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My wife’s brother touches my wife a lot. Some times massaging her hand, her shoulders, her legs. Some time when he lays beside her putting his legs on her legs. I have a sister too but all my life I have not been used to such kind of behaviour so I don’t feel good about it. I can’t tell my wife to stop her brother doing this because she might not like me telling her. Tell me is this kind of behaviour Islamic. Or I am thinking wrong or negative?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher

My wife’s brother touches my wife a lot. Some times massaging her hand, her shoulders, her legs. Some time when he lays beside her putting his legs on her legs. I have a sister too but all my life I have not been used to such kind of behaviour so I don’t feel good about it. I can’t tell my wife to stop her brother doing this because she might not like me telling her. Tell me is this kind of behaviour Islamic. Or I am thinking wrong or negative?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who follow them with sincerity to the Day of Account.

You are right in feeling that this behavior is not appropriate. In a situation, such as this, it is correct to trust your instincts. While your wife’s brother is her mahram, and therefore, is allowed to touch her and see her without hijab, there are still boundaries that he must observe. You need to sit down with your wife and explain to her that, as her husband, you are uncomfortable with the way her brother touches her.

Do not make accusations against your wife and brother-in-law. But gently explain to your wife that the only man who should be massaging her in an intimate way, or touching her legs, or lying beside her is you! In our way of life, we are allowed to relax around our maharim (unmarriageable kin). However, we are still supposed to observe adab or etiquette around them. That means not revealing the awrah, body parts that should be covered, even around relatives. This also includes avoiding suggestive behaviors, the type that might cause suspicion, or even cause temptation for someone with moral weakness.

Please stress to your wife that you are concerned for her and her brother’s spiritual well-being and would like to create a pure family environment. It is okay for her to relax around her brother, but both of them need to realize that intimate contact is for husband and wife only.

If possible, speak to your brother-in-law in a respectful manner and tell him that you are uncomfortable with the massages and so forth. Tell him that you would feel more comfortable if he would refrain from touching your wife in a way that you might touch her. Try to do this as diplomatically as possible, but I think that you are entitled to address this problem.

And Allah knows best.

Zaynab

 

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