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Etiquette of speaking to women

This is a discussion on Etiquette of speaking to women within the Islam in General forums, part of the Main Topics category; What is the etiquette of talking to women in general and in the following situations: buying and selling; teaching and ...

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    Default Etiquette of speaking to women

    What is the etiquette of talking to women in general and in the following situations: buying and selling; teaching and learning; meetings to discuss work, such as explaining something specific to her? What is the ruling on lowering the gaze in these situations? When is it permissible to look at women in general? I hope that you can explain in full detail.


    Praise be to Allaah.

    Speaking to non-mahram women may occur because of a need or it may occur needlessly.

    If it is done needlessly and only for fun and enjoyment, then there is no doubt that it is haraam and comes under the heading of the zina of the tongue and ears of which the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) spoke when he said:

    “The son of Adam’s share of zina has been decreed for him, which he will inevitably get. The zina of the eyes is looking, the zina of the ears is listening, the zina of the tongue is speaking, the zina of the hands is touching, and the zina of the foot is walking. The heart longs and wishes, and the private part confirms that or denies it.”
    Narrated by Muslim, 2657.

    When there is a need to speak to a woman, the basic principle is that it is permissible, but it is essential to pay attention to the following etiquette:

    -1- The conversation should be limited to only what is necessary and has to do with the matter at hand, without talking too much or branching off into other topics. Think about the etiquette of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) and compare it with the way things are today. The Mother of the Believers ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated the story of the slander (al-ifk) that the hypocrites accused her of; in her hadeeth she (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

    Safwaan ibn al-Mu‘attal al-Sulami al-Dhakwaani was behind the army and had set out at the end of night. In the morning he reached the place where I was and he saw the shape of a person sleeping. He recognized me when he saw me, as he used to see me before the hijab was enjoined. I woke up when I heard him saying Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allaah we belong and verily unto Him is our return) when he recognized me, and I covered my face with my jilbab. By Allah, we did not exchange a word and I did not hear any word from him apart from his saying Inna Lillaahi… He made his camel kneel down and put his foot on its foreleg (to keep it steady), then I mounted it, and he set off, leading me on the mount, until we came to the army.
    Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4141 and Muslim, 2770.

    Al-‘Iraaqi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The phrase “and I did not hear any word from him” is not repeating the previous idea (“we did not exchange a word”). It is possible that he did not speak to her; rather he spoke to himself or he recited Qur’aan out loud or said dhikr out loud such that it could be heard. But none of that happened. He did not speak to her; rather he used silence in that situation out of good manners and politeness, and because of the seriousness of the situation in which he found himself.

    This hadeeth also shows good manners with non-mahram women, especially in the case of being alone with them out of necessity in the wilderness or elsewhere, as Safwaan did when he made his camel kneel without speaking or asking questions. End quote.
    Tarh at-Tathreeb, 8/53

    -2- Avoiding joking and laughing; that is not part of etiquette and dignity.

    -3- Avoiding staring and always trying hard to lower the gaze as much as possible; if there is a quick glance for the purpose of speaking, there is nothing wrong with that, in sha Allah.

    -4- Not softening the voice, by either party, or choosing soft words; rather they should speak is the same, ordinary tone of voice as they would speak to anyone else. Allah, may He be exalted, says, addressing the Mothers of the Believers (interpretation of the meaning): “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].

    -5- Avoiding the use of any words that may have some suggestive meanings, and so on.

    -6- Not going to extremes in embellishing one’s speech . Some people use their skills in communication with others by movements of the hand or face or by quoting poetry or proverbs or romantic phrases. This is a means that the Shaytaan uses to open the door to haraam attraction between the sexes.

    Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

    None of the poets see anything wrong with talking to, addressing or looking at non-mahram women, but this is contrary to Islam and common sense, and it is exposing oneself to temptation. How many people have been affected in this way with regard to their religious commitment and worldly affairs. End quote. Rawdat al-Muhibbeen, p. 88

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    Default Re: Etiquette of speaking to women

    Speaking with a woman to whom one is not related (i.e., not mahram) should only be for a specific need, such as asking a question, buying or selling, asking about the head of the household, and so on. Such conversations should be brief, with nothing doubtful in either what is said or how it is said.

    The idea of limiting speech with women to the five instances mentioned in the question – which are: to ask how her family is, for medical purposes, for financial purposes (e.g. in a shop), to find out about her personality for marriage suitability and to give her dawah (Islamic knowledge) – needs to be approached with caution, because they could be taken as examples instead of limits.

    One must also adhere to the conditions set out by the Sharee’ah even in instances where such conversations are necessary, such as in da’wah, giving fatwas, buying or selling, etc. And Allaah knows best.

    In the answer to question no. 1121 it says:

    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.

    Thus it is known that we do not mean general talk for no need, or a great deal of private talk. Rather it should be just as much as is needed in order to reply.

    Going into detail in permissible talk or in shar’i matters when there is no need for that leads to removal of barriers between the two parties, which may lead to negative consequences.

    And Allaah knows best.

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    Default Re: Etiquette of speaking to women


    The conditions for speaking to a woman to whom one is not related are mentioned in the following aayaat (interpretation of the meaning):

    ". . . And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen; that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts . . ." [al-Ahzaab 33:53]

    ". . . then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner." [al-Ahzaab 33:32]

    Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in his Tafseer: "This means that they should not speak softly. Allaah commanded them to speak in a concise and decisive manner (i.e., they should be serious and brief in their speech, and not be vague or talk aimlessly). There should be no possible indication on the face that could be taken to indicate any softness in the heart, as the Arab women (before Islaam) used to do when speaking to men, by making their voices soft like women who are taking care of small children, or like prostitutes. Allaah forbade women to do that.

    The phrase "lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire" means lest such a person should hope for immoral deeds, indecency or romance. "Speaking in an honourable manner" means speaking in a way that does not go against Sharee’ah or offend people. Women are encouraged when speaking to men to whom they are not related and to mahrams among their in-laws to be somewhat rough or abrupt in their speech, without raising the voice, because they are commanded to lower their voice.

    Speaking with a woman to whom one is not related (i.e., not mahram) should only be for a specific need, such as asking a question, buying or selling, asking about the head of the household, and so on. Such conversations should be brief, with nothing doubtful in either what is said or how it is said.

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    Default Re: Etiquette of speaking to women

    New Etiquettes are being taught by Walid ibn Talal & his wife endorsed by Aal-Shaykh in the Arabian Peninsula.

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