Science states that friendship with a person from the opposite gender psychologically affects him/her positively. Why does the religion of Islam prohibit friendship with a person from the opposite gender?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is inherent in the nature of man to find a heart for his/her heart and to share his/her pleasures and pains with it. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Quran:

" It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love)." (al-A'raf, 7/189)

Thus, the Quran mentions man’s interest in the opposite gender and states that he/she will find peace in her/him. Therefore, our religion rendered it halal (legitimate) to marry a person of the opposite gender.

Interest in the opposite gender without marriage aims to satisfy the desires of the soul rather than peace and interest.

The following warning of the Prophet (pbuh) is remarkable. According to a narration by Abdullah, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Woman is awrah (honor). Therefore, Satan never leaves her when she goes out." 1

It should not be understood from the hadith above that an honorable and chaste woman cooperates with Satan and that wherever there is a woman, there is something devilish. The devil of a woman causes delusions in her to attract the attention of the opposite gender.  

According to a narration from Abdullah bin Umar, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,  

"A non-mahram man and woman must never be alone. Otherwise, Satan will be the third one."2

According to a narration from Jabir, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Do not visit women whose husbands are not with them because Satan moves in your blood vessels."

"Is it better for one of you to be pricked by a needle in the head than to touch a non-mahram woman."

According to Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, one of the means of bodily happiness is marriage. An ideal marriage has its own characteristics. First of all, it is necessary for such a marriage to have real love between the spouses.  

The spouses share with each other their mutual love, trouble and sorrow; they console each other and share their feelings and thoughts.

"A person needs a wife, a companion, to dwell with, through whose eyes he may look and who may see through his eyes, and whose love he may benefit from, this being the gentlest of the rays of divine mercy. Complete intimacy in the world is with her too."3

According to Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, the most important element that completes those values and strengthens the familiarity in the heart is the woman’s chastity and being free from bad morals and unpleasant traits.

Nursi adds the following regarding the issue:

"Concerning “marriage”, one of man’s most intense needs is to have someone respond to him with heartfelt love and to share with his partner pleasure and intimacy, and for them to together feel wonder at the divine bounties and to ponder over them. You must have observed that if someone sees something unusual that perplexes him and makes him think, he calls on someone, if only mentally, to share his perplexity. And the gentlest of hearts, and the kindest and warmest, are those of the second sex. And those whose spirits will blend fully and hearts will achieve complete intimacy, and whose outward union will be pure and chaste are those of the second sex who have been purified and cleansed of bad morals and unpleasant traits."4

References:

1. Tirmidhi, Rada: 18.
2. Tirmidhi, Fitan: 7.
3. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Külliyatı, Nesil Yay., p. 5.
4. ibid.

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