Can Opposite genders be friends?

In this article, I’m going to elaborate answer to a serious question with y’all. And I’ll try to make this article as friendly as I can for a happy reading flow.

After extensive research and study, I found myself able to answer this and many other questions like these:

→ Can opposite genders be friends?

→ What is the answer if my intentions are pure?

→ What is the answer if I’m emotionally and mentally strong enough to control myself? etc etc.

→ We have a brother-sister-type friendship. Is it permissible?

Can opposite genders be friends?

In society, there are two extremes. One is of too conservative peoples. According to them Don’t do any type of interaction with non-mahrams. Which is almost impossible in life specifically in this era. The second category is of the people who say, Do anything that you want, intermixing, mingling, socializing, etc. What matters is only your heart. Nothing else.

Anyways, Let’s First find the answer of can be friends?, let's suppose the answer is both in Yes and No. So, now we’re gonna see valid logical reasoning and facts of both answers in light of psychology, researches, experiments, case studies, and also from an Islamic point of view.

No Scenario

→ Let’s start from Some Surveys

In Utah state of the university (Non-Muslims), a student did a survey in his university. The question is:

Do you believe men and women can be just friends?

At the start, all girls said, of course, we can be. On the opposite side, according to all boys, we can’t at all. They said we can force ourselves to feel contentment with just friendship, but there are always some internal hidden feelings that we’re concealing from her. We remain always silent for these emotions. (JBH xD)

Then also at the end, the all same girls confessed too that we can be friends, but there’s always an existence of liking or hooking up for us from the boy's side.

watch that survey video: link

The conclusion of that video is that: No we can’t.

2nd Survey

A famous YouTuber discussed many questions with some cross-sex friends ( opposite genders), and after interesting experiments, he discovered that there’s always some attractions at some point between them.

Watch the video: link

The conclusion of this video is the same: No

From Psychological perspective

There are a lot of researches, case studies, and experiments of psychologists on this topic. Let’s see some of these.

Research #1

There’s a research of which has the title of Benefit or burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship by professors of Psychology at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA.

Their case study is 28 pages long(link), and the crux of that case study is:

“There may be some truth to this possibility that we may think we’re capable of being just friends with members of the opposite sex, but the opportunity (or perceived opportunity) for romance is often remaining hidden just around the corner, waiting to come out at the most inappropriate time.”

Experiment in Lab

There held an experiment in which researchers brought 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends into a science lab. After knowing their views about friendship (they find an interesting way to know the truth, link ), they come to that conclusion:

In most cases, attraction towards opposite-gender friends is more in men than women. Men also thought that their female friends were attracted to them, which is mostly a false belief.

On the opposite side, women think that not getting attracted is a mutual thing between both of them. As a result, men consistently overestimated the level of attraction felt by their female friends and women consistently underestimated the level of attraction felt by their male friends.

So, In short Answer from Psychological Perspective is No too.

From the perspective of logical reasoning

→ After all, we are all biological entities. Right? Then how’s this is possible that there’s no chance of emotions between opposite genders, which is a part of our Fitrah (Nature). Allah created emotional attraction in man and woman. (Please don’t say, I’m mature & emotionally strong, I can control myself. I’ll answer this too later).

→ What is the real definition of a friend? Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. There is a special type of chemistry that developed between friends. Just take the example of our relationships with our friends. Be honest and think that Can we have that type of friendship with opposite genders?

→ Think about your own circle. What if your sister says, hyee brother, I have a male friend in my university and we’re best friends. We hang out and socialize together, but believe me there’s no attraction between us. Will you believe that? Be honest! Will you? And same in the case of girls, if their brother says this.

What I wanna say that deep inside everybody know what’s the original matter. Then question yourself. what’s the reason behind this hypocrisy?

Islamic Perspective

Now let’s come over to my favorite part. The answer to this question is from an Islamic perspective.

→ First of all, Islam presents a simple and clear solution. You like someone, love someone? Go for Nikkah. That’s all. (BTW How’s our Nikkah day will be? dil me ladu phoot rahe? 😍 acha Sorry!)

→ Islam forbids free-mixing of men and women in case it leads to fitnah and illicit relationships.

The Prophet (PBUH) says: “No man is alone with a woman but the Shaytan is the third one present.’” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Hakim]

→ This is the era of Fitnahs. Fitnah is everywhere and on the peak. We’re in a cage of social media platforms. The romantic & demnoic music industry, YouTubers are controlling us. Our willpower is too low. We do have not emotionally strong minds. So, slipping from the track is most probable in that friendship.

Allah says in Qur’an:

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ ٱلزّنىٰٓ

(Surah Al-Isra: 32)

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse
Another Translation: Do not go near adultery

There’s an unbelievable astonishing philosophy behind this ayah by Allah Almighty. Why Allah doesn’t use the word ‘Tatadu’, which meaning is to “don’t cross that limit”, or “don’t do that particular thing”? why?

Because this is a matter of Sexual Intercourse. Involving in things that will lead your temptations at their peak, and then you can’t save yourself from this. So, that’s why mingling with Non-mahrams is prohibited in Islam. Because it will slowly take you towards adverse effects.

Still didn’t get that Ayah?

A simple example to understand this is that just think there are some uncovered wires of electricity in your room. And there is a child of 7 years old in your home. What you’ll say to that child?

Don’t touch these wires or Don’t get close to that room/wires?

The answer is simple. So, that’s the philosophy behind this Ayah.

An Eye-Opening Incident in Qur’an:

The example of Hazarat Musa(AS) is a cool example to understand the interaction between girls and boys. This example shows the standards of moral values and real principles of Haya and respect for women.

Allah said in Qur’an (Surah Qasas, 28: 23,24)

When he arrived at the well of Midian, he found a group of people watering ˹their herds˺. Apart from them, he noticed two women holding back ˹their herd˺. He asked ˹them˺, “What is the problem?” They replied, “We cannot water ˹our animals˺ until the ˹other˺ shepherds are done, for our father is a very old man.”

So he watered [their flocks, herd] for them; then he went back to the shade

Now, what’s the lesson in these Ayah? Did Hazrat Musa(AS) go towards those women and start a friendly, smiley talk? hey how are you? what are you doing here? etc etc. He just saw that all people are watering their herds and these girls standing too back from well. He realized it and just asked them what’s the problem? After knowing the problem, did he said that oh ok, I can solve this. Let allow me to do that. I can help you etc?

He just take ropes of animals and watered them and then what? he went back to his place (under the shade), Subhan’Allah. Did he try to be more frank with them? In this whole process there is just one sentence, what is the problem. Anything else that?

That’s what Islam teaches. Only meaningful and to the point conversation with Non-Mehrams. No need to exaggerate the conversation.

Some Misconceptions

→ Having Pure intentions

The Question is: what if my intentions are pure or I’m emotionally and mentally strong enough to not get into these attractions?

First, let me clear a thing. Believe me, Once I used to say this sentence too in my life in the answer to this question. I always believe that My intentions are pure. If I talk to Non-Mehram girls I will not get into such things because of having reality conscious checks with the emotionally strong mind as well as I also don’t wanna face any karma in form of my sisters. And also I often say, if you’re firm at your decision, you can talk to any Non-Mehram girl without getting attracting. But believe me, there’s a little hypocrite inside us, somewhere in conscious or unconscious.

Okay fine, Let’s suppose You are an exceptional person. No feelings, attraction towards opposite gender friends But remember one thing that Islam is a public/humanistic welfare religion. It doesn't see whether this thing applies to Abdullah or not, applies to Alia or not. According to Rule of:

Allah always addresses the norms, not the exceptions.

If you can be in a friendship zone with girls by controlling yourself then you are an exception, not the whole community. BTW How do you know the intentions of the second person? What about the other public community?

Everybody knows what is happening behinds the scenes of the just-friends label in universities. I asked this question from my contacts, almost 95% of my friends said that No we can’t be. Even those who said this, some have friendships with female friends, who’re hanging out with them. But still, they are opposing it.

What I wanna say is, Yes you can control, but maybe not the others. That’s why Islam prohibits it.

Brother-Sister type friendship?

Brother-sister type friendship? quite funny xD. There are no so-called sisters or brothers except your own Mehram siblings. This is just a trap of shaytan. Just for giving a pat to our moral sense(Zameer) for sending it in the sleep state.

BTW answer me a question. Does your own brothers or sisters aren't enough for you? why you need to make outside. In my case, I’m literally messed and annoyed because of my own two sisters. They are enough for teasing me😩

All we have is only cutee our own brothers and sisters

Wait Wait? The twist is yet remaining. At the start that I said that let’s suppose the answer is in both Yes and No. Because this is not a biased article. Till yet we only covered No. Let’s discuss the Yes scenario.

Yes Scenario

Is there is a need to ask for this scenario up to reading till here? xD. Everyone gets the message clearly & properly.

But In this era (particularly this era), interactions between two opposite genders are increasing day by day. There is co-education and also girls and boys at the same job place. It means if we have to do interaction with the opposite gender (in uni, job place, etc) on a purposeful thing like group projects, assignments, or any other thing, then obviously there should be some guidelines for that interaction. There were interactions (not intermixing) in the era of Prophet(SAW) but under some limits. So, Let’s see those guidelines.

Guidelines

→ Talk to opposite genders only if there is a need.

→ The conversation should be professional not personal, useful not useless, purposeful, and to the point.

Let’s say an example is: If you have to borrow a pen from a Non-Mehram, Just ask with respect: Can I borrow your pen? It’s a sensible way. But if you're like Oh MashaAllah, such a beautiful pen or useless things like that then it’s not Ma Sha Allah bruh it’s Astagfirullah 😂

→ Conversation between those should be on a public platform (a crowded place), not a private place. As I mentioned hadith earlier too that No man is alone with a woman but the Shaytan is the third one present.

→ If the purpose of the meeting is done within one session, then there’s no need to meet again and again at all.

→ Do your interaction with the opposite gender as limited as possible. In a meeting scenario, keep public distancing between each other and try to avoid making eye contact for sake of respect and for not letting in the chances of emotional attachment. Boys have to lower their gaze specifically because Allah said so. And girls have to do it too, Indeed.

→ Stop doing Cyber private attacks xD. I mean useless chats on messenger, WhatsApp, Insta, etc. You’re looking so beautiful, awesome & nice DP, etc. In this era, deep down we all know that we’re all involved in this sin somewhere. Even if we’re talking professionally, we get slipped from the track by using emojis, stickers, etc. for frankness or coolness purposes. (May Allah forgive us).

Your Duty?

Till now, Everything is clear. From every perspective to guidelines in interaction with the opposite gender. Now, what’s next? What I wanna say below this tagline of our duty is that If you’re involved in a haram relationship or purposeless chatting, mingling, socializing with Non-mahrams, then please leave it. We do that just to fulfill the pathetic cool standard of this society. Because we all know, If I don’t have opposite-gender friends, people will consider us awkward, old aged, conservation type person. (Modern civilization ☹)

I just wanna show a hadith:

“Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better”

So, try to do tuaba and leave your that kind of things (friendship, useless chats). Allah will give something a halal and a way better replacement for you. I know it’s difficult at the start. So ask Help from Allah, He knows your sufferings.

What you just have to do is consider & normalize this thing as a sin and spread awareness in society. And then do tuaba, Ask help from him for leaving such relations and friendships. Be a Man/Woman of dignity. He is Al-Gafoor, Ar-Rahmaan, who is waiting for your tuaba so that He can bless you with glad tidings.

So, That’s all from my side. Jazak Allah for reading! May Allah accept our efforts and make this article to change personalities. For giving an indirect message you can share this article with your friends too, who are involved in such things. Saving our close ones from Fitnah and the anger of Allah Almighty is our duty too.

Signing off until the next article, Allah Hafiz!

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Talha Tariq

On the way to be a Software Engineer | Love to write about Islamic & Programming Topics | Founder of Learn & Grow