Woman's voice is not 'Awrah but she has to speak modestly
Fatwa No: 263791

Question

I am a revert to islam. This question is in two parts. Shortly after we married, my wife tripped over an uneven part of the pavement and fractured her knee. A particularly conservative lady phoned her to state that she would visit her that evening - provided that I was not home; thereby throwing me out of my own home when all I wanted to do is relax after a days work. Was it correct that she did this, or - as she was so concerned about a non-mahram man - should she have arranged to visit during the day when I was at work? I am now getting plans drawn up for a new home which will have a "ladies only" room which will have its own toilet and outside space attached (surrounded by high walls and not overlooked by any upstairs windows) in order that even if outside they will not be seen. However someone has said to me that this set up would not be sufficiently segregating/secluding as:- first of all the access door to the room from the rest of the house would need to be locked once the ladies were inside; secondly, the outside space would need to have a glass roof over it with no ventilation facilities as these would allow the sound of their voices to escape; and thirdly, to complete the segregation - since the female voice is part of her awrah - the ladies room itself would need to be soundproofed. Is all that taking the segregation/seclusion of females from non-mahram men too far, or is it what the faith would prefer?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and messenger.

First of all, we sincerely congratulate you for the blessing that Allaah has bestowed on you by making you embrace Islam. This is indeed a great blessing and we hope that Allaah will make it a cause for your happiness in this world and the Hereafter. We advise you to earnestly utilize everything that will help you stay firm in Islam, such as learning beneficial knowledge, performing good deeds and being keen on keeping the company of righteous and pious people.

That sister visiting your wife is a good thing, but the right time should be chosen to avoid difficulty for the household. It would have been more appropriate for your wife to seek your advice in this matter and both of you to agree on an appropriate time, during which that sister could come for a visit, like when you go out of the house, either to work or elsewhere. In any case, this is something that happened in the past and it is more appropriate for you to focus on correcting matters in the future.

The religion of Islam is moderate, and just as it prohibits the causes of temptation, like negligence when it comes to mixing between men and women, it also prohibits being too strict about matters that do not require strictness. The presence of men and women together is permissible provided that they are in separate places and modesty is observed. Indeed a woman may go out to the market, and walk in the way of men, go to the mosque, and so forth. Also, a woman's voice is not ‘Awrah and she may speak while men can hear her. However, she should not speak in a tempting and soft manner. Rather, she should speak good words and in a modest manner. Allaah says (what means): {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.} [Quran 33:32]

In any case, a woman should lower her voice in the presence of men, as this is evidence of her modesty, and there is much good in modesty as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) has said.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 82218.

Allaah Knows best.

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