Should I Avoid Changing My Clothes in Front of My Child? (Shafi’i)
Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
Should I avoid to change my clothes in front of my child?
Answer: Wa’alaikum assalam.
I hope this finds you in the best of states. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. May Allah increase you in your striving to be diligent in the religion.
Covering one’s awra in front of one’s children
The awra of a man is what is in between his navel and knees (not including the navel and knees), though his navel and knees must be necessarily covered in order to cover the obligatory area. This is in front of all people, except himself and his spouse.
The awra of a woman in front of her un-marriageable kin (children, parents etc.) is also what is between the navel and the knees.
In terms of parent’s uncovering their awra in front of one’s children, then:
1. In regards very small children, what our teachers in Tarim taught us is that if the individual child shows awareness of what nakedness / awra is, then this is the time that parents should be diligent about not exposing the awra (what is between the navel and the knees). This usually takes place around 3-4 years old, but depends on the individual child. This also has the added benefit of ingraining in the child the importance of covering the awra.
2. If the child is at an age of discernment, which usually is about 7-8 years old, then one must not uncover one’s awra in front of their child, irrespective if they are aware of the concept of nakedness/awra or not.
To answer you specifically then, you have said that your child is one and a half years old. As such, there is no harm in your uncovering your awra in front of them, such as when you get changed or if you want to take a bath with them. However, you are obliged to cover your private parts (genital areas at the front and behind) regardless of the child’s age.
[Tufha al Muhtaj, Nihaya al Muhtaj]
May Allah grant you tawfiq and every good.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.