What is the awrah of a woman in front of her Mahram

Fatwa ID: 01675

Answered by Molana Ishaaq Hussain

Question:

1. What is the awrah of woman in front of her Mahram men.

 2. If it is allowed for a man to see or touch the breast of Mahram women like elder sister or maternal aunt.

 Answer:

Bismillah

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) states in the Holy Quran: “ And say to the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their Bosoms with their Shawls, and must not expose their adornment except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands , or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands… “(Surah Nuur v.31)

The word ‘Zeenah’ (Adornment) means those parts of the body where objects of Zeenah (Jewellery etc.) are worn. (Ma’ariful Quran p 411 v 6)

In this verse we also come to learn that Allah Ta’ala has allowed women to ‘expose their adornment’ only to those relatives who come under the category of being a Mahram.

Mahram’s are those who have been mentioned in the verse above. Marriage with them is completely forbidden.

Now the question arises what may a male see of his Mahram Woman?

The Satr/Awrah of a woman in front of her Mahram begins from the breasts up to and including the knees. The Mahram male may not see these parts. (Sharh Thameeri p 345 v 4)

The reason why he is not permitted to see these parts i.e. breasts, back etc., is because these body parts are such that when one sets sight onto them, lust and desires begin to immerge, and there is a chance of mischief happening i.e. Zina. And to commit Zina with one’s family members is much more severe than committing Zina with someone else. (ibid)

This means that he is permitted to see her face, head, neck/ upper chest, calves and arms. He may not see her back, stomach and the area between the belly button and knees.  (Hidayah p. 107 v.4 & Mukhtasar Qudoori p.259)

However, the Ulama have stated that when a person feels that by looking at these parts, lust and desires will begin to emerge then it will not be permissible for him to look at these parts. (Ibid)

With regards to your second question, a Mahram Male may touch those parts which are permissible for him to see, provided that he is free from lust and desires. (Hidayah p.107 v.4 & Mukhtasar Qudoori p.259)

Those parts which are forbidden for him to see such as breasts, stomach, back etc…are also forbidden to touch. (Sharh Thameeri p 346 v 4)

Only Allah Knows Best

Written by Molana Ishaaq Hussain

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

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