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Last Updated: 2012/04/21
Summary of question
What does Islam say about sound relationships between boys and girls?
question
What does Islam say about having a sound relationship with the opposite gender (if I am careful that no physical contact takes place)?
Concise answer

According to Islam, the male and female complement each other and God, the All-Kind, has created them fore each other. One of the needs they have, are sexual ones. Fulfilling these needs must be within the boundaries and guidelines of Islam so that chastity and modesty are not compromised.

According to holy Islamic law, any form of interaction between a non-mahram man and woman, whether it is direct or indirect, is impermissible if accompanied with lust, or there is fear of sin taking place. As to interaction in the workplace and professional or educational settings, it is okay, given that all religious boundaries are observed and no corruption is entailed.

Detailed Answer

According to the Quran, the male and female complement each other, and God, the All-Kind, has created  them for each other. The Holy Quran says: “And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you…”[1]

One of the needs they have, are sexual ones. Fulfilling these needs must be within the boundaries and guidelines of Islam so that chastity and modesty are not compromised.

Islam has prescribed marriage (temporary and permanent) to address this need, and any sexual contact, let it be flirting, touching, caressing, etc., must only and only take place after marriage has been contracted. Even a boy and girl who are fiancés and are planning on getting married in the future, but haven't contracted any form of marriage yet, cannot take such pleasures in each other, even if it is only limited to having an intimate conversation or shaking hands.

So, as was said, in Islam, fulfillment of such needs must be within Islamic limits. Temporary marriage is one solution, but has stipulations and conditions that must be met, one of those being the consent of the virgin girl’s father (the rest of the conditions can be looked up in the risalahs).[2]

Most contemporary maraji’ make it a condition to have the virgin girl’s father’s consent upon marriage (temporary or permanent), and in the case of not having a father, the consent of the paternal grandfather.[3] But if the girl isn't a virgin, or doesn’t have neither a father nor a paternal grandfather, there will no longer be any need for permission from anyone else.[4]

Now, another question is what if someone just wants to have a normal relationship with the opposite gender, is it permissible or not?

A glance at the fatwas of the maraji’ on questions about this issue clears everything up:

Question 1: When a non-mahram man and woman are speaking with each other, is there a difference between the dialogue being from far away or in person?

Answer (all of the maraje’): There is no difference in ruling and in both cases, if there is lust involved or fear of sin taking place, it is impermissible.[5]

Question 2: What is the ruling on chatting with the opposite sex and speaking of normal things?

All of the maraje’: If there is fear of corruption and sin taking place, it is impermissible.[6]

Question 3: Is it permissible for non-mahram men and women to greet each other?

All of the maraje’: If it is without lust and there is no fear of sin taking place, it is permissilble.[7]

Question 4: What is the ruling on kidding with non-mahrams?

All of the maraje’: If it is with lust or there is fear of sin taking place, it is impermissible.[8]

Question 5: Is having a warm relationship between a boy and girl while working or in gatherings problematic?

All of the maraje’: Friendship between boys and girls is impermissible, because there is a fear of sin taking place. As for their relationship at work, if it doesn’t lead to corruption and Islamic standards are observed, it is permissible.[9]

Question 6: What is the ruling on writing to non-mahrams and speaking of sensual things via email with them?

All of the maraje’: Speaking of things that lead to corruption and pave the way to corruption are problematic.[10]

From all of the above, we can conclude that: any relationship between a boy and girl before marriage, whether it is direct or indirect, is impermissible if accompanied with lust, or there is fear of sin taking place.

As to interaction in the workplace and professional or educational settings, it is okay, given that all religious boundaries are observed and no corruption is entailed.[11]

 


[1] Rum:21.

[2] Tawdih al-Masa’il of the maraji’, vol. 2, pp. 449-460, 701-707 and 734-736.

[3] The apparent meaning of this phrase is that it is a condition for the contract to be halal and valid, so without permission, the girl will have sinned by contracting marriage without permission, and also, the contract will be void.

[4] For further information, see Questions: 627, 667, 717, 767 and 754.

[5] Imam Khomeini, Istifta’at, vol. 3, question 52; Bahjat, Tawdih al-Masa’el, issue 1936; Makarem Shirazi, Istifta’at, vol. 1, question 819; Tabrizi, Istifta’at, issue 1622; Safi, Jame’ul-Ahkam, vol. 2, pg. 1673; Nouri, Istifta’at, vol. 2, pg. 656; Fazel, Jame’ul-Masa’el, vol. 1, question 1718; Khamenei, Ajwibah al-Istifta’at, question 1145; Al-Urwah al-Wuthqa, vol. 2, al-nikah, issue 3; Sistani, sistani.org (official website), questions 19 and 20; Wahid, office.

[6] Sistani, sistani.org (official website); Tabrizi, tabrizi.org (official website); the office of all of the maraje.

[7] Al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, vol. 2, al-nikah, issue 39 and 41.

[8] Ibid, issues 39 and 41; Fazel, Jame’ul-Masa’el, vol. 1, question 1720 and Khamenei, istifta’, question 782.

[9] Khamenei, istifta’, questions 651 and 779 and the offices of all the maraje’.

[10] Imam Khomeini, Istifta’at, vol. 3, miscellaneous questions, question 127; the offices of all the maraje’.

[11] Adopted from Risaleye Daneshjuyi, 16th book, pp. 191-195.

 

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