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How Should We Approach Working With the Opposite Gender in Today’s Workplaces?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Maulana Sibghat Ullah


How should we approach working with the opposite gender in today’s workplaces? For strictly work-related purposes are we able to make eye contact with females with the intention that there is no desire?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Following are the guidelines one should follow to interact with the opposite gender.

  • Lower your gazes
  • Stay clear of Secluded Encounters
  • Your tone.
  • Treat each other with dignity

Lower Your Gazes:-

Allah s.w.t says in Quran

“Tell the believing men to lower their gazes and guard their private parts.” i

In the next verse straight after Allah s.w.t says

“And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts” ii

Stay Clear of Secluded Encounters:-

The Prophet s.a.w warned us that people of the opposite sex (non-mahram)

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that ‘Umar bin al-Khattab addressed us in al-Jabiyah, and said that Prophet s.a.w said, “And no one of you should be alone with a woman for the Shaitan will be the third one present.” iii

We should keep the following in mind when having close encounters with women:-

There should be a barrier between the man and woman.

A Mahram (like a brother) of the woman (or her husband) should be present.

An upright old woman from whom desire and sexual passion are not (typically) acquired, and who is capable of protecting herself and the other woman, is present.

If another non-Mahram man is present.iv

Your Tone: –

Use a serious tone of voice and expression. This doesn’t mean you have to be rude, but speaking in a professional manner dictates the way people interact with you.   

Allah says in the Quran,

“…do not speak in lowered tones (with a sweet voice) lest he in whose heart is a disease of lust should be moved with desire.  And speak in a befitting manner.”v

Treat Each Other with Dignity:-

Let us learn from the beautiful example from the story of Prophet Musa when he reached the Well of Madyan when He saw two girls struggling to keep their sheep away from the well.

“…He (Musa) said, “What is your circumstance?” They said, “We do not water until the shepherd’s dispatch [their flocks], and our father is an old man.”

So he (Musa) watered [their flocks] for them…” “Then one of the two women came to him walking with shyness. She said, “Indeed, my father invites you that he may reward you for having watered for us…” vi

The word used is Haya which means bashfulness and dignified manner. These women had dignity and were shy around men as the Quran mentions.

So, if we follow these rules and in the necessity, only then we are permitted to interact with opposite genders.

Only Allah knows best.

Written by Maulana Sibghat Ullah

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

i Al Quran, Sura Noor, verse 30

ii Al Quran, Sura Noor, verse 31 

iii Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Umar bin al-Khattab r.a

iv Fatawa Shami, Chapter of Looking and Touching, Page 685

v Al Quran, Sura Al Ahzab, verse 32

vi Al Quran, Sura Qasas, Verse 23 & 25

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.