I have been brought up in a family where we do not celebrate birthdays nor do we have mixed gatherings and shake hands with any ghair mahrams.

Unfortunately, in my husband’s family it is completely different. They celebrate birthdays, the gatherings are mixed affairs and the women even hug and even kiss some of their male relatives who are ghair mahrams. I was also once put in a situation where a male came and hugged me against my wishes.

I am recently getting worried that how do we bring our children up according to shariah whilst still respecting the family. This is mainly with regards to the issue of photographs.


Bismihi Ta‘ala

Respected Sister

Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

We commend you on your spirit to adhere to the teachings of deen despite the odds being against you. Hereunder are some points which would insha-Allah be of assistance to you.

1. Circulate some articles among the family on the subject of celebrating birthdays. Do this via your husband or some other family person. One of the aspects to highlight is that a Muslim’s date for everything is the Islamic date. The Gregorian date is merely out of necessity due to living in a society where the latter date is used for all official affairs. Hence IF there was any basis for celebrating birthdays, it would have been celebrated on the Islamic birthday.

2. Firstly, tell your husband to very respectfully and politely, but very clearly, make it known that no non-mahram is to even shake hands with you. He should clearly state that this is haraam. If you are ever caught in a situation where someone suddenly approaches, without saying a word, walk away before he comes close. Do not get into any confrontational argument, but do not compromise in this issue.

3. Do not be part of a mixed gathering. If somebody thinks negatively of you, it is their warped thinking. Remain steadfast and insha-Allah you will become the means of others also doing what is correct. However, do not get into any arguments. Just quietly do what is correct and politely refuse to be part of any haraam activity.

4. With regards to the children, this is unfortunately a complicated situation and a challenge. However, the only way is to keep educating one’s own children through ta’leem and tarbiyah as to what is correct and what is impermissible. Together with teaching them the above, also constantly teach them to always be respectful and polite.

May Allah Ta‘ala keep you steadfast and make the conditions conducive for you to practise on deen with ease.

And Allah Ta‘ala knows best

Uswatul Muslimah Panel of ‘Ulama