I am teaching in a circle (for memorising Quran). I have a student who is 20 years old. She has a relationship with a non-mahram relative (who was described as religious). When the two families meet she uncovers her face in front of him without khilwa (private meeting), as there are children present. When she was advised to stop doing this she said he is a relative and it is permissible. She also talks to him on the telephone. She does not know that I know about this matter, what shall I do? How shall I face her? I fear her stubbornness and I fear she leaves the circle that she badly needs.
Undoubtedly this sister is in need of advice and guidance, and the one who is said to be a righteous man who is one of her relatives needs the same. There is no doubt that by means of this relationship they are opening a door to fitnah and a path to sin and transgression, and no one can be certain of what the consequences of that will be, and no one knows where it will end up.
It was narrated from al-Nawwaas ibn Sam’aan al-Ansaari (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has told the parable of a straight path, on both sides of which are two walls, in which there are open doors, and over the doors are curtains, and at the gate of the path there is a caller who says: ‘O people, enter the path all together and do not go depart from it. And there is a caller who calls from further in; when a person wants to open any of those doors, he says: Woe to you, do not open it! for if you open it you will enter it.
The path is Islam and the walls are the sacred limits of Allaah, and the open doors are the things forbidden by Allaah. The caller at the beginning of the path is the Book of Allaah and the caller at the top of the path is the conscience in the heart of every Muslim.”
Narrated by Imam Ahmad (17182) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Zilaal al-Jannah (19).
The word “woe to you” is a warning against doing that; it is a word that expresses mercy and concern and it is said to anyone who falls into a bad situation that he does not deserve.
“Do not open it, for if you open it you will enter it” means you will enter the door and fall into that which Allaah has forbidden.
Fayd al-Qadeer (4/334).
Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The one who in this world departs from the straight path and opens the doors to haraam things that are in the walls of the path, right and left, and enters them, whether he entered the haraam things because of whims and desires or confusion, will be seized by the hooks that are on that path, right and left, according to whatever doors to haraam things he opened in this world, and some of them will fall into the Fire, and some will be torn by the hooks then saved.
Sharh Hadeeth Mathal al-Islam, p. 44.
The relationship mentioned in the question dictates two things:
1 – That the relative should be concerned about his relatives’ well being and be more concerned about protecting them than anyone else. So he should not help his relative to open doors to haraam or enter them, whether that is motivated by whims and desires or confusion, rather his concern for his relative should be firstly because he is a Muslim and then because he is a relative.
2 – Many people are careless about mixing between relatives, and there are not many who do not overstep the limit and refrain from slipping into areas of fitnah. Therefore Islam is strict in closing the door to fitnah caused by relatives with whom people tend to feel too relaxed more than others, to such a point that the relative is likened to death!
It was narrated from ‘Utbah ibn ‘Aamir that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Beware of entering upon women.” An Ansaari man said: O Messenger of Allaah, what about the in-law? He said: “The in-law is death.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (4934) and Muslim (2172).
For the commentary of Imam al-Nawawi on this hadeeth, please see the answer to question no. 12837.
In the answer referred to there is also a fatwa from Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) about the permissibility of a woman sitting with her relatives, subject to two conditions:
1 – That her hijab should be complete, including the face and hands.
2 – That there should be nothing dubious.
Both conditions are lacking in this case. She sits with her relatives with her face uncovered, and undoubtedly her sitting with him is dubious. Among the effects of that sitting together are the conversations that have taken place between them, which are also haraam. We have quoted the fatwas of the scholars about this issue in the answers to questions no. 26890 and 10221.
You have to be subtle in calling her, advising her and reminding her, and you must use wisdom and beautiful exhortation. Kindness in offering advice is more likely to bring a response and moving exhortation is more likely to affect the heart.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad صلىالله عليه وسلم) to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided”
“Go, both of you, to Fir‘awn (Pharaoh), verily, he has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience and behaved as an arrogant and as a tyrant).
44. “And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allaah)”
If you are afraid that she will be put her off if you are blunt with her, or you think that she will be stubborn, then you can give her hints concerning what you want to tell her, and talk to her indirectly, such as quoting some ahaadeeth in front of her that warn against the fitnah of non-mahram men, especially relatives, or giving her some tapes and essays and pamphlets that speak about that, and about the danger that taking such matters lightly poses to the religious commitment and chastity of a woman, and speak to her in general terms, as if you do not know anything about her situation.
Then urge her to convey this message to other Muslim women, when she is calling them to Allaah, and spreading that etiquette among Muslim women, and that it is not sufficient for a girl to protect herself against immorality or the things that lead to it such as haraam mixing and relationships that are Islamically unacceptable, rather she must also call others to Allaah and enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, as much as she is able to.
If this indirect approach does not succeed, then you can gently confront her with what she is doing, as she is a grown up and will understand what you say. She is also a student in a Qur'aan circle and her actions do not reflect on her only but also on the place where she is learning. Tell her that you are telling her this because you love her and you wish her well, and you are concerned about her, and it is not the matter of trying to control another person’s actions, for many people are put off from the truth for no other reason than that they think the person who is advising them is trying to set himself up as his keeper.
You can focus on a number of things when you advise her:
1. Explain to her the status of modesty in Islam, and how the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the womenfolk of the Sahaabah attained a high degree with regard to this virtue.
2. Point out to her that she is falling into something that is forbidden in sharee’ah, such as uncovering the face in front of a non-mahram man, sitting in a mixed gathering and talking to him on the pone. We have referred above to numerous fatwas from the scholars on these matters.
3. Remind her of the true stories of those who fell victim to mixing and talking and corresponding with non-mahrams, as such stories are innumerable.
See also the answer to question no. 20784.
In the answer to question no. 1200 we have explained the ruling on mixing in detail, and its bad effects.
4. Get in touch with her mother or visit her to advise her and remind her of the wrong things that are being done in their house, and the effect that this will have on them, and on their daughter in particular.
And Allaah knows best.