Da`wah is the best vocation and the most excellent action a person can do. Almighty Allah says: “And who is better in speech than him who prayeth unto his Lord and doeth right, and saith: Lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Him).” (Fussilat: 33) Being of this excellent place,
da`wah should be conducted with the highest level of morality, and the tools of da`wah should be free from anything that contaminates it and diverts it from its way.
Shedding light on the ruling of men making da`wah to women and the guidelines that should be followed in this regard, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar and lecturer, states: “Islam has set out basic guidelines governing the relationship between men and women in a manner that achieves the aims of Shari`ah. In addition, Islam aims at protecting Muslim men and women from the things that lead to fitnah (temptation). Wise people—even the non-Muslims themselves—have attested to the effect that these general guidelines have had in reforming society; this is also to be seen from the history of Islam.
Islam describes the basis of the relationship between the sexes in the Qur’an and Sunnah. One of the most important texts is the verse that reads: “O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then 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 honorable manner.” (Al-Ahzab: 32)
What is not allowed here is being soft in speech. So the woman should speak in an honorable manner. Muslim scholars said that a woman should not make her speech soft when she speaks to men. Although this verse is addressed to the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), the reason—which is to prevent evil and immoral men from entertaining indecent notions concerning the chaste Muslim women—is general in meaning, so all the believing women are included here. Concerning this verse, Al-Jassas said: “It indicates that this is a ruling that applies to all women: they are forbidden to speak softly to men in a manner that might make them entertain indecent notions concerning them” (Ahkam Al-Qur’an).
Islam has sent out general guidelines, in the light of which the details of specific issues may be worked out. We do not need to quote the evidence in detail for each matter. The general principle set out in this verse may cover many of the specific issues, including the situation under discussion here.
There is nothing wrong with women asking men about the rulings of Islam, as the women used to ask the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) about religious matters, especially if the woman who is asking is new in Islam and needs to learn rulings that will make sure her creed is correct and will increase her conviction and belief in this religion. When a man teaches a woman, this must be done in accordance with the Islamic guidelines referred to.
Our brothers who work in the field of da`wah—especially the young men among them—should note that the one who knows himself to be weak and fears that he may fall into the traps of sin—namely becoming attracted to the women and being distracted from da`wah—should avoid being in direct contact with women when making da`wah, so long as there are others who are more able to do this task. If there is a need to speak to them, then he should do as little as possible. As for one who thinks that he can be steadfast and is sure of himself, the basic principle is that it is permissible for him to speak to women, but that is subject to conditions, as follows:
1. Avoid talking a great deal about matters other than the topic under discussion, i.e., the issues of da`wah.
2. Never crack jokes or get involved in a soft way of speaking.
3. Do not ask about personal matters that have nothing to do with the topic.
4. If some women who are already Muslims can answer the questions, or if other media such as cassette tapes, video tapes, CDs or the like, can answer the questions, that is better. It is also better if a number of trustworthy people can take on the task of teaching this new Muslim woman, as this will make it less likely that a relationship or attachment will develop; she will become more attached to the religion than to the particular person who guided her to the religion.
5. Stop talking to any woman immediately if there are any stirrings of desire in the heart. Remember that Allah is always watching because this is a hidden matter which is known to no one except the person himself.”