Question posed to Shaykh ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy upon him):
We know that the paternal uncle of the woman is from the Mahaarim (non-marriageable male relatives), those whom it’s permissible for her to uncover in front of. However what is the case when the paternal uncle of the woman jokes with her with indecent jokes, is it permissible for her not to kiss him due to his indecent joking (with her)?
If the paternal uncle jokes around with his nieces in a manner that’s doubtful, it is not permissible for them to go to him nor uncover their faces in front of him. That’s due to the fact that the scholars who allow that the woman can uncover her face in front of the Mahram make it a condition that there’s no Fitnah. And this man that jokes around with his nieces in a manner that’s evil, this means it’s feared that some fitnah will come upon them from him. And that which is obligatory is that one keeps far away from the causes of Fitnah.
Do not be amazed that it is possible that a person from amongst the people has desires connected to his non-marriageable female relatives. And the refuge is sought with Allah from that. Look at the words of the Qur’aan. Allah stated:
And do not marry women whom your father has married, except that which has already passed (i.e. prior to the ruling coming down). Indeed it was shameful and most hateful and an evil way. (An-Nisaa: 22)
Allah said concerning Zinaa (fornication and adultery):
And do not go near to illegal sexual intercourse. Verily it is an indecency and an evil way.(Al-Israa: 32)
This is an indication that marrying ones non-marriageable relatives is a greater evil than illegal sexual intercourse (because Allah added in the verse of soorah an-Nisaa that it is hated and this was not mentioned in the verse regarding az-Zinaa).
So in ending with the answer: It is obligatory upon them to keep away from their paternal uncle and not uncover their faces in front of him as long as they see from him this indecent joking around which causes doubts (in him being upright).
Source: Majmoo’ Asilah Tuhim al-Usrah al-Muslimah pg. 16-18
Translated by Abu Yusuf Khaleefah
12th of Rabee’ ath-Thaani, 1436 H (02-01-2015)
Masjid Nur Allah, Queens, NYC