What is the criterion of what a woman can show amongst her mahrams from her hair and body?
According to the ongoing custom amongst the people, there is an opinion of the Hanafis which says, “The awrah of a woman amongst her mahrams is like the awrah of a woman amongst other women”. And the majority are on the opinion that it is from the belly button to the knees. But this opinion they refuted it, it is not correct.
Rather it is according to the ongoing custom amongst the people. The custom amongst the people which is protective to her, but too much safeguarding and over-covering has difficulty in it.
Showing the face and some of the hair, some of the hand and shin. For example, her breast to give suckle to her child amongst a mahram who is not sinful and what is of this nature. There is nothing wrong in this. Showing the neck, and if something of the chest is exposed amongst the mahrams, it is not as they say that she shows her chest except the major awrah or the likes of the major awrah.
This opinion is what is correct, that it is according to what the custom is. The hands and the neck, and the hair or some of it, likewise the face, the shin or some of it, and what the custom is due to the statement of Allāh;
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَٰتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَاۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَٰتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُهُنَّ
“And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess…”
To the end of the verse
And He mentioned the mahrams amongst them, and this part of adornment. Her safeguarding it and remaining covered in her house has difficulty upon her, but she remains covering her body but not as much as she would assume amongst non-mahram. As her affair is amongst other women according to the opinion of the majority.
Rather, even amongst women – because indeed some women, if they enter into weddings they show from their body what is not befitting to show, and there is no need to show just to be over revealing and the likes of that.
Answered by: Shaykh, the Allamah, the Trustworthy Advisor, Abu Abdirrahman Yahya bin Ali Al-Hajuri – may Allah preserve him
Translated by: Abū ‘Abdillāh ‘Omar bin Yahya Al-‘Akawi