Seclusion vs. Mixing

Q: Is it better for one to seclude himself from the people, or to mix with them?

A: This issue – even though the people have differed over it, either partially or entirely – the reality of it is that mixing with the people is sometimes obligatory or recommended. The same individual can sometimes be commanded to mix with others, and can at other times be commanded to seclude himself.

Mixing, if it involves cooperation upon good and piety, is obligatory, and if it involves cooperation upon sin and transgression, is forbidden. Mixing with the Muslims for the purpose of congregational acts of worship, such as the five prayers, the Friday prayer, the ‘Eid prayer, the eclipse prayer, the prayer for rain (istisqa’), etc., is from what Allah and His Messenger commanded…

…likewise, a gathering in which the worshipper can increase his faith – either because of it benefiting him, or his being of benefit to it – is of the same category.

However, a person must have time by himself to engage in supplication, remembrance, prayer, reflection, taking himself to account, and rectifying his heart. These are issues that nobody else can participate with him in, and these are affairs that need to be seen to on an individual basis, whether that be at home or otherwise, as Tawus said: “How excellent of a refuge is the home! In it, one can restrain his gaze and his tongue.”

So, choosing to mix with people unrestrictedly is wrong, and choosing to seclude yourself from people unrestrictedly is wrong.

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 10/218]

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