Assalamualaikum ustaz. I have a daughter who is already married and she is 34 years old. Recently, during Eid I introduced my new husband (her stepfather) to her because they have never met each other since she lives far away from me. She refuses to shake hands with her stepfather claiming that they are not mahram. Is this true? Hope for an explanation from ustaz regarding my situation. Thank you.
Waalaikumussalam. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Mahram literally means prohibition. It is an Arabic word originating from the word حرم .
The scholars define the term as the individuals who are prohibited to be married through ta’bid which means that the person is prohibited to be married forever. The forever mahram may be due to lineage, marriage or milk kinship. Another type of mahram is temporary mahram, due to certain reasons (muaqqat).
The explanation regarding mahram is stated in the Quran, where Allah SWT states:
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَـٰتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُمْ وَعَمَّـٰتُكُمْ وَخَـٰلَـٰتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِىٓ أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُم مِّنَ ٱلرَّضَـٰعَةِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُ نِسَآئِكُمْ وَرَبَـٰٓئِبُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى فِى حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُوا۟ دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَـٰٓئِلُ أَبْنَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَـٰبِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُوا۟ بَيْنَ ٱلْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا ﴿٢٣﴾وَٱلْمُحْصَنَـٰتُ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُكُمْ ۖ كِتَـٰبَ ٱللَّـهِ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَآءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَن تَبْتَغُوا۟ بِأَمْوَٰلِكُم مُّحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَـٰفِحِينَ ۚ فَمَا ٱسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهِۦ مِنْهُنَّ فَـَٔاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَٰضَيْتُم بِهِۦ مِنۢ بَعْدِ ٱلْفَرِيضَةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
“And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So, for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
Surah al-Nisa’ (24-25)
Al-Baidhawi in his commentary explains the prohibition on women in the above verse is not the same as the prohibition of eating carcass and swine. However, the prohibition meant is the prohibition for them from being married to. (Refer Tafsir Al-Baidhawi, 2/165)
The implications when there is the presence of mahram lead to the following rulings:
- It is permissible to shake hands with the mahram
- It is prohibited to marry the mahram
- It is permissible to be in close proximity with the mahram
Coming back to the question asked, stepdaughter, will be mahram to her stepfather on the condition that the mother has been intimate with the step-father. In other words, there has been intercourse between the mother of the child and the step-father. This is in accordance with verse 23 surah al-Nisa’ where Allah SWT states:
وَرَبَـٰٓئِبُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى فِى حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ
“And your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in.”
Syeikh Tohir Ibnu ‘Asyur states that there is a binding (qayd) condition for the prohibition of marrying a stepchild. The stepchild will only be a mahram if the mother of the child has had intercourse with the step-father. The marriage alone (between the mother and step-father) does not make the stepchild as mahram with the step-father. (Refer Al-Tahrir Wa Al-Tanwir, 1/921)
This is in accordance with:
العَقْدُ عَلَى البَنَاتِ يُحَرّمُ الأُمَّهَاتِ وَالدُّخُولُ بِالأُمَّهَاتِ يُحَرِّمُ البَنَات
“Marriage with a daughter makes the mother mahram. And intercourse with the mother makes the daughter mahram.”
Imam al-Nawawi said:
“If a man has intercourse with his new wife, then the daughter of his wife becomes his mahram forever. (ta’bid).” (Refer Al-Majmu’ Syarh Al-Muhazzab, 16/218)
This means that a step-father becomes mahram with his stepdaughter only if he has had intercourse with the mother of the daughter.
As a conclusion, a stepchild will not be mahram with her stepfather unless if her stepfather has had intercourse with her mother. There is a possibility that there is a misunderstanding on your daughter’s part, that she refuses to shake hands with her step-father. Try to explain to her carefully. Hopefully, this answer will help answer and explain the situation.
For your information, we have also explained the issue regarding shaking hands with family members in Irsyad al-Fatwa Series 305.  You can refer to that article to learn about who is your mahram or non-mahram.
May Allah SWT give us understanding regarding the rulings in our religion. Wallahua’lam.
 Refer http://muftiwp.gov.my/ms/artikel/irsyad-fatwa/irsyad-fatwa-umum/3459-irsyad-al-fatwa-siri-ke-305-hukum-hakam-bersalaman-dengan-sanak-saudara-di-hari-raya