Fatwa: # 15042
Category: Marriage (Nikah)
Country: India
Date: 11th April 2007


Please advise me of my rights as a Muslim women


I have just been married for 1 and half years, and residing in my husbands house in Bangalore and my brother-in-law is staying with us for last 9 months, he is a software engineer and has a good job. however my In-laws insist that I also look after him as well since they are residing in Kolhapur .

I have told my husband that since he is a non-mahram and it is against the rulings of Islam for him to be alone with me in the same house, and he should find his own accommodation , but he has denied that any such law exists in Shariah.

Could you please enlighten us with the correct ruling on this matter which is of utmost concern for my future married life as I cannot cope up with this arrangement , and my in-laws insist that after my brother-in-law gets married his wife will also be living with us in our house. I am always in Hijab, but my brother-in-law habits and his conduct is not according to the Islamic ways.

Due to mental pressure, I have come to my parents home, as I am in the family way , my husband's top most concern is his brother,  he has not bothered to give my maintenance and  is influenced by his grandmother and aunties. My husband has completed forgotten his duties and responsibilites as a Muslim Husband.

Please advise me of my rights as a muslim women and how can this be resolved in the light of the Quran and Sunnah. (kindly give evidence of this relevant shariah law)

Jazakum Allah AlKhair


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

A brother-in-law is a ghair mahram. In principle a brother-in-law is not permanently haraam upon a sister-in-law. There is a potential of nikah between a brother-in-law and sister-in-law. It is compulsory to observe the laws of hijab between general ghair mahrams and more so between the brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Rasulullah (S.A.W.) said, “The brother-in-law is death.” The specific reference to the brother-in-law is due to the easy access he has to his sister-in-law in relation to general ghair mahrams. General ghair mahram’s do not have such easy access to each other. At the outset. They may not be family unto each others or may not even meet each other.

The prohibition of fitna is lesser in general ghair mahrams, and the probability of fitna is more between the brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They are related to each other through in-law relationship. They will be in close proximity to each other and create an affinity to each other that may blossom a more serious relationship. It is precisely for this reason that Rasulullah (S.A.W.) expresses the relationship of brother-in-law as death. Shariah prohibits zina and every road that leads to zina. That is by observing the laws of hijab.

It is the husband’s responsibility to provide a separate house for his wife to maintain her privacy and observe the laws of hijab. If the husband fails in this responsibility, he will be sinful and the wife will be justified in leaving the house. It cannot be assumed that the brother-in-law and sister-in-law are clean hearted people. No person is immune from the attacks and tricks of the Shaitan. Rasulullah (S.A.W.) said, “No person is alone with a woman but the third is the Shaitan.”

As Muslims, our scale of decisions and judgments should be the Shariah. We should rise above our emotions and submit to Shariah. That invokes the mercy of Allah and the help of Allah. To go against Shariah is a recipe for disaster.

And Allah knows best


Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa

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