Concerning women going to public baths

Fatwa ID: 02137

Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Question:

Concerning women going to public baths

Answer:

Bismillah

In consideration of Islam’s concern for women’s awrah (covering of body) the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) warned against women entering public baths and disrobing in front of other women, who might subsequently make her physical characteristics a topic of their gossip and vulgar comments.

Similarly, the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) warned the Muslim man against entering public baths without a waist wrapper.  Saaiduna Jabir Radiallahu Anhu narrated that the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must not enter the public bath without a lower garment (to cover his satar), and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must not let his wife go to the public baths.   (Sunan Nasai & Sunan Tirmidhi)

Saaidah Aishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) has reported “At first the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) prohibited people from going to public baths but later allowed men to enter them wearing a lower garment.”   (Sunan Tirmidhi & Sunan Ibn Majah)

Exception to this prohibition is made for the woman who suffers from some illness for which warm baths are beneficial and for women following childbirth.  It is narrated by Saaiduna Abdullah Bin Amr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) that the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “Men must not enter public baths without a lower garment.  Prevent women from entering them except when sick or after childbirth.   (Sunan Ibn Majah & Sunan Abu Dawud)

If a woman enters a public bath without a valid reason or need, she has committed a prohibited act and deserves the disapproval of the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  Abul Malik Al-Hadhali reported that some women from Hums or Damascus came to visit Saaidah Aishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and she said “Are you from a place where women go to public baths? I heard the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying ‘A woman who removes her clothes (i.e. goes naked) outside her husbands house tears down the veil between herself and her Lord’ ”.

Another reason for its impermissibility will be that Muslim women are ordered to refrain from making their bodies visible for others to see. The swimming costume whether it is soaked in water after coming out of the baths or not reveals her figure and body.

Saaiduna Abu Huzaifah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “There are two types of the dwellers of Hell whom I did not see.  People having flogs like the tails of the Ox and they would be beating people with them and the women who would be dressed but appear to be naked, who would be inclined to evil and make their husbands incline towards it.  Their heads would be like the humps of the bukht camel inclined to one side.  They would not enter paradise and they would not smell its odour, whereas its odour would be smelt from such and such distance.”   (Sahih Muslim p.205 v.2)

Only Allah Knows Best

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