Respecting Gender Boundaries In Muslim Organizations

Muslim organizations, particularly those involved with youth, need to emphasize the importance of respecting gender boundaries.

It’s not just about what’s halal & haram. It’s about what can be a potential risk for people falling into haram. Nobody is safe. Nobody. 1-on-1 private meetings/calls, casual jokes, sending jokes, emojis, LOLs, and being overly friendly – this is far too comfortable for Dawah.

When gender interaction gets too personal & casual, it’s more likely that feelings will develop – feelings that blind our rational thought. Those feelings can be the destruction of our intention, and what good is our work when our heart is polluted? May Allah protect us all.

The Prophet ﷺ said, “No man is alone with a woman but the shaytaan is the third one present.” When someone is having a conversation alone with someone of the opposite gender – even if it’s through texts, DMs, snaps – know that Shaytaan is there. Shaytaan won’t stop working against you. He will always beautify forbidden things. The haram doesn’t always come packaged with a warning sign.

You might not do anything physically, but being in the presence of Shaytaan so often & doing things that displease Allah will damage your heart. Even if you think Shaytaan wouldn’t influence you, how could you guarantee he won’t influence the person you’re speaking to?

It doesn’t matter how righteous you both are. Shaytaan has misguided men & women far greater than us, and it’s arrogant to think we’re safe. You say you’re just working together or you’re just friends, but you’re belittling the displeasure of Allah. You’ll harm yourself spiritually, and it’s a gateway to much bigger sins.

Leaders in Dawah work: You lead by example. Police yourselves harshly. Create an environment that protects the hearts of everyone involved. Leaders should treat risky things as if they’re impermissible for themselves, even if they’re permissible for others. You carry an amanah.

Protecting the hearts of community leaders & volunteers is more important than the work your group will produce. It’s the top priority. Set the groundwork from the beginning, then give reminders whenever you feel the culture shifting in a bad direction. Our priority isn’t to make everyone happy & comfortable. It’s to sincerely work for the sake of Allah within His boundaries. If our goal is the pleasure of Allah, the process is more important than the product. An event isn’t successful if the process was harmful.

There is far less barakah in our work if we callously allow jokes, personal convos, & transgressions of limitations. Keep it professional. Furthermore, we should be comfortable showing our conversations to religious scholars & mentors. Actively seek & follow their feedback.

Rule of thumb: Interactions with the opposite gender should be purposeful, public, & limited (PPL). Respect Allah’s boundaries & watch the barakah increase. May Allah forgive us all for our shortcomings, help us correct ourselves, and protect our hearts from being polluted.

(If you’re trying to get away from someone you have feelings for, this may be helpful: https://youtu.be/AB0lYdwPhnQ)

(Originally tweeted here: https://twitter.com/ibnabitareq/status/911746130270199808)

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