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Hadeeth Five: It is Permitted for Men to Speak to Women and Women to Speak to Men if there is a Need.
Abu Anas (radiyallāhu ‘anhu):
مَرَّ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِامْرَأَةٍ تَبْكِي عِنْدَ قَبْرٍ فَقَالَ ” اتَّقِي اللَّهَ وَاصْبِرِي ”. قَالَتْ إِلَيْكَ عَنِّي، فَإِنَّكَ لَمْ تُصَبْ بِمُصِيبَتِي، وَلَمْ تَعْرِفْهُ. فَقِيلَ لَهَا إِنَّهُ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم. فَأَتَتْ باب النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَمْ تَجِدْ عِنْدَهُ بَوَّابِينَ فَقَالَتْ لَمْ أَعْرِفْكَ. فَقَالَ ” إِنَّمَا الصَّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الأُولَ
The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed by a woman who was crying beside a grave, so he said to her: “Fear Allah and show patience.” She said to him, “Go away, for you have not been afflicted with a calamity like mine.” She did not recognise him. Then she was informed that he was the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). So she went to the home of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and she did not see anyone guarding his door, so she said to the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), “I did not recognize you before.” So he said to her, “Verily patience is at the first strike of calamity.” (Bukhāri, no. 1283)
Benefits and lessons:
1. It is permissible for a man to talk to a woman if there is a benefit in the speech, and likewise for a woman to speak to a man for a need without any frivolity, flirting or alluring speech. It should be polite yet formal so there is no opening for Shaytān to lead them towards sin―free from joking, “small-talk”, giggling and laughing.
2. Shaikh Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh) stated: “There is no harm in a woman speaking to a man over the phone if there is a Sharī’ah benefit or for a permissible matter such as asking a knowledge-based question, or to ask regarding someone who is unwell, or to ask about his health (if he was sick), or to ask about some other important matter―there is no harm in that. As for conversation that is flirtatious as they call it, or that it leads to fitnah, or leads to lewd and immoral behaviour, then that is not allowed. It is obligatory for a woman to keep away from that; and it is upon the man be keep away from that. So, it is not allowed for a man to speak to women for this purpose―and it is not allowed for a woman to speak to men for this purpose. This type of communicating leads to much evil and great corruption. As for her speaking to the husband of her sister or to her cousin, enquiring about their health for example, or the health of his children and his parents―or to ask for something she may need; to buy something on her behalf or to sell something, or for another purpose where there is no question of suspicion, unbecoming conduct or evil behaviour―then in this type of speech, there is no harm.” (Noor ‘alad-Darb, Ibn Bāz)
3. The saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), “Fear Allah and show patience” is an advice to avoid disobedience to Allah and to leave off behaviour that may diminish the reward. Additionally, that she may realise the immense reward of being patient when a calamity strikes.
4. In this hadeeth is proof of the humbleness of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) because he did not rebuke her or chastise her for how she responded. Rather he excused her due to her state. So this shows the fine manners of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam).
5. Ibn Battāl (rahimahullāh) said: “The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) desired that two afflictions do not come together for her at the same time: the loss of her child and the loss of reward due to impatience with her plight. So he (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) commanded her with patience which is necessary for the grief-stricken who loses patience―to return back to it after [initially] losing its reward.” (‘Umdatul-Qāri Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhāri of Al-‘Ayni 8/35)
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