Fatwa ID: 01504
Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Respected Mufti Sahib,
I will first start by introducing about a forum on the internet, called "sunni forum," the website is: www.sunniforum.com.
The forum is run by a Shura, consisting of 'Deobandi' muftis, 'alims, 'alimahs, and non 'alims. The forum has allowed discussion between men and women on topics ranging from Shari'a to politics and global situation. Personal matters like asking for advice are also discussed. Personalities like Junaid Jamshed are also discussed. The nature of these discussions is such that the users do not know each other, the do not see each other, cannot contact each other and cannot send private messages.
But still discussions between the opposite gender takes place which is most of the time unnecessary. Sometimes Light jokes are shared and taken place.
Also, sometimes, the discussion goes out of fold of Islamic discussion, leading to unnecessary communication being made, where non-mehram users on the forum show emotion to others publicly. For example an old male member announced leaving the forum and sisters expressed their grief that we are sad you are leaving. Your posts are very beneficial. Sisters give duas personally like brother fulan, may Allah bless you in dunia and akhirat.
If you could also please go on this link to see all the rules of the Sunni Forum : http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/misc.php?do=showrules
Out of all this, including the rules that have been shown. The questions are:
1 – Is this type of forum allowed in shariat?
2 – Are the shura correct in allowing this to happen? Is this claim right that general online discussion between non-mehram is allowed in shariat?
3 – What is the definition of need in shariat to allow the non-mehram to contact others and to what limts?
4 – What advice and caution will you give about the sunni forum?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
First and foremost, we at Darul Ifta Birmingham do not give opinions or fatwas on other Islamic organisations.
Secondly, I will explain the rules and regulations of gender contact online.
It will be best and more precautious that a Muslim woman finds another female scholar whether in her city or over the internet to ask question to.
If that is not possible and there is a need for her to ask a question then it will be permissible to ask a male scholar.
The question should be Islamic and based on something which is connected to her. Questions which do not apply to her should not be asked online.
Ibn Nujaym in his Al-Ashbah has written, “What is permitted due to its necessity must be restricted to the level of necessity”.
Asking questions by sisters should only be restricted to male scholars, who have knowledge and are able to give a clear and precise ruling. Asking non male scholars for “opinions” or “advice” could lead to flirtatious messages between the two, hence, should be avoided.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.