I used to pride myself on waiting for a spouse as well as her on Deen as her but seeing that slowly fade away and terming it a necessity in the workplace is something I cannot wrap my head around, I personally have always been careful knowing my interactions can affect her but now that all doesn't matter and she has asked me to trust her, what she doesn't understand is it's not about trust, it's about my feeling and doing the right thing like I have always tried to expect the least.
What do I do to let her know that I will not be okay with this, I don't mind her working at all but why does it have to involve mingling with males? It's not required of her, please guide me to help myself and her before this issue ends everything between us. Jazakallah
In this counseling answer:
- This is a common test for many Muslims who work with non-Muslims. But we cannot wait for non-Muslims to respect our norms until we respect them and educate them about Islamic etiquette in gender interactions.
- This is not a matter of jealousy and trust, but of taqwa, or God-consciousness during the day, including at work.
- Remind her with kindness that she only needs to please Allah and no one else.
Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, brother,
Thank you for writing to us. As I understand it, your concern is for your future wife, who started working recently.
Though she was stricter in her opposite gender interactions before, you feel that she started to become too friendly with the male colleagues, calls them friends, and shares laughter with them.
You are asking what to do to let her know that I will not be okay with this.
Brother, I think it is quite understandable that you feel that you are not OK with your future wife befriending male colleagues.
The question of the workplace can be quite a complicated one for Muslims—both men and women.
If you live in the West and your coworkers are not Muslims, there can be significant differences in workplace norms and culture. Plus, they most likely do not know the Islamic etiquette of dealing with the opposite gender.
Talking, sharing personal stories, meeting outside of work, and even physical touch or a kiss on the cheek as a form of greeting are normal and accepted between coworkers.
With this being said, I think this is a common test for many Muslims who work with non-Muslims.
But the issue is that we cannot wait for non-Muslims to respect our norms until we respect and follow them and educate them about Islamic etiquette in gender interactions.
What to do?
Talk to Her
I kindly advise you to talk to your future wife in a peaceful and calm way.
Try to emphasize that you love her, fear Allah for her, and you are not OK with this situation, firstly because Allah (SWT) is not OK with it.
Regardless of whether you are married or just engaged, you are responsible for your deeds, so you need to try your best to stick to the Islamic requirement.
You are right, this is not a matter of jealousy and trust, but of taqwa, or God-consciousness during the day, including at work.
Be emphatic and explain your experiences. Give your tips and tell her how to try to combat this test.
There is a Middle Path
As Muslims, we can sometimes find ourselves in awkward situations as a result, but we must be proud of our identity and excuse ourselves with kindness and respect.
Sometimes it may appear to be an all-or-nothing situation: either be serious and cut off all contact, or give up and conform to non-Muslim standards in order to fit in.
But actually, we can draw clear lines while maintaining our friendly and respectful attitude towards our coworkers.
Remind her with kindness that she only needs to please Allah and no one else. Try to encourage her to be mindful of Islamic etiquette as much as possible.
Help her learn to excuse herself from situations with kindness and firmness, while her identity is respected. She will probably receive a positive response once she tries it.
And if not, if her job is in “danger” because she is refusing to participate in more than what is necessary, maybe this job is not worth it.
Be Supportive, Share Your Experience
You say that she started recently, so maybe this is the reason for her behavior.
She may need some time until she adjusts herself and navigates the challenges of her new role. She may try to be accepted and think that this is the right way to do that.
Learn together about the wisdom behind the restricted relations with the opposite gender. Allah’s command only serves to protect us from zina and our relationships from the tricks of Satan. It can start with a small detail and gradually increase until you end up committing a major sin.
The Reason Is Relevant
The wisdom of Islamic etiquette is confirmed if you look at the stats about workplace romance. The vast majority of affairs outside of marriage start at the workplace, and according to this site, 1 in 5 people cheated with their colleagues.
So, the reason why Islam places importance on the proper etiquette of opposite gender interactions is still relevant in our time, if not more.
Please look around on our site, as there are many related contents. Here are some sources you may find beneficial:
- How Much Can You Socialize with Opposite Gender? (Video)
- Smiling Decently at Opposite Gender to Avoid Rudeness OK?
- Why Can’t I Be Just Friends with Opposite Gender?
I hope these tips help,
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