Fatwa: # 17978
Category: Character & Morals
Country: South Africa
Date: 25th May 2009

Title

Is it permissible for two friends along with their spouses to go eating out together and to sit at one table across one another while partaking of the meal, that is both the men along with both the women all at one table?

Question

Is it permissible for two friends along with their spouses to go eating out together and to sit at one table across one another while partaking of the meal, that is both the men along with both the women all at one table?

Considering that we are bosom friends for years and with absolutely no wrong intentions between us, will this still be a problem?

My extended family objects to this while i see nothing wrong with it.

Kindly elaborate for the benefit of all of us.

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

 

Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ

"O prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw down their shawls over them" (33:59)

قل للمؤمنين يغضوا من أبصارهم ويحفظوا فروجهم ذلك أزكى لهم إن الله خبير بما يصنعون   وقل للمؤمنات يغضضن من أبصارهن ويحفظن فروجهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا ما ظهر منها وليضربن بخمرهن على جيوبهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا لبعولتهن أو آبائهن أو آباء بعولتهن أو أبنائهن أو أبناء بعولتهن أو إخوانهن أو بني إخوانهن أو بني أخواتهن أو نسائهن أو ما ملكت أيمانهن أو التابعين غير أولي الإربة من الرجال أو الطفل الذين لم يظهروا على عورات النساء ولا يضربن بأرجلهن ليعلم ما يخفين من زينتهن وتوبوا إلى الله جميعا أيها المؤمنون لعلكم تفلحون

"Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is more decent for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known. And repent to Allah O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success". (24:30-31)

These verses clearly indicate the laws of hijab in Shari’ah. It is forbidden for males to see non-mehram women and vice-versa.

We must be extremely careful and cautious at all times when dealing with the laws of Shari’ah. Although one may think there are no wrong intentions involved, it is Allah Ta’ala who knows the weakness in us as human beings. Allah Ta’ala knows how easily many of us can be influenced by the evil whispers of Shaytan.

It is indeed the infinite wisdom of Allah Ta’ala which lies in the commands of Shari’ah. Allah Ta’ala has made Shari’ah so perfect, that even smaller acts which may lead to greater sins are also forbidden. This is why any unnecessary contact, conversation, gazing, and avoidable instances of mixing with the opposite gender is forbidden. In this time of fitnah, the sexual instinct is one of the greatest weaknesses of human beings. When any of the abovementioned acts are committed unnecessarily, it is usually the spark that ignites the fire of temptation which in many cases leads to major sins such as zina (adultery, fornication). This is why these acts are considered to be a minor form of zina. Allah Ta'ala has given us a warning in the Quran by saying:

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

"And do not even go close to fornication. It is indeed a shameful act and an evil way to follow". (17:32)

In this verse, Allah Ta'ala did not just say "Do not fornicate", but He said do not even go close to it, meaning do not do things which may lead to adultery or fornication as  Shaytan is quick to mislead the believers.

Therefore, although you are close friends and say there is absolutely no wrong intention involved, it is still an act which is clearly going against the injunctions of Shari’ah (as mentioned above) and must be avoided. May Allah Ta’ala give us all the tawfeeq to adhere to the laws of Shari’ah properly. Ameen.

And Allah knows best

Wassalamu Alaikum

Ml. Asif Umar,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa

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