Wearing Hijab in front of my Cousin

>> Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dear Little Auntys,I started wearing hijab a few weeks ago and alhamdullilah it has been great! I've been feeling like my imaan has really lifted and very proud of myself for finally taking this step. There were a few comments I got from some people that were not that best kind, but in general, most people have been supportive and I'm really happy with myself. The only problem though is that I still can't get myself to wear it in front of my cousin. He's almost the same age as me, but about a year older, but we grew up together. All our lives we've been so close. I don't have any real brothers but I consider him to be my brother. I feel like wearing it would make things very awkward between us and am not sure what his reaction will be or my aunt's and uncles.

Dear New Hijabji!
First of all, let me say, Ma'shaallaaaaaaaaaaaaaah for putting on the hijab and taking up this step. That's fantastic. I'm happy to hear that your imaan is also soaring...do continue to water it, though, because sometimes you have "an imaan high" when you start doing a new ibadah and then suddenly find it plummeting. It's really natural, but I don't want you to go through all that.

Anyyyyyways, let's take a look at your question.

You have a nice cousin who you obviously 'love as a brother' ...

Well, sister, unfortunately, the way you feel doesn't make him your brother. He is still your cousin. And Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala told us who we didn't have to wear hijab in front of, and the ayah does not mean people who we feel are like brothers....Let's take a look:
And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. (31) (Surah 24, 31)

The thing is, there is a reason why Allah does not mention cousins in that verse. Despite the fact that in the West there is a sort of rule about not marrying your cousin, the reality is that we can feel attracted to our cousins. In fact, just recently, I read an article that listed a bunch of tweets where people confessed that they found their cousins attractive/ hot/ wanted to be friends/ were surprised at their feelings but were definitely into their cousins.


There was even a famous actress who ended up marrying her cousin. Greta Scacchi. Interestingly enough she says, She says: ‘It happened one night when he was visiting and it came as a complete shock. 
We were friends for a long time before we got together in 1997 and I had never seen him in that way before. I was definitely scandalised by it and worried about how to tell people – especially my family.Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2012948/Greta-Scacchi-Why-I-child-cousin.html#ixzz2qT48hKb9 

Years ago, it was actually quite common for people, no matter what country they were from, to marry their cousins..

Why am I telling you that?  When we look at Greta, we realize something. She never thought she would end up falling in love with him. She was friends for a very long time before that. She didn't think anything of their relationship. But it, unexpectedly turned out to be more.

Sis, putting the hijab on in front of your cousin may make things awkward, but the reality is  that now that you have grown up...the situation is awkward. He actually isn't your brother. As any member of the opposite gender, you have a magnetic pull towards each other. There is or could be "an attraction" between the two of you....

Remember, it's not just you guys when you are together. It's you guys and Shaitan. And he wants you to fall into sin. The easiest way for him to do that is to work on our already existing attractions. Sooner or later, he's going to start whispering to you or to HIM, to smile more, flirt more, talk to each other in the middle of the night more, etc.  

The hijab will help you and him keep that 'distance that you need. Once he sees you wearing it, it will help you both stick to the boundaries that need to be kept. 

I know that you may feel scared about losing his friendship...but you will always have the memories that you had together. You also need to consider the fact that even if you didn't think of him as anything else than as a brother, perhaps he did have to struggle sometimes with thoughts  of you as something else. It wouldn't be fair to keep making him struggle or resist temptation, would it?

If he asks you about it, make sure though that you show that it isn't any personal, but that you are trying your best to fulfill an obligation.

As for your aunt and uncle, give them a little warning. Call up your aunt and tell her! Share the good news :) Or have your mom tell her. And also, that's not a bad idea to warn your cousin, as well.

May Allah make things easier for you and accept your worship, sis!

Sisters..if any of you were in this situation, please share some advice :)
With love,

7 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Anonymous,  January 15, 2014 at 10:25 PM  

assalamou alaikum, I was in a very similar situation. When I converted to Islam and started wearing hijab, at first I wasn't too clear on the situation with my cousin. We grew up together all the time, were the same age, lived next door, and had done so many things together, and needless to say no attraction of any kind, he was like my brother. I wasn't sure, some muslims I asked gave me mixed messages, and it felt awkward, because when I would go to visit my relatives, he was the only one I had to cover in front of. At first I didn't do so, I asked a friend and was given the advice of:maybe you don't have to, just do what is easy at first, he could be a nursing relation if your aunt or your mother nursed the other one of you (we were babies at the same time and were often or looked after by the other one). But the truth is I have no evidence of this and I was too embarrassed to ask about this in light of my just having converted anyway, which was already proving difficult for people to get used to. At first I didn't cover in front of him a few times, and then it became awkward when I did have to cover in front of him after I decided that was the correct course of action. We often all visited together if I went to see my family, so if, say I was at my grandma's house and my uncle, mother, sister, "real" brother, other cousin, aunt, etc were all there but then my cousin came, I would have to rush to go cover, and he was the deciding factor. He was probably embarassed as well. Anyway, what I ended up doing is if I was in a situation where my cousin MIGHT show up, that is if I left my parents' house to go visit my grandma or uncle or whatever I would just stay covered there instead of uncovering when I got there, then everyone got used to seeing me with hijab and there was no awkwardness if he showed up. This also was useful because down the road occasionally I had other people show up unexpectedly while visiting at another house, like someone's boyfriend, and nobody would tell me they were coming! So I learned if you are with people who don't understand the hijab or wouldn't be sure to tell you and give you time to cover, it's better to just leave it on anyway. I did give my cousin an explanation when he asked after I started covering in front of him, but once everyone got more used to my hijab and wearing it most of the time, the awkwardness went away.

Little Auntie January 16, 2014 at 12:13 AM  

OH, QA, you reminded me of an incident I had long forgotten! I remember one day I had gotten my hair done at the salon. I was visiting my aunt, and then, to my surprise, my uncle expectedly showed up. That wasn't a problem because he is a mahram. The problem was when a few minutes later, his son showed up, and I ran to get my hijab. His mom was surprised and kept saying "But you looked so beautiful. You just got your hair done">....Needless to say, it was Awkward. So definitely what you're saying about having it on, just in case, he might end up being there really does help =)

Anonymous,  January 16, 2014 at 7:33 PM  

I really like your idea of keeping the hijab on when you are in someone's house. it reduces being shocked when expected non male mahram shows up and also reduces the awkwardness between one and their cousin. So tot he sister that asked the question, I would say trying keeping your hijab on when you are outside of your home or if people come over that way people will get used to you wearing Hijab. It will also reduce awkwardness between you and your cousin.

Anonymous,  January 23, 2014 at 2:11 PM  

Thanks for asking this question and thanks for the great response! I was wondering the same thing, because my cousins don't seem to realize that I have to wear hijab in front of them, but think that I have to wear it in front of my uncles. This article really cleared things up! Thanks! I'll show this to them next time they ask. It's also really admirable that you wear the hijab, Mashallah, I really admire your courage for standing up for the right thing.

eman February 9, 2014 at 6:39 AM  

Alhamdulillah! this post has really cleared things up for me. I have been wanting to wear hijab in front of my male cousins when I go back to pakistan for quite a while ( I live in ksa with my family) but i know that everyone will go nuts!! I wear hijab ( oversized abaya with headscarf) everywhere i go and in front of any non mahrams EXCEPT my male cousins! all my other fellow female cousins do not wear hijab in front of the male cousins either because they are too young or they do not consider it necessary. I would like some advice on this issue because me and my sister are the eldest girls in our maternal household and i think that taking this step would encourage our other cousins to wear hijab as well. JazakAllah :)

Anonymous,  April 22, 2014 at 9:30 PM  

Assalamu alaikum Sisters,

I can tell you from experience (which has left me with great regret and remorse): wear hijab in front of your cousin. I actually did wear the physical hijab in front of my 14 year old cousin, but I failed to wear the inside hijab. I went to go and spend time with his family and I knew he was getting close to puberty, but I didn't realize how close. We were good friends; we would joke, hang out, and what not.
But then I noticed, when it was too late, that he had more feelings for me than what I thought. Long story short, I have so much regret for what happened and I don't want any one else to have to experience that pain. For your cousin's sake, for your sake, and most of all, for Allah's sake, wear the correct hijab. I don't mean just the clothing. Lower your gaze, don't joke around or have a cute voice. Talk when everyone is there, in a respectable tone, and only say what is necessary. Trust me, Allah has set these rules for a reason, and the reason is not to make things hard for you. It is to protect the family...yours and his. You are one big family and you don't want to have even a small crack in that structure. If anything more than "just friendship and cousins" happens, it's not likely that either of you will mention it to the other. But the waswas will still be there and will only get stronger. Either it stays as waswas, which hurts both of you, or something else happens, which hurts everyone (including you). And when I say hurt, I mean in a lot of different ways.
Plus, I realized that teenage boys really cannot always control the sexual thoughts they have. Yes, we girls have them too, but they have much stronger thoughts and so it would really help your male cousin out if you wore it in front of him.
Yes, he is responsible for his own actions, but this is what Allah tells YOU to do. Only He knows the real reasons for His Judgements. Don't worry about what anyone else says or does. Obey Allah, and trust me, you will be happy.

I am trying to make amends with my family and trying to better myself, so please make du'a for me. I love you for the sake of Allah <3

Anonymous,  June 18, 2014 at 9:33 AM  

Salam from Indonesia
This story give muslimah Indonesia many inspiration
Need some hijab
visit our store http://fionahijab.com

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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