I’m a 22 year old female from the UK who is currently studying and working part time in retail. Basically, there’s a non-Muslim male who is 25 years old.
I He is a manager. I didn’t really know him that much before, but now because I’m doing more shifts, I see him more and sometimes we talk. He asked if I was married or in a relationship, to which I said no.
The problem is that I get really nervous around him. He’s a really nice, handsome and polite man. Nearly everyone says the same thing about him.
I I avoid him whenever I can because I want to lower my gaze and not make it difficult for myself. He is very talkative with others but shy with me, from what I've seen. So, I’m kind of stuck right now as I don’t want to catch feelings for him, but I also don’t know how to get him off my mind!
What should I do?
In this counseling answer:
• Tell yourself that you “have no feelings”, but you are simply impressed that you met a person who is so polite and kind towards you in a time of Islamophobia.
• Rationalize and ward off thoughts whenever it crosses the mind. Avert those thoughts to something else.
• You need to change your surroundings.
• You do not need to be sweet and friendly to strange men.
• Do not let your silence give a wrong interpretation.
• Distract yourself.
Assalamu Alaikum dear sister,
Thank you for your question.
Remember, you are not in control of your emotions, but you control your mind and your thoughts. If you fear of something, you need to try avoiding thinking about it.
For instance, if you catch yourself thinking about a scary scene from a scary movie, which is taking you away from your mental peace, you need to divert your mind. For instance, you need to think about other movies that give you peace. Or rationalize your fear: it is just a movie.
Similar is the scenario you currently face. Tell yourself that you “have no feelings”, but you are simply impressed that you met a person who is so polite and kind towards you in a time of Islamophobia. You are simply impressed at the way he treats a woman with respect.
Rationalize your thoughts, and whatever you are thinking. Give it a direction that will not distract you.
It’s all about the mind. Ward off thoughts whenever it crosses the mind. Avert those thoughts to something else. Don’t fall prey to your desire, for it will lead in doing those acts.
As Ibn Qayyim wisely said:
“Ward off passing thoughts, for if you do not, they will become ideas.
Ward off ideas, for if you do not, they will become desires.
Fight the desires, for if you do not, they will become resolve and determination.
And if you do not ward them off, they will become actions.
If you do not resist them with its opposite, they will become habits.
And it will be difficult for you to get rid of them.”
Find a new job
Given that you are a student who works part-time, I suggest that you find yourself another job.
Dear sister, when you are constantly seeing him, and he tends to behave in such a manner around you, it is not a good sign. You need to change your surroundings.
In the UK, there are many retail jobs and they are not hard to find. If you quit this one, another one will be readily available. Many students join and quit on an ongoing basis.
However, what is most important for you is that you prioritize what you need to as a Muslim. You need to consider this option very seriously.
It is easier and probably the best option and will be the one which will require the least effort to forget about something that is bothersome.
The Messenger of Allah said ,“You will never leave something for the sake of Allah, but Allah will give you something better in return.” [Musnad]
Ultimately, Allah knows that it is not easy to give up something, like your job, for something that you fear will take you away from Allah’s pleasure.
However, it is possible that if you decide to take this decision, you will be granted a better job at a different location or something even better.
Allah says in the Quran,
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (Quran 2:216)
Speak to your manager
I understand that this may not seem like the right thing. However, from your question, it seems as though you need to speak to him and let him know about yourself.
You need to realize that when people do not know what we do as Muslims and the reasons we are prohibited from doing certain things in life, they will not control their behavior.
Check out this counseling video:
If you suspect this person’s behavior shows any sign of unnecessary friendliness, you need to let him know that you are a Muslim woman, and that you are thinking about getting married soon, to a Muslim man.
Be frank and upfront. You do not need to be sweet and friendly to strange men. This may be random, but this will break down any feelings that he may have been developing towards you.
You can even mention certain things like you are on the lookout for marrying a Muslim man as you are getting older and reaching a certain age. Or things that you are already considering someone as an option.
If you tend to be quiet, it can be interpreted in many ways. Silence speaks to different people differently.
Do not let your silence give a wrong interpretation. Therefore, be certain that you cannot be quiet in certain circumstances.
You need to speak up. You need to let him know that your religion is guidance in this time of confusion.
You’re a Muslim, and it is your duty to submit to Allah’s commands even it means to bury your desires because, at the end of the day, you will benefit. Allah doesn’t benefit when His servant obeys Him.
Consider both options with the prayer of guidance
Dear sister, when in doubt, offer prayer and ask Allah SWT to guide you.
In conclusion, do what makes you feel at ease. Do what gives your heart peace and makes you feel closer to Allah.
Dear sister, if we have Allah, we have everything. But if we lose Allah SWT, we lose everything.
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