Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
I know that cousins are non-mahram. But my maternal cousin, who is around 23 years old, does not wear a hijab in front of me. We have a family gathering tomorrow. And most probably, she won’t wear hijab. What should I do? I am very young, and I am scared to correct them. And it can spoil the relationship too.
Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
I pray you are well.
Attend And Act Modestly
You should attend the family gathering, behave modestly around her, and lower your gaze as much as you can. This is a sensitive matter for many ladies, so it’s best not to cause a scene.
If you can gently encourage her to cover properly, do so – but only if this won’t cause harm. Otherwise, a one-off suggestion to one of her siblings to have a gentle word with her might be beneficial. Even when forbidding the wrong, it is better not to do so if it will make matters worse. (Ghazali, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al Din)
Encouragement and Deterrence
There are two ways to direct people to do something: encouragement with what entices them to do the good (the carrot) and firmly commanding them to do something. Both have their proper place in the right contexts. The Prophets (Peace and Blessings be upon them) gave good news, and they warned.
Ours is a time where it is more effective to encourage people to turn to Allah in obedience by showing them how much He does for us and that we owe Him much gratitude. Being harsh with religious matters pushes people away from God – something we have no right to do.
Many ladies struggle with covering due to the way they were raised and due to unfulfilled emotional needs. Not having strong relationships with their father can lead to many types of unresolved emotional needs. For some, this makes them dress in a way that gets attention from people.
Couple this with the blitz of beauty standards from the media and fashion industry, the effects of social media, and being distant from religion in general; it’s a big struggle for them. You can learn more about this in Leonard Sax’s ‘Girls On The Edge.’
It is, therefore, better to encourage people to move to Allah at a pace their situation allows. Do this by reminding them of the favors of Allah and inspiring a desire to love Him within them. Once that spark is ignited, many great changes can occur.
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.