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Father-in-Law Kissed Daughter-in-Law

Ustadh Salman Younas gives general advice on a case of a father-in-law kissing the daughter-in-law by mistake and how one should act in such cases.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

A case has arisen in our town that a father in law suddenly and unexpectedly kissed his daughter in law. This all happened in seconds. After that he is shameful and saying that he didn’t do this intentionally and lustfully and there is no erection or ejaculation, and he is ready to swore on the Qur’an that she is like my daughter and I have not done this intentionally.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

My assumption is that you are asking about hurmat al-musahara, which is the non-marriageable kinship (mahramiya) created between a person and the relatives of his spouse as a result of marriage and valid intercourse. Thus, a man who marries a woman and consummates the marriage is not permitted to marry her mother or any daughters she has from a previous marriage. Similarly, a person cannot marry the wife of his father. The Qur’anic verse affirming the basic idea of hurmat al-musahara is, “Do not marry those [women] whom your fathers married.” (Sura al-Nisa 4:22)

Outside of a marriage context, however, the scholars differ on whether hurmat al-musahara is ever established. In other words, does adultery–fornication or touching–kissing outside of a marriage relationship establish this hurma? The Hanafis say it does (adding specific conditions when it comes to touching/kissing), while the Malikis and Shafi‘is say it does not. In other words, if a father-in-law touched his daughter-in-law directly with lust, the marriage between the former’s son and the daughter-in-law would be broken according to Hanafis but not so according to the Malikis or Shafi‘is. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj; al-Dasuqi, Hashiya)

Given the sensitivity of the situation you describe and the scarcity of details you offer, I cannot offer a specific ruling for this case but only the following general advice:

1. In the specific scenario you mention, people must avoid rushing to judge someone’s marriage as invalidated on account of this act even if it has been clearly shown to have taken place. This is because (i) there is established difference of opinion on the matter, and (ii) annulling someone’s marriage, in this case the daughter-in-law and her husband (the father’s son), on account of someone else’s independent and unsolicited action seems highly unjust and problematic.

2. People must take care to avoid making insinuations against the father-in-law, the daughter-in-law, and other family members, or spreading gossip, hearsay, and the like.

3. If the father-in-law is known to be an otherwise upright person and there is no reason to suspect that something is amiss, people should leave things be, accept him at his word, and let him and the family manage the issue.

4. If there are reasonable signs and indications to suspect something unsavory and wrong taking place on the part of the father-in-law (e.g. abuse), this should be referred to the proper authorities. However, one should tread carefully before suspecting any such thing.

Because of the sensitivity of this situation, I would advise you to consult local scholars – people who are reliable, pious, have wisdom, and who have an understanding of family and community dynamics.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Is the Father-In-Law Still a Mahram After the Husband Passes Away?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

Will the father-in-law continue to be a Mahram for the woman when her husband passes away?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Yes. The father-in-law of a woman will remain her mahram even after the passing of her husband. This is clear from the Qur’anic verse: “and also prohibited for you are the wives of your sons.” (4:23)

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

How To Manage Problems With In-Laws – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How To Manage Problems With In-Laws. A Muslim Perspective from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The closest relationship a person will ever experience in their lifetime is with their spouse. In this SeekersGuidance seminar, we learn how to cultivate this union to the fullest, how to overcome common hurdles, and how to maintain a high degree of moral conduct and excellent character.

For more info and FREE registration for our upcoming seminars – wherever you are in the world, visit SeekersGuidance Toronto.

Cover photo by Azlan DuPree.

Dealing with In-Laws With a Different Islamic Perspective

Answered by Dr. Bano Murtuja

Question: I have been engaged for a year to a man who I really like. However, his father and stepmother have been a problem within our relationship. They truly dislike my family have accused us of following false Sheikhs, of engaging in Kufr because we do tasbih, or we say our dua’a out loud etc. They accuse of of bid’a and have negative opinions of Muslims unlike them. My fiance has defended us against them, but he seeks to please them and he doesn’t put his foot down hard enough. What should I do?

Answer
: Wa’laikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakathu,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

May Allah (Exalted be He) bless your union with all that is good, and make it a means to gain closeness to the All Loving and His beloved (upon him be peace and blessings).

Relationships with in laws can often be difficult to navigate, particularly if their understanding of Islam is different from one’s own.

The best example we have for dealing with those who disagree with us is in the actions of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). He (Peace and blessings be upon him) was unfailingly noble in his treatment of those who disagreed with him. He (Peace and blessings be upon him) would increase in excellent character the more he was subjected to bad character. This beautiful trait turned many hearts towards him.

It is not necessary for your future in laws to be in agreement with your approach. InshaAllah through you demonstrating good character, they will eventually come to accept and respect that this is simply a difference of opinion. As long as their opinion does not impact your ability to perform the obligatory, the best way to approach it is not to argue, rather, wherever possible remain silent and maintain the best of etiquette with them.

With regard to communicating with your future husband, it is important that there are boundaries set as to how you are treated. That said, asking him to do so in absolute terms may in the long term do more harm. If possible, explain to him how their opinion makes you feel and the course of action you feel is best, but at the same time be open and understanding of the fact that he knows his parents best and will be able to navigate that relationship with this understanding.

Your continued patience and good character will, inshaAllah, increase you in your relationship with your future husband.

May you be granted ease and facilitation in all of your affairs.

Ma’salam

Bano

Dr. Bano Murtuja is the Managing Director of SeekersHub Toronto, unique learning foundation that connects transformative knowledge and spirituality with actionable community service and social engagement. It is open and welcoming to individuals of all ages, religious beliefs and walks of life, with equally diverse programs and activities offered at no cost.