A Code of Ethics for Muslim Men and Women
Rules related To socializing
بسم الله الرّحمن الرّحيم
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَى ثَلاًثَةٍ إلاَّ هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلاَ خَمْسَةٍ إِلاَّ هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلاَ أَدْنَى مِن ذَلِكَ وَلاَ أَكْثَرَ إِلاَّ هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ .
“Do you not see that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth? Nowhere is there a secret counsel between three persons but He is the fourth of them, nor (between) five but He is the sixth of them, nor less than that nor more but He is with them where ever they are; then He will inform them of what they did on the day of resurrection: surely Allah is Aware of all things.”
al-Qur’an · Surah Mujadilah · Ayah 7
Rules Related to Speaking
A ) Men Speaking to Non-Mahram Women
172 – Rule: Men are allowed to speak to non-Mahram women as long as the following two conditions are met:
It is not with the intention of lust.
The speaking does not lead either one of them to commit a sin. BGKLMS
173 – Rule: It is Makruh to speak to non-Mahram women, unless it is in the case of a necessity, especially if the one being spoken to is a young woman. GKLM
174 – Rule: If a man knows that by speaking to a non-Mahram woman, he will fall into sin, then he must not speak to her; whether the woman speaks in such a way that she lures him into sin, or the topic is such that the man falls into sin. BGKLMS
175 – Rule: It is haram for a man to speak to a non-Mahram woman with the intention of making her fall into sin. ABGKS
Therefore: The conversations that are carried out with the intention of making others fall into sin (lustful conversations), such as explaining or describing sexual acts and scenes, are haram.
176 – Question: Is it allowed for a man to talk to a non-Mahram woman who wants to speak to him in a lustful manner? (In the event that the man knows that he will not fall into a sin?)
Answer: It is not allowed. GK
Answer: In the event that it helps or leads to a haram act, it must be avoided. B
177 – Rule: If a man fears that by speaking to a non-Mahram woman, she will make him fall into sin, then he must not speak to her. GKLM
178 – Rule: If a man knows that by speaking to a non-Mahram woman he will fall into sin other than that of a sexual nature, then it is not allowed for him to speak to her. BGKLMS
Therefore: If a man knows that by talking to a non-Mahram woman, he will be compelled to lie, backbite, or put a false accusation on somebody - whether she makes him fall into sin, or he himself by means of talking to her falls into a sin, then it is not allowed to talk to her.
179 – Question: If one fears that by talking to a certain non-Mahram woman he will fall into sin, then is it allowed for him to talk to her?
Answer: It is not allowed. G
180 – Question: What is the ruling for a man to talk in such a way in that he imitates a woman’s voice, or vice versa?
Answer: It is not a problem if: it is not the voice of a specific woman whom he knows and this causes her degradation or dishonor; and this action of imitation does not stimulate him and it is not something vain and futile, and the same applies the other way around (a woman imitating the voice of a man). G
181 – Rule: It is not allowed to talk to someone about anything that is related to sexual or intimate issues (except one’s spouse). AGKLMS
Note and warning: Sometimes, it can be seen that in the hearts of men, the devil has become so firm that many of their social gatherings are doubtful, and it can be seen that a man has more interest in mingling with non-Mahram women than with his own Maharim. For example, there is a situation in which he can ask something from a man, but instead, he asks a non-Mahram woman; sometimes his conversation with non-Mahram women is prolonged so as to be able to talk with them more; going to places of amusement and on vacations with non-Mahram women is more attracting to him; if there is a place where there are non-Mahram women, he desires to be there more than other places; and when guests come over, he tries to talk and socialize more with the non-Mahram women than the men. He likes to stay in the presence of non-Mahram women more so than anywhere else. In summary, he likes any action that non-Mahram women are participating in more than any other work.
Men - especially our dear youth must stay away from these types of things because this kind of socializing and speaking (with members of the opposite sex) are usually associated with the intention of lust and obtaining (sexual) pleasure and can lead to being haram, according to Islam.
B) Women Talking to Non-Mahram Men
182 – Rule: Women are permitted to speak to non-Mahram men if the following conditions are met:
The speaking is not done with the intention of lust and seeking (sexual) pleasure.
The woman does not make her voice soft and attractive.
There is no fear of falling into corruption. GKLMS
183 – Rule: It is Makruh for women to speak to men if it is not necessary. GKLM
184 – Rule: It is not allowed for a woman to speak to a non-Mahram man with the intention of making him fall into sin; whether she specifies that the reason she is talking to him is to make him fall into sin, or she talks about something that would make the non-Mahram man fall into a sin - such as explaining stimulating and sensual scenes, or explaining about things that would make the non-Mahram man become aroused upon hearing them. ABGKLMS
Note: Just as was mentioned concerning men, sometimes it is possible that women also become under the influence and tricks of the devil. Thus, sometimes a woman will be so friendly to a non-Mahram man as if it is her brother. Especially those women who are in more contact with non-Mahram men more than others, such as nurses, or those women who works in various businesses and companies, in sports and fitness clubs, etc… must be extra cautious (when dealing with non-Mahram men).
Asking help from non-Mahram men for things that are not necessary; asking non-Mahram men questions while it is possible to ask a Mahram the same question; having discussions with men and putting one’s self between a discussion; exposing one’s talents or virtues to a non-Mahram and socializing with non-Mahram men more; having more of an affection to work in an environment in which there are non-Mahram men – in summary, all examples such as these in which there is a probability of falling into sin, and interactions in such places which are commonly done with the intention of deriving (sexual) pleasure, can lead to being be haram, according to the Laws of Islam.
185 – Rule: When a woman is speaking to a man, she must not make her voice pleasing and soft, such that if the person with whom she is talking to has a sickness in his heart, he will become attracted to her, even if she is talking to him about a general matter. AGKLMS
186 – Question: Is a woman allowed to speak to a non-Mahram man who wants to talk with her in a lustful manner? (In the event that the woman knows that she will not fall into sin?)
Answer: It is not allowed. G
187 – Question: Is it allowed for women to recite in a chorus in the presence of non-Mahram men? What is the ruling for non-Mahram men to hear such a thing?
Answer: If it leads to corruption, then it is not allowed. Rather, normally, when women are singing or reciting in the presence of men and men are listening to it, this leads to corruption and thus, it is not allowed. B
Answer: As long as there is no intention of lust or corruption involved, then women singing in a chorus and non-Mahram men listening to them, is not a problem. L
188 – Question: Is it allowed for a man to listen to a woman singing alone, if it does not lead to (sexual) excitement?
Answer: It is not allowed. L
Answer: If it leads to corruption, then it is not allowed. Rather, normally, when women are singing or reciting in the presence of men and men are listening to it, this leads to corruption, and thus, it is not allowed. B
189 – Question: What is the ruling on listening to poems (read) with emotion and feeling that the radio stations of the Islamic Republic of Iran broadcast?
Answer: If it leads to corruption, then it is not allowed. B
Answer: If it is not in the category of Ghina and it is not stimulating, then it is not a problem. L
190 – Rule: It is not a problem for women to recite Qur’an in front of non-Mahram men, even if it is in a pleasing voice, with the condition that it is not arousing nor does it cause corruption. KL
If it leads to corruption, then it is not permitted; rather, most often, women reading (Qur’an) in the presence of men and men listening to such a thing leads to corruption and thus, it is not allowed. B
Women and girls must not recite the Qur’an in a tone in the presence of non-Mahram men, and similarly, if a man is reciting in a way that a woman gets enjoyment (of a lustful type), then it is a problem. G
191 – Question: Is it allowed to read romance novels in which sexual issues are being discussed? Also, is it allowed to print such books?
Answer: It is not allowed. G
192 – Question: What is the ruling for writing letters to non-Mahram men and discussing romantic or lustful things in the letter?
Answer: One must refrain from all things that may lead to corruption. A
Answer: It is not allowed. G
The Rules of Touching
193 – Rule: Body contact is not allowed with one who its is not allowed to look at, and every kind of touching of the body to any part of the other one’s body is haram and one must refrain from this; unless it from on top of the clothing and it is without the intention of lust. ABGKLMS
194 – Question: Is it allowed to shake the hand of a non-Mahram? What is the ruling if it is done without the intention of lust?
Answer: It is not allowed, unless it is done on top of clothing, and in this situation, according to Ihtiyat Wajib, one must not squeeze the other one’s hand. ABGKLMS
195 – Question: We are living in a Western country and attending University there, and whenever we meet our female Professors or fellow students (female), we are compelled to shake their hands, and if we don’t, then this will make the Muslim students look as if they have bad manners. What is our responsibility in this regard?
Answer: It is necessary for you to explain to them that not shaking the hands of non-Mahram women is not due to bad manners, but instead, it is because of the beliefs in Islam and holding on to its commandments. ABGKLMS
196 – Question: In some areas, the rules of Mahram and non-Mahram are not given much importance, especially in the smaller villages. For example a woman would not cover herself in front of her brother-in-law, and she would consider her brother-in-law as her actual brother, in the same way the brother-in-law also considers this woman as his actual sister. How many a times has it happened that they shake each other’s hands or even kiss each other! The same thing can be said for cousins of the opposite sex and they also indulge in similar actions. These things are done out of pure ignorance and without any sexual excitement or lust – thus, is it allowed? In the event that it must be avoided, if it is done over top of clothing, then what is the ruling?
Answer: None of the examples mentioned above are permitted and it is better that one should also avoid the above-mentioned acts even if it is over top of clothing. ABGKLMS
197 – Rule: Even though looking at the face and hands of a Muslim woman in hijab, and looking at that amount of the body of a non-Muslim woman which is normally kept open is not a problem, however touching them is still not allowed. ABGKLMS
Therefore: Men and women who are non-Mahram are not allowed to shake hands with each other, nor can they have any other kind of bodily contact.
Note: In the below mentioned circumstances, one must be more cautious than in other instances about the bodily contact (not taking place) with a non-Mahram:
Taking or giving even a small object from the hands of a non-Mahram (for example exact change).
Taking or giving keys, or any other small things.
Sitting beside a non-Mahram in taxis (or buses), or when guests come over to one’s house.
Non-Mahram men and women walking in a common, crowded area such as corridors, small alleys, doors, gates, etc.
Men going to gatherings in which lots of women are present, or any place where there are lots of non-Mahram women present.
Women going (or passing by) a gathering or busy place where there are lots of non-Mahram men present.
At the time of buying and selling things in stores.
198 – Rule: It is permitted to look at, and touch the body of an old woman without the intention of sexual excitement. B
199 – Question: At the time of giving money to a driver (taxi), if the hand of the woman touches the hand of the driver, is this haram?
Answer: If it happens accidentally, then it is not a problem; but if purposely the hands meet one another, then it is not allowed. BGMST
200 – Rule: Bodily contact that happens in busy places (such as markets, processions, Salat al-Jumu‘ah, funerals, the Sanctuaries (haram) of the A’immah (Peace be upon all of them), and the House of Allah (SWT) in an unintentional way between a non-Mahram man and woman is not a problem, with the condition that one does not go to these places with the purpose and intention of being touched. ABGKMST
Therefore: It is haram for one to go to or pass by a place, sit or stand beside a non-Mahram in a taxi or bus, with the intention of wanting to make body contact with a non-Mahram, and thus it must be avoided.
201 – Question: What is the ruling for going to places with a non-Mahram?
Answer: If it is done with the intention of lust, then it is not allowed. AGK
202 – Rule: According to Ihtiyat Wajib, men must not hug, kiss or put girls that are 6 years of age or older on their laps. GKLM
One must refrain from things like that that may lead to corruption. A
According to Ihtiyat Mustahab, it is better that men do not hug non-Mahram girls who are 6 years of age or older, sit them on their knees, or kiss them. S
203 – Question: Is one allowed to sit near a non-Mahram in a taxi or in other means of transportation? (In the event that there is contact between the two from on top of the clothing)?
Answer: If there is no intention of having pleasure or excitement and there is no chance of falling into corruption, then the act of sitting in itself is not a problem. GKLMST
204 – Question: If a woman fears that in the event that she goes into a taxi that has a non-Mahram man in it, she or the taxi driver will fall into sin, is it allowed for her to go into that taxi? If the taxi driver has this fear, is it allowed for him to pick her up?
In both circumstances, it is an area of doubt. G
The Rules of Kissing
205 – Rule: Kissing a Mahram is not a problem with the condition that it is not with the intention of lust. (With the exception of one’s spouse, which is fully allowed.) ABGKLMST
Therefore: Kissing the son of one’s sister, grandchild, or any child, and as a whole, kissing any Mahram with a lustful intent is haram, with the exception of one’s spouse.
206 – Rule: If a person knows that if by kissing someone else, whether it be a child or one’s Mahram, he will fall into sin, then he must not kiss that person. ABGKLMST
207 – Rule: Kissing any part of the body of a Mahram, which one is permitted to look at is not a problem, whether it be on the forehead, the shoulders, the hands, etc. AGKLMST
208– Rule: It is haram to kiss anything with the intention of lust, even if it is a stone, wood, metal, a statue, etc… AGK
If by kissing in this manner (of lust) one does not ejaculate, then it is not haram. T
209 – Rule: Any kind of touching with a part of the body, to an object or person with the intention of lust is haram (with the exception of one’s spouse). AGKL
If someone touches something with the intention of lust, but does not ejaculate, then (his action) is not haram. However, if ejaculation takes place, then it will be counted as masturbation, and this (masturbation) is haram. It is haram for a person to touch anything with the intention of lust, whether it be a man or woman, a baligh or non-baligh, even if ejaculation does not take place. The only exception to this rule is one’s spouse. T
Therefore: Eating something lustfully, looking at something or someone, touching or smelling anything or listening to any noise – that of a person or anything else, saying a word to someone, even if it be with a child, and in summary, any action that is performed with the intention of lust, is haram.
210 – Rule: Masturbation is haram and one must refrain from it. ABGKLMST
If someone intentionally breaks his fast in the Month of Ramazan by masturbation then he must give the combined kaffarahs. AGK
According to Ihtiyat (Wajib), the combined kaffarah must be given. BT
According to Ihtiyat Mustahab, the combined kaffarah should be given. S
Note: Masturbation means that a one performs any action which leads to the discharge of semen.
211 – Question: I am a youth and when I think about arousing scenes, semen is discharged from me. Does this action (only thinking about this) with the aim of having semen discharged fall into the category of masturbation?
Answer: If it is performed intentionally with the aim or desire of having semen discharged, and one knows that by having such thoughts, semen will come out, then one must refrain from this. AGK
212 – Rule: It is not allowed to make or prepare anything for the purpose of a forbidden sexual act. ABGKLMST
213 – Question: What is the ruling on the one who masturbates? Does this action necessitate a Ghusl?
Answer: This action is haram, and if one has certainty that semen has been discharged, then one must perform a Ghusl. ABGKLMST
214 – Question: What should one do to control one’s sexual desires, and in the situation (where one can not control his sexual desires), is masturbation allowed or not?
Answer: Certain things that one can perform include: fasting, not eating too much food, refraining from eating certain foods that increase the sexual desire, and having those that lower the sexual passion. Masturbation however, in every instance is haram; and the best way to make sure that the sexual desires are not the reason for committing a haram act is permanent or temporary marriage, which (also) has a lot of reward in it. G
215 – Question: Is it allowed to think about or imagine arousing scenes that make a person become sexually excited?
Answer: One must try to keep away from these kinds of thoughts, by occupying oneself with work or other thoughts. G
Answer: Thinking about such things in itself is not a problem. T
216 – Question: In your Risalah (book of Islamic rulings) it states that masturbation is religiously forbidden, however, please explain what Islam’s view is on the person who has masturbated?
Answer: It is wajib for the one who has masturbated to ask for forgiveness (from Allah), but before one asks for forgiveness, the Islamic punishment for committing masturbation must be handed out in the case that it is proven to the Islamic Judge that a haram act had been performed. GL
Rules Relating to Gatherings, Guests and Visiting
217 – Rule: The intermingling of non-Mahram men and women is makruh, except if it is between an old man and an old woman. GKLM
Note: It is makruh in the event that there is nothing haram in the gathering, otherwise this intermingling will become haram. For example, if in a gathering, women are not observing complete (or proper) hijab; or they have any zinat on; or there is haram bodily contact taking place between the men and women, then this type of mixing becomes haram.
218 – Rule: It is not allowed to go to a gathering in which one knows that something haram will take place. For example, to accept a dinner invitation in which a person knows that by going there he will be forced to look at non-Mahram women without hijab, or he will backbite others, lie, or perform any other haram act, is not allowed. AGKL
The act in itself is not a problem, but in every instance, it is wajib to refrain from sinning even if this means refraining from the “introductory” act (which in this case would mean not going to such a gathering), which would necessitate committing a sin (if performed). B
Note: In the understated examples of programs and other mixed gatherings there is a probability of sin, and more so than other instances, one must be extra cautious:
To have mixed dinner parties, especially if the people attending are youths; non-Mahrams eating together at the same table; going with non-Mahrams to amusement parks or other entertainment places such as gardens, parks, mountains, travelling – especially if a non-Mahram man and woman are in a car alone; to joke around with a non-Mahrams; two non-Mahram working together in one shop, etc…
219 – Rule: If a non-Mahram man and woman are in a secluded place in which there is no one else present, and no one else can enter there, then if there is a fear of falling into sin, they must leave that place for them to remain there is haram. KLT
For a non-Mahram man and woman to be in a secluded place in which no one else is present, and also no one else can enter, is haram - whether they are busy in the remembrance of Allah; talking; sleeping or awake; and their Salat in that place as well is not valid. However, if the place is such that another person can enter (into the room), or there is a child who can distinguish between good and evil (Mumayyiz) present, then it is not a problem. AG
According to Ihtiyat Wajib, a man and woman who are non-Mahram, must not be alone in a secluded place where there is no one else and where no one else can enter; even if they are only reciting their Salat in that place, and in fact, there is also a problem with the Salat that is read there. M
It is haram for a man and woman who are non-Mahram to each other to remain in a secluded place in which there, is nobody else there in the event that there is a possibility of falling into corruption, even if others are able to enter into that place. However, if there is no possibility of falling into corruption, then it is not a problem. S
220 – Question: Respectfully, I would like to inform you that we have relatives, who in addition to not reciting their Salat, also associate with Christians. Furthermore, their girls and women do not observe the proper hijab and their hair also shows, and however much we advise them, it does not have any effect. If we want to close our eyes in our own house, then it is not possible, and if we look at them, then it is a sin. In this instance, what should we do? What is the ruling on our interactions with them?
Answer: If it will have an effect, then enjoin them to good and forbid them from evil, and other than this, you have no other responsibility, and in the event that you have relations and socializing with them, you must be careful that you don’t fall into sin by looking at non-Mahrams. It is not necessary to cut off relations with them since there is a possibility that maybe, by keeping ties with them, it may have an affect on them. May Allah (SWT) guide them and acquaint them with the Laws of Islam. G
Rules Relating to Showing off
221 – Rule: It is haram to show off with the intention of wanting to making others fall into sin. ABGKLT
For Example: It is haram for a woman to show off in such a way that a non-Mahram man’s attention will be drawn towards her or he approaches her. Therefore, to walk in a specific way, talk, perform a specific action, smile or laugh in a special way to a non-Mahram, joke, or even to study in front of a non-Mahram with the aim of drawing the attention of the non-Mahram and make him fall into sin; wearing a specific kind of clothing, holding different things such as a bag, book, or flowers or even the way of holding these things in one’s hand so as to make others fall into sin, looking at non-Mahrams in a certain way, etc… all of these are examples which, if done with an intention of drawing the attention of others and making them fall into sin, are haram.
Therefore: The youth especially must refrain from showing off and things relating to the above examples.
222 – Rule: If showing off is not with the aim of wanting others to fall into sin, then it is not haram. AGKLT
For example: If a woman cooks very good food when guests come over, or cleans the house better with the intention that the non-Mahram men will think that she is a hard-working woman and will be impressed by her; or one gives a very good speech with the intention that others will look at him/her in a better light, or other things like this, then these are not haram.
Note: According to the Islamic etiquette, all actions that a person commits for showing off are discouraged and are not recommended to be performed. Thus the ‘Ulama of Akhlaq have forbidden these acts, but if these acts are done with the intention of having others commit a haram act, then without doubt, they are haram.
223 – Question: Is it allowed for a woman do to something to draw the attention (eyes) of a non-Mahram man? Is it allowed for a man to do something or wear a type of clothing in such a way so as to draw the attention of a non-Mahram woman?
Answer: In both instances, it is not allowed. G
224 – Rule: Men too must not show off with the intention of wanting to make women fall into sin. ABGKLT
Therefore: Instances such as wearing specific kinds of clothing with the aim of having non-Mahram women fall into sin, talking, looking, walking, having a lustful behavior with the aim of drawing the attention of non-Mahram women; driving or getting onto a motorbike in a certain way in front of a Non-Mahram, joking, working out (in fitness clubs) in a specific way in front of a non-Mahram so as to make them fall into sin; putting on a necklace, keeping the arms and chest open with the aim of drawing the attention of non-Mahram women, etc… all of these and other such things are haram and one must refrain from performing them.