14 February 2014 CE | 12 Rabbi al-Thanni 1435 AH

Hadith Explanation

In-Laws and Hijab

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Do not go near non-Mahram women.” One man asked him, “O Prophet of Allah, what is the Command about the in-laws of a woman?” The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded, “The (dangers in not observing Hijab with) in-laws are like death.” [Bukhari]

“Non-Mahram” means “those with whom marriage is permissible.”

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) compared the men of the in-laws to death. This means that a woman should be even more careful in observing Hijab with her brothers-in-law. The reason for this is that since these men are considered part of the family, they freely enter the ladies quarters and are even invited in, becoming too close, which at times results in illegitimate affairs. The husband considers them a part of his household and does not even think about stopping them from freely mixing with his wife. But when they come to his house frequently, and if the husband is frequently away, all kinds of seemingly impossible things may occur. It is not as easy for a neighbor to kidnap a woman as it is for a brother-in-law to kidnap or abuse his sister-in-law.

What is Hijab? Hijab literally means screen, curtain, partition, and concealment. In Islamic Shariah, the word means to cover, conceal or hide oneself from the view of non-Mahrams. The Ayat of Hijab was revealed the day after the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam)’s marriage to Zainab bint Jahsh (radi Allahu anha). It is, “And when you ask (his Wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a Hijab - curtain; that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs.” [Quran: Surah Ahzab, Ayat 53]

Anas bin Malik (radi Allahu anhu), who used to serve the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), said that after the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) recited this Ayat he drew a curtain between himself and Anas (radi Allahu anhu). [Hijab by Dr Mohammed Ismail Memon Madani]

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