Questions related to Islamic women social behaviour in the community
1. How should Muslim women greet each other?
Muslim women should greet each other by shaking hands and embracing.
2. Are Muslim women allowed to greet with salaam and shake hands with males?
There are two types.
It is permitted for a Muslim woman to greet and shake hands with her husband and men who are mahram to her. That is, such males whom she is forbidden to marry. For example: Father, brother, son, etc.
(b) Not Permitted:
(i) Shaking Hands:
It is not permitted for a Muslim woman whether she is old or young, to shake hands with men who are permitted to marry (strangers). Also it is forbidden for a Muslim man to shake hands with a woman who is a stranger to him.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihiwasallam) said:
“The one who touches the hand of a woman without having a lawful relation with her, will have an ember (hot coal) placed on his palm on the Day of Judgement.” (Fath-al-Qadir)
It is permitted for old women to greet men with salaam. But a young woman should not greet with stranger men with salaams when there is no guarantee that there will be no fitnah (temptation). On the other hand, if the woman is a stranger (non-mahram) and if she is beautiful and there is the fear that the man may be tempted by her, then the man should not greet her with salaam and if he does then it is not permissible for her to reply; she should not initiate the greeting of salaam either, and if she does, the man does not need to reply her. If he responds then this is makruh (dislike).
However, it is permissible for a man to greet all ladies who are behind Pardah (Veil) provided there is no intention of sin and mischief.
When Muslims leave for Hajj or return, or during special occasions such as Eid, birthdays, weddings, etc., we see Muslim males and females (Non-mahram, those with whom marriage is permissible) embracing and shaking hands with each other. These are not permitted in Islam and it is sinful.
3. Are Muslim females allowed to sit with males in privacy?
No. A female is not allowed to sit alone or meet with a stranger male in privacy.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihiwasallam) said:
“When a man and a woman are alone then Shaitaan is the third person.” (Sahih al Bukhari)
It means that Shaitaan will make fitna and create temptations between them or influence them to do the wrong things. It is permitted for a woman to sit with male relatives (other than those she is forbidden to marry) provided:
(a) That she acts within the limits of proper decorum;
(b) That she is not alone with one relative.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihiwasallam) also said:
“Do not call on women in the absence of their husbands, because Shaitaan might be circulating in you like blood circulates.” (Tirmidhi)
4. How should you behave if you happen to leave home out of necessity?
You should walk on the side furthest from the road or street and not in the middle. You should not make noises or talk loudly while at the road. Men and women should avoid mingling along the road. Islam further requires a woman not to stamp on the ground while walking and thus attract the attention of passer-bys. Once you finish your work, you should return home with unnecessarily being at the road.
5. Are Muslim women allowed to look at stranger men?
It can be divided into two aspects.
(a) A woman is looking at a man’s face without any necessity or with desire:
A woman is not allowed to stare at a man’s face, which she may find attractive at first sight. There is no blame in casting the first sight, but a female is required to stare away then. She is not allowed to look at men in a manner, which may lead to evil results. The same rule applies to males.
(b) A woman is looking at a man’s face for the necessity:
It is allowed for women to look at a man’s face for the necessity. For example, while learning and teaching, while buying and selling, while witnessing etc. on a condition that there be no feelings of desire or fitnah (temptation).
6. Are Muslim women allowed to talk with stranger men?
It also can be divided into two aspects.
(a) A Muslim woman is talking with a stranger man with desire or without any necessity:
It is not permitted.
(b) A Muslim woman is talking with a stranger man for the necessity:
It is allowed for a Muslim woman to speak with a stranger man for the necessity. However, when a female speaks to a male other than her husband or relatives whom she is forbidden to marry (mahram), her speech should not be inviting, but should remain objective and crisp. Sweet voice can create many bad desires in the hearts of men and spread mischief.
The Holy Quran says: “If you are God-fearing, do not talk in a soft voice, lest the man with an unhealthy heart should cherish false hopes from you.” (33:32)
7. How should a Muslim woman treat guests at their home?
Female, who has reached the age of puberty, cannot come forward to serve food and drink to male guests. Usually, her father or brothers have this responsibility. If the female is married, the husband or male children have this responsibility.
But if it is female guests, she should treat them with kind and pleasant. It is sunnah of beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihiwasallam to treat well the guests.
8. If you are alone at home and receive male visitors, what should you do?
If they are mahram (forbidden by Islam to marry), you may allow them into your house in the absence of your family members. If they are non-mahram (strangers, allowed to marry in Islam), you should very politely ask them to leave and visit when other members are at home.
9. Some Muslim women feel that these rules do not apply when dealing with non-Muslim males. Is this true?
No, definitely not! Even when dealing with non-Muslims, all these rules apply. Some Muslim women talk unnecessarily and freely mix with non-Muslim males who may be their neighbours, friends, etc. and even invite them into their homes. They want to be ‘neighbourly’ and not ‘insult’ their non-Muslim friends. This is not allowed. However, the Shari’ah allows Muslim women to mix with non-Muslim women who are of good character. If not speaking to foreign men is regarded as rude and insulting, then what category will one place the disobedience of the Divine Laws of Almighty Allah?
10. Are Muslim females allowed to attend aerobic classes, health clubs, massage parlors, gymnasiums, etc. for health purposes?
In such places, a female is usually required to remove her clothes and wear skin-tight costumes for doing physical exercise. She is required to change her clothes and shower in the presence of other women. She is also required to do movements according to the rhythm of the music. Then, there is the mixing of men and women. All these are not allowed in Islam.
By all means, a female is allowed to exercise and maintain the fitness of her body but she may do so privately or in the company of other females only. She must also abide by the dress code of Islam, change privately and not listen to Haraam music. With these conditions, it is allowed.
11. Are Muslim women allowed to participate in sports and games?
Yes, Muslim women are allowed to participate in sports and games, provided it must be with the girls in the private and no stranger men should presence there. She must also abide by the dress code of Islam.
12. Are Muslim women allowed to bath in the beach, rivers, waterfalls and swimming pool?
It should be understood that bathing in front of the stranger men is shameful act and it is not allowed in Islam. However, it is allowed in private. For example: ladies beach, ladies swimming pool etc. provided there is no chance at all for a man to see or be present.
However, it should be noted that today due to the advancement in technology, many men take hidden photography of women even without knowing them, using some advance technical equipments. Therefore, it is always risk for the honour of the women to bath in such places.
13. Is a Muslim female allowed having a boyfriend and is dating allowed in Islam?
Certainly not! A Muslim female is not allowed to have a boyfriend. Dating with members of the opposite sex is Haraam. If a girl feels some attraction towards a boy and she loves him, and vice versa, the best option what Islam gives is to approach the parents or the guardian and ask for the marriage.
14. Are you allowed to advertise yourself in a “lonely heart” column in a newspaper?
No. You are not allowed to “advertise” yourself and expose yourself to the non-Muslims public. In such cases, you are required to publish your private details and exchange photographs with other males. This is strictly forbidden in Islam. A Muslim woman who wishes to marry must consult her elders or a Muslim organisation.
15. Many Muslim females consult the “Stars” or astrology column in the newspapers to find out what lies ahead of them. Does Islam permit such things?
No. To believe in astrology and to believe that they can influence one’s life is Haraam. One can lose one’s Imaan in some cases. It is Almighty Allah who fashions and plans our life and we must accept that all good is from Almighty Allah we should accept that all evil is the cause of our own doings.
16. If a non-Muslim neighbour dies, are the Muslim womenfolk allowed to attend their funeral?
No. It is Haraam to attend the funeral of non-Muslims.
17. What are the rules for Muslim women who attend Islamic celebrations or festivals?
(a) Mixing of men and women must be avoided.
(b) Proper Islamic dress code should be observed.
Women are also allowed to celebrate and attend the Mawlid-un-Nabi, Urs of Awliya Allah etc. celebrations provided that the above two conditions are adhered to.
Celebrating occasions foreign to Islam, such as Christmas, New Year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentines Day, Bachelorette Party, High School Debs Ball, Dances, and the like, is an imitation of the non-Muslims are not permitted (haraam) in Islam.
18. Females (and males) collect and paste pictures of pop-stars, movie stars, actors, etc. Is this allowed in Islam?
No. Firstly it is haram to become a fan of these people who do sins as acting, singing etc for the money.
It is mentioned in Hadith, when Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihiwasallam) listed the minor signs of Qiyamah (End Day), he pointed out:
• Female singers and musical instruments will become popular.
• The people will say, 'This person is cool' and there is not a single grain of Imaan (Faith) in his heart (Actors, Singers, Gangsters etc).
So it is forbidden (haraam) to love these people, become fans of them and collecting their pictures and videos and sharing with others.
19. Can a Muslim woman travel without a Mahram?
No, a Muslim woman should not travel outside without a Mahram (e.g – husband, father, brother, son etc.)
Beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihiwasallam said:
“It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to travel one day’s distance without a mahram.” (Sahih Muslim)
20. Can a Muslim woman go for Hajj or Umrah without a Mahram?
No, it is forbidden in Islam for women to go Hajj or Umrah without a Mahram. If a woman met all conditions to perform Hajj and if she does not have a Mahram to go with, then Hajj will not become obligatory on her. Going without a Mahram for Hajj or Umrah is not permitted (Haraam)
A man stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, my wife has gone out for Hajj, and I want to go out with such and such an army.” Beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihiwasallam said: “Go and do Hajj with your wife.” ( Sahih al Bukhari)