Is it Haram to speak privately with the opposite gender?



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

It is not Haram to speak privately with the opposite gender if there is no Fitnah (temptation) or Khalwah (seclusion). Rather, we have Sahih Hadith proving permissibility. However, this must be restricted to need or necessity.

أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: جَاءَتِ امْرَأَةٌ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَخَلاَ بِهَا، فَقَالَ: وَاللَّهِ إِنَّكُنَّ لَأَحَبُّ النَّاسِ إِلَيَّ

(Sayidina) Anas bin Malik narrated that an Ansari woman came to the Prophet ﷺ and he took her aside (Khalwah) and said: Indeed by Allah, you (Ansar) are the most beloved of people to me. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 5234).

The Hadith narration above makes it clear that the Prophet ﷺ spoke to the Ansari woman privately. Therefore, it is proof that speaking privately with the opposite gender is not Haram (prohibited). However, this is understood to have occurred in a situation of need or necessity. So, it should be restricted to such circumstances.

The Hadith mentions Khalwah (seclusion). But that must be understood correctly. It does not mean the blessed Prophet ﷺ was completely alone with her. Rather, they were in public but stepped away from the people so the conversation could remain private. This has been explained in detail in a related answer.

Hanafi scholars
وَفِيه: أَن مُفَاوَضَة الْمَرْأَة الْأَجْنَبِيَّة سرا لَا يقْدَح فِي الدّين عِنْد أَمن الْفِتْنَة. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

In it (the Hadith) we find that private communication with an unrelated woman does not undermine one’s religiosity if there is safety from temptation. (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, 855H, Umdatu al-Qari).

وَفِيهِ تَنْبِيهٌ عَلَى أَنَّ الْخَلْوَةَ مَعَ الْمَرْأَةِ فِي زُقَاقٍ لَيْسَ مِنْ بَابِ الْخَلْوَةِ مَعَهَا فِي بَيْتٍ عَلَى احْتِمَالِ أَنَّ بَعْضَ الْأَصْحَابِ كَانُوا وَاقِفِينَ بَعِيدًا عَنْهُمَا مُرَاعَاةً لِحُسْنِ الْأَدَبِ. (مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح)

In it is clarification that being alone with a woman in a pathway is not the same as seclusion with her in a house. Given the possibility that some of the companions were standing at a distance. Thus, observing the best of etiquette. (Imam Ali al-Qari, 1014H, Mirqaat al-Mafateeh).

In the Nusoos (texts) above, leading Hanafi Imams clarify that speaking privately with the opposite gender is permitted. They explain that the Hadith makes it clear that this private conversation was in a public setting. Thus, it did not raise the issue of Khalwah (seclusion). Khalwah with a non-Mahram is generally prohibited.


Undoubtedly, there are conditions for the permissibility of speaking privately with the opposite gender. One of them is that it cannot be done when there is Fitnah (temptation). Nor should it be done unless there is a need or necessity. When required, it should be done in public. Such that others are present but cannot hear the conversation.

وَإِنَّمَا يَخْلُو بهَا حَيْثُ لَا يسمع الَّذِي بالحضرة كَلَامهَا وَلَا شكواها إِلَيْهِ. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

Rather he is alone with her, such that those present cannot hear her speech nor her concerns being conveyed to him. (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, 855H, Umdatu al-Qari).


It is not Haram to speak privately with the opposite gender. However, this must be restricted to situations of need or necessity. There are numerous conditions that must be observed in such circumstances. Some of them have been mentioned above. Additionally, the conversation itself should be formal and not overfamiliar.

Obviously, this entire discussion is applicable to members of the opposite gender that are non-Mahram. As for Mahram relatives, there are no such restrictions. Generally, the word Mahram refers to a relative who is so closely related that marriage is prohibited. For example, the mother or sister.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (16.05.24)