free mixing with the opposite gender and the negligence of the hijab. Friendship with the opposite gender has become common, wherever it may be in, such as educational institutions, free mixed workplaces, and even unfortunately among relatives, especially the cousins.
Islam is the religion of honor and modesty. Shariah is meant to benefit mankind, and it blocks all paths that lead to unlawful and harmful things.
There is no doubt that Allah has created desires in both men and women to continue the population of mankind until the Day of Judgment. Islam has laid out the guidance when it comes to the communication and being in presence of the opposite gender with some points below:
Firstly we are ordered to lower our gaze down away. Allah says in the Surah An-Nur 30 verse:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا۟ مِنْ أَبْصَـٰرِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا۟ فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
˹O Prophet!˺ Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do.
He also has ordered the believing women to lower their gaze down and that they must not show off their adornments in front of non-mahram men (in the next verse after above).
Women are ordered to wear outer clothes that cover their whole bodies hence the hijab has been legislated.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَٰجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَـٰبِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰٓ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughters, and believing women to draw their cloaks over their bodies. In this way it is more likely that they will be recognized ˹as virtuous˺ and not be harassed. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.1 (Surah Ahzab:59)
Allah also orders women to not speak softly before men.
يَـٰنِسَآءَ ٱلنَّبِىِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ ۚ إِنِ ٱتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِٱلْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ ٱلَّذِى فِى قَلْبِهِۦ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا
O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allāh, then do not be soft in speech [to men],1 lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech. (Surah Ahzab:32)
Even though this verse ordered the wives of the Prophet peace be upon him directly, it also applies to all other women too.
Wed them with the permission of their own folk and give them their mahr (dowry) according to what is reasonable; they should be chaste, not adulterous, nor taking boyfriends…” [al-Nisa 4:25]
If having boyfriends/girlfriends is forbidden then becoming friends with the opposite gender is also forbidden..
Friendship with the opposite gender is full of evils, even if it is seen as “innocent” it leads to diseases in the hearts. We see that so-called “friends” often speak with each other casually and softly, they joke with each other and go outside to enjoy somewhere and take selfies, all of this is evil. No one who is concerned about their honors would do such foolish actions. Prophet peace be upon him told us that a man and woman without her guardian are not alone but Shaytan is the third of them. Those who say that they can resist themselves and are strong, this is a sign of their arrogance and ego which will only lead them to their doom and regrets. We should never disobey Allah and His Messenger.
Even if the friendship does not lead to unlawful sexual intercourse, it is not only about that but even the ears, tongue, eyes, and private part.
Narrated Ibn `Abbas:
I did not see anything so resembling minor sins as what Abu Huraira said from the Prophet, who said, “Allah has written for the son of Adam his inevitable share of adultery whether he is aware of it or not: The adultery of the eye is the looking (at something which is sinful to look at), and the adultery of the tongue is to utter (what it is unlawful to utter), and the inner self wishes and longs for (adultery) and the private parts turn that into reality or refrain from submitting to the temptation.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 6612
Prophet peace be upon him also said:
For one of you to be struck in the head with an iron needle is better for him than to touch a woman who is not permissible for him.” Narrated by at-Tabaraani; classed as Saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami‘ (5045).
How could then some of the men go ahead and enjoy with the non-mahram women who are daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers on grounds of “friendship”?
May Allah protect us from all evils.
For more information on the ruling with the opposite gender. Please kindly click these links.