The Mahram of a woman is anyone who is permanently forbidden to marry because of ties to the blood. Also, marriage bonds. This is not based on customs and traditions but rather on Shari’ah. A Mahram is usually a member of a family with whom marriage or sexual intercourse would be considered haram (illegal in Islam); from whom purdah or hijab concealment is not compulsory and who may serve as a woman’s legal escort on journeys longer than one day and one night.
So the mahrams of a woman on the basis of blood ties are her son, her father, her aunt, the son of her brother, the son of her sister, her paternal uncle and her motherly uncle.
- Being alone with a Non-Mahram
Shaytan is always keen to tempt people and haram [unlawful] deeds to them. For this reason, we were warned by Allah (SWT) said:
“O you who believe! Do not follow in Shaytan’s footsteps. And anyone who follows Shaytan’s footsteps then truly commands al-Fahshaa’s [indecency] and al-Munkar’s [evil deeds] [Noor 24:21]
- Deliberately Looking at a Non-Mahram Woman
Allah (SWT) says:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and to protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.” [An-Noor 24: 30]
The Prophet(PBUH) said, “The adultery of the eyes is by looking” (i.e. by looking at what Allah has forbidden). [Reported by Bukhari]
Women are equally forbidden to look at non-mahram men, as Allah (SWT) says:
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and to protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) . . .” [an-Noor 24: 31]
Non-Mahram Shaking Hands
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “If one of you were to be stabbed with an iron needle in the eye, it would be safer for him than to touch a woman whom he is not allowed to touch.”
There is no question that this is an act of Zina, because the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The eyes may commit Zina, the hands may commit Zina, the feet may commit Zina and the private parts may commit Zina.” [Imam Ahmad]
Is there anyone purer in heart than Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) yet he said, “I don’t shake women’s hands.” [Imam Ahmad]
Some other Hadith mentioning Mehram and Non-Mahram
Shaytan flows like blood through the veins of humanity and one of the ways he causes people to commit indecent acts is by leading a man to be alone with a non-Mahram woman. Islam prevents this by banning such behavior, as the Prophet (PBUH) said, “No man is alone with a woman (non-mahram), but Shaytan will be the third among them” [Tirmidhi]
Ibn Umar radhiAllahu’anhu reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “No man should ever enter a woman whose husband is absent unless there is another man or two with him” [Muslim, 4/1711 ].
Are cousins Mehram?
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As for cousins, marrying them is permissible. And under any circumstances, it is not right for a cousin to be her mahram. Even if custom dictates that he should not marry her. No one has the right to regard what Allah has forbidden as lawful, or to find what Allah has permitted as prohibited, or to say that a cousin can look at his female cousin or be alone with her and that’s against Shari’ah. The woman must also observe hijab in front of her sisters, as she observes the hijab in front of all non-mahram people.
Manners while talking to NON-Mehram
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Speaking with a woman to whom one is not related (i.e., not a mahram) should only be for a particular need. Such as asking a question, buying or selling, asking about the head of the household, etc. These discussions should be short, with nothing suspicious either about what’s being said or about how it is being said.
When there is a need to speak to a non-Mahram woman (example & vice versa), the basic principle is that it is appropriate, but attention must be given to the following etiquette:
- The discussion should be restricted to only what is required and has to do with the matter at hand, without talking too much or branching off into other subjects.
- Avoid laughing and joking; this is not part of courtesy and honesty.
- Avoid looking and always trying hard to lower your head as much as possible; there’s nothing wrong with that if there’s a quick look for the purpose of speaking.
- Not softening the voice or using soft words by either party; rather, they should speak in the same ordinary tone of voice as they would speak to anyone else. Allah says, addressing the Believers ‘ Mothers “O Prophet’s Wives, you’re not like other women. Do not be too complacent (soft) in your speech (to men) if you fear Allah. Lest those with diseased hearts covet you; but Speak with proper speech “(33:32)
- Avoid using any words that may have suggestive meanings, and so forth.
- Do not go to extremes to embellish one’s discourse. Some people use their communication skills with others through hand or face movements. This is a way for the Shaitaan to open the door to attract people between the genders.
Significance of the Shari’ah (What does Mahram mean to Muslims)
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When people detach themselves from Islam’s directives and religious rulings, especially those protecting chastity and the ‘Awrah (parts of the body to be covered), prevent the mixing of offspring and other immoral acts; they fall into the pit of sin and immorality. This is encouraged by Islamic enemies who, under the pretext of “liberating” them, try to control women with all possible means until they lead them astray and strip them of their modesty.
Islam provides a complete code of life for the well-being and growth of the Muslim Community; hence these Shari’ah rulings were put in place hundreds of years ago.To ensure that the society is pure of sin and folly even in modern times. It is advised to fellow Muslims brothers and sisters to maintain their purity and sincerity towards themselves and their religion by following the code of conduct put together by Allah (SWT).
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