Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
I am a female, and recently took up a post working with people with mental disabilites e.g cerebral palsies. My job involves doing activities such as painting, cooking, and more importantly engaging in social activities such as playing games with the disabled people. The activities are done in a group, with other co-workers. The aim is to encourage confidence in the individual and to support them through their difficulties. Now, the disabled people vary in age from 18 to 55, male and female, muslim and non-muslims, with a varying degree of disabilities. I am always in the presence of other non-disabled females. Is the mixing allowed with the non-mehrams in this situation?
(If your answer is that it is permissible if my intention is for seeking the reward of Allah swt, and that I am not in seclusion, then I'd like to add the following question. Imagine a spectrum of humans. From the very able humans, and to the very disabled, the most disabled human you have. Now, at what point, or what criteria of disability allows me to mix with an individual. i.e. When does mixing become permissible, at what level of disability. Is it when they have no sense of the world, is it when they have sense but no sexual instinct. These latter are examples, not questions, to illustrate what my main question is)
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
I pray you are doing well.
I believe that you have already answered your question.
You stated that:
1. Your intention is to seek Allah's pleasure;
2. you are not in seclusion; and
3. you are helping people who otherwise could not help themselves.
Free mixing of the sexes is prohibited.
However what you are doing is not considered free mixing because:
1. You are performing your job;
2. you are not in seclusion with unrelated males; and
3. as a Muslim in the medical/healthcare profession, you are permitted to interact with unrelated males to the extent of the need.
The most important considerations:
Do you feel that what you are doing is pleasing to Allah?
Do you feel that you are helping these individuals to lead productive lives?
Are you comfortable in this setting?
If you answered yes to these questions, then continue to seek Allah's pleasure by helping people in need.
Just remember to maintain Islamic gender etiquette at all time, and insha'Allah, you should be fine.
For more guidelines for Muslim healthcare professionals, please search SunniPath Answers.
May Allah bless you in all of your endeavors.
And Allah knows best.
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