‘Do not touch guys’. This is a warning that
is instilled in Muslim girls everywhere. If he’s not your Mahram you’ve got no business having any physical contact with them as adherence to the Islamic law (Shariah). This leads us to, the Muslimahs having to be very careful in our day to day interactions with the opposite sex, be it in college, at work or even at home. Wherever there’s a male, be alert.
This proves to be a challenge sometimes; case point when the issue of culture comes to rise. When you’re raised in a society where family is just that, family, your uncle is family, your grandfather is family and your cousin is equally your family. There’s no distinction between your Mahram and non-Mahram, all we see is family. This can prove to be quite tricky to deal with. You can imagine yourself in a family gathering, going around greeting everybody, hugging/kissing the females, giving your hand to the male (Mahrams), then suddenly your cousin Musa pops up and you have to catch your hand before you make that haram contact, God Forbid! You then quickly extract yourself from that situation and hope that Cousin Musa understands what just happened. He better not think you were disrespecting anyone.
I have to admit though I personally didn’t always do this, or should I say haven’t always done this. I have let culture rule over religion far too many times. In the beginning, it was because that’s how I saw things being done and didn’t know better. However, as I grew up and realised it wasn’t appropriate I still didn’t try to fix it only because it’s easier that way. Not right but easier.
Let’s take it away from the family scene when dealing with people of no relation to you — strangers, classmates, colleagues whomever. You and your friend, say, Sandra, happen to run into a couple of friends of hers, one a male, Frank and the other a female, Mary. Sandra decides to introduce you to them, ‘cause that’s what friends do. Politely you give your greeting to each and Mary holds out her hand. In response, you accept it and shake hands. Frank does the same. In this case, you are left staring at him faced with three options— A) Just accept it and let the ordeal end B) pretend you didn’t see it and just ignore it until he pulls out C) refuse it and explain to him why.
Choice C is obviously the best, both Islamically and morally but, it’s not always the easiest. You’re faced with this scenario more than once every single day, and it’s tiring to have to explain to EVERYONE why you can’t touch them. Be it a handshake or even a hug. It is always easier to “just go with it” and opt for choice A.
We need to stop opting for the easier way out of things and start choosing the right way. This applies to both genders because guys have to know it’s not okay to “casually” hug Ashley. Pick option C because as tiring or awkward as you may feel, sooner or later it’s going to get easier for you. People might even stop putting you in those situations/positions as they’ll have been educated enough and respect it. You might not even have to bother explaining yourself anymore, for who knows, Sandra might take it upon herself to do so, because that’s how awesome of a friend she is.
Ladies AND gents, stick to C.
*As always share any experience you might have head regarding this topic, it’s always fun to know.