Pressure and seductive temptation

Q506 :A friend of mine back home has written to me about a problem he is facing. A woman who has a highly influential position has been pressing him to have an illegitimate relationship with her, threatening that his refusal will bring him considerable problems in his job. I have counseled him not to listen to her advances, especially as she is married and has children. How best to strengthen his attitude in refusing her?

A506 : The first thing which occurs to me is that what this woman is asking him to do something which represents a contravention of Islamic teachings. In other words, she is pressuring him to get involved with her in something which constitutes disobedience to Allah. If he yields to her temptation or to her threats, then he is obeying her and disobeying Allah. Islam lays down a basic rule which states: "No creature may be obeyed in what constitutes disobedience to Allah." This principle negates any authority she may have over him, which means that if she is his superior at work, he may act on her instructions with regard to the execution of his job but not in establishing a relationship beyond their official duties. Therefore, the choice that your friend faces is one between following his faith and following this woman. If he weighs up the consequences, then he will be able to resist her advances. This man should reflect on what the Prophet tells us about the great reward Allah has in store for a person who resists such temptation. The Prophet mentions seven types of people who he says will enjoy the shelter of Allah on the day of judgment when there is no shelter to be sought other than that of Allah. These include "a man tempted by a woman of influence and wealth but he answers, I fear Allah." There is, therefore, a powerful answer which should strengthen your friend in his resolve not to respond to this woman. He should remember that yielding to her temptation will incur Allah's displeasure while resisting her will ensure a great reward. Your friend may be worried about what this woman may do to him, using her power and influence, if he proves that he is a tough nut to crack. He may worry that he may lose his job or he may be transferred to a remote area, etc. These are genuine worries which may be very significant. Perhaps a good way to calm his worries is to study the surah entitled "Yousuf". He will find that a young man destined to become a prophet faced the same temptation by his master's wife and his resistance meant that he was imprisoned for several years. When he was threatened with imprisonment, he was very certain of his answer: "He said, My Lord, imprisonment is more pleasant to me than that to which they are inviting me." He appealed to Allah for assistance and Allah answered his prayers. Therefore, your friend should rely on Allah to help him get through this difficulty. He must trust that Allah's help is sure to come, but he may be tested and the test may be severe. If he proves to be firm in his faith, determined to please Allah, giving any sacrifice that he may be called upon to give in order to earn His pleasure, he will eventually be rewarded for his determination both in this life and in the life to come. The imprisonment of Prophet Yousuf was an example of what such a test may involve. In prison, Yousuf continued to call on his fellow prisoners to believe in Allah and to disown all false beliefs. He submitted to Allah's will and did not grumble or complain at being imprisoned. Hence, when he proved his dedication to his faith, Allah rewarded him and he was taken out of prison to be given a high position in government. Your friend may lose his job as a result of resisting this woman. He may be even put to a severer test. But if he proves his strength of faith, then he will find that such an adversity is tolerable when he realizes that it is combined with earning Allah's pleasure. Your friend will do well to reflect very coolly on his position and what options are open to him and what are the likely consequences of each option. Let him consider that no one can deprive another of something that Allah has determined to give him. The provisions of every single person are sure to reach him, if he works for them. No one can stop what Allah wishes to bring us. Consider this authentic Hadith related by Al-Tirmithi and reported by the Prophet's learned cousin, Abdullah ibn Abbas: "One day I was riding behind the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he said to me: Young man, I shall teach you some words of advice. Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek the help of Allah. Know that if the whole nation were to gather to benefit you with anything, they would benefit you only with something that Allah has already assigned to you and that if they gather to harm you with anything, they will harm you only with something Allah had already determined for you." Another version of this Hadith states: "Get to know Allah in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you and that which has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction and ease with hardship." What your friend should reflect on in the light of the aforementioned Hadith is that it is possible that he loses his job for some other reason. He may respond to this woman for fear of losing his job, and then he finds himself losing the job anyway for some other reason or even for the same reason, such as by being made redundant through the discovery of his affair with this woman. In this case, she may make him a scapegoat and use her influence to get him punished for trying to seduce her rather then being seduced. He will then end up losing on every account. In order to avoid such a prospect, he should be convinced that offending her in order to please Allah is the only course for him to follow. If he offends Allah in order to please her, he will end up in utter ruin.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )