Huzooraa was requested for guidance with regard to observing purdah before paternal or maternal uncles with reference to a quote of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh from a question and answer session.
Upon this, Huzooraa, in his letter dated 1 June 2020, gave the following reply:
The statement of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh that you have mentioned in your letter is based on verse 32 of Surah al-Nur and it was made in reply to a question during a question and answer session. It is correct that the relations mentioned in this verse before whom women are excused from observing purdah do not include paternal or the maternal uncles. However, both of them are included among the mahram relations as Huzoorrh also mentioned in his statement.
Moreover, this is also proven by the Quranic commandment mentioned in Surah al-Nisa because marriage is considered illegal with both of them.
Moreover, it is also reported by Hazrat Aishara in ahadith that when she asked the Holy Prophetsa, he guided her not to observe purdah before her paternal uncle.
However, alongside this, it is also essential to keep this aspect of purdah in mind that according to Islamic teachings, the form of leave from purdah in case of mahram relations varies depending on the closeness of each relationship.
Hence, the form of leave from purdah before the mahram relations mentioned in Surah al-Nur will change from relation to relation. That is why the leave from purdah in case of a husband will be different from the leave from purdah in case of a father, a son or a brother etc. who have also been mentioned in the same verse.
Thus, just as there are various modes of purdah before the relations mentioned in this verse, likewise there is a variation in the leave from purdah before other mahram relations. This is also the essence of what Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh is explaining in the statement under discussion, that paternal or maternal uncles are not among the relations who live with one under the same roof. They come from outside. Although they count as part of the mahram relations, but when they visit one’s home, the ladies should be relatively more cautious with regard to purdah, as compared to the purdah before men who live under the same roof such as a husband, a father or a son etc. which would be relatively relaxed.
Although one does not need to cover the face before them, but one is instructed to sit before them in a composed manner while covering the head and the chest.
Hence, this is the issue which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh is explaining. It is not that he is instructing to observe the usual purdah before paternal and maternal uncles.