Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahu Wa Barakatuhu,
I work with a non Muslim lady who seems to always have “grudges” against me. Once a week or every few weeks she tends to not talk to me or acts weird towards while she acts normal with the other staff.
Just last week and today it was obvious she had an issue with me so I politely asked her what was wrong.
She replied with that the compliment I made of her hair looking nice and lighter actually offended her. I learned my lesson to not give compliments to non-muslims as it could possibly back fire. I nicely said if I offend you please speak up. I would prefer to speak about it rather than you not speaking to me. After my little speech she said thats okay not to worry, though shes still the same. My boss always praises me, my hard work, and great attitude.
I would like some advice on how to deal this. I have never been ill mannered or rude towards her, and I want to represent Islam well.
Advise in the Best of Fashions
If you are going to advise another person, you should do so in the best of methods (Quran 16:125) and avoid being harsh (Quran 3:159). At times, not saying anything at all will be the advice. For more on enjoining righteousness, see this answer: The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil
Stand Up for Your Rights
As you said, you do not want people to walk over you, so be sure to stand up to speak the truth. If a person makes an inappropriate comment about Islam, you have a duty to speak up. If you cannot address the issues with the person directly, then go to a manager and report workplace discrimination. If we let too many things go without addressing them, we may be enabling the person who is insulting us and discriminating.