In Radd al-Muhtar 5:236, it states:
As is indicated in this fatwa on brothers and sisters chatting online, with the online chatting being an extension of this.“When a strange women greets a man with salam, he should answer her verbally loud enough for her to hear if she is an elderly women. However, if she is a younger women he should respond within himself. Likewise, when a man greets a women with salam, the ruling would be the same.."
Now, my query is whether this holds for an environment such as this message board. If a sister prefaces her message in a discussion with a salam, is it thereby impermissable to respond to this salam with a reciprocal salam? The salam is read, as opposed to heard - does the analogy used in the above fatwa work the other way?
As an extension, is it also impermissable to respond to a sister's salam in a formalised environment where interaction/conversation is permissable, such as work or education?
And as a final point.. Where should we put our salams? At the start of each post? At the start of each discussion? Should we add the postfix of wa salam only at the end of the discussion, or at the end of each post/in reply to the other person's salam?
Wa salam (?),