A maternal aunt taking the same status as a mother

A: The Hadith which states that a mother's sister is equivalent to (one's real) mother (in status) is Sahih (authentic). It was related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of `Aly ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Hadith refers to the mother's sister by blood and not to the stepmother. It means that when the mother is dead, the maternal aunt takes the mother's place in taking care of the children. Calling a stepmother "Khalah" (i.e. Maternal aunt in Arabic) has to do with tradition; it is not a correct naming according to Shari`ah (Islamic law). (Part No. 25; Page No. 359) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.