Q: My items are advertised online and then shipped to customers. I do not have a physical store. I therefore communicate with customers, potential customers, suppliers, distributors and so forth via correspondence. These are often woman, almost always non-Muslim, from all different countries. I am a male. Regarding communicating with woman for business purposes:
1. Is it permissible to use formal business formalities/etiquette in email? For example, to say: “Good morning”, “Hope you are well”, “I look forward to your response”, “It is a pleasure doing business with you”, “All the best”, “Kind regards” and so forth.
2. Is it permissible to communicate with them via the more ‘informal methods’ like SMS / WhatsApp / BBM / Facebook Chat / Twitter Direct Messaging etc.? I am mostly contacted via these methods initially.
3. If Question 2 is permissible: Can one use more informal terms like “Hi”, “Hello”,”Thanks” and so forth when communicating over those mediums mentioned in Question 2?
4. Is it permissible to phone them and speak over the phone when necessary? In all the instances above, everything will be kept to the point of need and related to the business.
1. Yes, it is permissible.
2. Provided there is nothing doubtful in the communication.
4. As above.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)