Where Do You Sit? An Imaginary “Real Life” Gender Interaction Scenario

chicago_el1.jpgAll aboard! You’re a happeningly hip young practicing Muslim attending the local university. After staying for an unnecessarily long MSA Exec Board meeting on campus, you are forced to take the train home during rush hour. You really want to get home in time for dinner, so you hurry to the station and barely squeeze into one of the cars in time for the express ride home.

As you make your way to find a seat, you notice two, and only two open seats. However, next to each of the spots are two young outrageously attractive passengers of the opposite gender the likes of super models; one non-Muslim and the other a practicing Muslim from your MSA, community, and masjid. You’re dead tired from the day and standing is not an option on this 45 minute ride. As the train leaves, the question emerges: where do you sit?

Keep in mind that this is an express ride. The train boards now, and doesn’t stop until your stop many miles away. Therefore finding open seats and moving from car to car is very difficult, and where you sit is where you sit, period. So let’s look at our options.

Option 1a: Sit with the non-Muslim

Better to sit with some “stranger” than to make it awkward by sitting next to the sister, right? Not necessarily. Many Muslims are very lax when interacting with non-Muslims of the opposite gender yet very strict about not even acknowledging the existence of their fellow Muslim sisters, an incorrect way of thinking. Not to mention the uneasiness of sitting next to a dangerously attractive human being. Sure you won’t “do” anything, but your eyes certainly might. After all, it was related that the Prophet (SAW) said that the first look is the poison tipped arrow of Shaytan. Ouch! This option doesn’t look so promising.

Option 1b:  Sit with the Muslim

Better than sitting with the non-Muslim? Doesn’t seem so certain. The last time you had to be so close to this person was in 4th grade Sunday School class. After that, you saw them at Iftar parties, masjid fund raisers, or during MSA events. And to make matters worse, this is someone who is pure “potential,” if you know what I mean. You really don’t want to be on the the “hey Salma” and “hi Kashif” “omg let’s go get dessert together” methodology many Muslims have fallen into. Seems sitting next to them is probably not the best way to maintain that respectful means of interaction with this fellow Muslim brother or sister.

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 Option 2: Stand for 45 minutes

Your feet are killing you from your long day of Gen Chem lab and if you were to stand the ride home, you wouldn’t have the energy to study for exams, help your parents, or worship you Lord late into the night. Yikes!

Our scenario doesn’t look so good, huh? Is this dilemma really impossible to solve at this point? Well, the thing is, it’s not always so black or white.

Gender interaction isn’t an on and off switch between “fully integrate” and “totally ignore.” You need to judge scenarios and see exactly what’s up, while at the same time act in a manner of respect. You gotta use your brain.

Take Musa ‘alayhi as salam for example. When he came by the two women who were in need of assistance, what did he do? Did he ignore them and walk away in “fear” of his Lord? No. Did he help them yet at the same time get too close and friendly around them? A’udhubiAllah, no. He helped them and took them to where they needed to go, yet he kept it real. As they traveled to their destination, he walked in front of them instead of next to or behind them, so as to help them and at the same time respect them according to the manners of gender interaction.

Lots of young Muslims run into the dangers of the two extremes. Either overly-strict ignoring the opposite gender, or overly-lax “hi!!!1 omg let’s get some Coldstone on Friday night.” Muslims need to interact with one another, but at the same time know to keep it real.

So what’s the answer to this scenario? Simple, follow the methodology of Musa ‘alayhi as salam: think and keep it real!

Option 3: Think and keep it real!

Ask the fellow Muslim to switch seats and have them sit next to the other passenger of their gender. That leaves an open seat for you to sit comfortably without having to deal with any “alternatives.” There’s nothing wrong in speaking to the opposite gender, so long as it is done for need, with respect and without any non-sense. Following the example of Musa, we know that the Prophetic method is to interact with the opposite gender but to modify your actions to suit the scenario in terms of respect.

So you go with option 3, the Muslim of the other gender performs da’wah on the non-Muslim who converts giving you the ajr, and Allah rewards the both of you with a wonderful marriage, many children, and life happily ever after. Just like how Prophet Musa (A) married one of those women!

Okay, okay, so the ending was a bit stretched, I admit. But do you see how by using our noggins a bit, we can still keep it real? Alhumdulillah.

We ask Allah (SWT) make us like Musa (A) and those who when it’s time to act think and keep it real.

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67 responses to “Where Do You Sit? An Imaginary “Real Life” Gender Interaction Scenario”

  1. OM says:

    Stand up. Standing for forty minutes on a moving train isn’t too tiring. I do it all the time.

  2. Nihal Khan says:

    I used to take the train from Manhattan to Queens everyday about 2 years ago. I came across this situation a coupe of times (well, close enough). But I always saw that I was too tired in the morning and way too tired when coming home after school. In the end, I’d just put my head down, close my eyes and rest till my stop came.

  3. Ikram says:

    Third option sounds good for me. But I’m sure a lot of guys will do it wrong and make the Muslim girl think something is wrong with her. If you are a guy and want to do it, you must be able to explain to the Muslim sister in clear terms why you want her to move to another seat, instead of weirding her out by asking her to move away without giving her a reason. Some sisters would understand why you want them to move, but others would not. It won’t hurt to explain in either case.
    Oh I’m sure it will hurt for some of my shy Muslim brothers out there. My advice for those is; overcome your shyness before you get into a situation like this.

  4. MR says:

    Nihal – you saw super models a couple of times? hah jk

    I’d take this option:

    Option 4: Get off at next step and quickly jump to the next cart and sit next to some random wannabe thug and fall asleep to the tunes of Jay Z or Nas or Daddy Yankee blasting from half of the subway rider’s headphones

    Man, I miss NY!

  5. Ibn Masood says:

    Lol… not that hard…

    Be a MAN and stand for 45 Minutes. If that gets you tired, you simply need to do it more often to get used to it. Join a Gym. Eat healthier. Sleep smarter. You’ll be fine inshAllah.

  6. Amatullah101 says:

    Very good idea, I was thinking of the same thing while reading the beginning of the article.

    I’ve done that before in my class in uni, when a guy (who will just like randomly touch you or poke you) came and sat next to me so I asked my friend on the other side if I could switch seats with her, she did alhamdulillah. And then the guy said, did you switch seats because of me?!? and I said yes and explained to him why. subhanAllah, it was weird because the women took offense to it and started arguing while he said, I really admire that, more women should be like that and he was defending it.

    • SW says:

      MashaAllah keep it up, sis. :) I pray Allah gives me and us all the courage to do what we should and explain it to people well. I’ve currently been in a group of students that only contains myself and 2 guys and I’ve been awkward. Shyness should be something you do confidently, I think, if you see what I mean? And I’ve been timidy/unconfidently shy and that leads to awkwardness.

  7. Elzaharna says:

    “After staying for an unnecessarily long MSA Exec Board meeting on campus, you are forced to take the train home during rush hour.”

    – Amen brotha man!

  8. Hassan says:

    Buy a car

  9. Sami says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    I am sure I have seen this article before?!

  10. Asad S. says:

    Option 3 is straight up… GENIUS!! JazakaAllahu Khair!

    I can definately relate…taking the subway or the GO train in toronto…..its a scramble finding a seat without the fitnah.

  11. Amad says:

    Start saying takbeer loudly. Soon many seats will clear up near you.

    • Abd- Allah says:


      That is true, but unfortunately, soon after that you will also get arrested and thus spend the night in jail…

      As for the situation mentioned in the article, then just sit next to the Muslim sister in order to stick to the Jama’ah or group of Muslims. She has her hijab on, you lower your gaze, simple.

  12. Dawud Israel says:

    Yeah taking the TTC has these scenarios…I used to and still will continue to stand for however long. Option 3 isn’t always an option since the sister may be a total stranger and knowing Muslims–we react in too many different ways for me to risk that, especially after being so tired.

    Some other bus/train scenarios for Saqib’s imagination:

    -beautiful hijabi sister keeps staring at you on the bus
    -mentally unstable homeless people keep nagging you on the bus

    Now THAT I would like to read!

  13. Mass says:

    well thats pretty much useless if yr a huge kind of bro.. just lay down and sit on the floor like a hippy may be weird but also a better option. unless you ask the sister to really squeeze into the nonmuslim. ehm kidding.

  14. YFH says:

    Nice write-up.

    Two things to consider:

    1. Let’s suppose the Muslim girl does switch seats, what if, at the next stop the Non-Muslim girl gets off and a dude comes and sits next to the Muslim girl?

    2. Or let’s say the Muslim girl switches seats, you take her seat and five minutes later another really hot girl who was in the bathroom comes out and sits next to you?

    I get the whole temptation thing, but if you are really tired just sit next to one of the girls and close your eyes.

    Or you can always stand =)

  15. Amir says:

    Why not just pick whatever seat is most comfortable and act normal? Does the site of a pleasant looking person always have to be the source of such fitnah? Are we really that animalistic? Ironically, sitting next to this person may be the best guard against illicit looks: You are forced to look ahead, any look to the side may anger your neighbor, especially if its repeated.

  16. Rhythm says:

    Stand for 45 minutes or catch the next train.

    If you really need a seat, maintain a diet throughout the day that is conducive to flatulence.

  17. Amir says:

    I think not being able to control yourself around the mere presence of the opposite sex is more repulsive than flatulence.

  18. islamictruth says:

    Option 2: sit next to the muslim and talk about islam for 45 min.

  19. anon says:

    This whole article is really quite pointless, not to mention the logic makes no sense. So basically its better to stand or switch places with someone? Standing pretty much gives you a nice view of everyone in the train/subway, which means you’d get an even clearer view of all the attractive people. Which means that you’ll have to shut your eyes while standing for 45 minutes. And what if the attractive people are lined up across from you? Maybe you should just not get on at all then.
    Or you could act like a normal person with some self control and just sit next to whomever. Seriously, what kind of person sits down next to someone and than starts looking at them. Across from you I could understand. There is really no avoiding that unless you close your eyes. Beside you? You’d actually physically have to turn your head. Weird
    I’m with Amir on this.

  20. Faraz says:

    I think there’s some insight here with the incident of Aisha radhiyAllahu’anha and Safwan radhiAllahu’anh, in terms of the etiquette Safwan showed when travelling with Aisha (letting her ride the camel, keeping his gaze down, etc..) Avoiding her completely would have made Aisha radhiAllah’anha vulnerable, out there in the desert, so he did what he felt was right in spite of what people may have said (and did say) about them being seen together. On that note, I think I’d rather a Muslim brother sit next to a Muslim sister than a non-Muslim man who wouldn’t protect his gaze. Of course, ideally, the sister would sit with another female, if the option is available. I do agree with Amir, though, that self control is more important than playing musical chairs.

    Thankfully, the longest bus ride I need to undergo is only 15 minutes as I always stand. Ah, the joys of living in a small city. :)

  21. Abu Ziyad says:

    Sit next to the muslim sister and keep the school bag between you and the sister and close your eyes as you are really tired….

  22. zfnd says:


    Nicely captured. Way to keep it real. Jazakallakhair for the wonderful advice.

  23. Amatullah101 says:

    I hope this doesn’t turn into the niqaabi xmen article…

    The brother was giving a reminder, as Allah ta’ala says: inna adh-dhikraa tanfu’ul mu’mineen, indeed the reminder benefits the believers. And remember the hadeeth of speaking good or keeping silent, I don’t think it’s fair or right for anyone to say that the article is pointless or completely tear it up…we learn from surah Zumar that Allah says to give glad tidings to His slaves, those who listen to the speech and follow the best from it…so maybe you would do something else in that situation, maybe you’d get off the train, maybe you’d stand up, maybe, maybe, maybe…Allah knows best, so take the best advice from the article and thank the brother for writing it. Allah is Rafeeq (most Kind, has forbearance) and He loves Rifq :) so be kind in your words and remember the angels are writing down all we say and write.

  24. Shahzad says:

    “However, next to each of the spots are two young outrageously attractive passengers of the opposite gender the likes of super models…”

    Keep dreaming mate…….

  25. Zaynab says:

    Wow, people love to hate. SubhanAllah.

    I personally thought the article was great, this kind of awkward happens to me all the time! If you sit with the Muslim brother people may talk, or it might make THEM uncomfortable. If you sit with the random guy, again people may talk, and it could make YOU uncomfortable. Especially if they are both “outrageously attractive” (LOL). Even if your actions are based on sound intention, you still want to avoid any suspicious/potentially haram situations insha’Allah.

    Haters aside br.Saqib, your article was on point for any young Muslim struggling to protect their deen. JazakAllah khayr!

  26. mcpagal says:

    I think I saw this a while back on my google reader thing, and then it diasppeared, and I thought it might have been deleted because it was controversial or something!

    I like the solution – it’s always good to come up with extra options. At the same time I think a lot of Muslim brothers have this strange syndrome that lets them act completely free and normal around non-Muslim girls but when they meet a Muslim girl (especially a hijabi) they act like their eyes are glued to the floor and their tongue is only capable of monosyllables. I mean, it’s good they’re showing some respect, but it’d be better if they could keep to a single standard.

  27. Nihal Khan says:

    I think standing makes it worse in a sense. I used to take the train from Queens to Manhattan (For you NYers out there) and used to be in the E Train @ rush hour. When you get to 53rd street, you wish you’d sat down. It gets so crowded in there and that’s the point where you want to put your head down, yet you can’t. Allahu A3lam, I think this situation must be dealt with in an honorable fashion while the person using his own intellect. I’d think that standing here would be a bigger fitnah.

  28. nasafi says:

    option 3 does not make sense. what if you are sitting by yourself and another trouble comes and sits next to you. now you have to get up and risk the chance of the muslim sister giggling.

    best option is not to be lazy and walk from cart to cart until you find a seat next to a skinny guy who does not look gay.

  29. IbnAbbas says:

    Assalaamu alaikum

    I travel on tubes (in london here) almost everyday and I remember I have been in such situation many times, well not exactly similar but sort of same.

    I would never go for Option3 as I wouldn’t have the guts to speak to a muslim sister. If I’m really tired then I just sit anywhere and close my eyes…….sleeping on tube is nice anyway :)

    So I have my option 4:

    As you’re tired, just close your eyes and have a nice 45 minutes sleep. If you’re a heavy sleeper like me then you could put an alarm. (no i dnt put an alarm myself, im used to it and i wakeup just before my destination) :)

  30. SaqibSaab says:

    Assalaamu alaykum,

    JazakAllah khair to everyone for all the comments. I appreciate all those who responded kindly. I think it would be beneficial to go over the background and inspiration for this post.

    What was the point of this post?
    While it may seem like this was a “omg it’s haram to sit next to a woman” type post, it wasn’t. This was actually for those brothers who are overly cautious at speaking to their fellow Muslim sisters. I feel many brothers have this mentality that speaking and interacting with non-Muslim women is totally cool, yet, like mcpagal mentioned, they treat Muslim sisters like they’re the worst things that ever happened to them. Muslim guys like them need to be less stiff.

    What about the scenarios?
    Did the scenarios seem impossible, unreal, and outright laughable? That was the point! While it’s hard to tell tone in writing, come on, guys. A scenario like this where the two people are “outrageously attractive?” What ever happened to senses of humor? Muslims, man… chill out sometimes! :)

    We ask Allah (SWT) to help us in everything.


  31. SaqibSaab says:

    I would never go for Option3 as I wouldn’t have the guts to speak to a muslim sister. If I’m really tired then I just sit anywhere and close my eyes…….sleeping on tube is nice anyway

    Br. Ibn Abbas, really? A friend of mine told me that most guys are afraid to speak to Muslim women. I didn’t know it was that forreal. Guess he was right!

  32. ABCD says:

    If I were really that tired I would sit beside the non muslim person of the opposite gender.
    This article really made me think.

  33. usman says:

    salaam, if their is no chance of physical contact as it is on subways when u sit next to ppl, then i would sit next to the muslim sister, like someone said but ur bag btwn and u should be gud…and allah knows best

  34. Sonia says:

    “I think not being able to control yourself around the mere presence of the opposite sex is more repulsive than flatulence.”

    I think its also important to take into account upbringing / how “sheltered” an individual may have been. As was mentioned there are people that tend to feel more confused in situations such as the one described than others simply because they are not used to as much interaction with the opposite gender. I think it would serve us well to discuss scenarios such as the one in the article in a patient and non judgmental manner with such brothers and sisters. I think that this is an extremely healthy discussion that serves that purpose well.

    Being repulsed by people who haven’t quite figured out how to carry themselves in the presence of the opposite gender or how to react – is just like a muslim being ‘repulsed’ by any other source of confusion a believer may be dealing with. How is an issue addressed if this is the attitude with which such individuals are viewed? They are ignorantly deemed as ignorant when they may be trying their best to be as open minded as possible about the situation (such as the conscious believer described in the article).

    The arabic word Haya is normally translated as modesty or inhibition, but neither word conveys the same idea as haya. Modesty suggests shunning indecent behavior but it also implies bashfulness based on timidity. Is bashfulness really that disgusting? Why is haya always seen as strictly a way of dealing with lack of control?

    Haya may come out of respect for the other individual, confusion, being uncomfortable, trying one’s best to please Allah (swt), etc…the list could go on and on.

    The article above did not even seem to be an extreme scenario. Forgive me if this comment seemed harsh.

  35. Kadijatu says:


    just to let you know sr. sonia, your comment was the exact opposite of harsh, and i thought u made a lot of good points, mA : )

  36. DSMuslimah says:

    just to let you know sr. sonia, your comment was the exact opposite of harsh, and i thought u made a lot of good points, mA : )

    Jazak Allah Khair sr. Kadijatu

  37. Specs says:

    Interesting read and very relavent to the times today. JazakAllahuKhair.

  38. IbnAbbas says:

    “Br. Ibn Abbas, really? A friend of mine told me that most guys are afraid to speak to Muslim women. I didn’t know it was that forreal. Guess he was right!”
    Its not about being afraid of them. At times when there is a need, I can speak to them but I was more of talking about this particular scenario; you’re the only TWO muslims on the train and will be there for a long journey.
    to be honest I personally find it more difficult to communicate to a sister (the practising, not just a random sister) than non-muslims. I know many brothers who feel the same and you shouldn’t be surprised coz I think there is no bigger fitnah for a practising brother than a practising sister and vice versa. And it doesn’t mean that the same brothers, in any situation, would deem it inappropriate to communicate to opposite gender.

  39. shahgul says:

    Instead of asking the sister/brother to move, I would post a question, like, do you mind me sitting next to you, or would you like to sit with the girl/guy over there. This would firstly, not offend the person, as you would take their feelings into consideration, secondly, it would be their decision, not yours.
    I would be more offended if a Muslim brother sat down next to me, simply, because he is expected to know the difference between good and bad.
    I work outside the house, and have faced the situation of non-Muslim men trying to pat you on the back, or give touch you while they speak to you. It is not correct to take offense, because they don’t have knowledge. As soon as I have known them for a couple of days, I give them this speel: Look here, this is not personal, only, my religion does not allow me to touch unrelated men, so, I would really appreciate if you talked to me without touching (this works for the hand shake situation too).

    I say that in a very nice way, and not in the presence of others. They really appreciate being explained the reason.
    They, however, will go on to touch you just out of habit. After I have known a person for a while, and he still tries to tap my shoulder while talking, I just tell them: ” Hey I would appreciate if you kept your paws off me!”, this quickly reminds them, they apologize and don’t take offense.

    I rode the med center buses for about a year, and the technique is, if the bus is empty, go to farthest double seat, keep your bag on the window side, and sit on the aisle side. If it begins to fill up, either make space for the next woman getting on, or move on to an empty seat next to a woman. In case, you are trapped in a seat with a man next to you, put your bag or something in between and fall asleep.

  40. Get Real.

    Don’t over-analyze situations more than they need to be. I don’t know where you take the train/subway but at least you have seats to sit on, and if your physically fit (i.e. not overweight, you should fit easily within the die-cast mold of the seat, without overflowing onto the other person).

    The trains I take force me be to smashed up against strangers bodies for 15-20s mins (try taking the N train off Queens Borough Plaza to the Lex 6 train stop between 7:30 and 9 am or the 5 pm to 6 pm F going back to Queens).

    Perhaps I should stand there on the platform and conjecture my ill fated endeavor to get to where I’m going on time with a half a dozen strangers bodies pressed up like canned sardines.

    O’ the fitnah!

    Sorry peeps – I’m getting on that train and getting home.

    as salaamu alaikum

  41. ya'ani says:

    Yo ill be for real. Sitting with sisters is mad awkward and I’ve done option 1 a lot and regretted it. Option 3 is even more awkward personally, so I rather just stand.

  42. Muslim Girl says:

    Sit in the closest seat to you and don’t over-analyze… you’re making it more awkward than it needs to be…there’s bigger things in life to worry about.

  43. Nasreen says:

    I don’t think people should jump up in such defense if someone calls the article pointless – he/she already showed enough respect to read and give an honest opinion. I don’t think thats hate. I didn’t read ALL the comments, toward the end, but I’m fairly certain there wasn’t anyone cussing up a storm. JUST MY OPINION THOUGH, HA.

    I agree with the people who find that this whole situation is really a non-issue, though. There doesn’t seem to be any real right or wrong answer – it’s just sitting on a train and navigating through your comfort level while being considerate of another person.

    Personally, I’d sit next to the non-Muslim guy. Simply because then, I’d just be one tired chick on the way home and he’d be just some random guy I happened to be sitting next to. No need for any drama or worrying that the Muslim guy will think I want his body or that I want him to want my body or whatever other crazy thing it is that he manages to concoct. I’d even get points for being “respectful” of his space and WHO KNOWS, maybe in like, 3 days, I’d get a proposal and our kids would be BEAUTIFUL.


    :D a lot of this is tongue-in-cheek.

  44. R says:

    asalamu alikum

    Perhaps in this, there should be a clear message for muslim sisters. If they see a brother who cannot sit because of the situation described, then kindly get up for the sake of Allah and sit next to the non-muslim girl. inshaAllah the sister would be rewarded for helping the brother in his deen.

  45. Sirat says:

    What is the sister doing on the train without a mahram anyway? Why is the brother so worried about sitting with hot lady when he deals with them on a daily basis at school, university, work, etc? Hypocrite? Potentially.

    This is a very reactionary article. We’re giving examples of Aisha and Safwan and Musa (AS). Those people would certainly not approve of modern mixed-setting universities, public schools and work environments in the first place, especially for the women (since men may have to work, study, etc out of necessity to provide for families until an alternative is established). At best, these institutions create tons of sources of fitnah. At worst, they’re haram.

    So the real question is: what are we going to do in terms of establishing alternatives to the above? Possible options: homeschooling, independent businesses, muslim communities, to name a few.

    So that our sisters are protected from going out alone. And our brothers can minimize interaction with non-muslim women on a daily basis.

    • Hala says:

      its great to have segregated places etc, but since we dont have those facilities in the west then ofcourse shell be on the train minus a mahram, the men in the family have lives too, whered you get a mahram to follow you around especially if your unmarried coz if ur husband is so bothered he can follow you himself, but my bro wouldnt go on all my train rides with me he’d tell me to get a life, arent you being a bit unrealistic?

  46. coolred38 says:

    How about stop treating all women as if they are “walking fitna” and treat them with equal respect whether you think they deserve it or not merely because they might be Muslim or non Muslim? Sit down and mind your manners no matter if your sitting next to a niqabi Muslim…a hijab Muslim…a nonhijab Muslim…or a variety of mixtures that occur in the non Muslim world(and Muslim world). If you sincerely wish to emulate the Prophet then do so..but he never segregated the sexes to such an extent that homeschooling etc seemed the only viable option to keeping men safe from the potentially corrupting influence of women…for heavens sake ….you would think Muslim men believe all women have “cooties” that must be avoided…

    “So that our sisters are protected …..”….many of our sisters need more protection from Sharia Laws that are corrupted for personal nafs then on who sits beside them on buses and at college. I realize all issues concerning our safety and well being are important to a certain degree…but get real….who sits next to me on a bus just isnt high on my list of things I need to worry about….unless that person makes an issue of it…which based on this article…would seem to cause quite alot of consternation for some.

    • hellothere says:

      Well I don’t know if you’re a heterosexual male, but if you are, then you’d know that healthy heterosexual men have hormones and desires. Of course we can control them – we’re not animals. But we still have feelings and desires nonetheless, and these can make us act and think differently. There’s something quite important in Islam called “shyness” and “modesty”.

      Oh and I’m not sure what’s your idea of “Sharia Laws that are corrupted for personal nafs”, but I’m just curious – would you consider putting a curtain between the men and the women to be a “corrupted Sharia Law”? Because the Prophet (S) told Aisha (RA) to put a curtain between herself and a blind man – because even if he couldn’t see her, she could still see him. And the Prophet (S) also put a curtain between himself and a sahaabiyya – because as Allah (SWT) mentions, this is purer for your hearts and theirs. In reality, the past 1,400 years of ulemaa (both male and female) have taught and learned from the opposite gender from behind a curtain. The whole concept of taking away the curtain is a newly-invented construction.
      Oh yeah and Allah (SWT) also commands the believing men and women to lower their gazes. Hopefully that also doesn’t come within your definition of “Sharia Laws that are corrupted for personal nafs”?

      Sorry if this sounds a little rude, but a rude post merits a rude response.

  47. Sirat says:

    Just because you or some random joe dick harry thinks mixing is a non-issue doesn’t make it a non-issue in Islam.

    “corrupting influence of women” … Don’t blame the women. Its shaytan we’re trying to avoid. Shaytan will use women to mislead men and there’s plenty of evidence to prove this from the Quran and Sunnah.

    So it isn’t the “cooties” we need to watch out for, but the shaytan who’s sitting on the head of the hot lady :-)


  48. muslimah says:

    wow- I agree with coolred- there are bigger things in life to worry about…get a life people…

    We’re giving examples of Aisha and Safwan and Musa (AS). Those people would certainly not approve of modern mixed-setting universities, public schools and work environments in the first place, especially for the women (since men may have to work, study, etc out of necessity to provide for families until an alternative is established). At best, these institutions create tons of sources of fitnah. At worst, they’re haram.

    precisely. yall should question your stay in the west to begin with!

  49. SaqibSaab says:

    So the real question is: what are we going to do in terms of establishing alternatives to the above? Possible options: homeschooling, independent businesses, muslim communities, to name a few.

    As Imam Suhaib says: “Preparation instead of incubation.” In some ways, tend to agree.

    JazakAllah khair to all for the comments and criticism!


  50. VM says:

    These things do occur Im sure, and to pass of the article as being ‘silly’ is being pointless in and in of itself. A lot of people don’t know what to do in such situations. Sure, Muslim Sisters shouldn’t be out without Mahrams and all those other things, but do people really think just saying that is going to solve such problems?

  51. Saleha says:

    Here’s my thoughts:

    Personally, speaking as a Muslim sister myself, and coming from the experience I have had with this sort of stuff; If he wasn’t to do Option 3, I would prefer him sit by me, because I know at least I wouldn’t try to talk to him. Sitting with the non muslim, she wouldn’t lower her gaze, she might do that small talk and think it’s okay, or worse, she’ll jus end up hitting on him if he’s really hot or something “outrageous” like that. :)

    I’m just saying, the muslim sister, if it were me, I would know my boundaries, and I would never want to put him in that position where he has to feel like he’d be better off with the non muslim than with me. This is a sort of protective thing I have. I don’t know what he’d be thinking, but if I were to lower my gaze, or look out the window or something and not pay attention to him, I think it would help him to get away from the potential fitnah that he thought he would have to face. I also wouldn’t even be offended if he were to ask me to sit with the other girl, in fact, I’d admire it by all means. And I also would never be offended if he just stayed standing, in fact, I’d feel bad that he’s actually trying to protect himself from committing sins that I’d just get the deal and go sit with the girl myself. It’s common sense.

    I’m saying most of this solely because of the experiences I have gone through: Mcpagal and br.Saqib are completely right, I’ve even had brothers who were scared of me and never helped me on anything if I needed it, and then to the non muslim girl they’d flirt back and do something totallly hypocritical. It’s hurtful to say the least that some brothers (not all!) have this double standard with women. :(
    And on the other hand, the other part of my experiences have been the other way, where I felt more comfortable with a practicing muslim brother, because I know he wouldn’t try to small talk me or poke me like an idiot, instead of sitting next to a non muslim man, who, would , u know..etc.etc.

    I just thought I’d speak for myself, because Allah only knows what the other girls would be like, I know many people are different, but maybe some people might act and think like I would in this situation.

    P.S…..how much was he staring to get that they were outrageously attractive and supermodel like? man oh man ;)

  52. abulhassan says:

    I like the last comment….mashaAllah. At the same time, if it was me, I would just sit next to the non muslim. I would probably just look out the window and go to sleep. It wouldn’t really be a big deal. WE LIVE IN THE WEST people….we see people of the opposite gender. Its not like just because we sit next to someone we are going to fall in LOVE with them. At the same time, we have so much awkwardness in dealing with sisters that would be very double minded to sit next to her. Most likely my main concern would be if she would be comfortable or not. Also, the MUSLIM sister would be a MUCH BIGGER FITNA than the non-muslim because i may be thinking about how she is a POTENTIAL — and how beautiful our POTENTIAL KIDS would be :)

    Allah knows best…..may Allah help us

  53. Alima says:

    Oh My! Whilst i was away me and the girls actually spoke about this, whilst on the train.

    It’s amazing how timely your article is.

    It’s so realistic and well written, lol, at some of the comments.

    What i would do, Allahu alem. i prefer to travel with sisters but at times i’m put into this situation.

    Regarding the mahram issue, if only this was in our control, subhan’Allah i, personally would stick to it like glue. However, it’s not and when it will be i assure you, the sisters will stick to it bi’idhnillahi ta’ala.

    What would i do, Allahu alem.

  54. Abdullah says:

    If you MUST sit, better to sit next to a non-Muslim woman who will probably ignore you , then sit next a Muslim woman who knows you from Sunday school and might feel the urge to make conversation. Both are non-mahram anyway.

    After sitting next to said non-Muslim, whip out that pocket Quran that you always carry and starting reading it. If there’s a shaytan on her, she will move away… Problem solved!

  55. bebe says:

    i like the fairy tale ending in the end… nice touch! very funny.

    I’m a really shy sister. I’d probably sit wherever I can and avoid communication.
    Try not make a big deal out of it and sleep for the whole period of 45 minutes.
    And, if I feel super uncomfortable, I’d most likely just walkover to the next cabin.
    However, after reading this insyaAllah next time I’ll muster some courage and try out option3 of course with the clear intention of doing it for the sake of Allah and not for e sake of impressing either opposite sex. Lol.

  56. Samira says:

    the Muslim of the other gender performs da’wah on the non-Muslim who converts giving you the ajr, and Allah rewards the both of you with a wonderful marriage, many children, and life happily ever after. Just like how Prophet Musa (A) married one of those women!

    LOL! I would keep standing propably. I don’t have the guts to tell someone to sit somewhere else!

  57. Hala says:

    i have never thought itd be so problematic to choose where to sit to be honest ill sit wherever there is to sit when i want to sit, if im so tired only times i debate with myself over where to sit is when the person looks really dodgy or smells or something, itd be very weird of the person to think your a bad muslim or something because you sat in a chair in a packed train which happened to be next to them and they happened to be of the oppsoite gender :O how shocking and scandalous?, id also think the brother was weird, or mad or something if he just came and asked me to move, but if he explained that he feels its really uncomfortable to sit next to a woman then id probably move and sit next to the woman

  58. Just Another Ayesha says:

    If this happened with me, being the Muslim girl, I would have understood by instinct and gotten up and sat with the non-Muslim girl. And I’m pretty sure she would have noticed what just happened and respected Muslims for that.
    So much for keeping it real.

  59. hellothere says:

    Good points mentioned masha’Allah. I’m a brother and would probably feel too shy and awkward to try option #3. (Don’t get me wrong, if a sister needs help, I’ll help her, but in this case it’s me who needs help.) Instead, I’d probably just stand up and kill my legs. Oh well.

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