Women covering their faces, staying in Khulwah with non-Mahrams, and shaking hands with them

Q 1: Please be advised that I have seven brothers, and all of them are married. We live together, and the problem is that women freely intermix with men without wearing Hijab (veil). I asked them not to let men and women mix together, and I brought them evidence from the Qur'an and the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet), but they insist on following the traditions. They justify this by claiming that they are farmers and employees who live together, and it is not practical for women to eat and sit separately. Thus, I asked my wife and daughters to wear Hijab, and I stopped shaking hands with my sisters-in-law and seeing them without Hijab. However, some annoying incidents took place. (Part No. 17; Page No. 412) Please advise concerning what I should do with this family problem. What if men and women continue mixing together? What should I do if I ask my wife to wear Hijab but she refuses? We live according to old, ignorant traditions. May Allah grant us well-being and safety.

A: It is Wajib (obligatory) for a woman to cover her face in front of non-Mahrams (not a spouse or unmarriageable relatives). It is Haram (prohibited) for her to stay in Khulwah (being alone with a member of the opposite sex) with non-Mahrams. It is also impermissible for her to shake hands with non-Mahrams, or insist on doing so even after knowing the Shar`y (Islamically lawful) ruling on this, under the pretext of customs and traditions. A Muslim should follow Allah's Shar` (Law) willingly, seeking Allah's reward and fearing His punishment, even if they have to oppose the dearest people to them, not to mention following whims and traditions that were not ordained by Allah (Glorified be He). Islam eradicated the bad habits of the Arabs; some were eradicated instantly and others gradually. It was all for their good. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.