shineflowerOne of the signs of a flowers life and well-being is the beautiful scent that emanates from it; in the same way the modesty which emanates from the Muslim Woman is a sign of the life of her eeman (faith). Mixing unreservedly with the brother-in-law can result in modesty being watered down, which is worrying as the Prophet [(prayers and peace be upon him) said, “…modesty is a branch of faith.”(Saheeh Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 56)

A Muslim woman should not belittle any commandment of Allah ('azza wa jall) and his Rasool (prayers and peace be upon him). Allah ('azza wa jall) says, “You counted it a little thing, while with Allaah it was very great”(Surat an-Noor [24]:15)

Without a doubt, due to the close relationship a wife’s husband has with his brother or a wife has with her sister, it is inevitable that there will be more of a chance that the sister-in-law would, somehow or another, be put in a situation in which she would have to interact with her brother-in-law. What should she do in such a situation? The following are some the etiquettes a Muslim woman should observe around her brother–in-law, be that her sisters husband or her husbands brother.

In the beginning it may seem hard to adhere to these etiquettes, but if a sister puts in serious effort and patience she will see that these etiquettes will become a natural part of her character and in fact, it will become hard on her heart to compromise even just one of them… not only around her brother in law but any non-mahram!

A Muslim Woman’s Gait and Speech

pashminahijaabsThe believing women of the past, even behind their veils, would practice the utmost of caution when talking to a non-mahram, as they implemented the words of Allah ('azza wa jall), “…if you keep your duty (to Allâh), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner."(Surat al Ahzaab [30]:30-33) They would rush to obey the command of their Lord and that is why, when they would walk and talk it would be in a manner which embodied uprightness and modesty. Indeed, there is a stark difference between them and many women today, who walk in an allured fashion and speak complacently in front of and with their non-mahrams. Such women often come to witness & face the detrimental consequence of disobeying the command of Allah and his Rasool (prayers and peace be upon him) in this life before the next.

A believing woman who truly believes in the words of her Lord and her Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him) won’t be seen laughing, joking and conversing unreservedly with her brother-in-law, whether in person or over the phone. She is a faithful to her Lord, which undoubtedly results in her being a faithful, dutiful and a respectable wife. That is why she speaks in a respectable manner and to the point, without complacency and softness in her speech. SubhaanAllah, she is like a fire-fighter who does not stay in a house on fire more than needed; yes, what is more dangerous than lingering around a person whom the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) referred to as her death!

So dear Sisters, let’s walk and speak in a manner which is an open message to all regarding our stance on free-mixing with non-mahrams. Set this precedence and your brother-in-law, himself, - as well as other non-mahrams - will realise how you would like him to conduct himself around you. Many sisters have found that their brother-in-laws actually end up respecting them for their stance and those that don’t, aren’t bothered to try when they aren’t getting any response in return…

Protecting the Gaze

Allah ('azza wa jall) has magnanimously blessed us with the ability to see with eyes that are more powerful than any camera on the face of the earth. For, it is with our eyes that we can view the magnificent creation of Allah ('azza wa jall) around us, the most enchanting of scenes and most importantly, we can read the words of Allah ('azza wa jall) and His Rasool (prayers and peace be upon him).

Allah ('azza wa jall) says in the Qur’aan, {Say: “It is He Who has created you, and endowed you with ears, eyes, and hearts. Little thanks you give.} (Surat al Mulk [67]:23) Yet, so many people show ingratitude to Allah ('azza wa jall) by disobeying Allah’s command on what to use the eyes for and what not to use them for. Doesn’t the one who created our eyes know best how we should use them?

One of the reasons for the decadence of our society is the abuse of this blessing of Allah. The news, newspapers, magazines and tabloids are full of examples of how the unrestrained glance has resulted in the destruction of hundreds upon hundreds of households. Hearts have become engrossed in darkness and sin; so many have become prey to the addiction of pornography and forbidden stolen glances. Within these darkness’s let’s remember the command of our Lord,

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze.” (Surat al Noor [24]:31)

In these verses of Surat an-Noor [24]:30-31, you will find that Allah ('azza wa jall) connects the matter of lowering the gaze with the issue of protecting the private parts. This shows that guarding ones chastity has an important connection with guarding ones eyes from unrestrictedly looking towards non-mahrams. A well known fact is that one of the first roads taken towards zinaa (adultery) is the unrestricted glance. Therefore, the gaze has a huge impact on desires being ignited, the intellect being clouded and hearts being swerved; a poet of ancient times has said,

“All affairs begin with the sight,

the raging fire a spark can ignite”

Another noteworthy quote,

“A look, then a smile,

then a greeting,  then speaking,

then an appointment, then a meeting.”

If one allows one’s gaze to roam and wander freely this could bring about the loss of one’s chastity and therefore one will earn the greatest causes of doom and punishment in this world and the hereafter. This is why the Muslim woman should try her utmost to lower her gaze, even if she trusts herself. Lowering the gaze and speaking to the point, will help her cut off all routes of evil that satan may be adamant in bring about through both of these avenues.  If by accident her gaze falls upon her brother-in-laws’s or any non-mahram’s face, she should turn her gaze away in compliance to the command of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him):

Jaabir ibn Abdullah (radhiallahu 'anhu) said,

"I asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-Mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes." (Saheeh Muslim, Book 25, Hadith 5372)

My Dear Sister, let’s obey the command of our Lord and from today onwards try our very best not to allow our eyes to fall upon the face of a non-mahram…

Let’s be different from those women who have lost the modesty of the eyes and who openly stare at the faces of non-mahrams - including the brother in law…

Let’s lower our gazes, to the utmost of ability, in hope for a day when we will freely view the spectacles of Paradise…

Sitting separately

Let’s remember that the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him), in the hadeeth regarding the brother-in-law, first mentioned,


"Beware of entering upon the ladies." (Saheeh al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim)

From the Prophet’s (prayers and peace be upon him) words we can clearly see that men should not have open reign to enter upon women as they wish and when they wish. Rather, there must be necessary and much needed restriction and partitioning between non-mahrams.

The Mothers of the Believers, who were the Prophet’s (prayers and peace be upon him) wives, are from the greatest role-models that history has ever witnessed for women. Their modesty, righteousness and faithfulness is undisputed. Allah ('azza wa jall) chose them to be the wives of the Final Messenger sent to mankind (prayers and peace be upon him) ; without a doubt they rightly deserve to be taken as inspiration and role models by all women.

dawn17Allah (a'zza wa jall) commanded those who speak to them to speak to them from behind a veil, {And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.}(Surat al Ahzaab 33:53) Such were the Mothers of the Believers that they wholeheartedly submitted to the command of Allah (ta'aala). Even though the Prophet’s (prayers and peace be upon him) wives and companions were from the pure hearted, sincere and righteous of people Allah ('azza wa jall) says, {…that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.}(Surat al Ahzaab [33]:53) So then, what about our hearts? Without a doubt, today times have become even more difficult upon the believers, just as the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, "There will come a day where a Muslim holding fast to his deen (religion) is like he who is gripping a hot coal."(At-Tirmidh)

Even then, sadly, the most popular excuse today for not practicing segregation, ‘Our hearts are pure’. and ‘Our intentions are sound.’ and ‘We are just like brothers and sisters.’ The Muslim brotherhood practiced between the Sahaabah was as Islaam commanded; it wasn’t a superficial, self-deluded and impractical brotherhood. It’s time that we, as Muslims, consider and contemplate over whether we truly believe that the Prophet’s (prayers and peace be upon him) wives and the Prophet’s (prayers and peace be upon him) Companions are our role models. If so, then we should desire ardently to follow in their footsteps. If people of our households do not support us, we must strive to our utmost and sincerely pray to Allah [azza wa jall] that He also blesses our homes, as were blessed the homes of the Mothers of the Believers and the Companions and that he blesses our hearts with purity, righteousness and strength. This we can do by reciting the words of Allah ('azza wa jall) in our homes, becoming close to the lives of the righteous and distancing ourselves from wrong company, evil traits and becoming closer to the righteous.

Without a doubt, many sisters are forced to appear in front of their brother-in-law, such as for serving food, or when doing house chores - especially if they together. In such a situation, where she has no choice, even after trying her utmost to prevent it, then she should go infront with the condition that she is fully covered and abides by the Islaamic etiquettes laid down by Allah ('azza wa jall) and his Rasool (sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam). In this article we have covered some of the etiquettes to be maintained and in the next article we will go through some more, Allah willing.

May Allah (the Sublime) guide us to that which He loves and enter us into the Paradise, under which rivers flow and only the righteous and pure exist. Aameen.