Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 3 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439
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Chatting between males and females

What is the ruling on written computer-mediated communication with females such as for instance internet chatting or emails?

Answer

There is no objection in Islamic law to males and females conversing with each other as long as they conform to the legal requirements and are not alone in a place where it is not possible for others to enter without their permission. This is the implication of proof evidences from the Quran, Sunnah and juristic opinions. These include among others:

- The Quranic verse about the story of our master Moses with the two girls: “He said, "What is your circumstance?" They said, "We do not water until the shepherds dispatch [their flocks]; and our father is an old man" [28: 23].
- The hadith narrated Abu Juhaifa (may God be pleased with him) who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) established a bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu Ad-Darda`. Once when Salman paid a visit to Abu Ad-Darda`, he found him away and his wife dressed in shabby clothes. When he asked her why she was in such a state, she replied, "Your brother, Abu Ad-Darda` is not interested in the [desires] of this world." When Abu Ad-Darda` returned, he invited Salman to a meal at his house …” [recorded by Bukhari in his Sahih]. In Fath Al-Bary, the hadith scholar Ibn Hajar, commented on this hadith by saying: “This hadith contains beneficial [information] … the permissibility of talking to a woman who is not one’s wife or to one to whom marriage is impermissible and inquiring about a recognized interest.”

- Anas Ibn Malik (may God be pleased with him) said: “A woman from the Ansar came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and he took her aside and told her: “By God! You [the Ansar] are the dearest people to me” [recorded by Bukhari, Muslim and others]. It was reported in other narrations that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) “engaged with her in side talk in a street.” Imam Al-Bukhari devoted a section for this which he titled “Cases when it is permissible for a man to be alone with a woman in the presence of others but out of hearing”.

Ibn Hajar stated in Fath Al-Bari: “The hadith indicates that there is no religious impediment to talking to a woman in private as long as temptation is avoided.” Moreover, Al-Mulla Ali Al-Qari mentioned in Mirqat Al-Mafatih: “The hadith attests that talking privately to a woman in the street is not the same as being with her alone at home.” The Prophet’s wives used to spread knowledge and promote religion; the Sunnah corpus is full of reports from the Prophet’s wives and from other women who came after them and from whom men narrated hadiths and obtained knowledge. In his book, Al-Isaba Fi Tamyiz Al-Sahaba, Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani wrote profiles of 1543 female jurists, hadith scholars and literary figures.
The matter mentioned in the question is therefore permissible as long as males and females do not transgress the limits of decorum and propriety and avoid complacent speech.
God the Almighty knows best

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