Lives In A Mixed Family Home – Should She Wear The Niqaab
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
My husband and I live in one house with his
family, which is composed of one brother and his
mother. Because we do not have a servant, the women
usually serve the household, which involves hard work
sometimes, and that means that the woman needs to
reduce her hijab and wear regular house clothes.
The problem here is that the door of the house is
always open, and there is nothing to stop one of the
husband's relatives, such as his paternal uncle or
maternal uncle, coming in without permission.
Moreover, when we clean the balcony, the neighbours
and everyone in the street can see us. Is it correct
for us to wear the niqaab only when going out, or
should we wear it in the house from morning until
evening, knowing that this will cause a great deal of
hardship for us?
Please note that we have our own apartment, but we
only go there to sleep.
Please note that this is not only my problem; it is
faced by many of the woman who want to wear shar'i
hijab, the niqaab.
What should we do?
Please advise us, may Allaah reward you.
Praise be to Allaah.
This problem, as you say, is not only your problem,
rather it is a problem that comes up over and over
again in countries where the society allows mixed
living, where a man stays with his family after he
gets married, which means that the wife is living in
the same house as her husband's relatives, his
brothers or his nephews, and so on.
Whilst we agree with you that this situation leads to
a lot of hardship and problems, and that adhering to
hijab and proper Islamic etiquette in the face of this
mixing involves a great deal of hardship and
difficulty, we also say to you that many Muslim woman
who are keen to observe hijab and to adhere to the
limits set by their Lord, have managed to overcome
this difficult situation and have adhered to the
limits set by Allaah, despite the hardship that they
faced and of which we are also aware.
If this difficult situation with shared living space
is one from which there is no way out for the
foreseeable future, as is the case in many situations,
then you can live with it by keeping the door of the
house locked from the inside, so that you can cover
yourself and put on your hijab when any non-mahram men
want to enter, or wearing proper hijab when they are
in the house, and making sure that you are not with
them in the same room or enclosed space as much as
possible, even when you are wearing hijab.
Your husband also has an important role to play with
regard to this problem. He should advise his brother,
and his male relatives in general, to observe this
etiquette, as it is one of the limits set by Allaah,
and we have no right to transgress it, and it is not
permissible for anyone to toy with it.
There is a warning against being lenient with regard
to the husband's relatives entering upon his wife, as
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: "Beware of entering upon women." One of the
Ansaar said: O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think
about the in-law? He said: "The in-law is death."
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5232) and Muslim (2172). Al-Layth
ibn Sa'd said: The in-law is the brother of the
husband and similar relatives of the husband, his
Although we agree that it will be difficult to do at
first, because many people love to go against the
rulings and are reluctant to adhere to the limits and
proper etiquette, we assure you that it will soon
become a habit and something that they get used to.
But in the beginning it will require serious effort
and patience. It will help you and your husband to be
patient if you remember that the reward is
commensurate with the level of difficulty faced.
What you have mentioned about having a separate
apartment offers a way out and a clear solution to
this problem. As for your husband, he has two options.
1 – Either he may agree to your living in this
separate apartment, and for you to stay there most of
the day, as is usually the case for wives, so long as
the family home is open and men who are not your
mahrams can enter from time to time, and so long as
there are other men living with you, which causes you
hardship as you have mentioned in your question,
otherwise he will be taking the matter of hijab and
mixing lightly which will result in sin and fitnah.
2 – If your circumstances prevent that and these is no
hope of moving to separate accommodation in the
foreseeable future, for one reason or another, then he
and his family have to help you to adhere to your
hijab and your religious commitment, as we have
suggested above. It is not so hard or difficult; many
people adhere to that and do just fine.
It is obligatory for a woman to cover her face in
front of non-mahram men, according to the more correct
of the two scholarly opinions. We have explained the
evidence for that in the answer to question no. 11774.
And we have explained the evidence for the prohibition
on mixing in the answer to question no. 12525.
Included among "non-mahram men" are the husband's
brother, paternal uncle, and maternal uncle. The wife
cannot uncover her face in front of them.
Based on that, you have to cover your face and all of
your body when you go out on the balcony and can be
seen by men in the street and elsewhere. This should
not cause any hardship because it is not something
that you do all the time. You can also put a screen
around the balcony so that other people will not be
able to see the one who is standing there.
Remember that the rulings of Islam are easy, not hard,
as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Allaah does not want to place you in difficulty, but
He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour to
you that you may be thankful" [al-Maa'idah 5:6]
Islam came to achieve that which is in the interests
of both men and woman, and to protect all of society
against the causes of corruption and deviation.
Difficulty arises because of a mistake in application
or a failure to benefit from the blessings bestowed by
Allaah. Hence we repeat that you should make use of
the separate apartment, and try to live there, away
from any mixing and crowding, and you will find
happiness and comfort in sha Allaah.
May Allaah help us and you to do that which He loves
and which pleases Him.
And Allaah knows best.