A woman’s ‘Awrah infront of other women & male relatives (Mahrams)

بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم

▪️A woman’s ‘Awrah infront of other women & male relatives (Mahrams)▪️

Our Shaykh, Muhammad ibn Hizaam -may Allaah preserve him- was asked the following question:

📩 Question:

Some of the Fuqahaa (jurists) state that the ‘Awrah of a woman in front of other women is the same as that of a man in front of other men, and many of them establish that her ‘Awrah (in front of other women) is the area between the navel to the knee?

📝 Answer:

We don’t have any (textual) evidence to compare women to men in this aspect; rather this comparison is based on Qiyaas (analogy), and without doubt the operative cause (‘illah) is unclear for Qiyaas to take effect; because Qiyaas takes effect only if the operative cause (‘illah) is explicitly stated or it is obvious in the matter.

As for the privates (front & back), then this is part of the ‘Awrah by consensus of all scholars, and whatever is beyond that; such as the thigh, leg, abdomen and chest, then the correct opinion is that there is no textual evidence, i.e. there’s no reliable Hadeeth that we can depend upon. However, one of the best conclusions is what has been expressed by some of the Shaafi’ee and Hanbali scholars; that whatever is usually exposed when women are engaged in house work around their Mahrams, this is what may be exposed in front of other (believing) women, because Allah mentioned the believing women alongside the male relatives (Mahaarim) in Surat An-Noor; so after mentioning the male relatives; namely, the brothers and nephews, Allah goes on to say:
{أَوۡ نِسَاۤىِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَیۡمَـٰنُهُنَّ}
‘…[Let them draw their veils over their chests, and not reveal their ˹hidden˺ adornments except to]…their fellow (believing) women, or the (female) slaves in their possession…’
[Surat An-Nur 31]

So whatever is usually exposed when women are engaged in house work, this much may be left exposed infront of other woman and relatives. And what’s common is that when women are engaged in house work, etc. around their male relatives, what tends to be exposed is: the arm or forearm, the shin, the neck and parts of the (upper) chest, and likewise the head; she can expose these parts infront of her male relatives as well as other believing women.

As for everything else, then the Prophet ﷺ says: ((المرأة عورة))
‘The woman (i.e. Her entire body) is ‘Awrah.’ So the origin is that all of it is part of her ‘Awrah, and Allah knows best.

So limiting the ‘Awrah to that which is between the navel to the knee is incorrect.

Translated by:
Abu Ishaq Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ba Alawi

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