Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lets Chat!

Asalaam walikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu everyone,

I found this to be a subject that I think a lot of us (including myself) have trouble dealing with so I hope this bit of info will help us stay or get onto the right path inshAllah. I want to help set the record straight on this issue and inshAllah lessen any confusion on the issue or remove denial about the truth of the matter. So here we go...the issue of communicating with the opposite sex. Here's an actual question submitted to a Sheik on Islam QA.

My question is about the adab or the manner between a brother and sister?
I need clarifcation, are we allowed to give salam to sister who is not your muhram or talk to her as you talk to a brother, and how much you allowed to talk?
and what about the non-muhram who are cousine, for example the uncles daughter Am I allowed to give salam and talk to her, and how is her life?please provide for me daleel(proof) and what about marriage?
what allowed talk and salam, ( what is allowed and not) all these things!
because today people mixed between culture and deen, when you tell them about that they say you are bringing new religon!, even alot brothers who relgious don't know this, you may see salafy brother talking weetlgy to sister who were nikab and not his muhram,

Praise be to Allaah.

In brief, what the fuqaha’ have said about women’s voices is that they are not ‘awrah in and of themselves, and there is nothing wrong with listening to them when there is a need to do so, so they do not forbid listening to them, but certain conditions apply, as follows:

The woman should speak without elongating the words, making her voice soft, or raising her voice. It is haraam for a man to listen with enjoyment, for fear of fitnah (temptation).

The decisive factor for knowing what is haraam in the matter of women’s speaking is what is included in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allaah), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.” [al-Ahzaab 33:32]

What is forbidden is being too soft in speech. It is obligatory for women to speak in an honourable manner, which means, as the mufassireen explained, that they should not make their voices soft when addressing men. In conclusion, what is required of the Muslim woman when she speaks to a non-mahram man is that she should adhere to what is mentioned in this aayah. She should refrain from what is forbidden and should fulfil her duties. She should speak only when necessary, and only about matters that are permissible and honourable, not evil. Between a woman and a non-mahram man there should be no intonation, gestures, chat, joking, flirting or playful talk, so that there will be no room for provocation of desires and doubts. Women are not prevented from talking to non-mahram men when it is necessary to do so, such as dealing directly with them when buying things or conducting any other financial transaction, because in such cases it is necessary for both parties to speak. A woman may also ask a scholar about some legal Islamic matter, or a man may ask a woman such questions, as is proven in various texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Within the guidelines described above, there is nothing wrong with a woman speaking to a non-mahram man. It is also permissible for men to greet women with salaam and vice versa, according to the most correct opinion, but this greeting must be free of anything that may provoke desire in the person in whose heart is a disease, so as to be safe from fitnah and pay attention to the regulations outlined above.

If there is fear of fitnah being provoked by this greeting, then the woman should refrain from either initiating or returning the greeting, because warding off fitnah by neglecting the greeting is warding off mischief, and warding off mischief takes precedence over doing something useful. (See al-Mufassal fi Ahkaam al-Mar’ah by ‘Abd al-Kareem Zaydaan, vol 3/276). And Allaah knows best.
Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

I want to make clear that this ruling goes both ways; for men as well. Neither one should initiate casual conversation with the other. So please do not think that its acceptable for men to go up to females and chat with them, whether they are Muslim or not. I think this is also a big problem that our communities face with being "sexist" when condemning something. I've found men who shun the talking of women to men but themselves are always up in female's face as if they are talking to a brother. Men are not allowed to converse with men and women are not allowed to converse with men without a need. Lets define the word need. The defintion of need stated by Merriamwebster Dictionary goes as following:
  • 1: necessary duty : obligation

  • 2 a: a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful b: a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism

  • 3: a condition requiring supply or relief4: lack of the means of subsistence : poverty

Now one may agree casual talking in person or on the phone is not permissible but may think that chatting online is permissible. So lets ask a scholar/ scholars about the ruling of chatting. The question and answer below are from
Question: Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. I want to know if chatting online is haram (forbidden)? My chats, with the Muslim people only, are clean and there are no bad intention chats. Jazakum Allah khayran.
Answer: Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, you have raised a very important question, which reflects a common trend nowadays among our youth and others, when the majority don't even bother to learn the restrictions that are dictated by religion to preserve morality in society. Thanks to the sophisticated means of modern communication, everyone finds himself tempted to try everything new in technology.

Thus, it's very important for each Muslim to know where he stands and to always keep in mind that, as he is given full right to make use of any opportunity offered by modern technology, he is also required not to forget the duty he owes to Almighty Allah Who subjects to him all such avenues of comfort and prosperity. He must not deviate, whatsoever, from the teachings of his religion, in order to preserve his noble identity.

In response to the question in point, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Chatting with members of opposite sex, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, personally face to face, or on phone or chat lines all fall in the same category. The haram of it is haram, and the halal of it is halal.

Islam does not allow Muslims to be befriending members of opposite sex for the sake of companionship or for casual conversations; it has been forbidden because of its risks; it may entail isolation, lead to unlawful flirting, and engender unlawful thoughts, desires or lusts.

However, occasional, serious, business-like conversations with the members of the opposite sex are considered lawful, just as they are lawful when done face to face so long as one observes the Islamic ethics of interaction.

Islam teaches that as Muslims we must shun not only that which is clearly haram, but also everything that creates agitation or doubt or restlessness in our souls. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Sin is that which causes agitation in your heart or mind; whereas virtue is that which the heart is content and at peace about!” (Reported by Ahmad)

So engaging in unnecessary chatting may lead to unforeseen consequences. It may also engender doubts and suspicions in our minds as well in the minds of others. So we are best advised to shun them altogether in the first place in order to safeguard our religion and honor. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Halal is clear; haram is clear, but there are certain cases which are dubious or doubtful; whoever shuns them safeguards his religion and honor; whoever falls into them risks falling into haram like a shepherd who lets his herd graze around the forbidden territory, for it may thus encroach upon the forbidden territory!” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Clearly any form of communication is not permissible if its is not for a need basis such as business, acquiring info and the alike for befriending the opposite sex is not even allowed. So how can one talk freely for no reason with the other if we're not suppose to have them as friends or associates (some are more clear to define people as being friends or associates). I'm not here to say that having a the opposite gender on your facebook is not permissble. I'm talking about the issue of chatting. I believe and I have some male "friends" on facebook who I do not chat with nor do they try to chat with me. There are some people who actually add others for the sake of gaining information whether its Islamic information, events, schooling or whatever without trying to really befriend them in getting to know them on a personal level. But LETS GET REAL! The majority of people who add the opposite gender, especially if you do know them from school or whatever, are not adding them just to read their notes and get updates on events. The majority of guys who add females want to talk to them, and not just on an islamic level and the same thing goes for females.

So whats the harm in chatting with the opposite sex? The harm is that one you get too involved with the person and form a relationship, this is something natural when casual talking with a person. Not all relationships are romantic relationships, but the most of the time one person of the two would like for it to lead to a romantic relationship. One may argue well we're just chatting, we can't really see each other. PLEASE DONT KID YOURSELF! If you and that person are attached to each other you will find a way to see each other or you'll get too emotionally attached that it becomes problematic for you if you not able to chat/talk with them. I know you all have a friend or have been in a situation where you become sad that you can't talk to that person and it becomes the focal point of the whole day; whining that you can't talk to them or what not. Chatting just leads (if you already have a spark of interest in the other, which is most likely the case) you to fantasize about the person and may lead you to take the step and actually go see them. Picturing them in your mind, and attaching their words to the image can really throw you for a loop. And fantasizing about the opposite sex is not good either for it can lead to other acts that are not permissible. Now I'm not saying that plutonic relationships can not exist, but in reality those type of relationships are outnumbered by people who do and/or want is to have a romantic relationship. Therefor Allah has prohibited us from conversing with the opposite gender without need. I The same reason for a lot of things that are prohibited, like the consuming of wine. Not everyone who drinks wine (alcohol) gets drunk, but people going overboard with it happens more often than seldom. In order to protect ourselves Allah just prohibits such for it has more negatives than positives both physically, mentally, and socially. So do yourself a favor and limit your chatting/talking/ texting or whatever with the opposite gender to a need basis for it can only help keep you away from falling into major sins inshAllah.

Again this is reminder for myself and for you. Peace out!