Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I am the only Muslim in my family. I have a close relationship with one of my male cousins. I have known him since he was a baby.
My fiancé feels it is inappropriate to maintain any relationship with my cousin. I cannot conceive of cutting off this relationship.
What do I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which is pleasing to Him.
Keeping family ties is an integral part of our deen, even if they are non-Muslim. Many of the Companions had non-Muslim relatives, and they showed exemplary good character towards their non-Muslim family.
However, your fiancé does have a point. How would you feel if he had the same level of closeness to his female cousin? Feelings of protective jealousy are healthy and normal in a spouse, but as always, balance is key.
Sit down and have a honest talk with your fiancé. Try your best to understand his point of view, and calmly explain your perspective. Help him understand that by treating your non-Muslim cousin with compassion and showing good character, you are inviting him to Islam. From what you have described, you care deeply for your cousin, and there is no greater good than having him and his family embrace Islam.
Try your best to reach a middle ground which puts both you and your fiancé at ease. If Whatsapp audios make him feel uncomfortable, is there another way you can keep in touch? Is your fiancé willing to befriend him?
If these steps are not acceptable to your fiancé, then you need to make a decision about how to move forward. This issue will not go away until you deal with it. You know he disapproves of your relationship with your male cousin, so don’t expect him to change his tune after you marry him.
A cornerstone of a successful Islamic marriage is sincere concern for one’s spouse, even during times of disagreement. I encourage you and your fiancé to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life to help you both learn how to deal with resolving conflict.
Although it is encouraged for you to maintain family ties, it is important that you do so with wisdom, and within the guidelines of the Shari’ah. Your closeness to your male cousin is problematic, despite your good intentions. He is not your mahram, and that emotional closeness is something only for your non-marriageable kin. There is wisdom behind that, even if we cannot see it right now. Trust that Allah wants only what is good for you, even if it causes you pain.
I pray that when you marry, your husband will be the coolness of your eyes, and your dearest companion. Over time, you may find that your heart will incline less towards your cousin, and more towards what pleases Allah.
Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help guide you in a way which pleases Him. Trust that whatever you give up for Allah’s sake, He will replace with far, far better.
Please refer to the following links:
Should Converts Break Ties With Non-Muslim Family Members?
Friendship With Non-Muslims: Explaining Verse 5:51
The Protective Jealousy (Ghayra) of Spouses
A Reader On Gender Interaction
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani