Fatwa ID: 04492
Answered by: Maulana Imran Mughal
In Islam, I know that when it comes to modesty women should cover up and men should lower their gaze. Hence the rules for covering up are stricter on women and lowering gazes are stricter for men.
But what is commanded the other way round? What are the rules and restrictions when it comes to men and their clothes? And similarly what are the rules and restrictions for women's gazes in public? Is it more lenient for women?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh
The rulings of Islam regarding these topics fall into the category of “Awrah.”
Awrah refers to those parts of the body of either a man or a woman that men and women are allowed/not allowed to see.
A man’s awrah in front of another man is that he has to cover from his navel to his knees.
A woman’s awrah in front of another woman is the same as a man looking at another man (from the navel until the knees is not allowed to look at).
A man’s awrah in front of a woman is also the same as a man looking at another man (from the navel until the knees is not allowed to look at).
A woman’s awrah in front of a man depends on the relationship between the two. A strange woman’s awrah (referring to a woman with which the man is not directly related to) is that she must cover her whole body from him.
Additionally, have a look at these two verses from Surah Nur.
“Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.”
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.”
And Allah SWT alone knows best.
Written by Maulana Imran Mughal
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham