Can I Live with the Old and Elderly Widow of My Uncle?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat


I have a question regarding khalwa between a man and a woman.

I am currently living with the widowed wife of my great uncle (i.e., aunt by marriage), who I am aware is not a mahram. She is an older woman and well-advanced in her years. This is currently the accommodation I have.

What would the guidelines be regarding seclusion, as it would not be possible to stay in a separate room for the entire day?


You need not worry. Seclusion with such an elderly lady is permissible. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]

Treat her with dignity and respect, and show her the kind treatment you would show your grandmother. One narration from the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, states that “good,” or “blessings” in a variant, “are with the elderly amongst you.” [Musnad al-Bazzar; Tabarani]

If there is a need to hold her hand to help her up the stairs or something, this, too, would be permissible.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
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 and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.