New Jordanian Fatwa: Chatting Between The Sexes Is Haram

A new fatwa has been issued in Jordan by the country’s official fatwa-making body (it’s akin to making sausages, you don’t want to see how that’s done either) that has made chatting between two sexes haram, or, forbidden. I thought that was a rather interesting piece of news. Their “reasoning” seems to be centered on the belief that simply chatting with someone of the opposite sex will lead to romance and thus a physical meeting between the two people/.

Now, when it comes to Jordan, I would agree with the belief that a great deal of the country’s youth do engage in some form of romantic, flirtatious or relationship-type dialog with the opposite sex, and I am actually helping do research on this very topic at the moment. However, it seems that the overwhelming majority do not end up meeting. For most young Jordanians it seems to be a relatively safe way to practice their dealings with the opposite sex without having to meet them face to face, and many will even end up having several “relationships” without actually engaging in any physical confrontation to speak of. For the males, the tendency is actually to just “play around”, primarily by playing pranks on other males under the pretense that they are females, or, to find a wife. For the females, most online encounters with a male tend to be an emotional investment. In either case, whether it is the somewhat pornographic or the somewhat romantic, the physical distance is what is most appealing to them.

Those are just some of the findings so far that I felt were applicable to this story.

With that in mind, I’m not sure how applicable the fatwa’s reasoning is. I think they should have sold it as it being “best” classified as “zina with the tongue,” even though the tongue in this case is a keyboard.

I wonder if all those Islamic matrimonial sites are under threat as well?

Anyways, I still think there should be a moratorium on fatwa-making. Until the Islamic status quo evolves in to a more intellectual and scholarly phase, I trust fatwa-making “bodies” as much as I trust our government’s ability to write policies. Fatwas cannot exist in the forms of answers to random questions, but rather the result of lengthy debates and studies by people who have a legacy of scholarship and intellectualism and not mere reservoirs of information.

To further highlight this point: Somalia has banned women from wearing bras and is whipping them for doing so.


  • Good grief! The fatwa-makers should close the sausage factory (nice image, Nas :-)) & get a life! And quit this voyeuristic & intrusive meddling in people’s private conversations. And they should get their grubby little paws out of women’s underwear! Remember the doddering old fool of an Egyptian cleric who advised a woman to suckle her fully grown male colleague so that she could then work w/him guilt-free?

    I dunno. Sometimes I wonder if such examples aren’t attempts at cheap, vicarious thrills on the part of the ‘moral’ police.

  • “For most young Jordanians it seems to be a relatively safe way to practice their dealings with the opposite sex without having to meet them face to face.”

    My immediate reaction is, this is the kind of practice that many shabaab really need in Jordan! I’m reminded of the people in my village in Jerash who would tell me, “Boys and girls have to be segregated in schools, because they don’t know how to behave respectfully towards each other.” I would always think, if they’re never expected to behave respectfully towards each other, never given the opportunity, then how are they supposed to learn? (And I also noticed that mothers would send their teenage sons over to my house for hours at a time to do English homework, alone with me, without seeming to worry about what might be going on. I wondered if this was because they knew that, as an American, I had experience in respectful interaction with guys?) I often felt that this was why I’ve so rarely seen a Jordanian bride who didn’t look absolutely terrified on her wedding day. Maybe it’s my inescapable Western perspective, but perhaps chatting is one way for Jordanian men and women to practice respectful communication.

    On the other hand, I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of raunchy chat attempts from Jordanian men, so the policy could surely backfire.

  • Yes finally a religious way to isolate women online as well … i can’t wait for the you should only use a halal search engine because google is a zionistic entity that will brainwash the next generation.
    But you know what? i love those comments and gems that the collective entity that is FATWA spew on regular bases. Hopefully they will only quicken the process for people to realize how irrelevant they have become and how if we don’t change the status quo on religion it will keep on dragging us in the mud.
    Enough of this religion is the solution to everything ethos that has become malignant in the arab mind.

  • Hahahhahaha…. this is so ridiculous! For God’s sake, I am marrying the love of my life in less than 40 days, and how did we meet? On the Internet. How did we get to know each other? Through 8 months of incessant chatting. How does this Fatwa make any sense at all in this day and age? I have no idea.

  • quote :
    Fatwas cannot exist in the forms of answers to random questions, but rather the result of lengthy debates and studies by people who have a legacy of scholarship and intellectualism and not mere reservoirs of information.

    WHAT ?
    seriously.. what about facebook , twitter ?

  • @dev3k: well i dont want to reduce this to mere ridicule (although, as the saying goes, sharr il baleyeh..) but i would “reason” the tweet and retweet would be even worse as chatting is a moral wrong kept between two people, while tweeting and retweeting spreads the sinful act amongst the community. but i’m just speculating as how they might see it.

    @maryah: from what i’ve observed and experienced, Jordanian youth, and i’m talking as old as 16 years old, are incredibly disrespectful to the opposite sex (unless she’s related) and frame her purely in sexual terms largely due to the massive segregation held by the government, the community, and the family.

    @bambam: keep it halal please:

    @hal: 8 months of chatting?! you have much to atone for! (glad to see you on the blogosphere)

  • I’m just cracking up at the Somali ban on bras. What religious logic could possibly motivate that? No bras existed in the time of the Prophet?

  • Actually, Fatwa can exists in the forms of answers to random questions, it can also exists in the form of making up a scenario and then it would be called, “Taraf Fiqhi” or “Fiqh Iftiradi”.

    However, Fatwa is an answer to a case that’s not covered in the Fiqh literature and it’s not binding nor forceable unless it does affect the whole society but punishment may exists in some cases (like grabbing a chick arse or tickling your boss :P) as precautionary measures (Le dar2 al mafased)

    If you requested a Fatwa by asking a Mufti a question and then you weren’t persuaded by his answer, you can seek another one but it shouldn’t be a Fatwa-shopping. Finding a good Mufti and to get a good Fatwa is like finding a good doctor who can prescribe a good medication for those who are punctual when it comes to religious practice. And if you ask several Muftis the same question and they all answered with the same Fatwa then it’s binding to you.

    Aqool Qawli hatha wa asta’3firo Allah

  • Firstly I would like to make it clear that I am not with this fatwa.

    But this is my attempt at trying to figure out why they would issue it.

    I can see it being enforced as a preventative measure.

    Some girls and boys or even men and women are very irresponsible, just imagine a girl being talked to by a guy who is very well spoken and gains her trust. They meet, she gets raped becomes pregnant and stabbed 25 times by her father. In this case the fatwa I would be for!

    So basically it’s very hard to comment as these types of chat rooms have attracted paedophiles, rapist and people with all different pychological problems. As someone comments in a previous article of yours (pregnant girl honour killing) “Islam is the way” which could be applied in this sense.
    This is a big problem in the UK, however are attempting to monitor the chat rooms.

    Furthermore there is no way they are going to be able to enforce it or even monitor it unless they implement some really hightech equipment and software that will track IP addresses, therefore they will be spending tax payers money on hiring staff etc etc etc.

    Instead they should invest in an affective marketing campaign to highlight that people you chat to might not actually be the people you think they are. That was how they did it in the UK and I believe it worked. Secondly they can educate parents, through workshops and again media campaigns, on the possible dangers of the internet and moreover how to set parental controls and limit access to certain sites that their kids might visit.

    This is just one of the articles that I found when searching the net.

    Issueing a fatwa and placing everyone in the same boat is a very inefficient way of going about things, thats if in fact a preemptive measure. The internet is all about interaction, one can chat via email. So does that mean a female communicating continously to a male in the US enquiring about her university application is haram, or if I communicate to a female through chat support for a server in the UK mean I am doing haram.

    “Fatwas cannot exist in the forms of answers to random questions, but rather the result of lengthy debates and studies by people who have a legacy of scholarship and intellectualism and not mere reservoirs of information.”

    I agree totally with Nas, in the above quote. The times have changed and in order to convince people you must be extremely knowledgable in your field and fair in your objectives, conclusions and actions.

    Anyway I am outa here, it’s weekend in now Riyadh!!!


  • I just wonder why they do not consider the good side of this as well.. for an example I’ve met my man on the internet, totally different culture and different religion.. what happened 2 years later that he “7amdeilla” turned to islam and another year later he proposed. We both now trying to change what people in his country think about islam and specially muslem women..

    sometimes i feel we are negative culture..

  • How will the no-bra policy be enforced? Why, by masked men w/whips cracked at women doin’ the Shimmy Shake, of course! S & M anyone? Well, S minus the M – these women are hardly willing participants in this cruel absurdity. From the link:

    “Residents said gunmen had been rounding up any woman seen with a firm bust and then had them publicly whipped by masked men. The women were then told to remove their bras and shake their breasts.”

    The article also reports that these men accuse bra-wearing women of ‘deception’ – what on earth are they going on about? Are they pissed off at ‘false advertising’?! Are they trying to ascertain whose, um, ‘perkiness’ is real?

    Or maybe they just want to ban all female ‘perkiness’ – physical, mental, emotional.

  • Meant to add: Or both. They’re confused, conflicted & cruel. Obsessed with the female body, & ashamed of their obsession. And as usual women are made to pay the price of these men’s shame.

    Excuse my rant. I’m just so tired of this injustice. And of this complete & utter idiocy.

  • @ Emad S. “i agree with the fatwa all the way…!!!!!!!!!!!”

    I hope ur being sarcastic… your in bad bad shape otherwise, your doing real bad…

  • I am so tired of this country, and its constant attempts at becoming another Saudi Arabia. Why in God’s name are these fools still tolerated? Why is there an official fatwa organization to begin with? When will this endless stream of nonsense, funded and directed by Wahaabist idiots, be finally stopped? In a country where all proper political discussions and actions are thwarted, all we can seemingly talk about is the length of a woman’s skirt and what people should do in the privacy of their own homes. The word “irrelevant” does not accurately describe the situation here. Quite the contrary, these people are becoming more and more relevant, especially when you see others talk about the “good old days” of Bab El-Haarah, etc…
    And I was actually beginning to think of returning again.

  • to marayh
    just one comment on what you said about brides
    “I often felt that this was why I’ve so rarely seen a Jordanian bride who didn’t look absolutely terrified on her wedding day. ”
    believe me brids are no more terrified,groomes are lollolololololo

  • Our McFatwa friends never fail to deliver when it comes to providing a healthy supply of Oddly Enough news. In fact, I just realized that our Sheikhs are like ugly, male versions of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton: They lack the level of self-awareness necessary to construct meaningful judgments. They are simply so disconnected from reality, that they cannot realize how idiotic they come across as.

    Seriously, these Sheikhs need to climb down their ivory towers and take a look at the real world. And I mean really look at the real world. Had they bothered picking up a paper the next day and read the news, they would’ve realized just how retarded their fatwas are.

    Hajjaj’s cartoon cleverly articulates that chatting, even between members of the same-sex, can be haram. Go figure.

  • i found this in the archives. i like this. i know it is kind of silly but it makes a point. there are MANY extramarital affairs going on because of chatting. they are emotional affaris. my husband did this with his cousin’s sister-in-law (while i was pregnant). the distance and the idea does create romance. the sad part is, my husbands family are still all friends with the girl so she doesn’t feel she did anything wrong.

    the bra thing…..thats crazy

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