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Covering in Front of Non-Muslim Stepfather

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

I read in one of your previous replies that [h: a man’s] stepfather (lit. “mother’s husband”) is not considered an unmarriageable close relative (mahram) of his wife. Is a stepfather considered an unmarriageable close relative (mahram) of his [h: own] stepdaughter (i.e., his wife’s daughter [h: from a previous marriage])? I am a Muslim woman (alhamdulillah) and accepted Islam recently but my mother and her husband are still non-Muslims. Does the fact that my stepfather is non-Muslim affect whether or not it is obligatory for me to observe the rules of hijab in front of him?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله رب العالمين و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله و صحبه و سلم أما بعد


After consummating his marriage with his wife, the stepfather is an unmarriageable close relative (mahram) of his stepdaughter irrespective of whether he is Muslim or non-Muslim. Allah Most High says, “[Forbidden to you are your mothers, your daughters, your …,] and your stepdaughters who are in your care and are born of your wives into whom you have gone in …” [h: (4:23)]. It is therefore permissible for a Muslim woman to uncover part of her body (such as the head, hands, and feet) in front of her non-Muslim stepfather unless she thereby fears suspicion, such as if it is well-known that the stepfather commits fornication (fahisha) [1], in which case she must conceal her body from him. Similarly, if the stepfather believes that it is permissible to marry unmarriageable close relatives (mahram), she must conceal her body from him.

Amjad Rasheed
Amman, Jordan
(Translated by Hamza Karamali)

[1] Shaykh Amjad notes: “What is meant here [h: by fornication, Ar. fahisha] is fornication and its usual preliminaries, regardless of whether [h: the man does it] with unmarriageable close relatives or anyone else. What is meant, then, is that he is not upright of character so that she fears fitna.”

السؤال : قرأت في أحد أجوبتكم السابقة أن زوج الأم ليس محرما لزوجة الربيب ، فهل زوج الأم محرما لربيبته ( أي بنت الأم ) ؟ أنا مسلمة – الحمد لله – وأسلمت قريبا لكن أمي وزوجها ما زالوا كافرين فهل يؤثر كون زوج أمي كافرا في وجوب التزام أحكام الحجاب أمامه ؟  الجواب : زوجُ الأم مَحْرَمٌ لبنت الزوجة إذا دخل بأمها سواء كان مسلماً أو كافراً ، قال الله تعالى 🙁 وربائبكم اللاتي في حجوركم إن كنتم دخلتم بهن ) وحينئذ فيحل للبنت المسلمة أن تكشف عن بعض بدنها أمام زوج أمها الكافر كالرأس واليدين والقدمين ، إلا إن كان هناك رِيبةٌ تخافه معها البنتُ كأن كان زوجُ الأمِّ مشهوراً بالفاحشة (1) فتستر بدنها عنه . وكذلك إذا كان زوجُ أمها الكافر يعتقد جواز نكاح المحارم فتستر بدنها عنه .   (1) المراد بها الزنا ومقدماته سواء في المحارم وغيرهم ، والمراد أن يكون غير مستقيم الأخلاق بحيث تخاف الفتنة .

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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