|Greeting the Opposite Gender|
|Fiqh: Islamic Jurisprudence - Woman|
|Written by Hassan Ayyub|
A Muslim greets a fellow Muslim who does not have a bad reputation or is known for acts of transgression or innovations, and a woman greets a woman like a man greets a man.
A woman can also greet men who are unmarriageable to her, and is an obligation to answer greeting. The same category of men should also greet her (and) it is an obligation for her to reply to their greeting.
It is also permitted to greet a strange elderly woman. This is also the case if she is a young woman who is used to communicate with men and there is no risk of sedition (sin, lust) in addressing greeting words to her.
However, if she is a beautiful young woman, and there is concern that this may cause sedition, then it is not permitted for a man to greet her. If a man does indeed greet her, then it is not worthy of a reply. But, if she is the one who greeted first then it is not worthy of any reply because it is disliked.
It is permitted for a group of women to greet a group of men and vice versa and what is meant by a group here is more than one. It is also permitted for a man to greet a group of women as also for a woman to greet a group of men as long as safeguarding against sedition is guaranteed.
It was narrated in Sunnan of Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah and others that Asma' bint Yazeed may Allah be pleased with her said that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) passed by a group of women and greeted them.
It is narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari that Sahal Ibn Sa`d said, "There was an elderly woman who used to cook grains of barley and we used to go and greet her after Friday prayer, and she used to offer us the food she had cooked." and in Sahih Muslim that Umm Hani' bint Abu Talib may Allah be pleased with her said, "I went to the Prophet (SAW) on the day of the Conquest of Makkah when he was washing and Fatimah was shileding him so I greeted him to which he said, 'Who is that?' I replied, 'Umm Hani' bint Abu Talib', he then replied, 'Welcome Umm Hani', and when he finished washing, he offered prayers... etc."
In the course of giving an explanation, Muslim said that a woman can greet marriageable man in the presence of some unmarriageable women. And there is no harm for any person to use his nickname to identify who he is, and there is no problem with speaking or greeting whilst washing or during ablution. It is also permissible to wash in the presence of an unmarriageable woman if his private parts are covered which can be done using a garment or anything of the kind.
According to Sahih Muslim it has been confirmed that Abu Bakr and `Umar visited Umm Ayman and greeted her after the death of the Prophet (SAW).
Sheikh Hassan Ayyub
Social Manners in Islam, pg. 417
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