Is a husband allowed to talk or be present with his wife's female friends?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
One of the essential aims of sharee’ah is to protect people’s lineage and honour. For this reason, Allah has forbidden zinaa (fornication) and He has forbidden the means that may lead to zinaa, such as a man being alone with a non-mahram woman, sinful looks, and women travelling without a mahram or going out of their homes wearing perfume and make-up, clothed yet naked, seeking thus to attract young men and provoke their desires and tempt them away from their religious commitment. This also includes a man speaking to a woman in a deceitful manner, and her speaking to him in a soft voice so as to tempt him and provoke his desire, so that he will fall in her trap – whether this is done in person, over the phone, via correspondence or in some other manner.
Islam is not just a true religion but also a social order that enables individuals to attain the cherished goal of material happiness and welfare in the world and to prepare them for the next world through righteousness and virtuous deeds.
Islam removes the possible causes which may breed corruption. It strikes hard at the root of evil and suggests measures which may bring about peaceful, happy and harmonious relations among the Muslims.
It discourages free and unbridled contact between men and women in order to check the consequences of undesirable impulses. It puts restraint to such impelling forces which might play a disastrous role in degenerating the mind of young men and women.
The sexual instinct is the greatest weakness of the human race. That is why Shaytan selected this weak spot for his attack on the believer.
Therefore, Islam takes the preventive measure rather than suffer the consequences. This is also one of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, namely ‘blocking the means’ (sadd al-Dhara’i). This is based on the idea of preventing an evil before it actually materializes, and is taken from the heart of the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah that, “Preventing harm is given precedence even to achieving possible benefits.”
For this reason, Allaah forbade the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), even though they were good and pure, to make a display of themselves in the manner of the first Jaahiliyyah, or to speak in soft voices so as to provoke the desire of those in whose hearts was a disease; and He commanded them to speak in a manner that was honourable. Allaah said (interpretation of the meaning):
“O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allâh), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.
And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance…” [al-Ahzaab 33:31-32]
Imam Abu Abdullah Al-Qurtubi (Allah have mercy on him) states: “This verse indicates the permissibility to ask and communicate with the wives of The Prophet Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam from behind a screen or a curtain. All Muslim women would be bound by the same regulation. (Tafseer –e- Qurtubi, Vol14, P201)
Allah enjoys on both males and females to restrain their eyes from looking at each other. “Enjoin the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty… Likewise enjoin the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty… (Surah An Nur: 30-31)
Ahadiths on the prohibition of men and women intermingling are many. Jarir ibn Abdullah narrates that I asked the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-Mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes. (Muslim, 1015)
Uqba bin Amir narrates that the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Beware of entering upon the ladies." A man from the Ansar said, "Allah's Apostle! What about the in-laws of the wife?" The Prophet replied, “The in-laws of the wife are death itself." (Bukhari, Vol 7, 159)
The above verse of the Quran and the Ahadiths of the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) indicate the importance of observing segregation and to refrain from intermingling. A person is instructed to turn the gaze away when a glance is cast on a non-Mahram accidentally let alone on an arranged meeting.
In another Hadith Ibn Abbas (radi allahu anhu) narrates that … Abu Huraira (radi allahu anhu) narrated from the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) who said… "The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the adultery of the tongue is the talk, and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it." (Sahih Bukhari: 8.260)
It is thus clear that Islam insist on the segregation of sexes to the utmost extent compatible with individual and collective self-preservation. Its pattern of society is one in which men and women do not intermingle too freely. If intermixture becomes necessary at any time, then too much freedom must be avoided and all the rules and conditions must be observed.
Therefore, with regards to your question it is not permissible for your husband to talk (without any reason) or be in the presence of your female friends. If there is a need such as one of your friend phones on the home number and he picks it up etc… then it will be permissible, otherwise, it will be unlawful.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham