Fatwa ID: 06065
Answered by: Shaykh Ahmed Bin Mohamed Umarji
I am a practising Muslim, who has recently separated from her husband. The father sees his daughter, she is severely disabled and cannot speak. Has no awareness of danger, and needs to be taken care of 24/7. She is 15 years old and going through puberty. Her father wants to do intimate care, changing her underwear, and clothes, showering and changing her nappy. He also wants to have her at night time, which will mean he has to sleep with her as she self-harms. I would appreciate it if you could provide written evidence to show that this is forbidden in Islam. So my question is can a father do the following for his disabled daughter – Can he sleep with her at night? Can he bathe her? Can he shower her? Can he take her nappy off and change her?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
When the husband and wife separate the mother has the right of custody of a girl until the age of nine. When the girl reaches the age of nine the father will be the rightful guardian.1 In this case since the girl is 15 the father is the rightful guardian.
The father is only allowed to touch or look at the head, face, arms, and shins as long as he is free of lust when doing so. He may not [touch or even] look at her uncovered stomach, back or thighs.2
Since the girl is unable to carry out some of the basic needs the father is allowed to assist her. This is due to the principle of Islamic jurisprudence which states Adhruraat Tubeehul Mahduraat (necessities justify that which may be unlawful)3.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Ahmed Bin Mohamed Umarji
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 Kitab-Ul-Fiqh, Page 273, Zam Zam Publishers 2012
2 Mala Budda Minhu, Page 238, UK Islamic Academy
3 Qawaid Fiqhiyyah, Page 43, Darut Tirmidhi.