In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- The basic ruling is that da`wah includes all people including Muslims and non-Muslims and of course persons of the opposite sex.
2- However, when observing da`wah with a person of the opposite sex, both parties should abide by the Islamic ethics and guidelines of relationship between both sexes.
In his response to your question, Dr. Salah Sultan, president of the American Center for Islamic Research, Columbus, Ohio, and memebers of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, states:
Obviously Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) practiced da`wah to all, humans and Jinn. There is no doubt that the Prophet gave da`wah to women.
As for giving da`wah to members of the opposite sex, the natural and ideal way is to start da`wah with people from the same sex, and then you expand your circle. However, when the case involves men giving da`wah to women, they must follow the following guidelines:
1. No khalwah (Arabic for: seclusion) is allowed.
2. Talks and conversations have to be serious and definite.
3. Women should not speak so softly that they can attract the opposite sex.
4. Da`wah has to be done sincerely for Allah’s sake, and not for any worldly cause such as looking for a wife/husband.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.