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How to Deal With Jealousy When a Cousin of My Wife Is Living With Us?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My wife’s male cousin recently immigrated to our country. She asked if he could live with us.

I feel very jealous of my wife with him in the house. I have spoken with her about it, but I think her love and protectiveness for him is blinding her.

Which desire is the most righteous in my situation, protecting my wife or generosity to her family?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Thank you for your question. I pray this finds you in the best of Iman.

The answer to your question, which is the most righteous; protecting your wife or being generous to her family, is relatively simple. The most righteous act is that which is most pleasing to Allah as dictated by the law and the sunna of having excellent conduct.

Male cousins and jealousy

Trying to please others while going against the shariah is always going to be the wrong way about doing things. As you mention, cousins are not mehrams to one another, despite any emotional bond one has with their cousin.

This does not mean that one does not maintain family ties with cousins or must stop caring for or supporting them, but the rulings relating to non-mehrams such as the impermissibility of seclusion, unnecessary intermixing, observing the hijab, and any physical contact, even if familial, must all be observed. Whatever Allah has put in place in regards legal boundaries is ultimately for everyone’s benefit.

As a husband it is natural to feel a healthy amount of jealousy over your wife. Given the situation you have described, your current living situation is not an appropriate set-up. While it may not be easy, there is no alternative but to take a stance and tell the cousin to find accommodation elsewhere. While your wife and her cousin may not be happy with this, ultimately, the decision is yours and this option prevents sin occurring for all involved, and may well save your marriage from a lot of stress.

However, do the above with tact and gentleness. Your wife obviously feels like there is nothing wrong with the situation, so be gentle with her whilst still staying firm on your decision. Explain to her that the current living conditions are not permitted in the religion and for good reason. If tact and gentleness doesn’t work, then you will have to just stick to your principle and tell them it’s your final say on the matter. If you are accused of being untrusting or ungenerous then unfortunately you’ll have to just take that on the chin for the time being.

If the cousin is struggling financially or needs time to find suitable accommodation, then seek practical solutions for the meantime. These may include that your cousin does not stay in the house whenever you are out of the house, lending him money to get himself set-up independently, or him going back to live with other relatives. Also, explain to your wife that just because the cousin is moving out, he can visit occasionally when you are home, especially when his wife arrives in the country.

Du’a

Turn to Allah to bring a peaceful resolution to your situation. The following du’a will be useful to you. Recite it after each prayer.

اللهم لا سهلَ إلا ما جعلتَه سهلاً وأنتَ تجعلُ الحزنَ إذا شئتَ سهلاً
O Allah there is nothing that is easy except that You made it easy, and
You can make this difficulty easy if You so wish to
[Ibn Hibban]

You may also find the following answers useful too, and may want to share with your wife:

The Protective Jealousy (Ghayra) of Spouses
Keeping in Contact With My Non-Muslim Male Cousin

May Allah grant you a peaceful resolution to your difficulties.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Is It Permissible for Me to Marry My Maternal Cousin’s Son?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am a woman who has received a marriage proposal from my maternal cousin’s son. Is it permissible for me to marry him?

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Marriage

It is permissible for you to marry your cousin’s son, as he is not mahram (permanently unmarriagable kin) to you.

I encourage you to enrol in and complete this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Culture

It sounds like in your culture, your cousin is like your sister, and so your cousin’s son would feel like your nephew. It’s important to clarify the difference here – legally, your cousin’s son is not your nephew, so it is permissible for you to marry him.

May Allah bless you with a loving and tranquil marriage, and bring you and your husband closer to Him.

Please see:

Who Is Mahram?
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

My Fiancé Does Not Like Me Keeping in Contact With My Non-Muslim Male Cousin. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am the only Muslim in my family. I have a close relationship with one of my male cousins. I have known him since he was a baby.

My fiancé feels it is inappropriate to maintain any relationship with my cousin. I cannot conceive of cutting off this relationship.

What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which is pleasing to Him.

Family ties

Keeping family ties is an integral part of our deen, even if they are non-Muslim. Many of the Companions had non-Muslim relatives, and they showed exemplary good character towards their non-Muslim family.

However, your fiancé does have a point. How would you feel if he had the same level of closeness to his female cousin? Feelings of protective jealousy are healthy and normal in a spouse, but as always, balance is key.

Discussion

Sit down and have a honest talk with your fiancé. Try your best to understand his point of view, and calmly explain your perspective. Help him understand that by treating your non-Muslim cousin with compassion and showing good character, you are inviting him to Islam. From what you have described, you care deeply for your cousin, and there is no greater good than having him and his family embrace Islam.

Try your best to reach a middle ground which puts both you and your fiancé at ease. If Whatsapp audios make him feel uncomfortable, is there another way you can keep in touch? Is your fiancé willing to befriend him?

If these steps are not acceptable to your fiancé, then you need to make a decision about how to move forward. This issue will not go away until you deal with it. You know he disapproves of your relationship with your male cousin, so don’t expect him to change his tune after you marry him.

A cornerstone of a successful Islamic marriage is sincere concern for one’s spouse, even during times of disagreement. I encourage you and your fiancé to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life to help you both learn how to deal with resolving conflict.

Limits

Although it is encouraged for you to maintain family ties, it is important that you do so with wisdom, and within the guidelines of the Shari’ah. Your closeness to your male cousin is problematic, despite your good intentions. He is not your mahram, and that emotional closeness is something only for your non-marriageable kin. There is wisdom behind that, even if we cannot see it right now. Trust that Allah wants only what is good for you, even if it causes you pain.

I pray that when you marry, your husband will be the coolness of your eyes, and your dearest companion. Over time, you may find that your heart will incline less towards your cousin, and more towards what pleases Allah.

Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help guide you in a way which pleases Him. Trust that whatever you give up for Allah’s sake, He will replace with far, far better.

Please refer to the following links:
Should Converts Break Ties With Non-Muslim Family Members?
Friendship With Non-Muslims: Explaining Verse 5:51
The Protective Jealousy (Ghayra) of Spouses
A Reader On Gender Interaction

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: 玄史生

How Should I Interact With My Male Cousin?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I used to like my cousin, but don’t anymore. He got my number and is texting me, and I feel guilty when I respond to him. He isn’t religious so it doesn’t bother him. He likes to ask my advice and doesn’t say anything inappropriate. Am I doing something wrong?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah reward you for wanting to do what is pleasing to Him.

Boundaries

Listen to your conscience. If you are feeling guilty, then this is an indication that it would be better for you to stop responding to his texts. You don’t need to be awkward about it; when he comes to visit you in your family home, just explain that you don’t feel comfortable texting him, and you’d appreciate it if he would stop.

Be polite and kind, but don’t go out of your way to give him advice via text message. InshaAllah he will respect your decision and find advice from elsewhere. Use this as a lesson in setting boundaries with non-mahram men. This is a useful skill which you’ll get better at with practice.

Liking someone

It’s normal to like boys as you grow up. What’s important to remember is that for Muslims, the only acceptable romantic relationship is between a husband and a wife. Pre-marital relationships are impermissible, so anything that can lead to that is also impermissible (e.g. being in seclusion, flirtation etc).

If you like someone enough to want to marry him, then let your parents know, and inshaAllah they can help you arrange chaperoned talks with the young man in question. This course is also very helpful for you to learn more about marriage: Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life

Please refer to the following links:

How Should I Interact With Non-Mahram (Marriageable) Males?
Limits of Relationship between Males and Females

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani