The family is the most important of the agents of socialization. Family socialization practices have a direct impact on the couple’s relations as well as their children. Socialization with a right and appropriate family can strengthen a family bond or break it. The behavior of our children also largely depends on their family friends. Thus, it is necessary for us to know the rules of family socialization.
The first rule of family socialization is that a Muslim’s socialization is limited to people who hold the same beliefs and share the same fundamentals. This rule is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran especially in Surah al Nisa and al Ma’eda. The Almighty Allah states:
لایتخذ المؤمنون الکافرین اولیاء من دون المؤمنین.
“Let not the believers take the disbelievers as mates (or supporters) instead of the believers.” (3:28)
See also 4:39, 144, and 5:51, 57.
Thus, disconnecting ourselves from the Muslim family and living and socializing with non-Muslims is generally not permissible in Islam. However, in certain circumstances this practice is permissible.
We can only socialize with families that we know well enough and are reliable and descent people. Imam ‘Ali (a.s) said:
الاخوان صنفان: اخوان الثقة و اخوان المکاشرة.
“There are two types of friends: reliable friends and facial friends.”
As with regards to the facial friends share you smile and sweet words with them, but it is only the reliable friends that you should socialize with.
Before you invite any one to your house or accept any family invitation it is recommended to get to know them outside of the family environment. Only once you feel at ease with them you may open the door for a family relation. The Almighty Allah in stating the rules of family socialization says:
یا ایها الذین آمنوا لاتدخلوا بیوتا غیر بیوتکم حتی تستأنسوا و تسلّموا علی اهلها ذلکم خیر لکم.
“O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your houses until you are acquainted (with them) and then greet their family (before entering) that is better for you.” (Holy Qur’an, Surat al Noor 27)
In family socialization it is essential to safeguard our modesty. A Muslim lady should not allow any non-Mahram man to enter her house if there is no Mahram man at home. Similarly, a Muslim man is not allowed to invite any non-Mahram lady to his house if there is no Mahram lady at home.
Segregation of men and women at the time of socialization provides a more decent and genuine family relation. A mixed social gathering unleashes the human lust. Don’t ever be fooled by remarks such as ‘I trust my brother/sister’, or ‘don’t you trust me’, or ‘don’t be fanatical’. These are the tricks of Satan to trap people into adultery. If you don’t want to lose your spouse do the right thing. Imam al- Sadiq (a.s) quoting from the holy Prophet (S) said:
فیما اخذ رسول الله (ص) البیعة علی النساء: ان لایحتبین و لایقعدن مع الرجال فی الخلاء.
“Of the covenant that the Prophet (S) took from the ladies prior to their conversion to Islam was that they shall not sit inappropriately and alone with men.” 1
It is also narrated from the Holy Prophet (S):
من صافح امرأة حراما جاء یوم القیامة مغلولا ثم یؤمر به الی النار، و من فاکه امرأة لایملکها حُبس بکل کلمة کلّمها فی الدنیا الف عام.
“Any man who shakes hands with a non-Mahram woman comes on the Day of Resurrection handcuffed then he will be ordered to the Fire, and any man who jokes with a woman who is not Mahram to him will be imprisoned (in Hell) for every word one thousand years.” 2