NEW BOOK: The Manners and Characteristics when Talking on the Phone By Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd

The Manners and characteristics when talking on the phone By Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd [May Allaah have Mercy on him]

All Praises are for Allaah and Peace and Blessings be upon the Messenger of Allaah, his companions and all those who follow his guidance until the Last Day;

To Begin: The Manners and characteristics when talking on the phone within Shariah comprise of the same rulings that already exist within the Shariah. The etiquettes needed when visiting, seeking permission, the etiquettes of talking, the characteristics of conversation and its topics. The Shariah has also already discussed the amounts, times and places for these etiquettes.  All these areas have already been covered in Shariah and have been mentioned in the pure texts of our religion, either in its principles or the rulings and regulations. Not only do the texts talk about the rulings but the texts also guide to actions which are more virtuous for us to follow, manners that are of the highest of conduct. All of the above have all been built on the encouragement for us to be generous and thoughtful; this is the basis on which the foundation of the blessed and comprehensive Shariah is built on.

It has been narrated that The Prophet [Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] said; “Kindness is not present in a thing except that it beautifies it and it is not absent in a thing except it makes it horrid.”

It is also narrated that he [Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] said; “Whoever has been prevented from having kindness then he has been prevented from having all good.”

These characteristics and manners are enforced from two aspects; the manners that already exist in the deed we are doing within it; and the manners that are needed so that we may reach a desired goal.

Sometimes it is difficult for us to acquire what we seek to obtain because of weaknesses in ourselves. However we are always encouraged to have good manners which always bring about the desired outcome.

From here, being adorned with good manners helps in spreading Islaam. For instance, the way Islaam spread, came about by there existing brotherhood, companionship and the upright cooperation that the Muslims had with each other. They protected their oaths, they upheld their trusts, they sought to spread betterment; they overturned oppression and tyranny, so the rights of everyone were restored thus because of this great principle in Islaam, which is to have good manners, Islaam was able to spread.

The manners of one have an effect on another and it carries throughout the whole of the society, the population as a whole will be changed for the better. Creating compassion is a goal that the Shariah sets out to attain. It encourages us to make excuses for those who disappoint us because not everyone is on the same level of intelligence. We don’t share our abilities, we don’t share the same levels of diplomacy and generally people differ on the way they deal with each other. The noblest thing for us to do is that if we are enlightened with something then we should explain this to others. If we are reminded then we should remind others because this drives us towards progression. So the reasons for this treatise are three;

Firstly, it is a reminder for me and those who Allaah Wills from my brothers.

Secondly, it’s a caution against those who harm others. For example, the caller may call the person and remain silent on the phone until the person has to ask who is calling, this is from the bad manners that we are prohibited from following.

Another example is giving out other peoples numbers without their permission, undoubtedly this is a treachery against the trust this person has given you.

Thirdly, the phone, the loudspeakers and mobile phones are all forms of technology that have become extremely important in our daily lives. These apparatuses enable us to communicate with each other quickly without exerting too much effort. Thus it has helped in saving our energy, our time, our wealth and at times it helps us to get what we want almost instantly. So we Thank and Praise Allaah for this favour upon us.

Due to these reasons, it is important for us to know the manners and characteristics of using the phone from an Islaamic perspective and how the Shariah encourages us to use them.

From them, the Shariah explains that we must do the following;

Make sure you are ringing the correct telephone number:

We must always make sure we have the correct number before dialling as ringing the wrong number will disturb others. At times people are sleeping or busy and they are bothered by people calling the wrong number. So a way to overcome this mistake is to make sure we have inputted the correct number into the phone or saved the correct number in our address book. Even after these measures you connect to the wrong person, you should say, ‘Please excuse me’.

For the caller, if you realise that you have made a mistake don’t keep pestering the person, if they have told you it’s the wrong number or you get a similar recorded message then leave it, however you won’t be sinful for sincere mistakes.

However, if you annoy others on purpose then you have left the kind manners we are encouraged to have you will be sinful, whilst the one being annoyed may be rewarded.

Choosing an appropriate time to call

If you need to call someone and you find out that they are busy or you are trying to call at a time that  people normally eat or sleep, then do not persist in calling them unless there is a dire need to do so.

The person who visits your home is like the person who is calling you on your phone, so the caller must seek permission before starting the conversation and making sure that the time is appropriate;

“And if it is said to you, “Go back,” then go back; it is purer for you.” [Noor 24:28]

So you must make sure that the time is appropriate, you make sure you observe the time for when people usually eat and sleep and the time they have with their families.

Look how the Shariah commands us, even the child, to seek permission before we enter. Children are free to enter at any time but if they want to enter at three specific times during the day; before Salaat al-Fajr, at the time of Dhuhr and after Salaat al’Ishaa, they must seek permission. As for the adult, he must always seek permission throughout all the hours of the day.

“O you who have believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times: before the dawn prayer and when you put aside your clothing [for rest] at noon and after the night prayer. [These are] three times of privacy for you. There is no blame upon you nor upon them beyond these [periods], for they continually circulate among you – some of you, among others. Thus does Allaah make clear to you the verses; and Allaah is Knowing and Wise. And when the children among you reach puberty, let them ask permission [at all times] as those before them have done. Thus does Allaah make clear to you His verses; and Allaah is Knowing and Wise.”

[Noor 24: 58-59]

Added to this, The Prophet [Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] prohibited the person returning from a journey to return to his house unexpectedly, without informing them that he is about to return home. The wisdom behind this is that the person returning may return to his house and find it in an unclean state or he may see something from their appearance that disheartens him.

In conclusion, the caller must take the utmost care in making sure he is being appropriate and if the person you are trying to reach asks to be excused, we should wholeheartedly accept it. If you are told to wait then wait, as you are the one who is seeking not the one being sought.

However, for places that are constantly open and available to receive telephone calls, such as hotel receptions or call centres, then this has an exception to the rule and they have a separate ruling. This exception can be derived from the Ayah of seeking permission;

“There is no blame upon you for entering houses not inhabited in which there is convenience for you. And Allaah knows what you reveal and what you conceal.”

[Noor 24:29]

The houses that are being referred to in this Ayah are houses that are left open for people to dwell in, such as those who have a need or a rest house for travellers. All in all, these types of houses in this Ayah isn’t specified for any particular person or group, so once your need is fulfilled you move on, similar to what we have today in hotels.

Seeking permission; the caller should not attempt to reach the other person by excessive phone calls

It is important for one not to be excessive in trying to reach the person they are trying to contact rather they must be balanced in their attempts to reach them. Once you have tried a reasonable amount of times, you shouldn’t pursue it further. In fact, the caller shouldn’t exceed three attempts, due the hadeeth that has been agreed upon, that the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] said;

“If you seek to enter three times and you have not been granted permission, then leave”.

Another hadeeth explains the wisdom behind this ruling of seeking permission;

The Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him said;

“Seeking permission before entering has been legislated in order that we don’t see something that we aren’t supposed to see.” [Narrated by Bukhaaree]

Of course, these ahaadeeth aren’t directly related to the etiquettes of using the phone. However the wisdom behind seeking permission can be applied to the rulings connected to using the phone. Seeking permission prevents one being disturbed, prevents harm afflicting others, its spreads good manners and blocks the path for people not being exposed. These factors have contributed to an age old problem. For instance, a woman once went to the house of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hambal [May Allaah have mercy on him] and knocked on his door, constantly with force. He then opened the door with a great deal of annoyance and rebuked the woman saying, “This is the knocking of the police!”

Look at the characteristics and mannerisms of the Companions [May Allaah be Pleased with them all] with the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him]. If they wanted to see him, they would knock and wait at the door of his house until they were seen to, as it was narrated by Imaam Bukhaaree in his book, Adab al-Mufrad, by al-Khateeb in his book al-Jaam’iah and by Imaam al-Qurtubee in his Tafseer [12/217].

This example can be applied to modern times where we have door bells; we should use these to let the person know that we are trying to reach them without being forceful, prolonging and not forgetting to be gentle.

The Duration of phone calls

Everything has a prescribed duration, and every conversation comes with an appropriate duration.  So we should be cautious in not prolonging, harming and creating hardship for the person we are calling.

The caller must greet with; As-Salaamu Alaykum

The person who is calling is the one who is putting himself forward, so if the person decides to call another then he must begin with the greeting of Islaam, ‘As-Salaamu Alaaykum’, this from the symbols of Islaam. This greeting is a supplication for security and peace and it is from the virtues of the Ummah of Muhammad [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him].

The person who lifts the receiver and is greeted in this way must reply to this greeting, this is what has been narrated in the noble Sunnah.

On the authority of Rabee’ [May Allaah be Pleased with him] who said, a man from Banee ‘Aaamir told me that he went to the Prophet’s [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] house and sought permission to enter. So when he arrived he asked, “Can I come in”?

So when the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] heard this, he told his custodian to go out and teach this man on how to seek permission. So he went to him and told him to say; “As-Salaamu Alaykum, may I enter?” So the man sought to enter again but this time he asked, “As-Salaamu Alaykum, may I enter?” So the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] permitted him to come. [Narrated by Aboo Dawood]

This hadeeth proves that the one who wants to enter, then it is upon him to begin with the Salaam. Therefore, if a person is trying to ring another, he must be the one who begins with the Salaam and he should be quiet until he is spoken to.

It is also important to know that leaving the blessed greeting of Islaam is not permissible. Some people have changed this greeting to things such as ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Illuminated Morning’. Specific to the way people on the telephone, we hear people using greetings like, ‘Hello’. This greeting in its origin comes from France and it is being incorporated in the Arabic language, as people persist in using it.

It is also important to note that it is not permissible for the caller, once the call has connected, to remain silent. This is contrary to Islamic etiquettes from various viewpoints;

  • It contradicts the Sunnah as the person who is seeking to gain the other persons attention is the one who should begin with the Salaam.
  • It is bad manners, as it seems by the caller being silent that he is testing the person he is calling. So the person who has received this call will lift the receiver and enquire about this silence by asking, ‘Hello? Anybody there?’ These are bad manners that have been prohibited by Allaah.

If the receiver responds to your call and lifts the receivers and asks, ‘Who’s speaking?’ Then the caller must answer clearly and avoid being obscure.

It is narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah [May Allaah be Pleased with him] said;

“I sought permission to enter the house of the Prophet.” The Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] then asked, “Who is it?” I replied by saying, “It’s me.” He rebuked me by saying, “Me!? Me!?” [Narrated by Muslim]

Aboo Dawood has a similar narration where he adds the wording, “It is as if he disliked it.”

Similarly, it is also unclear if one is asked to name himself and he replies with his Kunya, by saying it is Aboo Fulaan, for example. This is being obscure as well and this is not known from the way of the Salaf. In contrary to this, the Salaf would have a Kunya that would be suited to a special characteristic that they may possess or the Kunya itself would help define the person. Kunya wasn’t something known before Islaam but when Islaam came, the Companions [May Allaah be Pleased with them] were keen to use them; Aboo Bakr, Aboo Dharr, Umm Haani [May Allaah be Pleased with them all].

The point is one should be wary of using a Kunya that will disguise the person, has nothing connected to his name, or a characteristic of his. If you go to someone’s house and he isn’t there then don’t bother the inhabitant, this is bad manners and etiquette. This distracts the people in the house and may even cause them discomfort, so why does the one who does this think he is so special?

Ending the conversation with Salaam

As the conversation began with Salaam, likewise it should end in the same manner, using one of the symbols of Islaam.

It has been narrated on the authority of Aboo Hurayrah [May Allaah be Pleased with him] that the Messenger of Allaah [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] said; “If one of you finishes his gathering then he should do so with Salaam. If he intends to leave the gathering then he should do so with Salaam because those who were there before him have this right over him.”[Narrated by Aboo Dawood]

Being discreet in your voice

This is necessary and a ruling that applies to all types of conversations. So the person speaking on the phone shouldn’t be loud. Likewise he shouldn’t be too quiet, rather he should be balanced, not being annoyingly loud or inaudible, but balanced.

This is a mannerism that most people have when having a conversation with their parents, an elder person or someone who has status. However the opposite is true for when he is with his friends.

So be aware of falling into being unbalanced, raising your voice should only be done if there is a need to do so and be cautious in raising your voice without need. It is serious, as raising your voice is a way one can break his connection with Allaah, The Glorified and The Exalted, as He informed us that His slave Luqmaan advised his son to do such;

“And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys”

[Luqmaan 31:19]

And there are numerous evidences addressing this point

From them is the fact that raising your voice disrespects the person you are talking to, for how many times has raising ones voice over the phone created disharmony? Thus doing this over the phone will cause the benefit intended behind calling the person to be lost.

 

Women and the Phone

If one of the speakers on the phone happens to be a woman, then it is important that she doesn’t beautify her voice. Allaah, The Glorified, has prohibited the wives of the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him], the mother of the believers [May Allaah be Pleased with them all], not be luring in their conduct. In the time of prophethood, the generation of the Companions [May Allaah be Pleased with them all], despite being that virtuous were still commanded to control their voices, as the Most High says;

“O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allaah , then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.”

[Ahzaab 33:32]

So how would it be for other than them? They have been prohibited from making their voices appealing as this is more befitting for them to be in this way, as it is stated that they must fear Allaah as they are believing women thus this becoming a characteristic of them. Not only this, they were commanded to use beneficial talk and spread righteousness in their conversations. They were prohibited from speaking to others in a lustrous and arousing fashion, thus it is not permissible to talk to a foreign man in a manner that they may talk to their husband.

So be cautious! A woman shouldn’t extensively talk to a foreign man if there is no need for it, the Shariah has prohibited this and to turn away from this. Rather, there must be a point for her to talk to this person.

So be cautious! Be wary of raising and stretching your voices, be wary of beautifying and making your voices soft in front of others, be wary of contracting and thinning your voices, be wary of rhythm and submissiveness in your voices.

If this has been prohibited for the women, then it is also prohibited for the man to listen to women talking like this. Even if she is reciting Quraan! The point being, if this type of behaviour continues within the conversation between the sexes then there will undoubtedly be a spread of Fitnah.

Here, I would like to point something out to the men. The man is responsible for his family, it is his responsibility to make sure that the layout of his house has privacy and it protects the right of his womenfolk. It is not befitting for a woman to answer the phone when men are readily available to do so. The man shouldn’t always be absent from the house for this to happen, rather he should be there to protect her affairs and be ready to attend to her requirements if she needs him. And upon her is to listen and obey her husband in matters of piety and what is upright, as being obedient in this brings about harmony and leaving it off brings about dispute.

When going to the homes of others   

It is from the best of manners when using the telephone to take into account the current condition of the person you are trying to contact. You must take into account the affairs in his house, his age, his status, how close you are to the person, his condition and you must take special care especially if you know he is busy.

It has been narrated on the authority of Aisha [May Allaah be Pleased with her] that the Prophet [Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] said;

“Give people their due according to their status” [Narrated by Aboo Dawood]

It has also been narrated on the authority of ‘Ubaadah ibn Saamit [May Allaah be Pleased with him] that the Prophet [Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] said;

“He is not one of us if he doesn’t venerate those elder than him, have mercy on those younger than him and doesn’t give the person working his rights.” [Narrated by Ahmad]

The peak of our affair is Islaam, and in regards to the Islaam of people, then they vary. Some people hold fast to acts of obedience and others disobey habitually. Some people stay away from innovation and others are not so extreme in innovations and others are.

As for the non-Muslim then we have certain aspects of this religion that are exclusive to them, such as greeting them, giving them respect and the likes.

In general, the person should always seek the best way to honour his companion, this should always be done without being extreme and in manner that doesn’t startle the person, rather it should be done within the boundary of Shariah.

If you have spoken to your friend or colleague and he welcomes you in to his home or on the phone, however you sense that this welcoming isn’t usual, then don’t be affected by this sense of alienation. Always make an excuse within yourself if you experience something like this. It maybe that he has something important on his mind or he may not be in the mood, but what is incumbent upon you is to have a good assumption of him. If you feel that he has been unsettled because of you then make what you are saying brief.

Also from the etiquettes of calling a person is that you, the caller, must remember that you are in his house so you should be vigilant on the manner you speak to him and the tone of your voice. Make sure your children aren’t making a racket in the background; it is upon you to guard yourself and not to expose your defects in front of others. It is incumbent upon you to show honour to the person you are calling and not to be over-casual with the way you talk to him.

It is also important not to be extremely affectionate with a good friend of yours. Prevent yourself from laughing aloud, don’t degrade yourself and don’t be extreme in your sociability. Don’t be pulled in by what other people do in your gatherings because an action you may do may stick with you and you become known by it.

The mannerisms of waiting on the phone

Most of the people in this respect have two incorrect approaches; either they play music or fill the gap with idle talk, this is prohibited or Haraam and there is no doubt or difference in this.

Others use the Quraan, Dhikr or the likes as a gap filler whilst the caller waits. However, once the time to wait is over and the person on the other end lifts the receiver, it may be that the Ayah of the Quraan stops at an undesired place or a place on the Hadeeth which is contradictory to its meaning, thus it would stop at a place where the Shariah has not legislated it for it stop nor is it pleased with.

Based on this, the stopping is neither here or there. It is also possible that the caller may be waiting and may experience a pause and the Hadeeth continues, how much damage could this cause (as this would affect the way he understands the Hadeeth)? There is no need for this type of luxury and there’s no need for this type of excessiveness. All of these are example of things that are being implemented based on the pretext of being considerate to other peoples’ feelings, but all of these acts are not permissible.

A way we can resolve this problem is to have a person readily available to answer the phone at all times, this is the best way we can consider other peoples’ feelings. If you have someone ready to answer the phone, a person ready to attend to the callers queries, then this is what should be the standard, this is the way to respect the caller.

Using other peoples phone

You should try as much as you can, in not using other peoples phones. If there is a case of necessity, you should be careful not to use their phone until you have sought their permission. Only seek permission if you think it won’t be a problem, but if you think that they will permit you in using their phone out of shame of saying no, or that they feel upset if you use it, then in reality, you will be asking permission to annoy them.

The telephone in your home

Remember that the owner of the house is responsible for what goes on within it; he is the intellect of the house, the leader, he leads the house without there being anger within neither any disruption. There is no shouting or yelling in the house, it is ran in the best of manners, with precision for what is best for his spouse and children as they are under his responsibility. These are etiquettes that can be found under the shadow of the Shariah.

The ones using the phone must ponder on the following;

That the hand of the woman should not lift the receiver if there is a man present, as the people of the house have a Hijaab and because of this they are protected from curiosity of the identity of the one who is calling their phone.

This should be taught and instructed to the people of the house, even the children so that they may grow up with fruitful manners.

As for the deprived one, then his house is like a place of broadcast. Anyone is allowed to answer the phone when it rings the boys, the girls, the elderly, and the young and if someone rings his home, you may find at times that they all rush to answer at the same time. If a woman is on the phone then he talks to her like she is his mother, talking to her and gossiping for hours. So Oh Allaah! How many homes have this and have been corrupted with evil? So I ask for Your Kindness, Concealing, Oh Generous! Oh Merciful! So the one who takes heed, should take heed of this! And the one who has understanding, take understanding from this!

The phone in the office

Most places now employ secretaries to do their administrative work, which means that they are responsible for dealing with people’s queries. The need for having a face-to-face receptionist has reduced as many queries can be dealt with over the phone. Based on this general backdrop, the person working on the telephone must be seeking to bring ease and headway for the people. The more they seek to be accurate in their answers, and remove themselves from not misguiding people with incorrect information, the better. The questioners will be happier and more positive with him and this will be a cause for Allaah to create soundness in his work.

The phone and the person seeking Fatwa

There are ways that the person seeking the Fatwa can be pleasant when speaking to the Muftee and from these are the following;

To begin with saying the Islamic greeting; ‘As-Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaathuhu’. He then can make a positive supplication for him by saying something such as; ‘May Allaah give you good’ then to ask the question by saying something like; ‘my question is…’. Before ending the conversation you should thank him by saying something like; ‘Jazakallaahu Khair, May Allaah reward you’ and then ending with the greeting; ‘As-Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaathuhu’.

These are some mannerisms on using the phone, to be brief, not to make the conversation long and tiring, and being brief may also give you the opportunity to ask another question if it is possible.

However, there are certain things that one should be wary of as these could cause harm. Some people ask questions to the Muftee on issues which they have already researched, and they know the answer, yet they ring to be stubborn and dispute with the Muftee.  This has happened recently with those who pursue startling the scholars and they have indulged in this.

Also, some seek to get a sense of closeness to a particular Muftee and once this is established they seek to get a Fatwa from the Muftee on a particular subject, this is what some of the youth do. They try to do this to test him and to probe him for any innovation in his religion. This is because these types of youth have extremism deeply penetrated within them and by this they create distance between the scholars and the youth of this Ummah.

Also from the ways of these youth is to create confusion between the Muftees.

Any way that the questioner can disturb the Muftee is by asking too many questions in order for the ruling to be lightened upon them, so that they are given leeway.

The caller can also disturb the Muftee by calling him at an inappropriate time, and when they call they extend his time by asking long questions that have no benefit.

One must also bear in mind that when he is calling the Muftee on his personal phone, it is something that is personal to him. Thus, he must also pay attention to the fact the number of the Muftee belongs to him, so spreading his number without his permission is a form of deception, the explanation of this in detail will follow.

Using other than Arabic Language

The Arabic language is from the symbols of Islaam. Therefore if someone is going to talk then he should use Arabic in order to preserve this symbol. He should be careful not to introduce within it foreign words because it is due to this that new words are born. The Shariah has prevented us from using words that lead to the Arabic Language being corrupted and for us to use the language of the Kuffar. This leads for the Arabic Language from being lost, it becomes mixed with foreign languages which is opposite for the Muslims using one common language, the language of the Muslims. Therefore, it is upon you to use the correct Arabic terminologies and to be spared from using that which opposes it from the terminologies used in the west.

The phone can be a reviver

The phone can be used to seal ties of kinship especially if they had previously been cut. It feeds the roots for the plant of brotherhood. The end result of all of this is that goodness is spread and comes about, and the needs of your fellow Muslims are met by it.

In Islaam, the sick person has rights. We should supplicate for him, ask about his health without seeming to be unsympathetic, and we are encouraged in asking the sick person about the illness that he has been affected with. Comforting the afflicted one by getting close to him, or helping him financially or the likes if it; are all ways that he can help comfort him in his affliction.

Being veiled by the telephone doesn’t prevent the caller from attaining these virtues; however we shouldn’t be negligent in visiting those who are sick.

Harm via the telephone

Harming your fellow Muslim is Haraam, to deceive him is Haraam, exposing his womenfolk is Haraam. These types of harms are connected to the telephone in the following ways;

  1. A) A growing deception;

It is not permissible for a person who has taken a responsibility to treat it with mistrust and deception. So if a person passes on the telephone number of another person without his permission or him knowing, then this is a type of deception. This is regardless of whether the person wants to call the other for a worldly or religious reason, or whether it is to gain some knowledge, recover some wealth, or anything that is akin to this.

It has been established from the hadeeth of Jaabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansaaree [May Allaah be Pleased with him] who said that the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be upon him] who said, “If a person tells another something then the man has turned around with a trust.” [Narrated by Ahmad, Aboo Dawood and at-Tirmidhi]

The meaning of ‘turned around’ is that the man has confided in him and has given him information, therefore the person should be warned from turning to his right and to his left with this information, being careful that others don’t hear [See: Fayd al-Qadeer by al-Manaawee 1/339]. Therefore the information that you have been entrusted with is a trust and has been placed only upon you, if you tell others then you will have gone against the command of Allaah. If you fail to uphold this trust, by giving away this information that you have been trusted with, then you will be from the oppressors. Therefore it is obligatory for you to conceal it as it promotes good companionship, concealing the faults of others and it prevents gossiping and backbiting spreading from within the brothers.

It says in Ihyaa ‘Uloom ad-Deen of Ghazaalee, “Spreading the secrets of others is deception and Haraam”.

Marwaadee said, “Exposing another man’s secret to others is worse than exposing your own secrets because it involves being disgraceful from two aspects; it involves deception when you were trusted and it involves you spreading rumours when you have received information. The harms from these two are equal, if not one more than the other then they are both at least equally blameworthy.”

Ar-Raaghib al-Asfahaanee said, “Secrets are given in two ways:

Firstly, one is told a secret and he is told to keep it a secret, this is done verbally.

Secondly, when on tries to find the secrets of others, he does this by spying or eavesdropping.”

So if you save someone’s number on your phone without their permission or them knowing, then this is like you are tricking them, it is a kind of dishonesty and a breach of the possessions of others.

Further to this, if you pass the number on to others then this is even worse, this is increasing in your deception over them. This is ripping apart their rights.

So to summarise, if you record the telephone number of another, without their permission or them knowing, then this is a crime and a deception. This will compromise your trustworthiness and none would do this except for the one who is weak in his religion and manners, especially if one does it in the evil ways that we have mentioned. So fear Allaah, Oh Slaves of Allaah, and don’t betray your trusts and don’t break your promises.

  1. B)  Phone tapping;

Modern technology has developed with there being various new inventions available today. Some of these inventions have been designed for the purpose of entertainment or for people to indulge themselves in wasteful activities.

From these inventions is the ability to secretly listen to others people’s conversations. The day and night may go by and the persons conversations are being recorded or listened to and he may not even realise it. This is unlawful and not permissible, whether one of the people in the conversation knows about it or not.

It has been authentically narrated from the narration of Anas bin Maalik [May Allaah be Pleased with him] that the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be Upon him] said, ”If you hear people conversing and they don’t like you listening, then hot lead will be poured into his ears on the Day of Judegment.” [Narrated by Bukhaaree in his Saheeh and something similar in Adab al-Mufrad]

  1. C) Mixing between the sexes; from the immodest actions is that the people of the house use these telephones to go behind their guardian. They take the phones as an opportunity to do this, spreading diseases and debasing themselves at the same time. They use these phones to mix or make it a cause for physical mixing to occur.  The Prophet [Peace and Blessings of Allaah be Upon him] said, “Be careful of entering onto women” [Narrated by Bukhaaree] so we have been commanded to refrain from them.

Therefore it is upon the guardian to block all the paths that lead to this. He needs to guarantee himself that his women are not being idle, being amongst the foolish. From the ways he can do this; he can place the telephone in a public location within his house, therefore nothing will be hidden from his sight. Also, he should reduce the number of phones in the house, especially not allowing his daughters to have their own phones in their rooms. He needs to organise his house in an appropriate manner, so that if someone calls, the people answering the phones have the correct attitude when using the phone. That they are not secluded when talking on the phone, thus the chastity and nobility will be secured and not hidden from him.

  1. D) Excessive calling; be careful of spending too much time on the phone, lest you become afflicted by making excessive calls. For how many people are suffering from this? From the moment they wake in the morning until they sleep, they need the phone. If they are prevented they become like a child yearning for his mother. So they are preoccupied in themselves with talking too much, from one place to another, to one person to another. His soul is entertained whilst he is harming others.

We can’t do anything for these people except to make Dua’a for them to be protected, to advise them about the effects of being excessive.

  1. E) Frightening people on the phone; it is authentically narrated in the Sunnah that frightening another Muslim is from the major sins. It is a great oppression. It has been narrated that the Prophet [May the Peace and Blessings of Allaah be Upon him] said, “It is not permissible for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.” [Narrated by Ahmad, Aboo Dawood, Tabaranee with a similar wording and al-Bazzar]

Likewise, it is also narrated in the Sunnah that we are prohibited from pointing a weapon at your Muslim brother; the reason being is that it may put fear into him, thus being prohibited. Likewise, scaring your brother on the phone is not permissible.

Types of scaring another on the phone includes prank calls or calling someone and remaining silent.

Conclusion

This is a summary of some of the etiquettes one should have whilst speaking on the phone, so it is for the Muslim to pay attention to them, stay away from what is prohibited and be cautious of falling into what is forbidden and harmful. If something is disliked, then it is obligatory for him to stay away from it and this includes all things mentioned, and that which has not been mentioned in the book.

As for commercial rulings connected to the phone, such as trading and renting them then these issues have been addressed by some of the contemporary Fuqaha. For further information, please refer to the rulings given by the International Fiqh Council as they have researched many of its areas.

And All Praise Belongs to Allaah, the Lord of the Aalameen

Bakr Aboo Zayd

4/1/1416

Madeenah an-Nabee

 

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