What are the Significant Points in the Relations Between Man and Woman?

This issue has several aspects:

1. Wearing Style of a Muslim Woman and the Parts of Her Body which are not permissible to look at

The main point in Muslim women clothing is to fulfill tasattur, in other words veiling. Tasattur for a woman is to cover and veil all of her body except her hands and face. A cloth is convenient for wearing if it is thick enough to hide the organs under is long enough to cover the organs necessary to be covered. Therefore, tasattur is not fulfilled by means of clothes which are so thin and transparent as to show what is under.

The meaning of Hadiths that serve as a basis for this issue are as follows:
Hazrat Aisha narrates: One day, her sister Asma, entered the presence of the Prophet (PBUH) while she was wearing a thin cloth. Hazrat Prophet (PBUH) turned his head away from her and uttered: O Asma! Verily, when a woman reaches puberty, it is inconvenient for her to show her body except this and this part –pointed at his face and hands-.*1

In Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurayra tells that the Prophet (PBUH) informed that women who are naked even though they wear clothes, that is to say women wearing transparent and thin clothes, will be with the people of Hell and they cannot feel even the smell of Paradise.2
Alqama bin Abi Alqama narrates that his mother said:

Hafsa, the daughter of Abdurrahman, entered the presence of Hazrat Aisha while she was wearing a scarf so transparent as to exhibit her hair. Hazrta Aisha took her scarf and gave it back after folding it in two and making it thick.3

As for Hazrat Omar (May God be pleased with him), he warned believers not to let women wear clothes that show their body lines clearly although they are not transparent.4

Referring to that hadith, Imam Sarahsi, an Islamic scholar, comments that tight woman clothes have the same state as transparent ones. He mentions the Hadith being naked even though wearing clothes. and says: such sort of dresses are just like a net. They do not fulfill covering. Therefore looking at women who are wearing clothes like that is not permissible.5

If a cloth indicates the color of the skin, then it is regarded as transparent. If the skin of the body can be seen, whether the cloth is thin or heavy it cannot fulfill Islamic wearing standards. The matter is explained in Halab-i Saghir as follows:

If a dress is as transparent as to show the skin color, it does not fulfill tasattur. Moreover, if it is thick but sticks on the body and assumes the sahape of the body (if body part shapes are shown), this style should not be permitted because tasattur is not fulfilled but performing prayers with that kind of clothing is permissible. 6

Other mazhabs (schools) regard the issue similarly. The Malikhi School says:
If a dress is transparent and shows the skin color, then tasattur is not fulfilled by means of it. Prayers performed wearing that kind of such clothes must be performed again. Besides, wearing tight and thin clothes is (makruh) abominable because they show the shape of the body parts. This wearing style also is regarded as impersonality and is contrary to what the predecessor Islamic scholars decreed. 7

The opininon of the Hanbali School:

Obligatory tasattur is the style of veiling which does not show the skin color. If the dress to be worn is so transparent as to to show the skin color and therefore if the whiteness and redness of the skin can be seen, then performing prayers wearing it is not permissible because Islamic tasattur is not fulfilled. However, if it covers the body but shadows the body shape, then performing prayers wearing it is permissible. Body shapes cannot be hidden completely even if the dress is heavy. 8
The Shafii School says:

It is wajib (obligatory) to to wear dresses which do not show the skin color. Wearing such a dress showing the skin color on account of being thin is not permissible. Such kind of a dress does not fulfill Islamic wearing standards. That is to say, a dress is not convenient for tasattur if it exhibits whiteness and blackness of the body because of being thin. Moreover, the decree is similar for a cloth that is heavy but surrounds the body and thus exhibits some lines of the body. Performed prayers are permissible while wearing such a dress which shows the shapes of femurs and kneecaps which indicate the body shape because Islamic tasattur is fulfilled. Additionally, using a cloth which does not let any parts of the body be seen is recommended.

We could come to the following conclusion from those narrations:

If dress which a woman wears while being with strangers is so thin and transparent as to exhibit the skin color, then it is not permissible because tasattur is not fulfilled. This clothing item could be a dress, a shirt or skirt as well as a scarf or socks. Socks, scarf or other dresses are permissible if they are heavy and do not show what is covered. Socks and scarves take the shapes of legs and head no matter how heavy they are. However, notwithstanding performing prayers with tight jeans or shirts are permissible, this wearing style is not regarded rightful because of drawing the attention of people.
Ibn-i Âbidin also mentions that issue in one of his treatises.10

1. Abû Dawud, Libas (Cloth):31.
2. Muslim, Libas (Cloth).-125.
3. Muvatta, Libas (Cloth): 4
4. Bayhaqi. Sunan, 2:235
5.al-Mabsût, 10:155-
6.Halebi-i Saghir, p.141. l.Manânu'l-Jalu, 1:136
8.Ibni Qudâma. al-Mughnî, 1:337.
9.Afeaeıtf. el-Mecmû, 3:170-172.
10.Raddu'l-Muhtar, 5:238.

In Which Cases Does The Woman Voice Become Haram (Forbidden)?

Islam takes protective measures against visions, attitudes and situations which corrupt and destruct man. The protection of human dignity and purity is essential in Islam. This protection is at the same level for man as well as woman.

On the other hand, special qualities, abilities and distinctions which are all bestowed upon man should not drive other people into wrongdoings, should not pave the way for arousing different feelings and should not seduce human soul.

We should consider the woman voice bestowed upon her by the Creator from this point of view. Actually, the voice of a being, primarily human voice, cannot be considered as being absolutely haram and sinful. There is no haram in its creation; that is why no verse or Hadith informs us about a command which defines woman voice as haram.

Interpreters of Islamic law scholars who lead schools, particularly Imam Hanafi and Imam Shafii have similar opinions about the issue. Moreover, we observe the following decree in all of the Islamic Law books:
Womans voice is not haram for people. That is to say, all the interpreters of Islamic Law comment that woman voice is lawful.

Scholars of Shafii School and other interpreters say: Woman voice is not haram. It is because she goes shopping or bears witnessing in the court. She needs to talk by raising her voice.1

Legal grounds of this comment are shown by the examples witnessed in the Era of Bliss which is the first practicing period of Islamic rules: those examples are the conducts of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and His companions (May God be pleased with them). These conducts are observed in three types:

First: Prophet (PBUH) talked with woman companions, answered their questions, listened to their complaints and met their needs and demands.

We shall narrate this glorious Hadith as an example:
Amr bin Shuayb narrates:

A woman and her daughter came to the presence of the Prophet (PBUH). There were two golden bracelets on the daughters arm. Gods Messenger (PBUH) asked the woman: Do you give zakat (alms) for these rings?

The woman replied: No, I dont.
Then, Gods Messenger (PBUH) asked again:
Ok then. Would you be happy if Allah put two fire bracelets on your arms on the Doomsday?

Thereupon the woman took off the rings and offered them to Allahs Messenger (PBUH) and said: They belong to Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) from now on.2

Second: The Companions of the Prophets asked the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) and the wives of other companions about Hadiths, talked to them and sometimes got information from them.

Third: In the period of the Companions, women made their complaints to caliphs or asked other companions questions to find out about what they did not know.
The following incidence is an example for the issue:

A woman came to Hazrat Umar and complained: O the master of the believers! My husband worships at night and fasts during the day.

What do you mean said, Hazrat. Do you want me to restrain him from worshipping at night and fasting during the day?

Thereupon the woman left without saying anything but after a while, she returned back and made the same complaint again. Hazrat Umar replied similarly. Witnessing the incidence, Kab bin Sûr interfered in the conversation and said: O the master of the believers! This woman is right. Considering that Allah permits a man to have four wives, the fourth day is the womans right.
Then, Hazrat Umar summoned her husband and commanded not to fast and to sleep with her in every four days.3

On the other hand, lawful matters could become unlawful in some certain cases, so could woman voice. Although woman voice is lawful, innocent and rightful, for which reasons would it become haram, in which cases is it haram and does listening to it become illicit?

Woman voice naturally attracts attention. Particularly if the voice arises in a different tone from normal, it may result in some inconvenient incidences, if we use the religious terminology it causes fitnah (corruption). Therefore, what is haram is not the voice itself but is the uncontrolled usage.

32nd verse of the Surah Confederates (Al-Ahzáb), teaches the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) how the relation standards should be:

O Consorts of the Prophet! You are not like any of the (other) women: if you do fear (Allah), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak you a speech (that is) just.
On the commentary of that verse, interpreter Vehbi Efendi gives the following explanation: Your speech should not cause corruption. That is to say, do not speak not charmingly and too elegantly to make men fall into doubt. It is depicted in the Elmalili commentary as: to speak tingly, coquettishly, saucily, complacently. In this case, some weak natured men could have illicit thoughts. Therefore, they will commit sins.

As for Vehbe Zuhayli, a Quran interpreter, regards using this style of speech as inconvenient not only in the daily conversation, but also for reading the Quran. He says: Listening to a woman reading Quran zestily and tunefully is haram because it could cause corruption.4

Ibn-i Âbidin demonstrates the matter as follows:
According to the preferred decrees woman voice is not haram. However, when we say that woman voice is haram, some witless people should not understand we imply her daily speech. Speaking with men they do not know is surely permissible when necessary. On the other hand, speaking in high voice level, speaking complacently, softly and tunefully is not permissible. That style of speech may incline men towards them and agitate their lust. Thats why reciting azan (call to prayer) by women is not permissible.5

Faruk Beşer utters the following decree which we affirm too:

A woman is attractive, fascinating and seducing with everything as well as with her voice; actually it does not indicate that she is ugly but beautiful. If she uses her attractive aspects which are favors of Allah and her voice for seducing people and for corruption, in other words, if she speaks complacently and womanishly or if she uses her voice which is already inciting tunefully and attractively, then her voice becomes haram not because of being private but because of leading to corruption. If she speaks solemnly and in a manner of not causing any attraction or giving any hope, it is lawful.6

Finally, we shall mention to the comment of Muhammad Ali as-Sabûnî, who is one of the important Quran interpreters of today:

As it can be observed clearly, woman voice is lawful if it is free from corruption. However, men should protect women from the ways which drive them into corruption and seduction.7

As for the issues in the question, while reading a poem or hymn, the voice becomes high-pitched and low-pitched, is tuneful and attractive; so singing or reading so loudly as to make namahram men hear is not permissible.
Dhikr, mentioning the name of Allah, is regarded under the same category for women if their voice could be heard by namahram men; it is not permissible like reciting azan in high voice because it may arouse some wrong feelings. Nonetheless, reciting the Quran or dhikr and reading hymns is permissible among women.

1 Tafsîru Âyâtil-Ahkâm, 2: 167.
2 Tirmizî, Zakat: 12.
3 Hayâtus-Sahâba (Lives of the Companions) , 3: 349.
4 Encyclopedia of Islamic Laws, 1: 467.
5 Raddul-Mukhtar, 1: 272.
6 Catechism of Woman, 314.
7 Tafsîru Âyâtil-Ahkâm, 2: 167.
Mehmed Paksu Fatwas (Religious Laws) concerning Family

3- Standing Alone with a Woman and Touching Her

Standing alone and touching each others hands is haram for a man and a woman if they are not married.

Since looking at a namahram woman is haram, touching her or shaking hands with her is definitely haram. Women who presented their obedience to the Prophet (PBUH) said: O Allahs Messenger! You did not hold our hands at the time of obeying you. The Prophet (PBUH) said: I never hold womens hands nor shake hand swith them. (Ahmad bin Hanbal, Nasâî and Ibn Majah). Hazrat Aisha says about obeying: I swear by Allah that hands of Allahs Messenger did not touch the hands of any women. He (PBUH) accepted their obedience only by words. (Muslim).

In one of his Hadiths, the Prophet (PBUH) says: Being poked with a needle in the head is more favorable than touching a namahram woman for any of you. Islam does not underestimate women by the prohibition of shaking her hands, contrarily, it protects her honor, and prevents her from evil minded people touching her. (Halil GÜNENÇ, Islamic religious laws on todays matters II. 112)

Touching a namahram mans hand is haram unless it is compulsory. From the point of this view, handshaking without a need is the subject of this definition. A namahram man cannot shake the hand of a namahram woman. The Noble Messenger (PBUH) informed us that holding a stranger womans hand for shaking is more terrible than holding fire, by this way, the Prophet implied that a man holding a womans hand also holds the fire of Hell.

The drawback is more valid more inconvenient for young men and women. It is less valid for the old whose desires have become blunt. Moreover, it is reported that if an old woman and an old man shake their hands (if their desires are nonexistent) it will not be harmful. therefore kissing old womens hands is permissible. Their elderliness, in other words, because their desires are nonexistent, causes such permission. At the time of shaking hands, if sexual desires arouse in the man, then a canonical relation would appear in terms of religion. That is why man-woman relations must be controlled carefully. At the time of such a useless handshaking or hand kissing, a possible interference of emotional desire would cause a close relation in terms of religion which means this womans daughter becomes prohibited that man for marriage. Avoiding such a suspicion is the best providence. It is necessary to try to avoid as much as possible and therefore not to let the appearance of a hesitation which is about whether such feeling is aroused or not.

As all we know, considering a marriage with a girl and engaging to be married does not mean getting married. Therefore, going out or being alone with one fiancée is absolutely haram and a grievous mistake. The Prophet (PBUH) says: When someone becomes alone with a woman, assuredly, the third one of them is devil. When many engaged people become alone with their fiancées, some unwanted and illicit results occur, also their relations can be broken for some reasons, at the end. What is left after these relations, is sins and wrongdoings. Thus, people who take care of their religion, worldly lives and honor must be careful on such things.

(1-al-Fiqh'ul-İslâmî wa Adillatuha volume. 7, p. 25 ;Halil GÜNENÇ, Islamic religious laws on todays matters II. 112)

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