Q 1: I am a twenty-year-old man and I am studying at the university. I adhere to the teachings of Islam. My elder brother is married and he does not observe Salah (Prayer) regularly. The problem is that when he visits us, he refuses that men and women eat separately. Once I had to have lunch with him and his wife as there was no other place to eat and I did not like to eat alone. Moreover, my brother's wife does not wear Hijab (veil). Please guide me to the right course of action.
Is it permissible for me to sit with my brother's wife in the presence of my brother or the family if she does wear Hijab?
I have read many books about this issue. I have also heard scholars giving different answers to the same question. Please guide me to the right answer. May Allah grant you success. I also want to get married so that I could steer clear of this atmosphere. What should I do so that I can find a suitable wife? Do I have to endure all this patiently?
A: It is obligatory upon a Muslim to maintain the ties of kinship. Accordingly, you have to keep good relations with your relatives, enjoin them to do good, forbid them from doing evil, and do your very best to encourage them to (Part No. 17; Page No. 81) observe Salah regularly. You should also clarify to them that intentionally abandoning Salah constitutes an act of Kufr (disbelief). You should also reprimand your brother for allowing his wife to reveal her face, which is part of her `Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in public). It is forbidden for her to uncover her face in the presence of male in-laws, like her husband's brother, and her paternal and maternal cousins who fall outside the category of being a Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative). It would be to their benefit if they accept your advice, otherwise you are allowed to avoid sharing in their Islamically disapproved practices. You may only cooperate with them in doing good acts. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.