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Is friendship and free mixing between the opposite sexes allowed in Islam?

Is friendship and free mixing between the opposite sexes allowed in Islam?


The Quran mentions a few principles which should always be followed while dealing with members of the opposite sex. Summarised in points, they look like this:

1. A lady’s husband, father, brother, real uncle, son, and father-in-law are her ‘mehrem’ relatives. She can freely interact with them and doesn’t need to be particular about her dress, except to the extent that it should be within the limits which all decent people know intuitively what they are.

2. All other men are ‘non-mehrem’ for her. She can interact with them too but she should avoid being completely alone with them in a way that no one is around.

3. While in the company of each other, non-mehrem men and women should keep their gazes clean. That means that they should not stare at each other. Instead, they should remain decent in the way they are looking at the other, avoiding evil thoughts to influence the mind and heart, and avoiding to be physically too close to each other.

4. A lady in the company of non-mehrem men should be modestly dressed, especially covering her private parts, including her chest, in a way that they don’t appear prominent. Moreover, she should fully cover herself if she has embellished herself with jewelry or makeup, except her face, hands, and feet, which can remain uncovered even when they are embellished. Men should also be decently dressed in the company of women who are ‘non-mehrem’ to them, covering in particular their private parts properly. A ‘mehrem’ lady is one who is so closely related to the man that he can’t get married to her, like mother, sister, daughter, aunt etc.

Whatever friendship and free mixing one can have with the members of the opposite sex should be confined to the above-mentioned limits.