Is it permissible for a young man to speak to a young woman over the phone or in person out of necessity in regards to religious affairs or dawah?
And is it permissible for a young woman to reply to the Islamic greeting of a young man?
If what is intended with necessity in religious affairs and calling to Allah; her calling the people of knowledge to ask about her religion, while she doesn’t soften her speech, and restricts her enquiries to what she really needs.
Then this is permissible.
Allah, the Most High, said:
(فلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوفًا)
“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.”
And if what is intended is that a young man contacts a young woman to teach her some of the important affairs of the religion, or the likes of this.
Then this is from the footsteps of the Shaytān to eventually bring about trials for the young man, and being trialed with women is severe.
And Allah, the Most High, said:
(لَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ خُطُوَٰتِ ٱلشَّيْطَٰن)
“and follow not the footsteps of Shaytān (Satan).”
And the Prophet ﷺ said:
(مَا تَرَكْتُ بَعْدِي فِتْنَةً أَضَرَّ عَلَى الرِّجَالِ مِنْ النِّسَاءِ) أخرجاه من حديث أسامة بن زيد.
“After me I have not left any trial more severe to men than women.”
[Reported by Bukhari, Muslim on the authority of Usāmah bin Zayd]
As for what is found in the legislative texts of the greeting of a woman by a man; it is a must that it’s constricted by the other legislative texts of being safe from fitnah, while that there is also a need for it.
The closing of avenues to harms/prohibitions is a great foundation from amongst the foundations of the legislation, and it rules that the door to fitnah is closed in that.
Moving from this point on, a big number of the people of knowledge like:
- Ibn ‘Uyaynah
- other than them.
Have drawn a differentiation in the greeting with the Islamic greetings of women who are foreign to him and not of his household:
- Between the elderly who are no longer sought after; permitting this, and there are proofs which point to this.
- Between the young women; and their likes of the women generally who are still sought after, prohibiting this due to the fitnah which is obtained through them.
For this reason An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“As for the woman which are foreign to the man; if they were elderly and no longer sought after, giving her Salām is Mustahab (preferred) upon him, and it is Mustahab upon her to give him the Salām, whoever was to greet the other, the other would need to reply to the greeting.
If she was to be a young woman or an elderly lady who is still sought after, then they are not greeted by him, nor he by them, if one of them was to greet the other, it would not deserve a reply, and the reply would be Makrūh (disliked), this is our position and the position of the Majority.”
[End of speech from his explanation of Muslim 14/212].
As for using as evidence some of what has come from the Prophet ﷺ in giving Salām to women upon its totality, then it is an analogy with the presence of differentiating factors.
For verily “The Prophet ﷺ was due to infallibility safeguarded from trials; whoever was certain of safety for himself than let him greet, if not, then silence is most appropriate and foremost.”
[End of speech from Fathul-Baari].
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.
8th, Safar, 1438H.
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani.