Muslim and non-Muslim women exchanging visits – Shaykh Ibn Baaz

Q 6: I have some non-Muslim and Muslim neighbors about whom I have some reservations. What is the ruling on exchanging visits with them?

A: Visits exchanged in such circumstance are a good thing enjoined by Islam when they are for the purpose of guidance, advice, and cooperation in righteousness and piety.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says, ‘My Love is due to those who love one another for My Sake, who sit with one another for My Sake, who visit one another for My Sake, and who are generous to one another for My Sake.’” (Related by Imam Malik [may Allah be merciful to him] with a Sahih (authentic) Sanad (chain of narrators)][1]

Also, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade with His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade but His Shade…” among them he (peace be upon him) mentioned: “Two men who love each other for the sake of Allah, meeting for that and parting upon that.” [2]

The example given is that of two men, but the ruling is general and applies to two men or two women. Thus, if a Muslim visits another Muslim or non-Muslim for the purpose of calling them to Allah, teaching them and guiding them to goodness without seeking worldly gain or taking the Commands of Allah lightly, this is a good act.

It is good for a Muslim woman to visit her sister in Islam and advise her to avoid Tabarruj (woman’s public display of her adornment or charms), unveiling the face or taking lightly what Allah prohibits. Similarly, it is good to visit her Christian or non-Christian female neighbor, such as a Buddhist woman or the like, to advise, teach, or instruct her. Actually, this comes under the heading of the Prophet’s words: “Religion is sincerity (well-wishing). Religion is sincerity. Religion is sincerity.“[3]  If she responds positively, all praise is to Allah; if she does not then you should give up the visits which do not serve any useful purpose.

Visiting for the purpose of gaining worldly benefits, playing, exchanging idle talks, eating or the like is not permissible to be made to non-Muslims, whether they are the Christians or others. Such visits may corrupt one’s religious commitment or morals, because the Kafirs (disbelievers) are enemies to us and we do not feel love towards them [as a reaction for their Shirk, disbelief, rejection of truth, enmity, sinning, transgression against Allah, etc. Ed]. Thus, we should not take them as protectors or confidants.

However, visits are required when they are made for the purpose of calling to Allah, urging to do goodness, and warning against evil. In Surah (Qur’anic chapter) Al-Mumtahinah, Allah (Glorified be He) says: “Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrâhîm (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: “Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allâh: we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you hostility and hatred for ever until you believe in Allâh Alone”” [Surah Al-Mumtahanah, 60: 4]

[1] Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 233; and Malik, Al-Muwatta*, Book on miscellaneous matters, no. 1779.

[2] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Adhan, no. 660; Muslim, Sahih, Book on Zakah, no. 1031; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on asceticism, no. 2391; Al-Nasa*y, Sunan, Book on the manners of judges, no. 5380; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 439; and Malik, Al-Muwatta*, Book on miscellaneous matters, no. 1777.

[3] Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 55; Al-Nasa*y, Sunan, Book on Al-Bay`ah, no. 4198; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on manners, no. 4944; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 4, p. 102.