Q. I have read that two females should not sleep under one blanket, only husband and wife can sleep under one blanket, not even two males nor two females, is it true? Can mother and daughter sleep under one blanket? Can two cousin sisters sleep under one blanket?
A. The above mentioned guidelines are based on the hadith of the Prophet (SAS) which has been narrated by Abu Saeed (RA). This hadith states that the Prophet (SAS) said, ‘A man must not look at the aurah (concealable parts of the body) of another man, and a woman must not look at the aurah (concealable parts of the body) of another woman. A man must not be with another man under one cloth (sheet/blanket/cover) and a woman must not be with another woman under one cloth (sheet/blanket/cover). (Muslim, Tirmizi, Ahmad, Mishkaat pg. 268)
Based on this hadith, the scholars have stated that two males, or females or a male and a female who are not married to each other must not be under the same blanket or cover. While commenting on this hadith, the great scholar Ibn Al Malik stated, ‘it means that the bare body (skin) of one person must not touch the bare body (skin) of another person while lying under one sheet/cover/blanket. This is due to the sinful act that can be a result of the touching of the body parts.’ (Al Mirqaat- Mullah Ali Qaari Vol. 6 pg. 252).
Based on this explaination, one must refrain from falling into this situation. Cousin sisters must also refrain from this, and even brothers and sisters must also do so. In fact, with respect to brothers and sisters, the Prophet (SAS) gave a clear directive that they must be separated in their sleeping accommodation when they reach the age of nine years (Abu Dawood). There is no harm if the mother and daughter sleep under the same cover/blanket.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan