Secret Conversations between two people, when third one is available ?
If there are three people in a room, and two of them decide to speak with one another excluding the third person, what is the Islamic ruling regarding doing such a thing? Answer: ﺑﺴﻢ اﷲ اﻟﺮﺣﻤﻦ اﻟﺮﺣﯿﻢ In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
It is mentioned in a Hadith that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “When there are three people, two of them should not hold a secret counsel excluding the third.” (Bukhari: Hadith 6288) The “secret counsel” which is prohibited in this Hadith refers to when two people speak in such a low voice that the third person cannot hear what they are saying. This ruling will also apply if three people whisper to one another excluding the fourth, or when four people whisper to one another and exclude the fifth, and so on and so forth. The reason for the prohibition is it causes distress to the one excluded from the secret conversation. He may conclude that the two people that are whispering to one another are plotting something evil with regards to him or speaking ill of him. Similarly, the afore-mentioned ruling will also apply if two individuals speak in a language that the third person cannot understand. Nevertheless, if the third person gives them permission to converse with one another secretly, it would be permissible to do so. On the other hand, if there are more than three people, and two people whisper to one another, it would be permissible because the third person would have a partner to keep him company and make him feel comfortable. The above-mentioned rulings are with respect to speaking to one another secretly. However, If there are three people in a gathering, and two of them converse with one another in a voice that is loud enough to be heard by others, then this would be permissible. Nonetheless, good character demands that one does not neglect the third person.
Sharh Al-Nawawi ‘alaa Muslim: v. 14, p. 167-168 (Dar Ihya Al-Turath Al-Arabi); Mirqatul Mafateeh: v. 7, p. 311 (Darul Fikr- Beirut); Umdatul Qari:
v. 22, p. 268 (Dar Ihya Al-Turath Al-Arabi)
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham