Maintaining ties of kinship: Interaction with relatives who are not cautious in mixing with non
Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
What are the criteria for interacting with relatives who are not cautious with respect to the mixing of non-mahrams (in the case of a gathering with nothing unlawful present)? I would like to maintain the bonds of kinship, however, if attending such gatherings or sitting therein is forbidden, then…
I have previously answered a similar question. As I mentioned before…
Two things are forbidden in the gathering of men and women:
1. Seclusion; it is defined as the gathering of a woman with a man (or many men) who are non-mahram, in a situation where an act of indecency may take place. The act of indecency may be something less than sexual intercourse. However, if there are 2 women present, then gathering together with men is not considered seclusion.
2. The gathering of non-mahram men and women in conjunction with the uncovering of the nakedness, looking at what is forbidden, coarse language or temptation. But if non-mahram men and women gather together with modesty, both sides completely covering their nakedness, with no unlawful looks, coarse language or temptation, as is the case in the gatherings of families concerned with protecting their religion and decency, then the gathering is permissible. However, if there is no necessity for mixed gatherings, then scrupulousness is in refraining from such gatherings, even with one’s relatives. This is due to the all too familiar persistence of the devil and his whisperings, and also because segregating men and women is easily achievable. However, the devil presents the impracticality of segregation once, and the need for mixing another time. In principal, a Muslim’s earnest concern, a man’s decency and a woman’s chastity necessitate that mixed gatherings not be commonplace in maintaining bonds of kinship, business meetings or visiting friends.
As for a man’s sitting in a gathering where non-mahram women are displaying their beauty, it is unlawful in principal, even if for the purpose of maintaining kinship bonds. This is because maintaining such bonds is an act of obedience, and one cannot fulfill an act of obedience through disobedience.
This said, perhaps it may be permissible in special circumstances where his sitting in such a gathering may be of religious benefit to the women by admonishing them and clarifying the rulings that they are not fulfilling or are unaware of such as the religiously obligatory covering. This must be accomplished with avoidance of seclusion, and necessarily lowering one’s gaze. According to the unanimous agreement of the scholars one must lowers one’s gaze if temptation is present. As for when no temptation is present, according to the relied upon position in our madhab one still must lowers one’s gaze, whereas the Hanafi masters hold it permissible to look in such a situation.
As for sitting with non-mahram women who are displaying their beauty and carrying on an ordinary conversation such as world happenings and the difficulties of work, along with the repeated looks that naturally follow, it is unlawful because it affirms their forbidden action of uncovering their nakedness in the presence of those whose seeing them is unlawful, and the unlawful looks upon them that take place.
This is the text of the previous answer, and inshaAllah it suffices. If the questioner needs further clarification, he may ask again about what he is seeking. And Allah is the one who leads to the correct answer.
– Amjad Rasheed
(Translated by Sister Lida Kahi)