Fatwa: # 17428
Category: Character & Morals
Country: South Africa
Date: 1st February 2009

Title

There are many islamic internet discussion forums to be found on the internet many of which involve people who post and induldge in idle chit chat and joking ...

Question

There are many islamic internet discussion forums to be found on the internet many of which involve people who post and induldge in idle chit chat and joking around between men and women.  (for reference an example a forum would be www.sunniforum.com or www.muslimvillage.com/forums)
 
Are established principles in fiqh, such as refraining from giving/returning unnecessary salams or refraining induldging in unnecessary conversations still valid and relevant in this environment?  Can you please advise preferably with evidences.
 
This would be greatly appreciated as many of us are confused over the boundaries of gender interaction in this specific online medium.

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

It is not permissible for males to chat unnecessarily and joke with females. As you have correctly stated in your query, there are established rulings in fiqh which prohibits males from even responding audibly to the greetings of females and vice versa. This clearly shows how much more necessary it would be for members of the opposite gender to abstain from chatting and joking with each other. In fact, we have been informed that some forums even allow private messaging between the members. Many members exploit this and end up flirting with members of the opposite gender. 

We do acknowledge that in order to curb this, a few forums have set up a brothers and sisters section; however, the moderators should be more vigilant on the general threads and should not allow any unnecessary chit chats between men and women.  The other members should also play their part. Remember, the devil is playing his part.

قال العلامة الحصكفي في الدر المختار - (6 / 369)

وفي الشرنبلالية معزيا للجوهرة ولا يكلم الأجنبية إلا عجوزا عطست أو سلمت فيشمتها لا يرد السلام عليها وإلا لا انتهى

 وبه بان أن لفظة لا في نقل القهستاني ويكلمها بما لا يحتاج إليه زائدة فتنبه

و قال ابن عابدين في حاشيته- (6 / 369)

وإذا سلمت المرأة لأجنبية على رجل إن كانت عجوزا رد الرجل عليها السلام بلسانه بصوت تسمع وإن كانت شابة رد عليها في نفسه وكذا في الرجل إذا سلم على امرأة أجنبية فالجواب فيه على العكس اه  وفي الذخيرة وإذا عطس فشمتته المرأة فإن عجوزا رد عليها وإلا رد في نفسه اه  وكذا لو عطست هي كما في الخلاصة  قوله ( في نقل القهستاني ) أي عن بيع المبسوط  قوله ( زائدة ) يبعده قوله في القنية رامزا ويجوز الكلام المباح مع امرأة أجنبية اه  وفي المجتبى رامزا  وفي الحديث دليل على أنه لا بأس بأن يتكلم مع النساء بما لا يحتاج إليه وليس هذا من الخوض فيما لا يعنيه إنما ذلك في كلام فيه إثم اه

 فالظاهر أنه قول آخر أو محمول على العجوز  تأمل  وتقدم في شروط الصلاة أن صوت المرأة عورة على الراجح ومر الكلام فيه فراجعه

 

و انظر أحسن الفتاوي - (8/40)

 

And Allah knows best

Wassalam u Alaikum

Ml. Ismail Moosa,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa

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