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Women’s Attire in Private and Around Unmarriageable Relatives

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: How should women dress while in private and around unmarriageable relatives (mahrams). Is it permissible for her to wear half sleeves and uncover her hair, while wearing the traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

There is a difference between what legal limits entail and what dignity and propriety entail.
In terms of legal limits, the ‘nakedness’ (awra) of a woman in front of her immediate kin (her father, grandfathers, brothers, children, and first uncles) is: navel to knee plus the waist area.

As for propriety and dignity, our scholars tell us that young women should dress in a modest manner, preferring loose unrevealing clothing even at home.

This is akin to men: would it be proper for men to walk around at home with only a long towel covering them from navel to knee? No, it would be undignified and unbecoming.

Wearing a head covering (hijab) when alone, however, is neither obligatory nor a specific recommendation, except when one has reasons to fear unrelated men entering suddenly.

It is, nevertheless, from general proper etiquette (adab) to wear a head covering, when reasonably possible, as an expression of one’s modesty and dignity before Allah. In the same way, it is proper etiquette (adab) for men to have their head covered at home as well.

This is understood from the words of the beautiful beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him, his family, companions, and followers), “Allah is more deserving of one’s sense of modesty than people are.” [Bukhari and others]

This modesty (haya) is an inward trait that each believer, male or female, should strive to cultivate. The proper manners of Islamic Law are means that Allah and His beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) have shown us towards becoming realized in these inward perfections, that are themselves the means to the realization of our slavehood, love, and thankfulness to Allah.

Faraz Rabbani

Tight or Revealing Clothing on Men and Women

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it preferred for men to wear loose slacks, or to cover using a longer shirt outside of prayer? What about tight jeans? If one fears that some of his awra may have been exposed during the prayer due to his trousers being pushed back, is his prayer valid?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

It is better for a man to wear loose slacks and something (whether a longer shirt, a coat or a jacket) that covers his rear.

Somewhat tight jeans would be at least somewhat disliked and blameworthy. Form-fitting jeans that fully define the shape and form of a part of the body that must be covered with clothing (awra) during normal wear would be sinful to wear and prohibitively disliked.

During the Prayer:

There are two main issues here:

If you mean that his trousers get lowered such that some of his lower back or upper rear is exposed, then if the exposed area is a quarter of the exposed limb, in his estimation, then the prayer would be invalidated if unintentionally exposed for more than the extent of 3 tasbihs (saying “subhan Allah”).

If you mean that because his trousers are tight, then if they completely define the form and shape of a limb that is considered nakedness (awra, which is between navel and knee for men, and the entire body except face, hands and feet for women), then this is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) and sinful, both inside and outside the prayer. A prayer performed with such clothing would be necessary (wajib) to repeat.

If, however, the trousers are tight, but not such that they completely define the form and shape of any limb that is considered nakedness, then it would be somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) and offensive, but not quite sinful. One should do one’s best, however, to wear loose clothing and to pray with an upper garment (such as a jacket, or even a tucked-out shirt) that hangs below one’s rear.

A General Rule:

It is necessary (wajib) to repeat any prayer performed with a prohibitively disliked act, or if a necessary (wajib) act is omitted without performing a forgetfulness prostration at the end of the prayer. (Note that the forgetfulness prostrations only correct the forgetful, not intentional, omission of necessary acts.)

Repeating such a prayer within the time is unquestionable.

For past performances, the scholars have judged that it is no longer necessary (wajib) to repeat the prayer; repentance is enough. [Bahr al-Ra’iq, Durr, Tahtawi]

However, the more cautious opinion, which should be applied to current performances, and questionable past prayers if they are limited in number, is that it remains necessary (wajib) to repeat the prayer during and after the time, along with repentance. [Ibn Abidin adopted this view]

Repentance and Ignorance:

Repentance is necessary in all cases, even if the mistakes occurred out of ignorance. It is an agreed upon legal maxim that, “Ignorance is not a valid excuse.” We have been made morally responsible to follow and implement the rulings of the Sacred Law; it is our duty to learn them. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Seeking sacred knowledge is an obligation of every believer.” Seeking knowledge of the obligatory and necessary is itself obligatory and necessary.

In the Case of Women:

This is in the case of men. For women, issues of nakedness (awra) are even more sensitive, for reasons that are clear. Even slight definitions of bodily curvatures are serious, so in their case it is even more imperative that their clothing be wide and loose.

I learned from a respected elder, who is a dear friend, that some foreigners have purchased a lot of the garment industry in Jordan. One unfortunate result of this, or maybe it is a sign of the times, is that women’s jilbabs are now very often tight in all the wrong places. The point is not to wear something called a jilbab; rather, that it be wide, loose, and modest.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed all men and women that, “Modesty is from faith,” and that, “Modesty brings only good.”

May Allah give us all the success to gain useful knowledge and act upon it, in the footsteps of His Beloved Messenger (upon him be the best of blessings and most perfect of peace).

Faraz Rabbani

Does My Wife Have to Cover in Front of My Stepfather?

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: One year ago I reverted to Islam and 3 months ago I got married to a Muslim woman. My parents are not Muslims.  My mother’s husband is not my real father, but they have been married for 20 years. My question is if my wife is obligated to wear hijab in front of him, since he is not my real father?

Answer: Marriage only causes a non-marriageable bond (mahramiyya) between a woman and the real father of her husband. Thus, your wife would have to wear her hijab in front of your step-father. [Khalil ibn Ishaq, al-Mukhtasar]

Rami

Remaining Naked When Alone

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What is the ruling on not having one’s nakedness (awra) covered in front of animals, such as a pet bird or cat?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

In general, it is either recommended or necessary (wajib) to cover one’s nakedness (awra) even when alone, except when there is an inevitable need. Ibn Abidin deemed the latter opinion stronger, though the former is valid too, as many chose it. It goes back to the Prophet’s words (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Allah is more deserving of one’s shyness.”

Imam Zayn Ibn al-Nujaym said in his al-Bahr al-Ra’iq:

“Know that there is scholarly consensus (ijma`) that it is obligatory to cover one’s nakedness (awra) in front of others… And when alone, there is difference of opinion [as to whether it is obligatory], but the correct opinion is that it is necessary (wajib), unless the uncovering was for a valid reason, as mentioned in Sharh al-Munya.” [al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 1: 283]

Imam al-Haskafi said in “Durr al-Mukhtar,” “[To cover one’s nakedness] is a general obligation, even when alone, according to the correct opinion, unless it is for a valid reason.”

Ibn Abidin explained in his Radd al-Muhtar:

“‘Even when alone,’ that is: outside of prayer it is obligatory to cover one’s nakedness in front of others by scholarly consensus, and even when alone according to the correct opinion…

“Now, the apparent meaning of covering one’s nakedness when alone outside of prayer [in this context] is that which is between the navel and knee, such that even women do not have to cover other than that [when alone] even if it is of their nakedness (awrah) [in front of others]…

“‘According to the correct opinion,’ for Allah Most High, even though He sees the covered just as He sees the naked, sees the one whose nakedness is uncovered as leaving proper manners, and sees the one covered as exhibiting proper manners. These proper manners [here] are obligatory [f: because of the primary texts about them] whenever there is ability to exercise them.

“‘Unless it is for a valid reason,’ such as using the toilet or cleaning oneself. In the “Quniya,” several opinions are mentioned about showering naked: that it is disliked; that it is excused, Allah willing; that there is nothing wrong with it [but it is better not to]; that it is allowed for a small amount of time; that it is allowed in a small washroom…” [Radd al-Muhtar, 1: 404-405]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed all men and women that, “Modesty is from faith,” [Bukhari and Muslim] and that, “Modesty brings only good.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Sleeping in the Same Room as One’s Son

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it permissible for a mother and her son (who is above 18 years of age) to sleep
in the same room with a curtain between them, due to conflicts between parents.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful.

It would be permitted for them to sleep in the same room as long as nothing untoward or
undignified is feared to take place. What is not permitted is for two adults to sleep unclothed
under the same sheet, for obvious reasons. [Saffarini, Ghidha al-Albab Sharh Mandhumat alAdaab, 2.352-353]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Let no man sleep with
another under one sheet, and let no woman sleep with another under one sheet.” [Muslim and
Ahmad]

Imam Tumurtashi stated in his Tanwir al-Absar (the most accurate and detailed of primers
(mutun) in Hanafi fiqh, with notes from Ibn Abidin), “It is not permitted for a man to sleep with
another man [A: under one sheet, without a barrier, naked], even if they are on different sides of
the bed. [Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar Sharh Tanwir al-Absar, 6.382]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

A Trip to Body World? (Exhibiting Unclothed Cadavers)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: My biology teacher told us that he has organized a trip to Body World, but that
this trip is optional. I have said no because it displays naked dead bodies. I was wondering what Islam says about places like Body World?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaikum,

It would be impermissible and sinful to go to such an exhibit because it is impermissible to use
dead bodies in such a way, and it entails abasement of the human body.

As for the educational benefits in such an exhibit, these benefits may be achieved through other
means.

Allah Most High said, “Verily, we have honored the children of Adam.” [Qur’an, 17:70]

Imam Sarakhsi, in Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir, explained that, “A human is deserved to be honored
after their death, as they do while alive,” [1.228] which is why it is not permitted to use any part
of a human, except in the ways the Sacred Law has permitted.

Imam Kasani said in his Bada’i` al-Sana’i` that, “The entirety of a human being has been
honored. Using any detached part of it entails disrespect.“ [5.125] The same, a fortiori applies to
displaying the entire human body, especially its nakedness.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Getting a Massage from Member of Opposite Gender

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: What does Islam say about getting massage? I am a guy, will it be sinful to get massage from a lady?

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

It is permissible to get a massage, but sinful to allow a member of the opposite gender to touch you. A man may get a massage only from a man, and a woman only from a woman. Moreover, one may not reveal one’s nakedness (`awra) for the sake of the massage.

For details of a man’s nakedness in front of others, please see:

What is Considered Nakedness for Men?

For details of a woman’s nakedness in front of other women or men, please see:

Going to the Salon for Hair Removal

For a comprehensive and detailed explanation of nakedness (`awra), please see:

A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is There an Opinion that a Woman Can Reveal Her Forearms?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have heard that al-Qadi Abu Yusuf (God be well-pleased with him!) held the opinion that the forearms and the neck are not from the ‘awrah of the woman. Is this true? Does this mean that, according to Abu Yusuf, a woman must cover all her body except her face, neck, hands, forearms, and feet? If so, is this opinion valid to follow?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

According to the Hanafi school, a woman in the presence of unrelated men must cover her entire body — with the exception of her face, hands and feet — in loose, appropriate clothing. This is the dominant position of the school.

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 certain tasks with the hands. This narration can be used only in situations of genuine need, namely, tasks that pose 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.

Yet even in such cases of need, one should strive to follow the dominant opinion. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The woman’s entire body must be covered” [Sunan Tirmidhi] — that is to say, except for the exceptions, which according to the Hanafi school are her face, hands and feet.

The Basis and Wisdom of Covering

Before addressing the legal limits of covering, it is important to keep in mind that as a general principle, the basis of issues related to covering is caution. Indeed, modesty (haya’) is not only a part of the religion, but according to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), it is a branch of faith itself. [Bukhari, Muslim]

He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “Every religion has a quintessential trait, and that the quintessential trait of Islam is modesty.” [Muwatta’]

And once when asked if modesty was in fact a part of the religion, he replied, “Nay, rather it is the entire religion — all of it.” [Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman]

This is truly profound, as it teaches us that the foundation of our entire religious practice is modesty, which at its essence refers to modesty before the Divine Himself. Our true shame is to disobey the All-seeing and All-hearing — we obey Him out of modesty before His majesty, and we seek to cover ourselves and dress appropriately so as not to be ashamed before His sight.

The Prophetic Way of Promoting the Good

It is also important to preface the legal discussion of covering with a reminder that the way of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in promoting any good is predicated upon gentleness and wisdom.

As Allah Himself declares in the Qur’an, “It is only by a vast mercy from Allah that you were gentle with them: had you been harsh and hardhearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you.” (3:159)

Even when dealing with Pharoah — the worst of tyrants — the prophets Musa and Haroon (peace and blessings be upon them) were commanded by Allah to speak to him gently. (20:44) Surely our brothers and sisters in faith deserve the utmost respect and gentleness when being addressed, even if they are doing something wrong.

The Obligation of Covering

With respect to legal limits, the relied-upon position in the Hanafi school is that the woman’s entire body — aside from her face, hands and feet — is from her `awra and hence must be covered in front of unrelated men. There is some difference of opinion within the school regarding feet, as some jurists considered them as from the `awra. Although this is not the dominant position of the school, it is not a weak position either, and so the way of caution and greater taqwa is to cover the feet as well. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

The basis of this ruling is Allah’s statement, “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to not display of their adornment except that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands…” (24:31) The verse continues to list other people to whom she may reveal her adornment.

Imam Kasani explains that what is meant by “adornment” is the places of adornment on a woman’s body, and the places that have “apparent adornment” were understood by Abu Hanifa to be the face and hands. This is also reported to be the interpretation of certain Companions, including Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar (Allah be well-pleased with them). There is also a rational basis for this exception, in that a woman often needs to reveal her face and hands in public, such as when in the market, so as to buy and sell, and to give and take items or money. [Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i; Zayla`i, Tabyin al-Haqa’iq]

The Narration of Abu Yusuf

There is a narration in which Abu Yusuf did not consider the forearms to be from the woman’s `awra, since the forearms are often exposed when doing certain chores. This opinion was given preference by certain Hanafi jurists, such as Imam Mawsili in the Ikhtiyar. [Ibn Nujaym, Bahr al-Ra’iq; Zayla`i, Tabyin al-Haqa’iq; Ibn Humam, Fath al-Qadir]

Some later scholars mention this opinion as an exemption for women whose work customarily entails exposing the forearms. For example, the 20th century Hanafi jurist of Damascus, Imam Khalil Nahlawi, states after mentioning the dominant opinion (explained above), “It is said that a man may also look at a woman’s feet, forearms and elbows if she is hired to bake bread or for similar tasks like cooking or washing clothes, since those limbs are normally exposed when doing such work.” [Durar Mubaha fil Hazr wal Ibaha]

These texts are understood to mean that for situations in which the forearms are normally exposed due to the undue hardship of performing those tasks while keeping the forearms covered, the woman may uncover her forearms so as to perform those tasks. That is, this ruling can only be used for cases of genuine need, and once the need is fulfilled, she must recover her forearms.

Moreover, regardless of the woman’s work, she must cover her forearms during the prayer, as failing to do so would invalidate the prayer.

Finally, the permissibility for an unrelated man to look at a woman’s face, hands or feet — or forearms (in situations of genuine need) — is limited to his doing so without desire, since he may not look at her at all if coupled with desire.

As for the neck, I did not come across a narration of Abu Yusuf regarding it. It is part of a woman’s `awra in all situations.

And Allah knows best, and He alone gives success.
wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Going to the Salon for Hair Removal

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: Assalaamu alaykum,

Is it permissible for a pregnant woman to go to a salon for removal of pubic hair? As pregnancy progresses, it is difficult for a woman to manage removing pubic hair herself.

Answer: Assalaamua alaikum warahmatu Allahi wabarakatuh,

It is not permissible for a pregnant or non-pregnant woman to go to the salon for pubic hair removal.

The following is a summary of the ‘awrah or nakedness that must be covered of a Muslim woman depending on who is in front of her.

If it is:
1- another Muslim woman, then she must cover from the navel to under the knees (i..e including the knees). Therefore, even if the salon was owned by Muslim women, it would still be impermissible to get pubic hair removed.

2- a non-Muslim woman, then she must cover like she does in front of a man which is everything except for the face, hands, and feet.

3- a man, then she must cover (as mentioned above): everything except for the face, hands, and feet.

If removing the pubic hair is difficult due to pregnancy or other reasons, the woman is required to do that which she can without overburdening herself.

wasalaam,
Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Answered by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Is It Permissible to Remove Eyebrow and Other Facial Hair?

Hair Removal Methods: Epilators, Waxing and Creams

Removing Chest & Pubic Hair

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

Women’s `Awra in Prayer and Rectifying Mistakes in the Prayer

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: Assalamu alaikum,

1.When reading the Qura’an sometimes I come across parts where one should make sujud, I am a female so, do I have to cover my hair and body before I make this sajdah?

2. When praying sunnah or fard sometimes I forget to do a few things or get mixed up so please inform me what I should do when:

a. I forget to make tashahod after 2 raqa’as.
b. I make an extra tashahod between raqa’as.
c.I forget so say ‘subhanallaho ala’la’ in sujood (because I keep making duaah instead)
d. I say alfatiha and forget to recite another surah and realise I did that when I am in ruquu’a

Is my prayer still valid?

 

 

 

 

Obviously this doesn’t happen in every prayer, but somehow i get mixed up even when I am trying my best to concentrate.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are doing well inshaAllah.

1. The conditions for making a prostration of recital (sajda al-tilawa) are almost like the conditions for prayer. One needs to be in a state of wudu, face the qibla, and cover the `awra (nakedness). For the woman, the `awra for prayer is everything except the face, hands, and feet. [Al-Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

2. How to rectify a prayer with mistakes or forgotten actions depends on the type of mistake. If one forgets a fard (obligatory) action, the prayer is not valid and needs to be repeated. None of the scenarios you mentioned involves leaving a fard action.

If one leaves a wajib (necessary) action forgetfully, then a prostration of forgetfulness is made at the end of the prayer and the prayer doesn’t need to be repeated. This would be cases a, b, and d that you mentioned. However, if the forgetfulness prostration is not done, then it is wajib to repeat the prayer.

If you leave a sunna, you do not need to do anything to rectify the prayer and your prayer remains valid. Case c that you mentioned is an example of this.

Please see see these answers which include important related information:

The Rulings of the Sacred Law

How to Perform the Forgetfulness Prostration

Is the Prayer Valid If You Don’t Recite the Tashahhud?

Can I Perform the Forgetfulness Prostrations in Every Prayer?

I highly recommend studying the fiqh of prayer for more about the rulings (fard, wajib, sunna, etc) of the different actions in the prayer.

May Allah increase you and us.

Wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani