Islamic marriage advice and family advice

How should I interact with my sister in law?


Assalam o alaikum dear brothers and sister,

I have a question regarding my sister in law which recently got married and we live in a joint family house meaning my mother, father, brother and his wife all live together. When she came, she used  wear dupatta to cover her head. I'm nearly as same age as her she is few months younger than me. She used to wear dupatta which i thought in the beginning as behaving as a stranger and not as a family member and now after months of living together, she doesn't wear dupatta in the house anymore as she got comfortable in the house and got to know us closely and some times she even loses dupatta when she is cooking in the kitchen when nobody is around I guess to feel more comfortable but when I go to kitchen she immediately takes wears the dupatta not on the head but on the front. It feels very strange to me and awkward. The only privacy is our room but in kitchen, dining, lounge and everywhere else there is no limitation. I know that she is supposed to be my sister but she doesn't feel like my sister and the since she is is same age as mine even we at some time studied at the same university (I didn't know her there) in the same batch just different discipline.

Is there any need for her further privacy from us, or is it just fine? I have never had any sister so I'm not familiar with brother sister environment so I can't treat her as my sister. I don't try to look up to her face and keep my eyes down but some times I have to look her when she is talking or we are discussing some thing. I have done my best to avoid her, not to get so free and behave just formally, but still I think I'm violating some religious boundaries and I feel a little uncomfortable.

So my question is what should be the boundaries between me and my sister in law, should islamically and morally I ask her to wear hijab and abaya outside her room (it's very difficult to ask brother's wife to do some extra covering for us she is also very sensitive?)? Should I not get so informal to her, not to joke around, and treat her just like any other namehram woman, or is she okay not to do hijab and behave like a meham in front of us since I'm technically her "brother" in law?



Tagged as: , , , , , ,

8 Responses »

  1. As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah my dear brother in Islam,

    There is a hadeeth of our Prophet (Peace be upon him) that states to the lines of "Al-Hammu Maut". "Brother in Law" is death. It basically points to the fitna of brother in law and sister in law relationships if proper limitations are not followed. To simply put things in perspective, you are her non-mahram, you have to follow your hijaab in front of her. Hijaab for men is to wear clothes below the knees and above the waist, it is preferred to cover the shoulders although not a requirement, it is obligatory to lower your gaze, it is also obligatory that you do not lower your guard, and become too friendly, and only speak as if you speak to any other non mahram woman but politely and considerately. Read surah an nisa tafseer, she is not your sister, read surah an noor tafseer to understand she is not your sister.

    I personally like the concept of joint families when they work well, what I mean by that is either a separate house or at least a complete separate area to avoid non mahram interactions, if these things work they are like noorun ala noor, light upon light. However, due to cultural norms among people, and other limitations its hard to implement them. That said, it is your duty to practice your hijaab. Of course, your sister in law also is supposed to follow her hijaab but you are no one to tell her to follow her hijaab. I make supplication that Allah makes it easy, and keeps you all steadfast.

    May Allah accept from you this Ramadan and beyond, if you find anything good in this advice supplicate for me, my family and shifaa for my mom. If there is any mistake I seek your forgiveness and forgiveness from Allah.

    Wa As Salaam Alaikum,

    • Great answer. Also im happy to see how concerned the brother is re: his interaction with his sis in law. I pray Allah swt keeps you guided and blesses your family with utmost imaan and happiness, ameen.

    • thank you, very comprehensive answer


  2. yes you are right she should cover herself in front of you, thats her responsibility. You are non mahram for her, i think you should discuss with someone in your family like mother.

  3. Salaam brother,

    Talk to your Mother or Father about this and ask them to advise her to cover herself better while in the home.

    Please be careful, because one day shaytaan will lead you to commit Zina with her. So it's best to stop it at the initial stage. Also, don't be too friendly with her, it's a path to Zina.

    May Allah give you the willpower to stay away from ZIna.

  4. You are just fine . you don't have a right according to me to tell her or educate her that would be more shameless .she also looks just fine , little inconsistency is fine may Allah grant your house more Imaan .and more consistency. If you involve anyone it will be making issue of nothing . but if you feel one side is going down , you decrease your interactions , and up yourself . but generally not obviously I.e she wears dupatta you talk , she doesn't you don't that will be very wrong and blunt . just generally , she will also get back in her own business , less distraction more time for self improvement

  5. Dear brother,
    Why do you have to go to kitchen when she is cooking? A kitchen is very hot and humid while cooking and wearing clothes all over is very inconvenient and sometimes risky as well. As AbdAllah brother already beautifully described, try to follow his advice. May Allah guide us all in the right direction.

Leave a Response