Is it Permissible to Work as a Nurse Having to Reveal One’s Forearms?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


I have read in various fatwas that nursing or being a midwife is a precious profession.
But living in the West, in my country, it is obligatory to wear a uniform that shows the sleeves until the elbows, and one must wear trousers (which can be loose).

Would it be permissible to work in this profession under these conditions?

I stopped my studies as a midwife for this reason, but I yearn to become a midwife.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.

A woman must cover her entire body except for her face, hands, and feet with loose clothing, except when there is a genuine need to reveal her forearms, like in your case, as a medical nurse due to medical regulations in your country.

According to the Hanafi school, a woman must cover her entire body – except her face, hands, and feet, in loose, appropriate clothing. However, there is a narration according to which Abu Yusuf did not consider the forearms to be from a woman’s nakedness (`awra) since the forearms are normally exposed when doing specific tasks with the hands.

[Ibn ʿAbidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

This narration can be used only in situations of genuine need, namely, tasks that pose an undue hardship if undertaken with the forearms covered. Examples include domestic help when doing certain household chores or medical staff if regulations do not allow covering the forearms. See the link below for a detailed discussion.

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.

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[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.