Q: Assalamu alikum our dear respected imam.
Imam, are we Muslim women required to reply to the greetings or smiles of stranger men at work, in school (class mates), and in public?
My opinion and feelings (that are worth nothing when commands of Allah are mentioned): when some of my class mates smile, or say hi to me, most of the time I feel very uncomfortable, because it seems like they are trying to be super nice for some reason… in general, I find it unnecessary for me to reply to them, and other times I find not very modest of me to reply to them since I am trying to follow the sunnah and modesty of the prophets wives sallah Allahu alaihee wassalam. Plus, I cant predict the evil intentions that could exsist in some men’s minds. Imam, pardon me, I am not being arrogant, I said all that because I dont want every man to start saying hi to me, then it becomes how are you, then indulge into conversations with stranger men, my iman is weak, I dont want to risk it. I hope I am not being unnecessarily exterme.
In advance, jazakum Allahu kullu khairen a’anna.
Time: Monday June 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm
A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
We are living in strange times. Many times, a thing to do may seem religious, however, the consequence of it may prove otherwise. As Muslims we must do good and our result must also prove good when an act is fulfilled.
Under general conditions, a woman is not obligated to respond to the salam of a strange male, more so in the settings you have described. If the man is old/woman is old, beyond the age of normal desire and to responding would not add to greater corruption, in such a situation there would no problem in responding.
In all conditions you should respond in your heart, for salam also functions as a type of prayer. You should not deprive yourself from receiving or giving a dua. This can be done silently.
Allah certainly Knows Best.