Is it ok to take food for a non-mahram?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher

Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah. I got to know a brother and we became good friends. When I realized that I didn’t want to marry him, a sister advised me that if we continued being friends then that would be inappropriate. So I told him and we agreed that we shouldn’t really talk anymore. While we were still talking I used to take extra food from my home for him because he goes to Medical school near my home and he doesn’t have any halal food options. I thought this was a good alternative to throwing the extra food out and my brother usually went with me. My question is : Is it ok to continue taking him food as long as my brother comes along or should I stop since I’m not considering him for marriage anymore? JazakAllah khair. May Allah reward you for your good work Ameen.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, the Absolutely Most Gracious, the Absolutely Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah.

May Allah bless and give peace to our Beloved Messenger.

Dear Sister,

I apologize for the delay in getting to your question.

I hope this message finds you in good health and spirits.

Generally speaking, it is a praiseworthy trait to share our food with others.

In particular, both the Qur’an and the Sunna emphasize our obligation to share our food with those less fortunate in the form of charity and expiation.

In the collection of Imam Bukhari, we find many reports of the Prophet’s generosity, Allah bless him and give him peace. For example:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari:

The Prophet said, “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286]

On the other hand, you may want to consider the wisdom of continually giving food to the brother. Firstly, he’s a medical student, so I assume he is capable of providing for himself. It might be better to give the food to someone less fortunate. Secondly, if he is still interested in marrying you, or was interested, then it may stir up feelings if you keep taking him food.

If you truly feel that the brother is in need of this food, then it is advisable that you send your brother with the food and avoid going personally. The adab of interaction between unrelated males and females dictates that interaction should only be to the extent of the need.

I pray this answers your question. May Allah Most High reward you for your generosity.

And Allah knows best.

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