Can My Brother Call My Stepmother Mom?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: As salam alaikum,

I grew up with my father, stepmother, stepsister, stepbrother, brother and sister. My sister and brother would call my stepmother mom. My stepsister would call my father Dad. In light of the following Hadith is it permissible to call them dad or mom when they are not really their dad and mom?

The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “If somebody claims to be the son of any other than his real father knowingly, he disbelieves in Allah, and if somebody claims to belong to some folk to whom he does not belong, let such a person take his place in the (Hell) Fire.” (Bukhari)

Answer: wa `alaykum assalam

Yes, it is permissible to do so, if real effective meaning is not intended, and one is using the terms for another reason.

Permissible Usage of such Titles

It is permissible to call a stepmother or stepfather (or father or mother in law) ‘dad’ or ‘mom’. Conversely, it is permissible for the adults in a similar scenario to refer to others as ‘son’ or ‘daughter’. This is often done out of a combination of respect, love and a desire to demonstrate that one is as close to them as one is with one’s own parents. It is not done to confuse lineage. In the scenario you’ve described, none of the children involved would claim that the stepfather or stepmother is their actual father or mother, or vice versa. It thus remains permissible.

The Meaning of the Textual Prohibition

What is prohibited in the narrations you mentioned (Bukhari, Muslim), as well as the first few verses of al-Ahzab (33:4-5), is the pre-Islamic practice that continued with the advent of Islam of confusing lineage by, for example, calling another a son and treating him as one in all legal respects, including inheritance and matters related to marriage.

Pretending in a real manner or claiming that someone other than one’s father or mother actually is so, especially when there is some lack of clarity regarding lineage, is therefore not permissible.

Sources: Fath al-Bari; Fath al-Mulhim; al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir

Shuaib Ally

Is My Stepmother’s Sister from My Unmarriageable Kin (Mahram)?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu alaikum,

Is my stepmother’s sister from my unmarriageable kin (mahram)?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

No, your stepmother’s sister is not from your unmarriageable kin (mahram).

You should avoid direct contact with her, but do so in a tactful manner.

Please see also: Who is Mahram

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Can I Do About My Poor Relationship With My Stepmother?

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: As’Salamu Alaykum,

I don’t get along with my stepmother.  She treats her own children better than my own siblings. I do everything I can to make her happy.  Most the time she is nice but sometimes she can make my life a misery. When she doesn’t get her way she curses at me and my father. She also tells people outside the family about our family issues. I worry about how she will treat my father and my other siblings if I get married and move out of the house.  Please can you give me advice on how to deal with her.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are doing well inshaAllah. May Allah grant your family ease in this difficult situation. There are several points that I would like to share with you. I pray that Allah puts benefit in them for you.

1. Allah commands us to, “repel [the evil deed] with one which is better.” [Quran 41:34]. Based on the Qur’anic teachings and the prophetic guidance, you should not respond to your stepmother’s bad deeds with similar bad deeds. Rather, you should model the behavior of a righteous Muslim, who upholds his manners and honorable behavior in a way that is suitable to each situation he is in.

2. Being respectful towards your stepmother does not mean that you allow her to continue hurting you. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reminded us that a believer “does not get stung from the same hole twice.” This practical advice teaches us to be aware of our circumstances and the causes of our troubles. If you know that having close interactions with your stepmother will inevitably lead to problems, then you are justified in keeping your distance, without being rude.

3. You should recognize what is within your boundaries to change and what is not. If you are able to talk to your father and reach some solutions this would be good. However, it would be out of your boundaries to directly cause trouble with your stepmother because this would put more of a strain on your father and his relationship with his wife. Your father is ultimately the one in a position to resolve the situation.

4. Be patient and make du`a. Remember the harm that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, patiently bore and despite it how he prayed for guidance for his people.

And Allah knows best.