I have a question on the issue of khalwa (seclusion). I would like to know if there would be any dispensation on the ruling of khalwa in the case of a person who has a disability. I suffer from a spinal deformity which substantially impairs my agility and physical capabilities. Taking this into account I would like to know if it would still be haram for me to work with a non-mahram woman in a shop/store where there may be considerable periods of time when I would be alone with my non-mahram female colleague. The door of the shop/store would be shut though unlocked and therefore accessible to the general public. Please note that the extent of my disability is such that I am not even capable of overpowering a mature child let alone and adult female and I therefore honestly feel that I would pose no physical threat to my non-mahrem colleague. I would however be working in the same area of the shop/store as my colleague.
I have read Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam’s explanation of the general rulings of Khalwa but would like a ruling based on my ”special” circumstances.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Firstly, I pray that Allah Most High cures you and all of us from the physical and spiritual ailments, and that he blesses you with the quality of Sabr and records great reward in your book of deeds in return of this disability that you have unfortunately been inflicted with, Ameen.
As far as your question is concerned, it would be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to remain alone (khalwa) in an enclosed area/shop with a non-Mahram woman, even in your situation.
The meaning of being alone (khalwa) is when a man and a woman who are not immediate family members (mahram) remain alone in a room or place in a way that a third person is not easily able to enter upon them, or it is not usually accessible to others. This also (according to the scholars) includes a room/area, the door of which is closed, even if it may not be locked. Yes, if the door remains open, then that would not, in of itself, be considered Khalwa.
You state that you suffer from a spinal deformity which substantially impairs your agility and physical capabilities, and that you are incapable of overpowering an adult woman, but this, however, will not legitimize remaining in Khalwa.
The reason being is that, the injunctions of Shariah are not based on their legal wisdoms (hikmah), rather on the legal reason (illah). As such, even if one was sure of not falling into the unlawful, the act will still remain unlawful.
Yes, if one’s disability has a direct connection with a particular injunction, such as not being able to stand in prayer, etc, then one will be permitted to take the dispensation (rukhsa) given by Shariah.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK