Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I was abandoned by my father at birth and I don’t know my paternal family. Moreover my maternal grandfather is dead and I don’t have a brother. I was raised by my mother but above all by my maternal uncle. He has been like my father. I searched for my father and I found him, but he left again soon after I found him. Is my uncle considered as my mahram? What about my father who didn’t raise me?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
May Allah grant you ease and facilitation.
A mahram is an individual to whom marriage is permanently imperrmissible and invalid. This permanent impermission and invalidity is established by (a) kinship, (b) foster relations, or (c) marriage relations. [Ibn `Abidin, Hashiya]
Your maternal uncle is considered your mahram on account of kinship. Similarly, your father will also still be considered your mahram, as well as many other members of your family such as your grandparents, brothers, nephews, maternal uncles, and paternal uncles.
Apart from the ruling of it being impermissible to marry one’s mahram, there are also other important rules that need to be taken into account. The rules of hijab do not apply between an individual and their mahram, though modesty needs to be emphasized at all times. Similarly, rulings related to interaction between an individual and their mahram are more lax than between an individual and a non-mahram, as long as their is no fear of inappropriate actions and the like.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani