I want to know if what I am doing is halaal or haraam. I got to know a person over the phone and he has promised to marry me, but circumstances dictated that he had to delay this promise. We are still in touch and he says that he knows me well and has seen me, but I have never seen him. I also want to explain that this person is two years younger than me. My question is: is it halaal to remain in touch with him, or is it haraam?.
We appreciate your question and your keenness to find out what is halaal and what is haraam in such matters concerning which many people are becoming heedless. We praise Allaah for instilling in your heart the awareness of faith which is the reason for your anxiety about this telephone relationship, for the hearts that are truly alive are those that sense the danger of sin and are affected by any damage, whereas hearts that are dead are heedless and feel nothing, as it is said: The dead feel no pain.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Sin is that which wavers in your heart and which you do not like the people to find out about.” Narrated by Muslim (2553).
For a woman to speak to a man on the phone or otherwise, if it leads to her being tempted or being a source of temptation, it is haraam. That includes speaking of emotional matters such as love and affection, describing oneself, promising to meet and so on, because these are things that lead to immorality, and they are the steps that the shaytaan uses to trap women who are chaste and unaware. The wolf will carry on speaking softly, weaving dreams, making promises and swearing oaths until the woman falls prey to him. How often has honour been violated, how often have the sacred limits been transgressed, how many calamities have been caused, when the first step was a phone call?
Most of these wolves are liars and cheats who do not know the meaning of true love, and they have no intention of honourable marriage. They are only striving for depraved ends, and seeking to please the shaytaan. One of them stated that he does that sometimes for fun, sometimes for the love of power and temptation, and sometimes to feel proud that he entrapped So and so. And Allaah is the One Whose help we seek.
So beware, and save yourself. The most precious things that a woman possesses are her honour, her modesty and her chastity. This evil wolf will not be ashamed to mention his conquests to his friends, and he will say that he said such and such to her, and did such and such to her, until she is mentioned on the lips of the evildoers, and perhaps he may persuade her to meet him, or he will record her voice or take her picture, and use that a means to blackmail her and scare her, and try to get something even worse from her. May Allaah protect you and save you from all evil.
What we have said is not just mere words intended to scare you; rather it is a reference to dozens of stories that have actually happened in modern times, with the widespread availability of phones and chat rooms. They are sad and embarrassing stories that indicate the extent of the hard-heartedness of these playboys, and the weakness of women before their tricks. They clearly point to the greatness of the words of our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan). And whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan), then, verily, he commands Al‑Fahsha’ [i.e. to commit indecency (illegal sexual intercourse)], and Al‑Munkar [disbelief and polytheism (i.e. to do evil and wicked deeds; and to speak or to do what is forbidden in Islam)]. And had it not been for the Grace of Allaah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins. But Allaah purifies (guides to Islam) whom He wills, and Allaah is All‑Hearer, All‑Knower”
Speaking on the phone may be one of the footsteps of the shaytaan, as may be a look, a smile or soft speech, which affects the one in whose heart is a disease, so he builds it into mountains of dreams and thoughts, which results in hopes, efforts and plots aimed at evil. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“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”
We ask our sister – may Allaah protect her and keep her safe – is a phone conversation between a young man and a young woman free from soft speech, laughter and so on? How can it be otherwise, when they are speaking of marriage and hoping to meet? How can there not be any fitnah (temptation), how can there not be any attachment, how can there not be any hope in the sick heart?
If these plotters say that they want to get married, this is a false claim, because the way to get married is well known and is easily accessible; they are not ignorant of it. But they are running away from it and avoiding it, and they are resorting to the tricks and deceit of the shaytaan. Moreover, if a man desires a woman, it does not mean that he is suitable as a husband for her; he may be inferior to her in all ways, in age, knowledge, status and wealth, which means that he is unacceptable in most cases. How can the desire of an unknown person be a justification for him getting to know a girl and getting carried away with her, speaking to her and making promises of marriage? How can a wise woman consent to forming an attachment to one whose identity and circumstances are unknown, and wish to marry him, and wait for him to come? Perhaps he will not be suitable. Perhaps if she sees him she will prefer spinsterhood to marrying him.
Hasten to put an end to this relationship and regret it, and ask Allaah for forgiveness. Keep yourself busy with things that will benefit you, both religious and worldly. Remember that a good marriage is provision that Allaah gives to a righteous woman. He has promised those who obey Him that He will give them more of His bounty, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)”
Do a great deal of acts of worship and du’aa’, and close all doors that may lead to fitnah. Be pure and chaste, so that no evildoer could ever hope to get anywhere near you.
May Allaah help us and you to obey Him and please Him.
And Allaah knows best.