Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
My husband and his sisters seem to touch each other’s thighs while having casual conversations. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I have a brother, but he has never touched me like that. I believe he shouldn’t, not that he’s ever tried. I’m not used to this behavior. My mother-in-law does the same thing with my husband, touching pretty high on his thighs, and it makes me cringe. I want some clarification on this matter. Is it allowed Islamically for a brother/sister or mother/son to be physically this close?
Thank you for your question. I empathize with your discomfort, and I pray you can communicate openly with your husband about this issue.
It is permissible in Islamic law to touch one’s sibling on the thigh, without temptation, over their clothing. However, there is much more to be said on this topic because most cultures don’t promote or approve of this. Islamic cultures worldwide are rooted in the shariah; therefore, what you describe is uncommon, and rightfully so.
You need tact and wisdom when you talk to your husband about this. Don’t mention it to his mother or sisters, but deal with your husband directly. He is your husband, and he is the one involved in what is making you uncomfortable. Old habits die hard, but if your husband truly tries to change things and seeks the help of Allah through it, these habits will change. Make sure to approach this with patience, time, gentleness, and without nagging.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah is kind and loves kindness, and He rewards for kindness in a way that He does not reward for harshness.” [Ahmad]
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May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.