Male and female cousins hugging and interacting casually

Q: Is it permissible for male and female cousins to hug each other and be casual with each other? In many families, I notice male and female cousins hugging and speaking casually. In certain families, I also see brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law interacting casually. Could you give some advice on this issue and inform us of what appears in the Qur'aan and Ahaadith in this regard?

A: The Deen of Islam is a complete and comprehensive way of living. It provides guidance and guidelines in every sphere of human life. Every commandment and prohibition possesses immense blessing and abundant benefits. Shariah commands us to observe strict purdah with all those whom we are allowed to marry (i.e. non-mahrams) in Islam. Hence, it is not permissible for male and female cousins as well as brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law to interact casually among themselves.

Hereunder are few verses of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which explain as well as emphasize the need of observing purdah.

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا (سورة الأحزاب 59)

O Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), command your wives, daughters and the believing women to don the niqaab (veil)

In another verse, while commanding the wives of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to adopt purdah and don the veil, Allah Ta’ala says:

ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ (سورة الأحزاب 53)

That (observing purdah) is better for the purity of your hearts and their hearts (i.e. the hearts of men).

Once, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) questioned the Sahaabah (Radiallahu Anhum) as to what was the most beneficial thing for women (i.e. the thing most beloved in the sight of Allah Ta’ala and most safeguarding for their deen). None of the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum) had given any answer to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in that gathering. When Hazrat Ali (Radiallahu Anhu) returned home and informed Hazrat Faatimah (Radiallahu Anha) regarding the question Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) posed to the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum), she spontaneously answered, “The thing most beneficial for women and most beloved in the sight of Allah Ta’ala (in safeguarding their deen) is that they do not see men and that men do not see them (i.e. they do not have any contact with men and vice versa).” When Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was informed of the response of Hazrat Faatimah (Radiallahu Anha), Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Faatimah is part of me.”

Hazrat Ummi Salamah (Radiallahu Anha) reported, “Once, Hazrat Maymoonah (Radiallahu Anha) and I were seated with Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It was just then that Hazrat Abdullah bin Ummi Maktoom (Radhiyalaahu anhu) (the blind Sahaabi) entered the presence of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) immediately commanded Hazrat Maymoonah (Radiallahu Anha) and I to observe purdah from the blind Sahaabi. I said, “O Nabi of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)! Is he not blind and unable to see us (i.e. what is the need for us to move away from that gathering and make purdah from him)?” Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, “Are you two also blind?” (i.e. you are able to see him, hence you need to observe purdah from him)".

Despite the men and women of the Sahaabah (Radhiyalaahu anhum) being so pure compared to the men and women of these times, they were still commanded to observe purdah. Hence, viewing the overwhelming fitnahs of these times, how much more is the need for non-mahram men and women observing purdah in their lives!

Hereunder are few Ahaadith that explain the grave warnings and severe punishment for those who disregard and violate this injunction of Deen:

Hazrat Ma’qil ibn Yasaar (Radiallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “It is better for a person that a needle be pierced into his head than for him to touch a woman whom it is not permissible for him to touch”.

Hazrat Abu Umaamah (Radiallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Abstain from being in seclusion with women. By the qasam of that being in whose control lies my life, no man secludes himself with a strange women but shaitaan joins them. And it is better for a person to touch a swine which is messed in mud than to allow his shoulder to touch the shoulder of a strange woman (in a crowd)."

Hazrat Uqbah (Radiallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Guard yourselves from entering upon women (who are unlawful for you)”. An Ansaari Sahaabi (Radiallahu Anhu) enquired, “O Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)! What about the brother-in-law?” Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, “The brother-in-law is (like) death (i.e. much more precaution should be exercised from him)”.

From the above, we understand the gravity of the sin of freely intermingling with non-mahrams and not observing purdah from them. True success and happiness lies in total submission and obedience to the laws of Allah Ta'ala and His Rasul (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

عن ابن عمر قال خطبنا عمر بالجابية فقال يا أيها الناس إني قمت فيكم كمقام رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فينا فقال أوصيكم بأصحابي ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم ثم يفشوا الكذب حتى يحلف الرجل ولا يستحلف ويشهد الشاهد ولا يستشهد ألا لا يخلون رجل بامرأة إلا كان ثالثهما الشيطان عليكم بالجماعة وإياكم والفرقة فإن الشيطان مع الواحد وهو من الاثنين أبعد من أراد بحبوحة الجنة فيلزم الجماعة من سرته حسنته وساءته سيئته فذلك المؤمن (سنن الترمذي، الرقم: 2165)

عن علي أنه كان عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: "أي شيء خير للمرأة؟ فسكتوا، قال: فلما رجعت قلت: لفاطمة: أي شيء خير للنساء؟ قالت لا يرين الرجال ولا يرونهن، فذكرت ذلك للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إنما فاطمة بضعة مني (البزار ، وأبو نعيم فى الحلية وضعف) (كنز العمال، الرقم: 46012)

عن أم سلمة قالت كنت عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعنده ميمونة فأقبل ابن أم مكتوم وذلك بعد أن أمرنا بالحجاب فقال النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم احتجبا منه. فقلنا يا رسول الله أليس أعمى لا يبصرنا ولا يعرفنا فقال النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم أفعمياوان أنتما ألستما تبصرانه (سنن أبي داود، الرقم: 4112)

عن معقل بن يسار يقول : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : لأن يطعن في رأس أحدكم بمخيط من حديد خير له من أن يمس امرأة لا تحل له (المعجم الكبير للطبراني، الرقم: 486، قال العلامة الهيثمي في مجمع الزوائد، الرقم: 7718: رواه الطبراني، ورجاله رجال الصحيح)

عن أبي أمامة : عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إياكم والخلوة بالنساء والذي نفسي بيده ما خلا رجل وامرأة إلا خل الشيطان بينهما و لأن يزحم رجل خنزيرا متلطخا بطين أو حمأة خير له من أن يزحم منكبه منكب امرأة لا تحل له (المعجم الكبير للطبراني، الرقم: 7830، قال العلامة الهيثمي في مجمع الزوائد، الرقم: 7717 رواه الطبراني وفيه علي بن يزيد الألهاني وهو ضعيف جدا وفيه توثيق)

عن عقبة بن عامر أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إياكم والدخول على النساء فقال رجل من الأنصار يا رسول الله أفرأيت الحمو قال الحمو الموت (صحيح البخاري، الرقم: 5232)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)