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Is My Illegitimate Brother a Mahram to Me?

03 January, 2022
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I am a convert to Islam and the only Muslim in my family. I just found out from my father has another child, that was conceived before he met my mother, out of wedlock, with another woman. This child is now a grown man, 10 years older than men. I am American, and he is British. I hope to meet him soon, but I would like to know if this man would be considered my mahram. I have never met him or known him, but our blood ties mean he would be forbidden to me in marriage. Does that mean that I don't have to wear hijab in front of him and that I can give him a hug? It is awkward to meet someone who is my brother, whom I have never known, and would like to know the proper Islamic ruling in this case. Jazakum Allahu khayran


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- Islam gives due attention to the family ties, especially among brothers and sisters.

2- Therefore, you are highly encouraged to maintain good ties with your brother who is one of your maharem (unmarriageable relatives).

Answering your question,  Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:

As long as your father has acknowledged this man as his biological child, then he is your brother and is considered one of your mahrams. So, you should keep good ties with him.

As for how to deal with him, you need to deal with him normally as a sister and her brother. Do your best to be a good example for him and to show him Islamic values by means of your practice. Be kind and patient with him, and pray for his well-being.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

About Dr. Wael Shehab
Dr. Wael Shehab has a PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University. He is currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada.