Is Woman Voice Forbidden in Islam?
What is the provision for woman voice in Islam? Is it haram to sing for the women publicly in fromt of Men audience?
Voice of woman in Islam is one of the most misconceived issues. When we examine the ayahs, the hadiths and the opinions of the scholars, we don’t see any prohibitions regarding the voice of women; but we see that the way a woman should prefer while speaking with the other men is defined clearly in the ayahs.
There are many examples of women’s speaking and declaring their opinions publicly in the era of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the sahaaba (companions of Prophet Muhammad).
We see three application styles in that era:
First, our Blessed Prophet (pbuh) spoke with the sahaaba ladies, answered their questions, listened to their complaints and helped them with many issues they needed. Besides, women were addressing their questions directly to the Prophet (SAW) in an appropriate manner in the presence of the others. Neither did the Prophet prevent their inquiries nor were they embarassed to have their voices heard.
As an example, Bayhaki narrated from Asma bint-i Yazid that one day, Asma came to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who was amongst His companions. When she asked the Prophet her question, He (pbuh) turned His face to His companions and complimented her question saying: “Have you ever heard a woman asking such a beautiful question so far?” and answered her question.
Secondly, sahaabas spoke to both the wives of Prophet Muhammad and the women sahaaba in order to get information, consult or ask about hadiths to transmit or about some other knowledge. But the way to ask them is described in the following ayah:
“And when you ask them (the prophet’s wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.” (Ahzab 53)
The third example is the women’s speaking with the khulafa (leaders of Muslims after Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]) to speak out their complaints and getting information from other sahaabas about the issues they wanted to learn.
These examples show that women are definitely not forbidden to speak, but yet, it doesn’t come to mean that they can use their voices in any way they wish. For example; as woman voice is attractive and soft, her alluring style of speech such as in a tuneful or too complaisance manner may entice and tempt male. it should not be soft and flirtatious. So she must be careful with speaking in an appropriate way as mentioned in the following ayah;
"O wives of the prophet! You are not like any of the women; if you are wary (of Allah), then (while talking to other men), be not too complaisance of speech lest he in whose heart is a disease should covet; and (if you need to say something, then seriously) say a nice word!” (Surah-al Ahzab, 32)
As expressed in the ayah, men who have weakness and depraved feelings towards women in their hearts may comment women’s kind speeches in an immoral way and it may cause evil desires in his heart to grow. So Qur’an recommends women to be careful with their voices and speak seriously in order not to take men’s attention and evil desires on themselves.
As a conclusion, Islam doesn’t forbid woman’s speech but tells them to speak in a straightforward, staid and appropriate manner to protect their beauty from evil-ears. A dignified woman must not leave any room to any juiciness. she may speak with non-mahram men whatever is necessary to complete her business in a straightforward way such as talking on the phone or while in shopping.