Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Question: Asslamu Alaykum,
Can a non-Muslim uncle be my mahram?
Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakaruh
Thank you for your question.
Who is a Maḥram?
A maḥram is anyone who a Muslim lady cannot marry. This includes her father, son, grandson, brother (biological or through one of them being breastfed the other’s mother), paternal and maternal uncles, nephews, etc. Therefore, your non-Muslim uncle is your maḥram.
There are various rulings of the Shari’a which pertain to maḥram, such as travelling to perform the Ḥajj,and being alone with a maḥram, amongst other things. What the ulema have said is that a Muslim lady may travel with a non-Muslim maḥram, and be alone with him as long as he is not considered morally corrupt according to Islamic standards (Tabyīn al-Ḥaqāʾiq). This is to ensure the safety of the Muslim lady, amongst other things.
You may dress in the presence of your uncle as you would dress in the presence of a Muslim uncle or father unless there is fear of any impropriety. In such a case you would have to cover as you would in front of any other males, showing only your hands and face.
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.
Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.
His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.
When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.