Question: I am a man, and growing up, I was always very feminine, so I have more female friends than male. I relate to them better and have more meaningful friendships with them. I know this is wrong, but I don’t how to fix it. They’re not religious and would get very upset if I told them our religion has rules on gender interaction. They would also notice if I withdrew gradually as we’re very close. I’m also attracted to other men, and so I’m afraid of it causing fitnah if I were to get close to men. Advice?
Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration at having to push yourself in the other direction, but I guarantee you that your reward with your Lord will be multiplied if you do out of sincerity for Him.
Friendships with ladies
Yes, there are rules on gender interaction, and they are put there for an excellent reason. You are not the first one to enjoy friendships of the opposite gender. There are many reasons people get along with the opposite gender, including a) no fear of competition, b) acceptance and comfort, c) no romantic pressure, etc., and the list goes on. However, some authors and researchers have found that men and women can’t have platonic friendships because of hidden feelings most of the time.
The reality is that in your case, even if you don’t have those feelings, the rulings don’t change. Anything can happen in the future, and Islam is eager to prevent the changing of friendships into something else. If you want to change your friends for the sake of Allah, you should do it, and it doesn’t matter if your friends get upset. They will calm down over time, and they should respect your decision to follow your religion. You don’t need to hide it or do it gradually; proceed as you see fit. Cold turkey is usually the easiest way.
In short, if you are worried about being attracted to other men, don’t. If you haven’t done anything haram with a man until now, I am sure you won’t. Stick to your obligations to your Lord, Most High, reduce your screen time dramatically, spend more time in nature in the fresh air, eat less junk and sugar, take your supplements and surround yourself with religious positive people. Take a free course on the Prophet’s life and other obligatory knowledge to kick-start your transition.
Pray to Allah that He helps you reconcile these feelings and makes it easy for you to subdue them. Express your feelings through du`a, ask Allah to help you, guide you, and give you the very best outcome. Allah is always there to listen and loves to be asked. Trust in Allah that if you take care of Him, he will take care of you, as we know from a Prophetic hadith.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “When half of the night or two-third of it is over. Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends to the lowest heaven and says: ‘Is there any beggar so that he be given? Is there any supplicator so that he be answered? Is there any beggar of forgiveness so that he be forgiven? (And Allah continues it saying) till it is daybreak.‘“ [Muslim]
May Allah reward you for your sincerity and give you the best in this world and the next.
[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 Master’s 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.