Can A Muslim Man Have Female Roommates?

05 January, 2019
Q Asalamu alaykum. I moved away from my family to go school in a another city that I don't know anyone from. While looking for a place to stay, I found out some students were looking for a roommate. I contacted them, and they let me move in to the house. The students were three non-muslim females. What does Islam teach about living with non-muslims of the opposite sex? Thank you!

Answer

Short Answer: No, you shouldn’t live with these women. Doing so would be to invite Satan into your room, quite literally, and not because they’re non-Muslim. That is a different issue altogether. Living with non-mahraam woman is never a good idea, and there are real life examples of brothers who thought they were “stronger” than normal sexual and emotional attraction to women they lived with, and who ended up with broken lives. There are many plausible alternatives to seek out than living with these women.


Walaikum Asalam Brother,

Thank you for putting your trust in About Islam and coming to us with your question.

The issue that is unsettling is not about these women being non-Muslims.

Some may argue that you cannot live with non-Muslims. Others will say this is totally fine as long as they do not invite or insist that you do the haram.

What is unsettling about your situation to me is that you have chosen to live with women.

Be Realistic

Brother, I want to caution you that living with three women to whom you are not related is asking for trouble.

It is as if you have started a fire out in the open in your home and gone to sleep. What do you think will happen to that fire and you in relation to it?

It is only natural that in close quarters men and women will develop feelings for one another.

And since you live so closely, it will be all too tempting and easy to act upon those feelings.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

Whenever a non-mahram man and woman meet in seclusion, Shaytaan definitely is the third one joining them. (Tirmidhi)

I don’t say this because I think you specifically are weak.

We are all weak and this is why Allah has cut off the path to committing the haram for us.

We are not allowed to be alone with someone of the opposite sex, we are not allowed to touch a person of the opposite sex, and we are not allowed to have close relationships with people of the opposite sex to whom we are non-mahram. 

By living with three women you are opening the door to a lot of heartbreak and worse.

A Real Life Story as Warning

I knew a brother in a similar situation as yours.

In college, he decided to room with two close male friends of his (one being a Muslim brother), and a non-Muslim woman.

He swore to his parents that he was not attracted to the woman he was sharing a home with.

He promised to everyone that it wasn’t like “that”…

Three months later she was pregnant with his child. They both had to leave their studies.

And this woman he “was not attracted too” now has full custody of their child and refuses to teach him anything about Islam. 

In this situation, the brother even had a fellow Muslim brother in the house to encourage him to leave the haram and do what is good (not that I recommend living with a non-mahram in this case. I do not).

You don’t even have that kind of support or protection.

Think about what this could mean for the rest of your life.

I worry for you, as your sister who wants the best for you in this life and the next, that the temptation may be too much. 

Plausible Alternatives

The only way I can see this arrangement working is if you live in a room that has its own entrance to the outside, a private kitchen, and bathroom so that your contact with your female roommates would be only in passing when you come and go out in public.

And only if you made it clear to these women that you do not wish to spend time alone with them.

This would be as if you were living in an apartment alone.

And you would not have to be rude or cold toward them either.

You are in fact obliged as a Muslim to be a good neighbor but also keep the boundaries of appropriate interactions between sexes.

This situation will be incredibly difficult to achieve.

So, if this is not the case, what I recommend is that you go to the local masjid, and find a brother who is looking for a roommate. 

Seek out your community and find other brothers to live with.

If you cannot find Muslim brothers to live with, then look for male roommates, even if they are non-Muslims, as long as they do not invite you to the haram.

You can look in the school paper, online, or boards where announcements are posted.

In college, people are constantly moving or looking for someone to share a living space with.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a new, more appropriate living situation.

I hope this helps and that Allah will make your transition and studies easy for you and grant you the best in this life and the next. Please keep in touch. 

 

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Premarital Relationships — Why Not?

Mixing with the Opposite Sex

Why Is Purity of Man-Woman Relationship So Important?