Intermingling between non-Mahram relatives

Q: My father married a woman who bore four daughters. One of them is married and the others are all grown. He also had four sons by this women, the eldest of whom is a foster brother to my cousin. Thus, the four girls are foster sisters to my cousin, or so they believe. My father then married my mother who gave birth to me and my sister and later died (may Allah have mercy on her). Afterwards, my father married a third woman who bore him a daughter who got married to my cousin. My cousin lives in Abha, whereas my father and my sisters live in Jizan. After my cousin's marriage to my sister, (Part No. 17; Page No. 77) my other sister went to live with them from the age of seven until she became thirteen when she returned to her father's house. Now she deals with my cousin as if he were her father. She travels with him at night from Jizan to Abha without a Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative), she exposes her legs in front of him if she has a rash, and kisses him in front of us as a daughter does her father. This girl is now seventeen years old, and my cousin is thirty six years old. The problem is that my cousin lives with us in the same house in Jizan. He jokes with my sisters in front of us and our father, he might sit in Khulwah (unchaparoned) with them, and travel with them without a Mahram to Jeddah or Abha. If anyone of them becomes ill, he takes her in his arms to the car and takes her to the hospital.I do not believe that he is a Mahram for all my sisters. I told my father that this is wrong, and he admitted it was, but claims these are the customs just as neighbors kiss each other and a cousin is considered a Mahram. In addition to my cousin, most of our adult neighbors enter our house without taking permission and meet my sisters without my father's objection. My father does not accept any discussion on this issue. He tells us that they are his daughters, and none of us has authority over them (Part No. 17; Page No. 78) as long as he lives. My father, may Allah reward him and forgive him, also does not agree with me on this jealousy. If he finds me with one of my sisters in her room discussing a private matter, he gets angry and says, It is impermissible for a man to sit in Khulwah with a woman, even if she is a Mahram for him. Please advise concerning the following situation: is it permissible for my cousin to joke with my sisters verbally and physically and sit in Khulwah with them as long as my father does not mind? Is it permissible for neighbors and non-Mahram relatives to enter the house without taking permission and meet my sisters? Is it permissible for me and my brothers to sit in Khulwah with our sisters or travel with them without another Mahram? Are my objections to the situation at home valid or not? What should I do so as not to be blameworthy for witnessing these situations I have described? What is the solution? May Allah guide you to what He loves and is pleasing to Him.

A: First, if the elder son was suckled by your aunt five times or more in the first two years of his life, he is considered her son and her children's brother. However, his sisters have nothing to do with this; they are not considered Mahrams for their cousin. Second, it is Haram (prohibited) to touch an Ajnabiyyah (a woman other than a wife or unmarriageable female relatives) or shake hands with her. This cousin is considered an Ajnabi (man lawful for the woman to marry) for your sisters. (Part No. 17; Page No. 79)  Third, it is Haram to allow an ajnabi to enter upon women, such as a husband's paternal uncle, maternal uncle, brother, paternal cousin, maternal cousin or neighbor. It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, Beware of entering into houses and meeting women in seclusion. A person asked, "What about a brother-in-law?" Whereupon he said, "A brother-in-law is like death." Fourth, it is Haram for a woman to travel without a Mahram or with a non-Mahram, such as her paternal or maternal cousin. Fifth, you should argue with your father in a respectable way and explain the ruling to him gently, may Allah guide him. You can also show this Fatwa to him, and he will not oppose it, in sha'a-Allah (if Allah wills). May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.