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How Can I Follow My Religion Working as a Female Doctor?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I am a female medical student, and have some questions regarding my future job as a Muslim.

1. It is a part of the uniform policy at the hospitals to wear a short-sleeved coat. How should one deal with this dress policy?

2. How should one deal with male patients?

3. Should one strive to choose a specialty in which the contact with patients is minimal to avoid these circumstances?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

1. If you are unable to get a dispensation for this, you would be permitted to wear a uniform that does not cover your forearms, since there are followable positions within our tradition that do not deem the forearms to be a part of female nakedness (`awra). [al-Mawsili, Ikhtiyar (1:152-53 ed. Arna’ut)]

2. The basis when it comes to medical treatment is that a patient from one gender should be treated by a practitioner from the same gender. However, scholars have always recognized that this is not always possible, and they provided general guidelines on when it would be permissible to treat someone of the opposite gender and how medical practitioners should interact with patients of the opposite sex.

It would be permissible for a woman to treat a male patient in the following situations:

-where other male doctors are not easily available, which includes the scenario where such doctors refuse or are unable to examine a patient, or where one is unable to make a referral to a male doctor for any valid reason.

-where the female doctor is more qualified and skilled in the required field that the patient requires an examination in.

-where the male patient is required to be seen on an emergency basis requiring immediate attention.

-where attempts at gender-selectiveness would pose a hardship to the medical professional in terms of being a determent to her career and reputation.

-in educational and training contexts.

These are some general considerations that are not meant to be all-inclusive and the specific ways they may play out for a given practitioner may differ from that of another. You are expected to exercise your best judgment as to what course of action you do take in light of your knowledge of your practice and situation. However, as you can see, there is significant leeway on the permissibility of doctors treating patients of the opposite gender.

As for the actual treatment of male patients, there are three things generally prohibited between unrelated members of the opposite sex that are relevant to this discussion: (a) physical contact (b) looking at nakedness (`awra), and (c) seclusion (khalwa).

Physical Contact

-The basis is that physical contact is only permitted in cases where the female practitioner deems it required or useful to accurately ascertain the patients condition and provide effective treatment. This applies moreso to young and middle-aged men; the ruling of physical contact with elderly men (i.e. those not normally considered sexually active) in regions other than their nakedness (`awra) is more lenient.

-Touching the nakedness (`awra) of a male patient, particularly his private parts, should only be done when necessary and when a female practitioner cannot instruct another male practitioner/assistant to perform the examination to the standards that she would be able to. However, a female practitioner need not seek out a male colleague/assistant each time such a case arises (or even most times), since this is highly impractical. Rather, it is sufficient for her to exercise her own judgment based on her understanding/experience and in light of the considerations previously mentioned, such as reputation, career determent, medical liability, and so forth, when deciding whether she wants to instruct someone else to perform the examination. So, if she knows she works in a clinic where such assistance is not readily available, or where she is more qualified than others, or where it will negtively impact on her practice, she can directly proceed to examine the patient herself.

Looking at Nakedness

-The nakedness (`awra) of a man is the area extending from just below the navel up to and including the knees.

-This area can be viewed with the same conditions mentioned for physical contact since looking is a less serious matter than actually touching and since the latter usually entails the former.

-Efforts should be made to only expose the amount required to effectively examine the patient, and this area should be covered as soon as possible. This does not mean that one has to be quick in their examination, since a practitioner is expected to examine the patient properly regardless of the amount of time this takes.

Seclusion (khalwa)

-Seclusion (khalwa) is defined as a man and a woman who are of unmarriageable kin (mahram) being alone in an enclosed area in such a way that a third party cannot enter upon them or be aware of what they are doing.

-The basis is that seclusion is prohibited. However, because there are ethical and legal rights of privacy that a patient possesses, it would be permissible to remain in a secluded setting with a male patient when required.

-This permissibility is again based on the considerations mentioned at the very beginning regarding when a female practitioner can treat a male patient. If one is reasonably able to avoid such a situation then one should.
[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar (6:371); al-Kasani, Bada`i al-Sana`i (5:124); Fatawa Hindiyya (5:330)]

As I have mentioned previously, many of these points are general guidelines. They have a subjective element to them that different medical practitioners will understand and apply in different manners based on their own unique contexts. The key is to understand these points for precisely what they are, and then use your own common sense and experience to take appropriate courses of action. I cannot stress this enough. There is no need to make the issue difficult on yourself as there is sufficient leeway on this issue.

3. This is not necessary. It would return to your personal preference and what you feel most comfortable with. Yes, there are specializations that would place you in situations where male patients would have to be dealt with on a regular basis, but we still require women to be specializing in many of these areas to be of service to other women.

The only areas of specialization that should be absolutely avoided are those that deal specifically with one gender or require dealing exclusively with male nakedness. Urology would perhaps be an example of this.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Are the Principles of Gender Interaction in Islam?

Answered by SeekersGuidance Answers Service
Question: Assalam’aleykum,

What are the principles of gender intercation in Islam?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Here is an answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explaining some of the principles of gender interaction in Islam, highlighting the balance of modesty, restraint, and positive interaction.

And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
SeekersGuidance Answers Service
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Mixed Gatherings: A Detailed Response Regarding Gender Interaction

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Question: Can you please comment on the permissibility of mixed social gatherings and whether its allowed as far as guys and girls going out together that are just friends to dinner or other places?
Answer: “And We reveal of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy for believers though it increase the evil-doers in naught save ruin.”
(Qur’an, 17:82)
“We sent you (O Prophet!) not except as a mercy for all people.”
(Qur’an,21:107)
The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) is a manifestation of the Mercy of Allah Most High. he was sent as a mercy to all humanity, as the Qur’an states. The Shariah is the guidance Allah Most High sent the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) with, to bring humanity out from darkness of confusion and bewilderment to the light of charity. Its rulings are all for the benefit of humanity, for, as Allah reminds us,
“O mankind! You are the poor in your relation to Allah. And Allah! he is Absolutely Free of Need, the Owner of Praise.” (Qur’an, 35:15)
The regulations related to male-female interaction are essential to the very soundness of human civilization. If ignored, they threaten its very survival.
Islam is not just a true religion but also a social order that enables individuals to attain the cherished goal of material happiness and welfare in the world and to prepare them for the next world through righteousness and virtuous deeds.
Islam removes the possible causes which may breed corruption. It strikes hard at the root of evil and suggests measures which may bring about peaceful, happy and harmonious relations among the Muslims.
It discourages free and unbridled contact between men and women in order to check the consequences of undesirable impulses. It puts restraint to such impelling forces which might play a disastrous role in degenerating the mind of young men and women.
The sexual instinct is the greatest weakness of the human race. That is why Shaytan selected this weak spot for his attack on the believer.
In the present-day society, we see that the family system has been totally shattered. [F: See Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s excellent work, ‘The Fall of the Family’ at www.masud.co.uk]
The husband and the wife are working in different places in an atmosphere of free mixing of the sexes. Sometimes it leads to unlawful contacts with strangers and ultimately to divorce and the destruction of the home.
We can see for ourselves the disastrous outcome of giving unlimited freedom for mixed gatherings. Allah Almighty has created this attraction which exists between the sexes for each other. This cannot be denied. Where there is free mixing, this natural instinct will be aroused at sometime and lead to the committing of sin.
Therefore Islam takes the preventive measure rather then suffer the consequences. This is also one of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, namely ‘blocking the means’ (saddal-dhara’i). This is based on the idea of preventing an evil before it actually materializes, and is taken from the heart of the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunna that, “Preventing harm is given precedence even to achieving possible benefits.”
The harms of adultery, fornication and things that lead to it have been explained in detail in the Qur’an:
Allah says in Surah al-Nur:
“Say to the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That is purer for them, and Allah is aware of what they do. And say to the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” [Qur’an, 24:30-31].
Similarly Allah says in Sur a a l-Ahzab:
“When you ask them for anything then ask from behind a screen (hijab). This is a mean s f or greater purity for your hearts and their hearts.” [Qur’an, 33:53].
Imam Abu Abd Allah al-Qurtubi (Allah have mercy on him) writes in his famous exegesis of Qur’an, [i]al-Jami` li Ahkam al-Qur’an:
“This verse indicates the permissibility to ask and converse with the wives of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) from behind a screen or a curtain. All Muslim women would be bound by the same guidance. [Qurtubi, al-Jami` li Ahkam al-Qur’an, 14:227].
Also in Sur aa l-Ahzab, Allah says:
“O wives of the prophet! You are not like other women, if you are god-fearing. So do not be soft in speech. Lest in whose heart is disease should be moved with desire.” [v. 32].
This verse clearly indicates that men and women should not talk unnecessarily and when they do so, the both the content and manner of conversation must be appropriate, and free of anything inciting.
The Guidance of the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) dealt with the issue of male-female relations at length
1) Imam Abu Dawud and Imam an-Nasai relate from Sayyidatuna Aisha (Allah be pleased with him) that she says: “A women extended her hand from behind a curtain to hand a piece of paper to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Messenger of Allah pulled his hands back and said: “I don’t know if this is a mans hand or a women’s hand.” Aisha said that it was a women’s hand.
This Hadith is clear that the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to observe separation (hijab) in a way that there use to be a curtain or a veil between the sexes. If free mixing was acceptable, then there was no need for this. Besides, if such separation was against the spirit of the Sharia, the Messenger of Allah would have certainly pointed it out to her.
2) Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim narrate in their Sahih from Uqba ibn Amir (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not go near [non-Mahram] women.” A person inquired: “What about in-laws?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) responded, “The in-laws are death.”
The Prophet of Allah (Allah have mercy on him) compared male in-laws to death. This means that one should be even more careful with in-laws with regards to interaction as there is greater risk for fitna, especially given the comfortable, social atmosphere in which both parties may lower their guard and forget lowering their gazes.
3) Imam Muslim narrates from Jarir ibn Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) who says: ”Iasked Allah’s Messenger about the sudden glance on a Non – Mahram. He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes.
4) Buraida reported that the Messenger of Allah said to Ali [Allah be pleased with him]: “O Ali! don’t allow your glance to follow a glance, because the first [glance] is forgiven and not the second. [Narrated by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Imam Ahmad].
The above mentioned [and other] verses of the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet [Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam] indicate the importance of observing the proper limits of gender interaction.
The following are the rules deduced from the Qur’an and Sunnah regarding the social behavior of men and women, as outlined by the scholars:
a) Both men and women should dress properly and modestly, such that their nakedness (awra) is covered with loose clothing that does not define the shape of the limbs below. This, of course, includes women being in proper hijab, both avoiding tight-fitting clothing;
b) Men and women who are not immediately related should not talk to each other unnecessarily. When there is a genuine need (such as work or education) to talk, the conversation should be in a modest, restrained manner, and be limited to the extent of the need;
c) It is from the guidance of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that women cannot wear fragrances that might catch the attention of strange men;
d) Both men and women should lower their gazes. It is disliked to look at someone young of the opposite sex even without the fear of desire; when one even fears desire, it is impermissible to look;
e) Particular care must be given to one’s interaction with in-laws, relatives, and others one is likely to have sustained contact with, such as co-workers.
In the light of the above, we can see that the free intermingling of both the sexes is not allowed. Islam enjoins on both men and women to cast down their looks in presence of each other. How is it possible for men and women to meet freely in dinners, tea parties and other social events with looks cast down?. There is not a single instance in the history of early Islam of men and women being allowed to meet each other freely in any social, political or religious gathering. Even in the Masjid men and women had their separate rows at the time of prayers. The Hadith considers the free mixing with in-laws as death, as there is a greater risk of Fitna.
In one narration, listening to the voice of a woman with lust has been termed as adultery. The scholars have debated whether the voice of a women is Awrah, although according to the Hanafi Madhab it is not considered awrah, but it shows the importance of keeping away from free mixing. If a young woman says Salam to a Non-Mahram, he should reply within himself and not let the woman hear his reply [see “Taqreerat” of Rafi’e on the “Hashiya” of Ibn Abideen].
Ibn Abideen says in his “Hashiya”: If one fears Fitna or lust then it will be Haram for him to look at the face of a woman. This was in the early days. However, in our times one is not allowed to look at the face of a Non-Mahram woman, not because it’s part of the Awra, rather due to Fitna.
It is thus clear that Islam insist on the segregation of sexes to the utmost extent compatible with individual and collective self-preservation. Its pattern of society is one in which men and women do not intermingle too freely. If intermixture becomes necessary at any time, then too much freedom must be avoided and all the rules and conditions must be observed.
In conclusion, mixed gatherings are not permissible. Men and women must sit apart from each other. If they sit apart and there is no free mixing [as was also mentioned in the Question] then it will be permissible. May Allah guide us to the straight path. Ameen
And Allah knows best.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
[i]Edited by Faraz Rabbani.

Intermingling With the Opposite Sex During Hajj and Work

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: 1. When is a female transgressing in haram when she is performing hajj in the presence of other men. For example considering that there is over a million people during hajj, is it haram if a female accidentally touched a male during tawaf? What if she wants to get close to the kabah or touch it knowing that she will touch non mahram men as they are all over the place and hard to avoid? When is it ever permissible during hajj?
2. Is it haram to teach a class of only high school boys who have reached puberty? And is it ok to teach them while the door is open and I never look into their eyes? What are the rules regarding this?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
1. Accidentally touching men, being in the vicinity of unrelated men, and the like, which you describe is potentially common during Hajj is not sinful. In terms of accidental physical contact, one can only try their best to avoid it in such a situation, and that is all that is expected from an individual. Of course, if you are reasonably sure that certain actions, such as attempting to kiss the black stone, will lead to such physical contact, you should avoid it.
Also, please note that there is nothing intrinsically wrong in being in the vicinity of the opposite gender. What is prohibited is khalwa, which is best understood as impermissible isolation, and this may or may not be the same as what many now refer to as “intermixing”.
For more on khalwa please see: Khalwa Answers 
2. No, it is not impermissible. You may leave the door open and this would be optimal, but even if you do not there are strong opinions that would not deem it to be impermissible isolation as there is more than one male.
Finally, it would be highly unprofessional not to mention ineffective and strange for you as a teacher to not make eye contact with your students. Our religion does not shun normalized gender interaction within the guidelines of proper etiquettes. Simply be normal, respectful, and kind in your interactions with your students and you will not have much to worry about.
Salman
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
Related Answers:
A Reader On Gender Interaction

Can a Young Man and Woman be Platonic Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Is it prohibited for a Muslim girl and a Muslim boy to be best friends while studying in a co-educational institute when they have no interest in each other?To the extent that they can exchange text messages after school hours one of which is quoted below.

‘A very very Happy Birthday to my dearest, most awesome friend!
I wish you all the happiness in the world and that you may never ever have any reason to be sad and that you may always have that cute smile on your face all the time.

I feel very lucky to have the best ‘best friend’ anyone could have, who’s always there in times of sadness and gladness. who makes me feel better when everything seems to fall apart and most importantly who cares what goes on in my life and what I’m going through. You should know that you’re one of the most sweetest and most honest and good people that I have ever met and I hope that we stay best friends till the end! Stay happy, always! :)’ 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question.

While the message exchanged appears innocent enough, one has to be realistic about human nature and the natural attraction Allah has created between the male and the female. One must also keep in mind that if the young people have reached adolescence, they are experiencing a life stage where the pull towards members of the opposite sex is quite strong, but the ability to critically judge the impact of their actions and anticipate consequences is diminished.

Islamic gender etiquette is strict, yes, but it is strict for a reason. Unfettered access to members of the opposite sex, including casual friendships, can lead to emotional dependency, infatuation, and the physical behaviors that are associated with falling in love.

Unchecked, these developments can have a devastating impact on young people, particularly if the relationship is broken off by one of the parties, or, in the worst case scenario, a physical relationship happens outside of marriage.

My husband teaches young people in a co-educational institution and he can attest to the many seemingly-innocent exchanges he’s witnessed that often result in life-changing consequences for the young people involved.

My advice is to err on the side of Islamic manners and limit unnecessary interaction with your friend. If you’re old enough, however, and you genuinely enjoy each other’s company, why not pursue marriage? After all, the strongest marriages often begin as friendships.

May Allah bless you,

Zaynab Ansari

Related Answers:

Can I Chat With the Opposite Sex Online About Decent and Moral Subjects?

A Reader On Gender Interaction

Guidelines for Interacting With the Opposite Sex

How to Approach Getting Married

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: I’m 31 years old and still not married. My younger sister and younger brother are married which stressed me out. Also, I have two suitors who I’m not interested in due to age, maturity and religiosity. I know that I won’t find a perfect guy but when I pray istikhara I didn’t feel anything.

My parents won’t decide for me. They just tell me the guy’s name, and sometimes no details at all. I’m totally lost. How can I make decision without some details about the guy and just some basic information for example their name, age, occupation?

Sometimes, my father just chast with them after they come to the house then asks me do I want to accept them. Some of them ask if I’m willing to get know the man thru sms/email/phone first. I’m against this as I tried it once and I know I’m not good at it and I don’t like to have useless chatting with boys. Please advise me.

Answer:

Marriage is From your Provision (rizq)

The first thing to remember when approaching marriage is that it is part of your provision (rizq) which is guaranteed by Allah. Allah says, “There is not a single creature on the earth except that Allah takes care of it’s provision” [Quran 11:6]. So, no matter how old or young one is, their wealth or whether or their siblings married before them, these and other factors do not affect the provision that is guaranteed.

Depending on Allah

Although we know to depend on Allah for provision, He also instructed us to take the necessary means to achieve the provisions. True depending on Allah (tawakkul) is defined as “taking the necessary means while recognizing that Allah is the true provider” [Mawlud, Purification of the Heart]. So in the case of quenching our thirst, for example, we don’t just wait for it to be quenched, we drink water as a means and recognize that Allah quenches our thirst not the water.

Tying the Camel

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a person asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), “Should I tie my camel and have Tawakkul (trust in Allah for her protection) or should I leave her untied and have Tawakkul.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Tie her and have Tawakkul” [Jami At-Tirmidhi].

Getting to Know Someone

Before getting married, one should take the means to get to know the person. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged one of the Sahaba to look at a woman before marrying her [Ahmed and others]. The reason for this is that there are traits a person may have in their personality or body that might complicate a strong relationship from forming.

The Limits of Interaction for non-Mahram

As long as one follows the rules of gender interaction, they can communicate with a potential suitor to ensure that there is compatibility. A woman can speak to a non-mahram as long as they do not maintain constant gaze at each other, there is no flirting, and their is no pleasure being derived from the voice or conversation [Mawlud, Prohibitions of the Tongue]. The two also must be in plain sight of other as to avoid the prohibition of being alone together (khalwa) and there cannot be any physical contact. Just as one can keep a conversation “strictly business” in a school or work environment, the same can be applied to a conversation about marriage.

Rami

Dealing With My Husband Having Female Facebook Friends

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: I have a husband and we are constantly having this same “conversation” about gender interaction in Islam. He insists on adding female friends on Facebook, saying they are my friends from primary/high school (age 8-18), and that they are married. I have advised and explained to him the rulings of it yet he doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to. Its killing me inside knowing that he chats to these women, and that he has the opportunity to look at their photos. I tell him I don’t like it but he continues.  Please help.

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

Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question. I pray this message finds you well.

My suggestion would be to overlook your husband’s Facebook friends unless you have some strong basis for believing his interactions with these women are inappropriate.

I can understand why you are concerned. Ideally, a man would only have males in his social network and women would only have females. The reality, however, is that social media have made it possible to network and communicate with members of the opposite sex in ways that would not have been possible in traditional Muslim societies.

The way to handle that is not by banning your husband from Facebook or resenting his female “friends.” The way to handle it is to establish parameters. Islam mandates ways to interact with the opposite sex wherein modesty is maintained. You can remind your husband of this important point, but do so in a way that is pleasant.

Another point to be aware of is that husbands and wives come into marriage with their own unique history and backgrounds, including friends. You cannot do anything about the fact your husband went to school with females and seems to want to stay in touch with them. This is a part of who he was before he married you.

What you can do is make sure his screen time is not interfering with your married life, your family time, your worship, and your time to really connect as a couple. What you can do is remind your husband that women need to feel safe in their marriage. Is he making you feel safe with his behavior? Probably not. If that’s the case, he needs to interact with his FB “friends” on the basis of Islamic adab and keep in mind that the real friends in our lives are those with whom we share hearth and home.

May Allah Ta’ala make things easy,

Zaynab Ansari

Related Answers:

Can I Chat With the Opposite Sex Online About Decent and Moral Subjects?

A Reader on Gender Interaction

Chatting Online to a Cousin I’m Attracted to

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

I hope you’re all at your best of health, insha’Allah.

I want to know, if I can chat on the internet with my cousin, who is older then me, about moral and Islamic subjects? Is it permissible?

And what if one already knows that one has feelings for him/her, is it still okay if they keep their limits and only talk about Islam?

JazakAllahu khairan.

Answer: In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

Dear Questioner,

I pray this message finds you well.

Thank you for writing to SeekersGuidance; your question is very important to us.

Chatting online with someone you’re attracted to is not a good idea. While you might do your best to keep the conversation “moral and Islamic,” as you state, human nature always prevails. You also have to consider the medium. Online chat, by its very nature, imparts a sense of anonymity and artificiality to users and people find themselves typing and emailing things they would probably never say (or at least think twice about) were they in person.

If you’re interested in your cousin, why not pursue matters the proper way and initiate marriage talks under chaperoned conditions?

Regards,

Zaynab Ansari

Choosing a Medical Career and Following Gender Interaction Rules

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim to pursue a job in the medical field? The reason is because I have heard that it is not permissible for a male doctor to serve female patients. Is this true? In America, it is not easy to avoid female patients. What is your take on this? There is a hadith that do not a profession that would took you away from the deen, so would this take away you from Islam?

Answer: Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

May Allah reward you for your concern with the Islamic nature of your livelihood! Alhamdulillah, since a large portion of our adult lives are spent at work, we must take extra care to ensure that our livelihood is halal and pleasing to Allah. After all, we will see every atom’s weight of good and evil that we do in this world on the day of judgment [99:7-8], so we must do all that we can to ensure we use our time – and our careers – wisely.

Doctors and Patients of Different Genders

As a general principle, male patients must seek out male doctors and female patients must seek out female doctors, especially when examination or treatment requires uncovering one’s awra. There are certain exceptions to this rule, such as if there are no doctors of the same gender available and no one of the same gender can be instructed to treat the patient. Such exceptions are based on the principle of need, in which case the scenario is permitted only to the extent of its necessity. [Majalla]

For more details on the issue of patients seeking out medical care from doctors of different genders, please see the following answer: Fiqh of Females Seeking Medical Treatment

Medical Training and Practice

This principle of need also applies to doctors as well. For example, medical training might require that doctors study detailed and graphic pictures that would otherwise be haraam to look at. Looking at these pictures becomes permissible only out of the necessity to learn about human anatomy and various medical conditions.

A similar need for treatment would allow for Muslim doctors to treat patients of different genders. While in an ideal Muslim setting, doctors would see patients of the same gender unless necessity required otherwise, it is actually illegal in many places for doctors to refuse to see patients of a different gender. Because resisting this law would put the doctor’s livelihood at stake, it is then permissible out of necessity for that doctor to see patients of the opposite gender.

Even in such cases, doctors should restrict contact with and looking at patients of the opposite gender to what is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, seclusion (khalwa) with the patient should be avoided, either by keeping the room open or by having another person present (such as a nurse, secretary, or family member of the patient).

For more details on this question, see the following answer: Can a male doctor see female patients?

High Intentions and Preserving One’s Religion

Considering the above dispensations that need to be taken to practice medicine, it is very important that one chooses that career with a clear understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it.

Treating and caring for others is a highly rewarded act in Islam. The Prophet {saw} said: “Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgment. Whosoever alleviates [the lot of] a needy person, Allah will alleviate [his lot] in this world and the next. Whosoever shields a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the next. Allah will aid a servant [of His] so long as the servant aids his brother.” [Nawawi, al-Arba’in]

As such, being a doctor is a very noble profession. By spending their lives caring for the sick, doctors’ lives are filled with immense rewards and blessing from Allah – provided that they have a sound intention.

However, Allah has made all of us different, and not everyone is suited to being a doctor. Some cannot handle the stress that comes with job, while others are made uncomfortable by blood and disease. Most importantly, some people might find that this career choice negatively affects their spirituality and religiosity, especially given the many gray areas they might face throughout their careers.

It is therefore vital that one gauges such factors when deciding whether or not they want to pursue a career in medicine. We may have the most noble and selfless job in the world, but if we end up sacrificing our deen for the sake of that job, then we will have lost all of its benefits for this world and the hereafter.

May Allah bless us all with careers that are filled with His blessing and pleasure.

Jazakum Allahu Khairan,
-Wasim

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is It Permissible to Propose to a Sister Who Has Already Been Proposed to By Another Brother?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I just had a question regarding marriage proposals… if a brother approaches a sister and proposes to her while the two are alone without any mahrams present, is the proposal valid?

Also, if the proposal is valid, does another brother still have the right to pursue interest in that same girl, or even propose as well, considering she hasn’t given the first brother an answer?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

A proposal is merely a request to marry someone. It is not a legal issue per se and so we cannot really define it as being valid or invalid.

However, there are specific rulings related to proposals.

Firstly, generally, It is permissible to do, as long as it is not done in an inappropriate manner or where there is fear of it leading to unacceptable behavior.

Secondly, it is prohibitively disliked for an individual to propose to someone after she has agreed to marry someone else. This is based on the prophetic narration, “A man should not propose on the proposal of another, until they marry or retract.” [Bukhari, Muslim] The prohibition, as indicated, relates to proposing to someone who is engaged to someone and when all that is left between the two individuals is the actual marriage contract.

However, if there is no agreement or commitment between the two parties, it is valid for a third party to propose. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

In the case you mention, since the woman has not given an answer, it would be permitted for another to pursue her. Even here is it best to proceed with discretion to avoid ill-feeling and damaging relations.

On a final note, concerning the specific scenario you mention, it is always best to propose to someone through channels that limit potential fitna. This entails having a reliable third party overlooking the process and keeping things in check, not overly expressing one’s emotions, avoiding being alone with the potential spouse, and so forth. There is great wisdom in the limits and guidelines of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in relation to gender interactions.

Wassalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani