maternal and paternal uncles aren't mentioned in surah nur verse 31 where it allows a woman to reveal her adornments to certain people. Does she cover in front of her uncles?

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According to the majority ه a woman does not need to veil herself from her paternal or maternal uncles - as long as there is no risk of fitnah. Uncle here means the brother of the father or mother, and not a cousin or friend or any other distant relative.

عن عائشة، أنها أخبرته أن عمها من الرضاعة يسمى أفلح استأذن عليها فحجبته فأخبر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال ‏ لا تحتجبي منه فإنه يحرم من الرضاع ما يحرم من النسب ‏

It was narrated from 'Aishah that her paternal uncle through breast-feeding, whose name was Aflah, asked permission to meet her, and she observed Hijab before him.

The Messenger of Allah was told about that and he said: "Do not observe Hijab before him, for what becomes unlawful (for marriage) through breast-feeding is that which becomes unlawful through lineage."

Muslim and Nasai

The above hadith is about an uncle through Rada' so, a fortiori, it would also apply to an uncle through blood.

Uncles are not mentioned in verse 24:31, however that does not effect the ruling since:

  • The Sunnah can abrogate or make a specification in a verse. The ruling is derived by combining the texts, not by relying on verse 24:31 alone.

  • Uncles are included in آبائهن (their fathers) as in the verse:

    أم كنتم شهداء إذ حضر يعقوب الموت إذ قال لبنيه ما تعبدون من بعدي قالوا نعبد إلهك وإله آبائك إبراهيم وإسماعيل وإسحاق إلها واحدا ونحن له مسلمون

    Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, "What will you worship after me?" They said, "We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac - one God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."

    Quran 2:133

    Where Ishmael was Jacob's uncle and not father.

    And the hadith:

    أن عم الرجل صنو أبيه

    A man's paternal uncle is like his father

    Muslim 983

  • The verse 24:31 lists the nephews, and the uncles are analogous to them.

  • The verse 24:31 is not an exhaustive list, rather it gives examples and the rule established by the examples is that it waives hijab in front of anyone who can not have sexual desire for the woman and that includes anyone who is a permanent mahram to her. The uncles are mahrams:

    حرمت عليكم ... وبنات الأخ وبنات الأخت

    Prohibited to you are ... your brother's daughters, your sister's daughters

    Quran 4:23

    The verse 33:55 omits even more people, such as the husband and the step-sons.

ه The Tabieen Ash-Sha'bi and Ikrimah held that a woman should observe veil from her uncles. The reasoning is that they may describe the woman to their sons (the woman's cousins) who are not her mahrams.

  • Thanks. So she can unveil in front of uncles but conceal adornments according to surah nur? what then is the adornment? Commented Apr 14 at 8:01
  • She does not have to conceal adornments from her uncles.
    – UmH
    Commented Apr 14 at 8:05

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