Socializing with my co-workers

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher

My ex-coworker is inviting me and another co-worker to his and his wife’s house for lunch. When we used to work together I would accept such invitations. However, now I don’t work with him and even if I did, I don’t want to hang out in mixed gatherings anymore. But how do I explain this to him when he isn’t Muslim without offending him or making him think Islam is a backward religion?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who follow them with sincerity to the Day of Account.

If you can communicate frankly with your co-worker, explain to him that, as a Muslim woman, you value women’s privacy and have some suggestions for how you might socialize:

If you are married or a have a brother, suggest to your co-worker that you bring your husband or brother, whatever the case may be, to meet him. Tell him that your men folk are more comfortable socializing with other men, and that you would prefer to meet his wife rather than be with the larger group. That way, the women can have their own circle and the men their own. If you can arrange it so that the men and women are in different rooms during the same gathering, you can socialize without free mixing and also have an opportunity to give da’wah to your co-worker and his wife.

If this is not an option, and you don’t want to rebuff your co-worker, invite him and his wife to your house. That way, you can definitely make sure that the men and women don’t mingle. And you have an opportunity to give da’wah to your co-worker and his wife, and show them Muslim hospitality.

And Allah alone gives success.



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