Rights of adult Muslim over fellow Muslims
Fatwa No: 365803

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
  • Rating:

Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. In Islam, what are the rights that an adult has over a non-Mahram (permanently unmarriageable) or a Mahram young individual? I know that young people need to respect their elders and speak to them in a polite manner, but what about adults?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, it should be noted that there are general rights for a Muslim over his fellow Muslim, whether they are related or not, Mahram or non-Mahram, and older or younger. Part of those rights were reported in the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, in which the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “The Muslim has five rights over his fellow Muslim: to return the greetings of Salaam, to visit the sick, to follow the funeral procession, to accept the invitation, and to respond to the one sneezing (i.e. to say to him: Yarhamuk-Allah [may Allah have Mercy on you] when he  praises Allah).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Two of these rights are communal obligations (required of the Muslims collectively; if some Muslims fulfil them, the obligation is waived for the rest), namely, responding to the one sneezing and returning the greetings of Salaam, and the remaining three rights are recommended.

Secondly, a blood relative has the right of maintaining the ties of kinship with him. Upholding the ties of kinship is an obligation, and severing them is prohibited. Scholars held different opinions as to whether a Muslim is obliged to uphold the ties of kinship with his Mahram relatives only or with the non-Mahram relatives as well.

Thirdly, the maternal aunt and uncle and paternal aunt and uncle are entitled to extra respect and reverence; a paternal uncle is held in the same status as that of a father, and a maternal aunt is held in the same status as that of a mother. Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “Did you not know, O ʻUmar, that a man's paternal uncle is of the same stock as his father.” [Muslim] Al-Munaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “It means that a paternal uncle is like a father, as they both descend from the same origin; accordingly, the paternal uncle should be respected just like the father, and harming him is like harming the father (in terms of gravity). The hadith urges the Muslims to respect the paternal uncle and hold him in the same status as the father in terms of the enjoined obedience and dutifulness.” [Faydh Al-Qadeer]

Al-Baraa', may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “The maternal aunt is held in the same status as the mother.” [Al-Bukhaari] Al-Kaasaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “If the maternal aunt is held in the same status as the mother, then the maternal uncle is held in the same status as the father.” [Badaa’i’ As-Sanaa'i’]

Fourthly, there are other rights required of a Muslim towards others, such as towards his neighbor. If the neighbor is a non-Muslim, he is entitled to the rights of the neighbor in Islam. If the neighbor is a Muslim but not a relative, he is entitled to his rights as a neighbor and as a fellow Muslim. If the neighbor is a Muslim relative, he is entitled to the rights of the neighbor, the fellow Muslim, and the relative... etc.

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa