Men and women talking to one another on the internet within the limits of good manners

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
As-Salaamu-Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Well a year from now one of my friend, a girl, had introduced me to one of her online brother..and we have been talkin online for about a year now. Its not like we have ever talked about anything indecent, we talk in a well respected manner, and he sometimes jokes around,too. We both are aware of our religion..and we know how it is haraam to have girlfriends or boyfriends. But over time we both hav grown interested in each other.. and he has told me that he wants to marry me, but right now is too soon, i m only 16 and will be 17 in 2 months... the situation is too hard to explain...and i am really confused on what should be done..and what shouldnt. I really dont want to do anything that is Haraam or isnt right.. and i do have faith in Allah..that if he is good for me oneday we will be together... So i just needed some advice on this.. is talkin to a non-mahram guy online wrong?.. And this is the only way we know each other which is through internet...we havent met..but we have seen each other's pictures.. Well i hope all this makes sense to you..and you will be able to help me out here, cause right now i really need it.. i have been lookin through ur site and trying to learn more about our religion..and it is mashallah a good source.. but me still confused..about this situation... we havent done anything wrong..just talk online.. and hoping that Allah will guide us to be together... but the question that keeps coming up on my mind is if Islaamicaly is all this acceptable.. i have talked to other ppl..and he has talked to people too..and some say its wrong...and some say its ok as long as our niyyat is good and we havent done anything wrong.
please give me some advice here..thank you.. khuda hafiz
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Praise be to Allaah.

It is known in the religion of Allaah that it is forbidden to follow in the footsteps of the Shaytaan. Everything that could lead a person to fall into haraam things is also haraam, even if in principle it is originally permitted. This is what the scholars call the principle of warding off harm.

Concerning this matter, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan. [al-Noor 24:21].

With regard to the second matter, He says (interpretation of the meaning):

And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allaah, lest they insult Allaah wrongfully without knowledge [al-Anaam 6:108]

Here Allaah forbids the believers to insult the mushrikeen lest that leads to them insulting the Lord, may He be glorified and exalted.

There are many examples of this principle in shareeah. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned many of them and explained them well in his excellent book Alaam al-Muwaqqieen.

(See 3/147-171 thereof).

The issue under discussion here also comes under this category. Conversation whether verbally or in writing between men and women is permissible in and of itself, but it may be a way of falling into the traps of the Shaytaan.

Whoever knows that he is somewhat weak, and is afraid that he may fall into the traps of the Shaytaan, has to refrain from such conversations, in order to save himself.

Whoever is sure that he will be able to remain steadfast, then we think that it is permissible in his case, but there are certain conditions:

  1. The conversation should not be allowed to wander too far from the topic being discussed; or it should be for the purposes of calling others to Islam.

  2. They should not let their voices be soft, or use soft and gentle expressions.

  3. They should not ask about personal matters that have no bearing on the matter being discussed, such as how old a person is, how tall he or she is, or where he or she lives etc.

  4. Other brothers (in the case of men) or sisters (in the case of women) should take part in the conversation or read the correspondence, so that the Shaytaan will find no way to enter the hearts of the people who are conversing or corresponding.
  5. The conversation or correspondence must be halted immediately if the heart starts to stir with feelings of desire.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

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