Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My family is very close-knit, and my male first cousins are like my brothers. Coming from a European background, cousins do not marry cousins, and I struggle to wear the hijab in front of them.
Are there any exceptions to the ruling? Is it fine for me to not wear hijab in front of them?
I began wearing the hijab about four months ago and so am still getting used to it.
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
MashaAllah, congratulations on wearing hijab! Know that this pleases Allah Most High, and brings joy to the heart of the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). I pray that Allah increases your love for Him, through your obedience of His sacred law.
Your male cousins are not mahram to you, so you must wear hijab in front of them. There is no exception to this.
The only scenario in which cousins are permitted to not observe hijab is when they are milk siblings through nursing. Please read this for more information:Breastfeeding Leading to Mahram Relationship.
Practically speaking, this does not apply to you. However, this does offer you something to think about when you have children of your own some day, inshaAllah.
1) Let your cousins know that you are wearing hijab, how important it is to you, and how you would appreciate their support.
2) Start drawing firm boundaries – ask them to knock or ring the bell before they come into the house.
3) Keep a slip-on hijab close by so you can always wear it quickly when you hear the bell ring.
4) Perform the Prayer of Need daily and ask Allah to respond to this trial in the way that pleases Him.
5) Reflect on your outward hijab and your inward hijab with your male cousins. Ultimately, even though you were raised to be close to them, they are not mahram to you. It would be wiser for you to slowly distance yourself from them, with the intention of pleasing Allah.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.