Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Comparing actions of Muslim Men and Women

gender issues

Assalam Alaikum WRWB,

I am in dire need of some advice on a matter of concern. Please consider the below 2 scenarios:

Scenario 1: Actor: Muslim Man, Married, Working and Staying Away from Wife and Kid

Walks back home from office on daily basis. One evening around 7.15pm, finds a co-worker (Muslim Woman, Married) who has missed the bus and the next bus is in another half an hr. The co-worker wishes to join him in walking back home. Allah SWT knows the best, the man only allows her to accompany him as he feels moral responsibility towards a fellow Muslim person and does not feel comfortable in leaving her waiting at the bus stop alone considering the situations all around the world. He keeps safe distance from her while walking back even if they are in conversation, fully aware of her status and his own responsibilities.

Scenario 2: Actor: Muslim Woman, Married, Studies and Stays Away from Husband

Starts on a picnic with her female friends from college and finds out there are college boys also in the group. All non-muslim. Goes ahead with the picnic plan. Clicks pictures with the group (including boys) which is posted on social sites.

Now I have 2 questions:

1) Are both the scenarios similar/comparable in any sense?

2) What all things have gone wrong in both the cases?

I am particularly interested in the answer for the 1st question.

Any inputs will be greatly appreciated.


Allah Hafiz


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2 Responses »

  1. Even if the man and woman are interested in each other, they will keep some distance from each other in public. In some cultures a man and woman walking togather are assumed to be in relationship by onlookers. How old are these two coworkers?

    If this man and woman are young and lonely this walking togather may mean some thing much different then if the woman is older like this man's mother.

    This woman is much likely to be suspected and abused if her family members see her walking togather with a non-mahram.

    Nothing will happen to the man.

    Both scenerios are common that a woman is with non-mahram(s).

    Woman should have known that there were non-mahram men in the group. Married women and men can get tempted too find love.

    A married Muslim woman may prefer to have a non-Muslim friend over a Muslim guy in case she is bored and lonely.

  2. Assalaamu Alaykum,

    The only similarity I see between these two scenarios is that they involve two married people interacting with non-mahrem. Beyond that, there are several variables and factors which influence each case.

    First of all, I would like to start by saying it's a bit presumptive to view all things in terms of "right" and "wrong". Although there are certainly clear guidelines on how non-mahrem should interact, it may be counterintuitive to judge someone for acting "wrong" when things such as intention and level of faith certainly play a role and cannot be judged by an outside observer.

    In your first case, you say that two coworkers, both muslim and married, decide to walk home together. The man normally does this, but the woman normally takes the bus and has missed it in this instance. Instead of waiting for the next one, she asks to walk with him home.

    In my view, she is free to walk home regardless of whether he agrees to it or not. She can walk home without his permission, and she can even do so following him by a distance the entire way (though he might find that annoying) without asking him if she can do so. How she gets home is ultimately up to her.

    In this case, they chose to walk together. The man walked with her with the seeming intention of providing her protection; and from the details you gave did everything he could to maintain adab during this engagement.

    The missing factor here is culture. If they were in Saudi Arabia, probably this would be inappropriate. If they were in the US, it would be dismissed as inconsequential. But even in some muslim countries, this may be a valid thing for a muslim man to do, because the sense of community responsibility for each other's safety is important (from what I've seen). It may be seen no differently from a woman taking a private car or taxi with a non mahrem male driver to get home, and be allowed as a valid exception to the normal proprieties in that light.

    In your second scenario, you describe a married muslim women interacting freely with non-muslim men and women at a public event. To me, this is a bit of a different issue because clearly there is a prohibition against such mixing, and no exception would be warranted in the case you describe. So the fact that she is going forward with these actions seems to be a matter of her heart's condition.

    No one knows why someone else goes against the precepts they know to be right. We struggle even within our selves to clarify our own motivations and inclinations. We see other people doing things they have been commanded to avoid, but we see ourselves doing the same maybe in another way.

    I think the primary thing to take away from these examples are the following:

    1. Intention is the precedent for every action. Allah will judge all of us justly based on our intentions, but there is no way any human being can discern the intention of another man accurately.

    2. We are to treat one another without suspicion. If someone says they did something with a noble or good intention, we should give them that credit. Even if they did the wrong action ignorantly, in shaa Allah they will be humble enough to take correction and follow a better action next time.

    3. If we see someone struggling on the path, we should try to help them back to the right way. Not by judgment or needling them for their sins and mistakes, but with genuine care and personal support. It doesn't do either party any good to stand back and list the faults and shortcomings of another, if there is no remedy or resolution behind it.

    4. We are all still human in the end. A hadith says that everything is given by measure, even capacity and capability. We also know that Allah increases and decreases our faith- sometimes as a test, sometimes as a result of our negligence. We will see people failing and falling short, that's for sure. We will see people who are not doing as well as 'they ought to be". We will see people who are just flat out careless about the deen!

    The point is, everyone must reckon themselves in their own way to Allah. We cann't change anyone but ourselves in the end, and even that is by Allah's mercy. So let us look at such examples as the ones you've given and use them to examine our own reasons and actions and intend to do better in them. Let us preoccupy ourselves with the improvement of our own faults, and not the faults of others. And let us become carriers of the guidance and love Allah has blessed us with, so that those who are struggling find their way back to the way that leads to Jannah, amin.

    -Amy Editor

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