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Chapter twenty-seven » Miscellaneous rulings on marriage → ← Chapter twenty-seven » Laws of temporary marriage (mutʿah)

Chapter twenty-seven » Looking at non-maḥram

Ruling 2451. It is unlawful for a man to look at the body or hair of non-maḥram women, be it with lust or without lust, and be it with fear of committing a sin or without such a fear. As for looking at the face and hands up to the wrists of non-maḥram women, if it is with lust or there is a fear of committing a sin, it too is unlawful. In fact, the recommended precaution is that a man should not look at these areas even if it is not with lust or there is no fear of committing a sin. Furthermore, it is unlawful for a woman to look at the body of a non-maḥram man with lust or if there is a fear of committing a sin. In fact, based on obligatory precaution, a woman must not look at these areas even if it is not with lust or there is no fear of committing a sin. However, there is no problem for a woman to look at those areas of the body that men usually do not cover – such as the head, hands, and feet – if it is not with lust or there is no fear of committing a sin.

Ruling 2452. With regard to a mubtadhilah(1) woman who does not take heed if someone enjoins her to observe hijab, there is no problem in looking at her on condition that it is not with lust and there is no fear of committing a sin. In this rule, there is no difference between disbelieving women and other women. Likewise, there is no difference between looking at their hands and face and other areas of their body which they usually do not cover.

Ruling 2453. A woman must cover her hair and body, apart from her face and hands, from a non-maḥram man. And the obligatory precaution is that she must also cover her body and hair from a non-bāligh boy who understands good and bad if she deems it probable that him looking at the body of a woman would arouse lustful desires. However, a woman can keep her face and hands up to the wrists uncovered from a non-maḥram man unless she fears that he would fall into sin or she has the intention of making him look at something unlawful; in these two cases, covering those areas as well is obligatory on her.

Ruling 2454. Looking at the private parts of a Muslim who is bāligh is unlawful even from behind glass, in a mirror, in clear water, or suchlike. The same applies to looking at the private parts of a disbeliever and a non-bāligh child who understands good and bad. However, a husband and wife can look at each other’s entire body.

Ruling 2455. A man and a woman who are maḥram to each other can look at each other’s entire body, except the private parts, if they do not have the intention of deriving pleasure and there is no fear of committing a sin.

Ruling 2456. A man must not look at the body of another man with the intention of deriving pleasure. It is also unlawful for a woman to look at the body of another woman with the intention of deriving pleasure. The same applies [i.e. it is unlawful for a man/woman to look at the body of another man/woman] if there is fear of committing a sin.

Ruling 2457. If a man knows a non-maḥram woman and that woman is not mubtadhilah, then based on obligatory precaution he must not look at a photo of her. However, it is permitted for him to look at her face and hands without the intention of deriving pleasure and if there is no fear of committing a sin.

Ruling 2458. If it becomes necessary for a woman to administer an enema to another woman or to a man other than her husband, or to wash her/his private parts, then she must wear something on her hands so that her hands do not come into direct contact with her/his private parts. The same applies if it becomes necessary for a man to administer an enema to another man or to a woman other than his wife, or to wash his/her private parts.

Ruling 2459. If a woman is compelled to have medical treatment and a non-maḥram man is better placed to administer the treatment, she can refer to a non-maḥram man for the treatment. And in the event that the man is compelled to look at her and to touch her body for administering the treatment, there is no problem. However, if he is able to treat her by only looking at her [and not touching her body], then he must not touch her body. Similarly, if he is able to treat her by only touching her, then he must not look at her.

Ruling 2460. If a person is compelled to look at someone’s private parts in order to treat him, then based on obligatory precaution he must place a mirror opposite [the person’s private parts] and look [at his private parts] through the mirror. However, if there is no other way but to look directly at his private parts, there is no problem. The same applies [i.e. there is no problem] if it would be quicker to look directly at the private parts rather than look at them through a mirror.

(1) Mubtadhilah is a term used to refer to a woman who does not observe hijab in front of non-maḥram men and does not take heed when she is forbidden from continuing with this behaviour.
Chapter twenty-seven » Miscellaneous rulings on marriage → ← Chapter twenty-seven » Laws of temporary marriage (mutʿah)
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