Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
3- This never means the prohibition of pure friendship for the purpose of cooperating with others on the basis of goodness and piety and in compliance with the teachings of Islam.
Responding to your question, Zeinab Al-`Alawani, Instructor in Fiqh and Islamic Studies at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Ashburn, Virginia, the US, said:
The man-woman relationship is regulated in Islam in a way that secures piety and sincerity of faith. There are certain conditions when it comes to dealing with a person from the opposite sex, such as avoiding khulwah (seclusion of a woman with a non-mahram ), observing the Islamic dress code, speaking properly, restricting the friendship to the frame of work, study, family, etc.
As long as a man and a woman are publicly dealing with each other according to the teachings of Islam, this kind of friendship is pure. However, a married man might feel attracted to a woman other than his wife in a way that urges him to develop a closer relation with her. Such a situation should be avoided, as it can lead to an act that is haram.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.