Why Is the Thigh from the Nakedness According to the Hanafi School?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As Salamu Alaykum,

The subject of the awrah was being discussed in a lesson and the following hadith was mentioned:

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى، وَيَحْيَى بْنُ أَيُّوبَ، وَقُتَيْبَةُ، وَابْنُ، حُجْرٍ قَالَ يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى أَخْبَرَنَا وَقَالَ الآخَرُونَ، حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، – يَعْنُونَ ابْنَ جَعْفَرٍ – عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ أَبِي حَرْمَلَةَ، عَنْ عَطَاءٍ، وَسُلَيْمَانَ، ابْنَىْ يَسَارٍ وَأَبِي سَلَمَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ أَنَّ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مُضْطَجِعًا فِي بَيْتِي كَاشِفًا عَنْ فَخِذَيْهِ أَوْ سَاقَيْهِ فَاسْتَأْذَنَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَأَذِنَ لَهُ وَهُوَ عَلَى تِلْكَ الْحَالِ فَتَحَدَّثَ ثُمَّ اسْتَأْذَنَ عُمَرُ فَأَذِنَ لَهُ وَهُوَ كَذَلِكَ فَتَحَدَّثَ ثُمَّ اسْتَأْذَنَ عُثْمَانُ فَجَلَسَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَسَوَّى ثِيَابَهُ – قَالَ مُحَمَّدٌ وَلاَ أَقُولُ ذَلِكَ فِي يَوْمٍ وَاحِدٍ – فَدَخَلَ فَتَحَدَّثَ فَلَمَّا خَرَجَ قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ دَخَلَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَلَمْ تَهْتَشَّ لَهُ وَلَمْ تُبَالِهِ ثُمَّ دَخَلَ عُمَرُ فَلَمْ تَهْتَشَّ لَهُ وَلَمْ تُبَالِهِ ثُمَّ دَخَلَ عُثْمَانُ فَجَلَسْتَ وَسَوَّيْتَ ثِيَابَكَ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ أَلاَ أَسْتَحِي مِنْ رَجُلٍ تَسْتَحِي مِنْهُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

(Muslim Book 31 Hadith 5906)

There is one opinion in the Maliki Madhab, which says that the above hadith shows that showing the thigh to non related men is disliked not haram, whilst the other opinion and the opinion of the Hanafi Madhab says that its obligatory to cover the awrah. How is the above hadith understood in the Hanafi Madhab to support its opinion?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

According to the Hanafi school, the thigh is from the nakedness (`awrah) of a person.

“The thigh is [from the] nakedness” is a rigorously authenticated tradition (hadith) from the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as related in Tahawi’s Sharh Ma`ani al-Athar, Bayhaqi in his Sunan al-Kubra, and Tirmidhi’s Jami`– though the latter grading it as sound. There are many wordings of this and similar hadith which explicitly state that the thigh is from a person’s nakedness.

Although the hadith you mention is related with an authentic chain, many of the scholars have found problems with it, and others have simply interpreted it away with a sound meaning.

For example, it is possible that this incident occurred before any specific ruling had been given regarding the nakedness; or that this was specific to the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and permitted for him. In some narrations, the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) only had his knee uncovered. Furthermore, when Abu Bakr and `Umar entered, they sat in a place where they would not see his knee (Allah bless him and give him peace). But when `Uthman entered, there was only one place left to sit, where he would have seen the Holy Prophet’s knee (Allah bless him and give him peace), so he covered it up.

Others have stated that the report mentioned in Muslim in inconsistent (mudtarib), and that the basis of the hadith does not even mention the thigh. Bayhaqi related that Imam Shafi`i said, “what is narrated concerning `Uthman and the uncovered thighs is dubious and doubtful.” And this is the upshot: the strongest versions of this hadith don’t mention the thighs being uncovered. [al-`Ayni, `Umdat al-Qari, quoting Imam al-Tahawi & others]

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani