Etiquette of Speaking With non-Mahram :: Women in Islam
Posted May 10, 2010on:
Etiquette of Speaking With non-Mahram
Praise be to Allah.
In brief, what the scholars 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 Haram for a man to listen with enjoyment, for fear of Fitnah (temptation). The decisive factor for knowing what is Haram in the matter of women’s speaking is what is included in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), 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 honorable manner. ” [Noble Quran 33:32]
What is forbidden is being too soft in speech. It is obligatory for women to speak in an honorable manner, which means, 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 Ayah.
1) She should refrain from what is forbidden and should fulfill her duties.
2) She should speak only when necessary, and only about matters that are permissible and honorable, not evil.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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 Quran 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 Salam 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 Ahkam al-Mar’ah by ‘Abd al-Karim Zaydan, vol 3/276).
And Allah knows best.
Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid
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