Is My Non-Muslim Father in-Law My Mahram (Non-marriageable Kin)?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


A few days ago, I came across a mahram chart that stated my husband’s father is considered a mahram. I am curious to know if this chart applies only within a Muslim family tree or if it holds true in other situations. The reason for my inquiry is that my husband’s mother is Muslim, but she married a non-Muslim. While my husband is a Muslim, his father has not converted to Islam. Therefore, I would like to confirm whether or not his father is considered a mahram to me, his son’s wife. Thank you for your assistance.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

In Islamic law, a mahram (non-marriageable kin) refers to a close relative with whom marriage is permanently forbidden due to their close blood relation or marital ties. The status of a person as a mahram is not contingent upon their religious affiliation. [al-Mawsu‘a al-Fiqhiyya]

In your scenario, your husband’s father would be considered a mahram to you. The standard rules of interaction between non-mahram individuals would not apply, and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.