In a lot of cultures and traditional practices, the issue of mixing and mingling of sexes is prevalent. It is more so observed at family get-togethers and weddings. Many people are brought up in the joint family system, where children grow up around their cousins. Therefore, it so happens that they naturally get closer and comfortable. But as they age and mature, are their interactions allowed? Does this practice comply with Islamic rulings?
The answer, to put it simply, is “No”. A male and a female, after the onset of puberty, are not allowed to mingle with the opposite gender, except with those who are considered their mahram.
Mahram are people who a person is not allowed to marry. This includes people related to the person by blood, by rada’ah (breastfeeding), and by marriage. And cousins are not mahram to a person unless tied to them by rada’ah or marriage.
In Surah Noor, Allah ﷻ has clearly mentioned the mahram by blood who a woman can be comfortable with, and this does not include the cousins.
“… and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons…”[Qur’an 24:31]
As for the case of mahram through rada’ah,
“The relationship of mahram which permits a woman to show her adornments may be through rada’ah as well as through blood ties, so it is permissible for a woman to show her adornments to those who are her fathers or sons through rada’ah.”[Tafseer al-Aaloosi 18/143]
To learn about who one’s mahram are, kindly click here.
Therefore, it would be safe to conclude that male cousins are not mahram to a woman and vice versa. A woman must ensure that she practices hijab correctly around her male cousins and vice versa.
May Allah ﷻ grant us the wisdom and logic to understand His rulings in depth and to adhere to them at all times, آمين.
Written by: Binth Malik and Yasmin
Edited by: The Editorial Team
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