What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Which relations are Mahram[1] and which are non-Mahram[2] for males and females?

[1] Someone whom it is unlawful to marry.

[2] Someone whom it is lawful to marry.

Questioner: Sister from UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

Those relatives whom a male cannot marry are the Mahrams of a male. In other words:

1 – Mother

2 – Daughter

3 – Sister

4 – Maternal auntie

5 – Paternal auntie

6 – Fraternal niece[1]

7 – Sororal niece[2]

The meaning of ‘mother’: paternal grandmother, maternal grandmother, paternal great grandmother, maternal great grandmother etc regardless of the amount of those who are present further on – they are all Mahrams, and they are all included in ‘mother’ in the sense that they are the mother of one’s father, mother, paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, paternal grandfather, maternal grandfather or maternal grandmother. So, ‘mother’ refers to a woman whose offspring a person comes under, be it directly[3] or indirectly[4].

The meaning of ‘daughter’: ‘Daughter’ refers to a female who is amongst a person’s offspring. Therefore, paternal granddaughter, paternal great granddaughter [i.e. the daughter of one’s paternal granddaughter], maternal granddaughter, maternal great granddaughter [i.e. the daughter of one’s maternal granddaughter] etc regardless of however many generations are in between are all Mahram.

The meaning of ‘sister’: A sister, regardless of whether she is a full sister i.e. from the same mother as well as the same father; or half sister i.e. they have the same father but different mothers, or the same mother but different fathers – they are all Mahram.

The meaning of ‘maternal auntie’ and ‘paternal auntie’: The maternal aunties and paternal aunties of one’s own father, mother, paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, maternal grandmother and so on are all in the ruling of one’s own maternal aunties and paternal aunties. Regardless of whether they are full or half; likewise, be they the paternal auntie of one’s maternal half auntie or the maternal auntie of one’s paternal half auntie.

The meaning of ‘fraternal niece’ and ‘sororal niece’: Fraternal niece is the offspring of one’s brother and sororal niece of one’s sister; their paternal granddaughters and maternal granddaughters are also included in this as well.

Also included in this are the foster relations (due to suckling – breastfeeding), just as it is stated in Bahār-e-Sharī’at and general books.

Just as it is stated in the Holy Qur’ān,

}حُرِّمَتْ عَلَیۡکُمْ اُمَّہٰتُکُمْ وَبَنَاتُکُمْ وَاَخَوٰتُکُمْ وَعَمّٰتُکُمْ وَخٰلٰتُکُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الۡاَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الۡاُخْتِ وَاُمَّہٰتُکُمُ الّٰتِیۡۤ اَرْضَعْنَکُمْ وَاَخَوٰتُکُمۡ مِّنَ الرَّضٰعَۃِ وَاُمَّہٰتُ نِسَآئِکُمْ وَرَبٰٓئِبُکُمُ الّٰتِیۡ فِیۡ حُجُوۡرِکُمۡ مِّنۡ نِّسَآئِکُمُ الّٰتِیۡ دَخَلْتُمۡ بِہِنَّ ۫ فَاِنۡ لَّمْ تَکُوۡنُوۡا دَخَلْتُمۡ بِہِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَیۡکُمْ ۫ وَحَلٰٓئِلُ اَبْنَآئِکُمُ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنْ اَصْلَابِکُمْ}

{Unlawful for you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your father’s sisters, and your mother’s sisters, and your brother’s daughters and your sister’s daughters, and your foster-mothers (who suckled you), and their daughters (your foster-sisters), and your wife’s mothers, and your wife’s daughters (your stepdaughters) who are under your care, (and the girls who are) born of the women with whom you had intercourse. So then if you had no intercourse with them, it is therefore no sin for you to marry their daughters, and (forbidden are) the wives of your own sons, and to have two sisters together (in marriage), except what has already occurred. Indeed, Allāh is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

[Sūrah al-Nisā’, 23]

[1] i.e. the daughter of one’s brother.

[2] i.e. the daughter of one’s sister.

[3] i.e. one’s own mother.

[4] i.e. a ‘mother’ which involves someone in between. For example, a maternal grandmother (mother’s mother), etc.

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Haider Ali Madani

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0815] Who is regarded as a Mahram and non-Mahram for both males and females?

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