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What Should a Man Cover From His Body?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the awra of a man amongst family and/or strangers?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

The awra of a man is from just below the navel till just below the knees. This applies to a man in front of his siblings/parents as well as in front of strangers.

In front of his wife there is no specific awra since it is permissible for them to see of each other any part of the body.

This is in regards to the legal ruling. As for propriety it is from one’s dignity to cover that which is customarily known to be dignified. This applies when amongst people but especially when in public spheres.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al -Falah]

Hope this helps
Allahu A’alam
Yusuf Weltch

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Awra (Nudity).

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Can you please explain in detail the awra (nudity) of a man in different situations, in front of men, women, unmarriagable kin and so forth?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

‘Awra and Modesty

It is impermissible for a man to expose the area from the bottom of the navel to the bottom of the knees in front of other men and women. This is his ‘awra in front of men and women.

However, there are other concerns, and just because one can expose his chest, for example, it doesn’t mean he should. This should be restricted to activities like swimming, etc. Otherwise, one should still dress with dignity even in situations where minimal clothing is required.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Every religion has a [characteristic] trait. The trait of Islam is modesty.” (Ibn Majah).

There is no ‘awra between spouses, but they should cover themselves with a blanket when they are intimate in light of the above hadith and others which encourage modesty in the presence of angels.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, al Hadiyya al ‘Ala’iyya).

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Mens’ Awra when Swimming

Ustadh Farid Dingle explains the rulings concerning the awra for men, how that applies to swimming, and suggests ways to make it halal.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlah wa barakatuh.

I would like to start swimming as a way of staying fit. However I can’t find trunks that cover the awra. Also the pools are mixed gender.

As the majority of the time would be spent in the pool, would it be permissible to go swimming in normal shorts, not trunks.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The Letter of the Law

There are number of websites and companies that sell swimming trunks that conform to what Allah wants from us. See, for example, Kap Swim.

A mixed pool is completely out of the question. Whether you like it or not, you will definitely see men and women exposing themselves, and being around more than half naked women is not exactly something Allah wants for us. You just have find a pool that has men-only times. Or even better, go for a swim in a river, lake, or sea.

Sayyidina Umar once saw some men and women making wudu from large water container and ordered that they be separated. I somehow doubt he would be very keen on mixed swimming pools.

As Muslims who believe that Allah is true and His religion is true, we have to stick by the truth come what may.

The Wisdom of the Law

This world has always been a bit crazy, but we are now seeing it at one its craziest times, a time when society, families, and marriages are really struggling to survive.

Allah has commanded us to clothe ourselves and protect our eyes for many, many reasons: it ennobles and spiritually uplifts us and those around us, it maintains healthy relations, protects trusts of chastity, and above all sets rules and standards for our relationships.

The Sacred Law preserves our communities, and ultimately, our minds, by clearly outlining who is who and how each interacts with the other. This is your father and this is your mother, so you see such-and-such of their body, and your can interact with them physically within such-and-such parameters; this is your wife or husband, so you can so you see such-and-such of their body, and your can interact with them physically within such-and-such parameters.

All of these parameters preserve certain spiritual, psychological, and societal needs, and when they are transgressed people and their relationships really suffer. The story of King Oedipus, and many, many other social trials and ailments that we all see on a regular basis, are all a testimony to this.

The Chapter of Light

To understand this all more clearly, let us look at a few verses from the Chapter of Light in the Qur’an.

Tell the believing men to lower their gave somewhat and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.

And tell the believing women to lower their gave somewhat and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which appears thereof and to wrap their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women … (Sura al-Nur 24:30-31)


Notice how these societal measures deal with clothing and nakedness, and measure very, very clearly who is to see who, and what they are to see of each other. Notice too that these societal strictures are followed almost immediately by some of the profoundest spiritual words in the whole Qur’an.

 

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Unfathomable light upon unfathomable light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.
In houses that Allah permitted to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings[Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about. (Sura al-Nur 35-37)

 

Dress and social decorum are linked inseparably to religious vibrant and flourishing communities and families that produce people who love Allah, and seek Allah in all that they do, and strive with might and main to fulfill their slavehood to him.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

What Should Be Considered When Covering the Nudity for the Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

When wearing loose sleeves, it is likely that when raising or lowering the hands, the underside of the arms might be visible from the front. Shirts with buttoned sleeves usually have a slit near the wrist which might expose some part of the arm as well. Is it necessary to account for these possibilities?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, you should ensure that your arms are covered for the prayer such that the skin underneath cannot be seen under normal circumstances. If you often wear a blouse around the house, consider wearing a loose cardigan when praying, or get yourself a prayer outfit.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Please also see: A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness (awra) and: Is the area under the chin from the nakedness of a woman?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

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.

Warmest salams,
[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.

What Is From the Awra (Nakedness) of a Young Child?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

1. What is the awra (nakedness) of a young child? At what age does it apply?

2. Can a child see the awra of an adult, male or female? If so, at what age do the restrictions apply?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

The nakedness (awra) of a child depends upon their age. As such, the jurists (fuqaha) mention the following points which apply equally to girls and boys:

1. A baby or toddler has no nakedness. Some scholars specified that a child less than four years of age is considered in this category.

2. A young child, namely, above four, has a nakedness which includes his front private organ and rear orifice, exclusively, until seven years of age.

3. A child aged seven, at which point he is normally considered to be discerning, has a nakedness that includes his front private organ and rear orifice and what surrounds them both. The severity of this nakedness increases in gradual stages from seven years of age until ten.

4. From ten onwards, their nakedness is akin to the nakedness of adults.

Note that these are general guidelines which aren’t universally applicable because humans obviously differ in nature. Accordingly, what a specific child’s nakedness would be depends upon how “adult” they look, even if they are young in years.

As for children seeing the nakedness of an adult, technically the Sacred Law only directly applies to those morally responsible, thus to children once they hit puberty. However, they are instructed to begin upholding the law in a general capacity from seven years of age in order that they may become accustomed to and submit wholeheartedly to the Supreme Word of Allah Most High. But they aren’t accountable for seeing the nakedness of another person, whether unintentionally or otherwise, even though the latter is usually a clear warning sign of bad upbringing (tarbiya).

(N.B. The years stated are according to the lunar calendar.)

[Haskafi, al-Durr al-Mukhtar, quoting Haddadi’s al-Siraj; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.273)]

A Word of Caution

Please note that, out of proper and dignified decorum, children should be taught about covering their nakedness from two years old onwards. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught that, “Modesty is from faith,” and “Modesty brings about only good.” [Bukhari]

They should not be allowed to remain undressed while at home or outdoors. This will, insha’Allah, help them to understand from a young age about the concept of privacy and nakedness (`awra), and that looking or touching these private areas [whether of oneself, or another child or adult] is not permissible because it is a private area.

A caregiver would ideally teach the child about such modesty from a young age so that the child understands not to uncover themselves publicly, or allow themselves to be uncovered by another person [who is not their parent or guardian]. Even in the latter case, it would only be done for the purpose of washing the child, or helping them to dress [and not unnecessarily].

Please also see: A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness (awra) and: Remaining Naked When Alone

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

قال في الدرّ المختار: وفي السراج: لا عورة للصغير جدا، ثم ما دام لم يشته فقبل ودبر ثم تغلظ إلى عشر سنين، ثم كبالغ .اهـ

Wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

My Friend’s Husband Walks Around in Pyjamas. What Can She Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My friend’s husband sometimes walks about in pyjama pants with a short shirt. These pyjama pants are tight-fiting. She is uncomfortable that he walks around like that in front of their daughters, and that he prays like that too. She has asked him to wear longer shirts to cover, but he gets mad at her.

Is she too sensitive?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward your friend for being a woman of modesty. Your friend’s concerns do have a basis in Sacred Law.

Nakedness

According to the Shafi‘i madhab, the nakedness of a man is between his navel and his knees [Reliance of the Traveller, f5.3].

(A: It is offensive for men to wear tight clothing that discloses the size of the parts of their body which are nakedness (def: f5.3), and this is unlawful for women.) [Reliance of the Traveller, f17.1]

As described above, it is offensive for your friend’s husband to wear tight clothes.

Prayer

Please refer to the following excerpts for more information on clothing a man’s nakedness in prayer:

It is recommended for a man to pray in his best clothes, and to wear an ankle-length shirt
and a turban (O: and a shawl over head and shoulders, a mantle, and a wraparound or
loose drawers (N: under the ankle-length shirt)). If he does not wear all of these, it is
desirable to wear two, namely the ankle-length shirt with either the mantle, the
wraparound, or the loose drawers. [f5.7]

If only wearing enough to clothe one’s nakedness, one’s prayer is valid, though it is
recommended to place something on one’s shoulders even if only a piece of rope.
If one does not have clothes but is able to conceal part of one’s nakedness, one must
cover the front and rear private parts. If only one of these two can be covered, it must be
the front. If one has no clothes at all, then one performs the prayer without clothes and
need not make it up later. [f5.8]

Etiquette

There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit behind it. Prayer is a daily act of humbling oneself before one’s Creator. It would be disrespectful to show up to a respected elder’s home in pyjamas; imagine standing before one’s Sustainer in that state.

Modesty

Children learn so much from just watching their parents. If your friend’s husband wants his daughters to adorn themselves with virtues like dignified restraint and modesty, then it would be prudent for him to be a good role model. Modesty begins inwardly, and flows outwardly.

Sincere concern

Encourage your friend to keep making dua for her husband, and for her to be the good example for her daughters. Encourage them to attend circles of knowledge and recite the Qur’an frequently. A stronger connection to Allah is often the most effective way to remedy any difficulty in life.

Please see:
What is Modest Clothing for Men and Women?

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

Can I Pray in Track Pants With Tiny Holes Just Below the Waist?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I bought a pair of track pants and just below the waist there is a 1 inch stripe of mesh with very tiny holes on it running across the pants along the waist. Do these tiny holes for breathability count as exposing the ‘awrah? Can I pray with such pants on?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

It would be permissible to wear these track pants. Any prayer performed in them would also be valid.

The reason for this is twofold: (a) one’s nakedness is actually not visible through these holes to an onlooker due to their size and make, and (b) even assuming it was visible, the waist is not part of one’s nakedness in the Hanafi school. [Ibn Abidin, Hashiya]

[Ustadh]Salman Younas

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

What Is the Male Dress Code According to the Shafi’i School?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What is the male dress code according to the Shafi’i school?

Answer: Assalamu ‘Alaykum,

I pray that you are well.

The minimum requirement for a male to cover in front of others is between the navel and the knees, non-inclusive. Uncovering that area in front of others, not including one’s wife, or for reasons of medical necessity, is impermissible.

This is a minimum requirement, and the area that one must cover for a prayer to be valid. It does not speak to what is appropriate to wear in normal everyday circumstances. Generally, not following one’s societal norms above meeting the minimal requirement is disliked.

Wassalam,
Shuaib Ally

Should a Woman Cover Her Feet During Prayer?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam’aleykum

Should a woman cover her feet during prayer?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. This is a matter in which there is legitimate difference of opinion within mainstream Sunni scholarship.

The prevalent opinion in the Hanafi school is that the feet (below the ankles) are not from areas of the body a woman must cover (i.e. her awra)—both within the prayer and outside the prayer. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

However, in some other schools of Sunni scholarship, the feet are necessary for women to cover. Thus, it can be an expression of caution (wara`) to cover the feet—particularly for prayer. (This is not, however, obligatory.)

When advised about matters of difference of opinion, thank the person advising, but don’t feel obligated to follow the advice.

Please see: A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness (awra)

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Chris Lewis