Interacting with opposite gender

27 Feb 2018 Ref-No#: 342

Assalamu alaikum.

Respected Mufti,

Are the members of opposite gender on the Internet Islamic forum
allowed to make lighthearted conversations, as long as the boundaries
are not transgressed?

And what about the following Hadith?

Hasan radiallahu ‘anhu said: That a certain old woman came to the
Prophet and requested him to pray to Allah to make her enter Paradise.
The Prophet said, “O mother of so and so! No old woman shall enter
into paradise.” The narrator says that on hearing this the old woman
went back weeping. The Prophet said to the people around him to go and
tell the old woman that she would not enter into Paradise as an old
woman. [At-Tirmidhi] Then he recited the verse:

“Verily we! We have created those (maidens) by a creation and have
made them virgins, loving, of equal age.” [Al-Qur’an 56:35-37]

In the Hadith Muhammad sallalaho alaihi wa sallam joked with the old
lady, so does it mean joking online is allowed if people stick to
staying within the boundaries of adab?

Jazakallahu khairan.

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Conversations on a forum will share the same ruling as a conversation over a phone. There is really no need for members of the opposite gender to discuss any issues via a forum. Useless chatter is against characteristics of Muslims and we find members on various forums engaged in backbiting, slanders, exposing sins of Muslims, self praise and ego boosting etc.

Although the conversations might start off innocently, the devil will play on the minds of the participants and make them curious to know more about each other. They might even start to wonder how the opposite person looks. If it is possible to send private messages on the forum, it could easily become a catalyst to them forming a relationship. Therefore, it is best to stay away.

As for the narration that you have cited, firstly it is weak. Even if we do accept it, many commentators state that she was Safiyyah bint Abd al-Muttalib, the paternal aunt of the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Thus, he had the right to interact with her.

قال العراقي: رواه الترمذي في الشمائل هكذا مرسلاً وأسنده ابن الجوزي في الوفاء من حديث أنس بسند ضعيف. (تخريج أحاديث إحياء علوم الدين (4/ 1680)

ثم قيل: هي صفية بنت عبد المطلب، أم الزبير بن العوام عمة النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم (مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح (7/ 3063)

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