Hijab with In Laws?

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Posted: 2 Rajab 1424, 30 August 2003

Q.) Can you please explain to me in the light of Qur'an and Hadith what is the hijab for my husband to his brother's wives? Can he speak to them when there is no need? Can he also speak to them when their husband is not around and there is fear of fitnah? I am in purdah ie I cover my entire body except my eyes and hands and I make purdah from my husband's brothers. Lately after the incident of him speaking freely to my brother in laws wives I felt like not wearing my niqab anymore. Please clear my doubts. [A sister in Islam]

A.) It is necessary for a male to observe Hijab from his brother's wife (sister-in-law). Any contact whatsoever with her is prohibited. Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, 'Brother-in-law is death.' (Bukhari) The death being referred to in the Hadith refers is the death of spirituality.

Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are part of the family. They often get together and tend to socialize freely. This is very dangerous and certainly poses a death threat to one's spirituality. One has to be more cautious in adhering to the laws of Hijab in such a close family relationship. Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam also prohibited a male from going to a woman in the absence of her husband. Sister, you should discuss the issue with your husband with utmost wisdom and make him conscientious of the laws of Allah and the consequences of not following the Shari'ah. However, that should not drive you to removing your own hijab. Why should you incur the wrath of Allah on yourself due to somebody else's wrong? Two wrongs don't make a right.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best