Q: Is it impermissible to listen to the voice of a non-mahram female? Often there is a female reading the news on the radio. Should one listen to this or switch it off?
Some people claim that the Sahabah (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with them) would ask Hadhrat Aa’isha (Radiallahu Anha) rulings and learn from her. Therefore the presence of female presenters on Islamic radio stations is fine. Is this justified?
A: Shari’ah commands segregation between non mahram men and women. The reason for this command is that non mahram men and women freely intermingling and casually interacting among themselves leads to many evils and sins. Allah Ta’ala commands women in the Holy Qur’an thus:
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ﴿الأحزاب:33﴾
Remain within the confines of your homes and do not leave your homes displaying your beauty and attraction as the women of the days of ignorance used to display.
Hence, it is imperative for one to understand that just as a woman is commanded to conceal her body by remaining within the confines of her home and not leaving her home without any valid reason, similarly she is commanded to conceal her voice from all non mahram men as her voice also is a cause of creating fitnah and a means of spurring up wrong feelings within the hearts of men. Allah Ta’ala commands women in the Qur’an:
فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ ﴿الأحزاب: 32﴾
So do not speak in soft tones (with non mahrams), lest the one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire.
Furthermore, on account of the abundant fitnah prevalent everywhere in this era, one should in his individual capacity exercise extreme caution when dealing with non mahram women and save himself from sin as well as the avenues that lead to sin.
As far as the Azwaaj-e-Mutahharaat [the noble wives of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)] are concerned, it should be borne in mind that they were mahrams to the men of the ummah. Allah Ta’ala Himself refers to them as the mothers of the believers. After the demise of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) they were not permitted to remarry. Yet, despite them being mahrams to the men of the ummah, they still observed purdah from the Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum). Hazrat Aa’isha (Radiyallahu Anha) herself mentions that during the farewell Hajj with Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), whenever any men used to pass by us [the wives of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)] we used to conceal our faces with a cloth (in such a manner that the cloth would be suspended before our faces and not touch our faces) in order not to be seen by the men. When the men used to pass, then we used to lift the cloth. The Azwaaj-e-Mutahharaat conducted themselves in this manner to teach the ummah the level of caution that needs to be exercised between men and women.
Despite the Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) being so pure compared to the men of these times, yet the Azwaaj-e-Mutahharaat and the women of the Sahaabah were commanded to observe purdah from them. The Sahaaba (Radiyallahu Anhum) only referred to the Azwaaj-e-Mutahharaat at the time of need where a matter relating to the Mubaarak life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) needed some clarification. Hence with observing complete purda, Hazrat Aa’isha (Radiyallahu Anha) explained to them the laws of Deen. To try to justify the chit chat, chuckling and laughing and the general talking of women with men on radio on the basis of the Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) learning Deen from Hazrat Aa’isha (Radiyallahu Anha) is a complete distortion.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
النَّبِيُّ أَولىٰ بِالمُؤمِنينَ مِن أَنفُسِهِم وَأَزواجُهُ أُمَّهاتُهُم وَأُولُو الأَرحامِ بَعضُهُم أَولىٰ بِبَعضٍ في كِتابِ اللَّـهِ مِنَ المُؤمِنينَ وَالمُهاجِرينَ إِلّا أَن تَفعَلوا إِلىٰ أَولِيائِكُم مَعروفًا كانَ ذٰلِكَ فِي الكِتابِ مَسطورًا ﴿الأحزاب: ٦﴾
عن عائشة قالت كان الركبان يمرون بنا ونحن مع رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- محرمات فإذا حاذوا بنا سدلت إحدانا جلبابها من رأسها إلى وجهها فإذا جاوزونا كشفناه.(رواه أبو داود 1/254)
عن أم سلمة قالت كنت عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعنده ميمونة فأقبل ابن أم مكتوم وذلك بعد أن أمرنا بالحجاب فقال النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم احتجبا منه. فقلنا يا رسول الله أليس أعمى لا يبصرنا ولا يعرفنا فقال النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم أفعمياوان أنتما ألستما تبصرانه (رواه أبو داود 2/568)
عن علي أنه كان عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: “أي شيء خير للمرأة؟ فسكتوا، قال: فلما رجعت قلت: لفاطمة: أي شيء خير للنساء؟ قالت لا يرين الرجال ولا يرونهن، فذكرت ذلك للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إنما فاطمة بضعة مني (البزار ، وأبو نعيم فى الحلية وضعف) [كنز العمال 46012]
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)