First of all, we’d like to state that during the time of engagement, the man and woman are not married and are not allowed to be alone with each other. It is forbidden for them to have intimate relations during this time. Engaged couples should be moderate in their behaviour and abide by Islamic morals in their speech.

However, there are two points that should be tackled:

1. Engaged couples chatting together or talking together

2. Mixing between Males and females who are not mahrams

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “Engagement in Islam is simply a commitment or promise to marry at a future date or time. Its sole function and significance is to keep other suitors at bay for the time being. There are virtually no other legal consequences that accrue from the period of engagement. Thus, engagement does not make what was otherwise considered haram (prohibited) as halal (permitted).
One must therefore never look at engagement as a license to engage in endless chats on the phone [or on the internet] or exchange emails because in the Shari`ah they are still considered strangers. Failure to take this into account amounts to violating the principles of the Shari`ah.
May Allah inspire in us good thoughts and good deeds, and protect us from the evil inclinations inherent in our souls!

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, adds: “Chatting with members of opposite sex, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, personally face to face, or on phone or chat lines all fall in the same category. The haram of it is haram, and the halal of it is halal.

The eminent Muslim scholar, Dr. `Abdul-Fattah `Ashoor, Professor of the Exegesis of the Qur’an at Al-Azhar Univ., adds: “Your talk with your fiancé is like any other talk. It should not incite any sexual desires. The girl should abide by the Islamic morals governing talk that is mentioned in the Qur’anic verse that reads: “O ye wives of the Prophet! Ye are not like any other women. If ye keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft of speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease aspire (to you), but utter customary speech.” (Al-Ahzab: 32). Your talk should be pure and moral. If you abide by these morals, then there is nothing wrong in talking to him.”

Having stated the above, it becomes clear that there is nothing wrong in your chat if it abides by the Islamic ethics and morals regarding conversations between people of the opposite sex. For details, you are recommended to read the fatwas below.

As for the second point, it is to be stressed that Muslims, men and women, must observe haya’ (shyness or modesty) in all their correspondence and conversations. Islam does not forbid women from talking to men, nor men to women if the situation calls for it and the conversation abides by the boundaries of Islamic Shari`ah.

So, in principle, contacts between men and women are not totally rejected; rather, recommendable so long as a noble objective is intended and the subject itself is lawful such as acquiring beneficial knowledge, good work, charitable project, obligatory Jihad or many other deeds that require the efforts and the co-operation the both sexes.

Having stated the above, it becomes clear that it is incorrect to say that “Islam forbids any communication between a man and a woman unless he is a mahram.”