Is Taking Uber Or Grab Considered 'Khalwat'? FT Mufti Clears Up The Misunderstanding

"What are the laws on non-mahram Muslims riding alone with passengers or drivers that are of the opposite sex?"

Cover image via Reload Food

The Federal Territories (FT) Mufti's office opined that Muslims should follow certain rules when taking ride-sharing services like GrabCar and Uber

In a report by Malaysiakini today, 22 March, the FT Mufti's office apparently replied to a question posted on their official website regarding the matter.

The question was, "Apakah hukum menaiki teksi atau perkhidmatan Uber dalam keadaan berdua-duaan dengan pemandu yang berlainan jantina iaitu bukan mahram" (What are the laws on non-mahram Muslims riding with passengers or drivers that are of the opposite sex?).

Bukan mahram basically refers to anyone that a person can marry and shares no blood ties with.

This was the FT Mufti's response to the question:

They first suggested that if the driver is of the opposite sex, then the rider should cancel the request.

However, upon mentioning that if Uber or GrabCar drivers reject rides often they could be penalised for it, the Mufti department said that it's okay for the drivers and passengers to take the ride.

To best deal with the situation, the Mufti office advised the passenger to sit at the back of the car and refrain from unnecessary chats with the driver.

"Drivers should not take deserted routes to avoid slander," ended the reply.

Malaysiakini got in touch with the Federal Territories mufti Zulkifli Mohamad, who further clarified the issue

Zulkifti said that the response to the question regarding ride-sharing services is merely an opinion and is in no way a fatwa (rules based on Islamic laws that are approved and recognized by the authorities).

The response to the question had earlier mentioned that men and women who can marry each other spending time together is considered an act of khalwat (close proximity).

"This is the same as the act of khalwat (close proximity) in parks, gardens, rooms and hotels. The same can be said for being in a car like in a taxi, Uber and GrabCar ride," it said.

However, the FT mufti office stressed that there are exceptions to situations like these, such as if a man were to stumble upon a lost woman, it is his responsibility to escort her home safely, especially if her safety is a concern.

The mufti's office also posted a status on their official Facebook page asking people to not misinterpret their response to the question

The office asked the news sites to not misreport their statement and instead report the truth by not misconstruing their response.

The post also said that dishonest reports can tarnish the image of the FT Mufti office and its credibility.

What do you think about the Mufti's response to the issue? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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