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Can a Married Man Have Close Female Friends?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question: What is classed as adultery, and is it ok for a husband to have close female friends, even if the wife disapproves? How should I deal with this situation?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. This sounds like a very frustrating and annoying experience for the wife, and I pray that you can come to an agreement with your husband.

Gender Interaction

Allah has placed rules of gender interaction for a good purpose. A man is never encouraged to become close to a marriageable member of the opposite sex for obvious reasons. This is especially inappropriate for a married man who has a wife waiting to spend his free time with her.

As for family members or colleagues, one should treat them cordially, politely, and keep a respectful distance. Close friendships, beyond the scope of work and family, with the opposite gender, are frowned upon, and exceptions are not made for old school friends or Facebook friends.

Please see the rules of gender interaction in these excellent answers:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/guidelines-for-interacting-with-the-opposite-sex/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/can-a-young-man-and-women-be-platonic-friends/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/dealing-with-my-husband-having-female-facebook-friends/

Communicate

My advice to you is not to nag, get angry, or to give ultimatums because men do not respond well to this kind of behavior. You should openly tell him how you feel in a very brief way and then wait a few days to expand on the conversation. Let him think about and even if he does not agree with you, base your argument on emotion. Do not tell him that it is wrong or haram, but tell him that it hurts you and that is why you want him to stop.

Steps

-With any problem in life, ask Allah, Most High, to help you first. Turn to Him wholeheartedly with excellence in your worship, your own repentance, and sincere dua.
-Pray the Prayer of Need and ask Him to change your husband’s heart and make him understand how you feel.
-Bond with your husband when you are able so he enjoys spending time with you and craves it more often.
-If worse comes to worst, and you absolutely cannot change his mind, I suggest that you befriend all of his female friends, so they hear from you both as a couple and communicate with you both. Your voice (or messages) should always be in their ear, too, and they should know that you both come as a package, not just his friendship alone. This will make you feel a little better.
-Generally speaking, my advice is that you not let jealousy get the better of you. Fighting with your husband over jealousy is wrong and you should convey your disapproval without it turning into a fight. In one case, I have seen a woman get angry with her husband for being hit on. It was not his fault!

May Allah reward you for your patience and may He help you in guiding your husband to what is best for his marriage and his worldly and other-worldly affairs.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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