Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
If a person does not talk or speak to a Muslim person for more than 3 days because they are not friends, or they do not like each other or do not want to talk with each other, is that haram? When does not speaking with a Muslim become impermissible?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Prohibited Avoidance (Hijran al-Muslim)
Avoiding a fellow Muslim without an Islamically recognized excuse is strictly prohibited if such avoidance is due to enmity or hatred and lasts for more than 72 hours. [al-Mawsu‘a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It is not permissible for a Muslim to avoid his/her fellow Muslim more than three nights (i.e., 72hrs): they meet one another and each of them turns away. The best of the two is the one who initiates the salutation of Salam first.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
When is Avoidance Excused
Mulla ‘Ali Qari cites Al-Tibi (Allah have mercy of him) saying, “The specific mention of ‘fellow muslim’ (akhahu) points to the legal reasoning behind the ruling, which is the fellowship or brotherhood of Islam. What is understood from this is that whoever violates this prequistite (i.e., Islam) and severs this link, avoiding such a person is permitted.” [Ali Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih]
Later on, ‘Ali Qari cites al-Khattabi with a similar explanation: “It is permitted for the Muslim to be angry towards their fellow muslim for three nights as this is little. Avoiding beyond three nights is not permitted unless due to a right of the rights of Allah Most High having been violated. In such a case avoidance is permitted… This is how the narration of K‘ab bin Malik who was avoided at the command of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) for 50 days.” [Ibid.]
The above two quotes show the aspects in which avoidance is permitted which in summary applies to an avoidance for religious reasons, not personal grievances. [Ibid.]
Avoidance for Other Reasons
If avoidance is not due to enmity or hatred, rather due to not being friends or just not ‘clicking’ with one another due to personality differences – this is not what is meant by the above narration. The condition here is that each person still fulfills the basic rights of Islam due to the other when applicable, such as replying to the Salam. [Ibid.]
Also, if two people are not actively avoiding one another but have come to a disconnect due to travel or being busy – this is not what is intended by the ruling. [Ibid.]
Legal Reasoning for Three Days Permission
If avoidance is due to enmity or anger but does not extend beyond 72hrs, this is permissible. Mulla ‘Ali Qari (Allah have mercy on him) of the Hanafi school writes, “Avoidance for three days or less is only permitted because of the natural human propensity to anger. This period of time is overlooked to allow for the person to come out of it and for the impetus for the anger to subside. This opinion was mentioned by al-Suyuti.” [Ibid.]
Understood from this is that anger beyond three days is not natural to the human and is a likely indication to the spiritual sickness of anger which the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) warned regarding. [Ibid.]
A man came to the Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace) and said, “Advise me, O Messenger of Allah.” He replied, “Do not become angry!” The man later said, “I’ve reflected since the Prophet said what he said and I found that anger combines all evil in its entirety.” [Ahmad]
How is Avoidance Ended
Mulla ‘Ali Qari quotes Akmal al-Din al-Babarti (Allah have mercy on them both) saying, “In this narration (mentioned above) is an encouragement to cease avoidance, and by merely giving the salutation of Salam it is ended.” [Mirqat al-Mafatih]
If a person has avoided a Muslim for personal grievances such as anger they must make sure to end the avoidance before going beyond the three day time limit. Additionally, one is encouraged to be the first to initiate the Salam, and will be the better of the two by doing so because being the first to give Salam indicates that persons humility. [Ibid.]
Rectifying Between Muslims
The Muslim has been honored by Allah Most High to be a part of a brotherhood and fellowship of approximately 1.9 billion Muslims, each individual being just as worthy of honor as the other.
Allah Most High says, “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah and do not be divided. Remember Allah’s favor upon you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts, so you—by His grace—became brothers. And you were at the brink of a fiery pit and He saved you from it. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to you, so that you may be ˹rightly˺ guided.” [Quran, 3:103]
Out of gratitude for this blessing, Allah Most High commands us to strive to preserve the bonds of brotherhood between us, and by doing so we will attain His mercy.
Allah Most High says, “The believers are but one brotherhood, so make peace between your brothers. And be mindful of Allah so you may be shown mercy.” [Quran, 49:10]
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Be, O Servants of Allah, brothers! Do not show enmity to one another nor be hateful; (Rather) be upright, try to near perfection, and give glad tidings.” [Ahmad]
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom Seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.
He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.
In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.