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Questions and Answers 

Selma Cook


Question 1

Shahnawaz Ahmad  - India


In countries where education system is run by government agencies what steps should be taken to preserve morality of Muslim boys and girls during co-education institutions? 




Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. Co-education is common throughout the world, in fact, males and females are expected to be able to deal with each other in the work place and in daily living. Doing so, requires some life skills that have to be taught, as males and females are naturally attracted to each other. Very few places in the world follow strict segregation of the sexes.



It is necessary to learn to deal with the opposite sex. That does not, however, mean that we get involved in sexual relationships outside marriage. As individuals, we have to know ourselves, and follow a framework that protects the dignity and respect of everyone involved.    


Islam has given us the framework for this. It includes, dressing modestly, respecting each other, not being alone with someone from the opposite sex, and keeping the dialog focused on the issue at hand, whether work or school related.

It is necessary that young people make a clearly defined intention of what they will and will not as they attend a college, university or work place that has people of the opposite sex there. In this way, the person will have a criteria and will know when he/she is stepping over the boundaries. It is also very important to keep company with like-minded people so you can encourage and remind each other.


Finally, it is our awareness and consciousness of Allah (taqwa) that will guide us in dealing with such things. First, we have to know the limits, then we have to commit ourselves to keeping within those limits, and third, we have to keep close to Allah and keep good friends so we will be guided how to stay on the right track.

All the best.



Question two:

Assalamu Alaikum sister, I have a friend in college who is messing up with my head. This guy is threatening me that if I don't agree to get involve with him he will commit suicide. He is always calling and crying saying he cannot live without me. He loves me a lot. He even lied to me telling that his mom has cancer, his sister is getting divorced and many other lies so that I feel sorry for him and agree to marry him based on sympathy. He says if something happens to him I will be responsible. Sister I do feel sorry for him but I don’t want to marry him. Even if I agree to marry him his parents won’t let the marriage take place till another 3-4 years because he has to first finish his studies. Sister how can I make him leave me alone. Please help me I am emotionally drained. 



Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question.

This guy is obviously manipulating you and you should keep yourself far from him.

Emotional blackmail, lying, manipulating, threatening and so on, are clear indicators that this person is not a suitable candidate for marriage. That being the case just tell him frankly that it is off. Do not talk to him, answer the phone, open emails from him or accept any form of communication. The fact that you feel emotionally drained means that to some extent you have bought into his trickery. Please, learn a lesson from this.


It is vital that we have a clear idea of the qualities we are looking for in a marriage partner. The characteristics he has shown are entirely unsuitable and I pity anyone who ends up with him as he is. Just because someone shows interest and says nice things and makes lots of promises does not mean he is a candidate for marriage. There is so much more to be considered; his character, the way he solves problems, how he behaves when he doesn’t get what he wants, what he does when he is angry, as well as shared interests, ambitions, hopes and so on.


So, I suggest you end this communication with him keeping firmly in mind that you are not responsible for the decisions he makes in his life, even though he would have you think you are. And, remember that if you want to have a blessed, happy life you have to make a conscious decision to do things the right way. Keep close to Allah, keep up the prayers, obey Allah as much as you can and always seek to live a clean, wholesome lifestyle with the intention of never harming, but always being a positive influence.

All the best.

Question three:

Osama Fadel – Egypt


What about working with the opposite sex after graduation? In the market place we do not choose with whom shall we work. 



Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question.

You are right. We do not have a choice about the people we shall work with, but, we do have a choice about how we conduct ourselves with them. It is important that we are socially aware of our place and the people in it and that we respect others, treat them well and communicate in a positive way. At the same time, it is just as important that we know our limits and that we have the courage to say ‘no’ when we have to and to do that in a kind and polite way. It is all about being assertive; having a framework and living within that framework.


In the environment at university or the work place there will be many kinds of temptations; perhaps there may be opportunities to cheat, lie, steal or have relations with someone from the opposite sex. We are continually surrounded by temptations, but that doesn’t mean we should isolate ourselves. In fact, it is very important in today’s world that we interact (properly), be a source of help wherever we are, and develop ourselves and the place and people around us. These are all part of giving back to the world and being good Muslims/citizens/human beings.


If, in the work environment, you find too many temptations and you feel weak, then it is time to think again. I do not suggest retreating and being cowardly, but it may be helpful to take some time off and use that time to build yourself up spiritually. Spiritual strength, is, after all what helps us through when times get tough. If we keep ourselves close to Allah and keep our spirituality ‘in tune’ we will be able to face and deal with any challenge. The work place is just one such challenge and life can serve out many more!

All the best.


Question four:

Sama - Germany

I got embarrassed to speak to my male colleagues at university, as I 'm too shy, so how can I overcome this problem? 



Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. Shyness can affect so many parts of our lives but there are ways to overcome it, insha Allah.


It is important that you have a positive self-image, and see yourself realistically with all your strengths and weaknesses. Do not be afraid to acknowledge your weaknesses because that is the first step to overcoming them and turning them into strengths.

At the same time, perceiving our strengths and what we are good at does not necessarily mean that we are arrogant. We are looking for balance. To do this, it might be helpful to sit with a close relative or friend; someone who knows you well and discuss ‘who you are’.


When you have a realistic and positive image of yourself, you can then make a plan of things you would like to do to help you be more open and assertive. Start slowly and do something like invite people over; some you know and some you don’t, and just spend some time together. Have your close friend nearby to encourage you and push you a little when you feel like backing off. Make this time an exercise in communication; you communicating!


When you have mastered that, keep your friend handy, and strike up a conversation with some colleagues. You could try to keep to subjects you are comfortable with be assertive throughout.


It is also helpful to remember that the people you are dealing with and talking to are just human beings like you. They have their fears and insecurities but perhaps are clever at hiding that. As you try to overcome your shyness, don’t focus on just the shyness itself, but see it as a part of you developing yourself and being the best you can be. You will be able to give back to the world more if you are open and assertive.

All the best.


Question five:

Anonymous - Pakistan

Keeping the family or the friends? 



Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. Your question is not clear but it could be taken to mean, which is better: keeping one’s family or one’s friends? If this is the case, then I would say that one’s family has many rights over us. They deserve our good treatment, spending quality time with them, being there for them and so on. Our friends, also, have rights over us that we should acknowledge and respect.


However, sometimes families can make unreasonable demands and if that happens you have to be wise. It may sometimes be necessary to take a firm stand that goes against the family’s wishes, but you have to ask yourself if doing so is the right thing to do, then follow your best judgment, while seeking Allah’s guidance. Even taking a stand against your family, should always be done in a way that does not sever relations or breed bad feeling.


Likewise with friends, we sometimes have to disagree with them or go another way but it is always best to keep good feelings between people and find a way to keep the doors open.

All the best. 


Question six


My problem is that with my upbringing and all, I still feel uncomfortable in communicating with (certain kind of) men. This is a problem, since for my work I have to communicate with all kinds of people, including men. When I'm facing a crowd or planning meetings, I often find myself checking if there are no men. When not, I feel relieved. If there are, I can feel intimidated. How can I overcome this? 



Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. We can all feel intimidated by certain kinds of people, not necessarily just men. It is important that you understand why you feel intimidated by them. Sometimes people try to show that they are over confident and dominating because they see that is a way to control others. The best to do with such people is ignore them and carry on with what you are doing.


If you have a meeting and have to speak and perhaps debate, then make sure you are well-prepared. At the same time, make sure you are calm inside. Easier said than done, I know, but if you can manage to do that you will cope better. It may seem trivial, but cutting out caffeine before such a meeting may help as caffeine tends to make us hyper and prone to be nervous. So take something calming like chamomile. Along with that, you have to remind yourself that you are capable of doing whatever task you have been given. Positive self affirmation is very helpful and if you have a friend who can remind you, that would be even better.


At the end, it is vital to remember that if we seek Allah’s help He will help us. If we rely on Him, He will be there for us. So don’t face this challenge alone, seek Allah’s help. Have a good intention, a clear way and a strong will.

All the best.


Question seven:

Zara – Pakistan


i have got a question about a person who says that he loves me and he has been very good with me always. he is the one i can trust, and share my problems with. but the problem is that he is very emotional person and becomes angry very quickly sometimes if I ask him some thing he answers me in bad way, and one big problem with him is that if i talk with him he thinks that i m acting or posing, and if I don’t talk to him he thinks that i do not care for him or I just avoid and ignore him. though I’m not in love with him but still i care him a lot, i always try to do what he says but he still some times say that I’m selfish and never care for his feeling. I never have seen him clear in his love relations also he on one hands says that he loves me and on the other hand he says that he do not want to get marry, when I got ready for marrying him he started saying that he will not marry me he thinks that he is not worth me, and when I left talking to him on marriage issue he started to say that I have left him. he is always hanging in between two situations he doesn’t clearly express his love and on the other hand he doesn’t want me to leave him, in this situation I can’t understand what does he actually wants, and how should I handle him as I can not ask him anything clearly as he gets emotional at once but at this time I don’t want to marry him and want to end the interaction with him, what is the best way to do so? How can I convince him that I don’t want to have any hanging relation anymore and also I can’t marry him. 




Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. You seem to know what you should do; back out of this relationship, but you are not sure how to do it.


It is always best to be clear. You have learned this yourself through this experience as being unclear can be very painful. You also have to be assertive and confident that you are making the right decision so that you do not waver later. So ask Allah for guidance and then tell this man clearly that you think both you and he are not ready for marriage and that you should leave off this subject for some time. You can leave it open. He may insist and become emotional but this is your decision, not his. Stand your ground. Be quiet, calm but firm. You should have a relative or friend with you or nearby in case he gets angry.


I venture to add that if a man shows signs of anger as he has done, that is enough reason, to forget the whole idea of marriage with him!

All the best.


Question eight:

Cecelia – Turkey


I got involved in more than a relationship, actually all where official engagements; but unfortunately every time I scroll up. Tow of them were ended up with breaking down and I’m about to end the third engagement.

I can’t explain how do I feel right know as I’m on the verge of my third time engagement, and I’m about to end it up.

I finally realized after my experiences that all of the guys are almost the same, I don’t hate them but I can’t also love them or deal with them.

I also noticed that I got personality problems; I’d never be able to evaluate my self that deep without involving in those relationships & most of those problems disappeared when I’m no longer a part of relationship.

Nowadays, I strongly believe that the best for me is to live alone, with no partner. I really feel that I’m able to survive without a husband or a man in my life. I’m totally independent and I’m no longer that emotional. But also I know that by taking such a decision I’m killing any hope to be a mum and a normal woman who can live a normal live.

I’m confused but don’t know how to act.
Sorry for elongation sister, wish I can find salvation among your word.


Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. It is so important that you do not get married when you are not ready and when you do not love that person. You have shown wisdom in backing off before the marriage. The fact that you got close to marriage a few times but then saw that it wasn’t right, means that you have some insight into yourself and your situation. This is positive.


Perhaps now is not the right time for you to think about marriage. That doesn’t mean it will never happen. So, you should not give up hope. Take some time off from the whole idea of marriage and give yourself time to get to know yourself better. Develop your spirituality, develop your personality by giving to others (this is the best way, I believe) and when mr right comes along, you will know it! But don’t rush. Take your time. Back off from the whole marriage arena and focus on making yourself ‘whole’ calm and balanced.

All the best.


Question nine:

Sama – germany

I work with mainly women at a small office. My boss though is a man. He is ok, but it obviously is a ´ladies-man'. I wear hijab and all, but still sometimes I see hem looking a bit too intense, he says I look nice and sometimes when discussing the head scarve he says it only adds to triggering the imagination... I used to feel uncomfortable with this and used to avoid him a bit. Now I'm more used to is. He also sometimes touches me on the shoulder or hand in a friendly manner. What to make of this? 



Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. To this man, the way he is behaving might be quite acceptable. It is, however, not acceptable to you, so you have to take him aside and tell him. You should be friendly, polite but firm. Talk to him in a business like manner and don’t engage in any chit-chat. Keep to work-related issues.


Such people will go as far as you let them, so put up your framework and let it be known, but do so in a friendly polite way – but be firm.

All the best.


Question ten:

As salamu ALaikum!
My friend had a problem. whenever he works or studies with any women, he loves her. He does not do to that but it always happen. How can we deal with the other opposite without falling into this trap "false love"? 


Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. Perhaps it would help if he sees the woman as a human being; rather than a ‘woman’. These kinds of reactions might take place when we see the other person in an unrealistic way.

Some men are known to be ‘ladies men’, meaning that they see women as sexual objects. What you describe is perhaps similar to this, except that it is seen in terms of marriage, rather than playing around.


There are many cases when men and women have worked together as colleagues successfully. But a lot depends on the intentions of both parties, how they perceive each other, the framework which they live within, and their determination to follow that. Respecting members of the opposite sex means seeing them as human beings who think, feel, have problems, struggle and persevere – rather than seeing them as potential ‘partners’.

Questions & Answers