Married men being kissed and hugged by other women
My husband is routinely kissed on the cheek and hugged in a friendly manner by other women.
Is this act okay, as it is commonly seen here in western culture?
My husband knows that I do not like it but he cannot do anything to avoid it.
Am I being too strict on him?
Dear Sister Zumbeela, As-salamu alaykum,
I don't think you are being too strict at all, and I think your husband should stop hugging and kissing women. It is not allowed in Islam, and it is disrespectful to you as his wife.
There is a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) quoted in Saheeh Muslim, in which he said,
“The zina of the eyes is looking, the zina of the ears is listening, the zina of the tongue is speaking, the zina of the hand is touching, and the zina of the foot is walking. The heart wishes and longs and the private part confirms that or denies it.”
As it happens, I just published an article on this subject on Zawaj.com. Here it is:
Taking an excerpt from that article, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
"Allah has set certain clear boundaries and limits for interaction between males and females. These include prohibition of all sorts of indiscriminate mingling and mixing between them, including hugging, kissing, touching, and flirting, etc. These things are forbidden not because everyone engaging in them will be committing adultery, but because they can all become leads, means, and preliminaries of fornication. Once allowed, they can become a slippery slope. How many have become victims of such activities?"
Unfortunately your husband has a point, which is that many Western women are so used to this strange behavior of hugging every man they meet, that they just come at you with arms extended like a Venus flytrap, and it's hard to get away. What I personally do is that as soon as I am introduced to someone, I stick my hand out for a handshake, while maintaining some distance.
Technically the handshake with a non-mahrem woman is also something to be avoided, but it is the only way I have found to keep the women away, so I have adopted it on the premise that it's the lesser of two evils.
Some women will still try to get past the handshake and make a comment like, "Oh, give me a hug!" At that point I decline politely and tell them, "I'm not comfortable with hugs, sorry." To me, a woman who is not respectful of my boundaries is being just as presumptuous, rude and harassing as a man who tries to force a hug on a strange woman without permission.
So that's my take on it, and Allah knows best.
If any readers have additional advice for this questioner, I invite you to post your comments below.
(O Allah), Guide us to the straight path; The path of those whom you have favored; Not those with whom you are angry; Nor those who go astray.
- Wael Abdelgawad
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