Moslimdaily | Islam prohibits khalwah (mean; mixing) between a man and a woman who are outside the degree of a mahrum relationship. The reason for this is not a lack of trust in one or both of them; it is rather to protect them from wrong thoughts and sexual feelings which naturally arise within a man and a woman when they are alone together without the fear of intrusion by a third person.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must never be in privacy with woman without there being a mahram (of hers) with her, for otherwise Satan will be the third person (with them). ”
Allah (Glorified be He) tells the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). … And when you ask them (the Prophet’s wives) for anything, ask them from behind a curtain; that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts… (Al-Ahzab: 53)
Explaining this verse, Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “This means such thoughts as occur to men regarding women and to women regarding men. This will remove any possibility of suspicion and accusation, and will protect (their) honor.
This command implies that no one should trust himself to be in privacy with a non-mahram woman; the avoidance of such situations is better for one’s purity of heart, strength of soul, and perfection of chastity.”
The Prophet (pbuh) particularly warned women concerning khalwah with male-in-laws such as the husband’s brother or cousin, since people are quite negligent in this regard, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
It is obvious that a relative of a woman has easier access than a stranger to her quarters, something concerning which no one would question him. The same is true of the wife’s non-mahram relatives, and it is prohibited for any of them to be in khalwah with her.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Beware of entering where women are.” A man from the Ansar asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what about the in-law?” He replied, “The in-law is death.
“He meant that there are inherent dangers and even destruction in such privacy: their religiosity is destroyed if they commit sin; the wife is ruined if her husband divorces her out of jealousy; and social relationships are torn apart if relatives become suspicious of each other.
The danger lies not merely in the possibility of sexual temptation. It is even greater in relation to the possibility of gossip about what is private and personal between the husband and the wife by those who cannot keep secrets to themselves and relish talking about others, aiming to destroy their homes.
In explaining the meaning of “Al-Hamu al-Mawt” (translated above as “The in-law is death”), Ibn al-Athir said, “It is an Arabic figure of speech like, “The lion is death” or “The king is fire,” which mean that meeting a lion is similar to facing death and a confrontation with a king is like being in the fire.
Thus privacy between a male-in-law and the wife of the husband concerned is far more dangerous than in the case of a stranger because he might persuade her to do things against her husband’s wishes, such as asking him for things he cannot afford, nagging him, and the like.”