One’s father-in-law is a Mehram, what if you separate from your husband, is he still your Mehram? Does one have to do the hijaab while interacting with the father-in-law? Also what is the position of your daughter’s husband, in this regard?
In our culture your khaloo (husband of mother’s sister) or phupah (husband of father’s sister) is considered or treated as Mehram when according to Islamic rule he is not. If there is no other way except being blunt, to ask them not to hug you/hand shake, even when you know they will not like it?
According to the Qur’an, a person’s daughter-in-law and mother-in-law are among those relations, which are permanently prohibited for marriage. Therefore, we may say that these relations are amongst the (so-called) Mehram relations for a man/woman.
The frankness or otherwise in the relationship with husband of the sister of one’s father or mother, is really a cultural issue. It may vary from culture to culture. The Shari`ah does not give a specific direction regarding the style of greeting a relative. This, therefore is basically a cultural issue and has been left by the Shari`ah to the Ma`roof1 of the society. In my opinion, if there is a significant age difference between the two individuals there is no harm in shaking hands with your maternal or paternal uncles. On the other hand, if the age difference is not very significant, then in my opinion, it would be preferable to maintain a slightly distant relationship to avoid any psychological or emotional complicacies. The same would be the case in other relations, which are generally not considered as “Mehram” by the Muslim jurists.
23rd September 1998
- i.e. accepted norms of the noble class of the society. [↩]