Looking at non-awrah parts of the opposite

Fatwa ID: 02108

Answered by Molana Muhammad Adnan

Question:

What is the ruling on people looking at non-awrah parts of the opposite 
gender without any desire? For example male cashier looking at female 
hands while she is counting/giving money to him or student looking at 
woman's face to study about certain skin condition or how effective acne 
medicine is on face, and etc.
Thank you

Answer:

Bismillah

The Jurists have set out a principle called blocking the means. If there is no genuine reason to directly look at the opposite gender then it will be impermissible as we can also use our peripheral vision. Receiving cash from a cashier can be done without looking at the hand directly.

Similarly if there is the option of going to the same gender for a medical purpose then it will be impermissible to go to the opposite gender. In this day and age in most places it is relatively easy to access doctors and health professionals of both sexes. If it is a student studying and its an important topic and there is no fear of fitnah then there may be some leeway to look for a very short duration to understand certain illnesses. It is stated in Fataawa Hindiyyah,

“If a woman has a wound in a part of the body that is impermissible for a male to look at (m, meaning other than the face, hands & feet, for they are absolutely part of awra), it will be impermissible for her to receive treatment from a male doctor, rather a female should be instructed to treat her. If a female expert is not available, neither is there a female who can be instructed to treat her… then in such a case it would be permitted for a male doctor to treat her, provided there is a genuine need. It will be necessary for her to cover other than the effected area, and he must lower his gaze as much as possible.”

(al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/330)

And Allah Ta'ala knows best

Molana Muhammad Adnan

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

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