A woman having a routine cervical smear test
Fatwa No: 118326

Question

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rathmatullahi wa BarakatuI have been told by sisters that it is not permissible for a woman to have a routine cervical smear test unless there are signs of disease showing. This is due to the fact that the test is an invasive one, needing the nurse or doctor to insert something similar to a long cotton bud in through the vagina to the cervix(womb) and taking a sample. Signs of cancer in the womb, usually mean that the cancer has spread, whereas a test can detect any changes in the cells of the cervix before it becomes canerous.In my family, there is a history of cervical cancer, which puts me at risk of developing cancer.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

It is not permissible to expose one’s 'Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in Islam) except in case of necessity or a dire need. Just believing that one has a disease or wanting to make sure about being safe from the disease is not a sound reason for revealing one’s 'Awrah. This prohibition is even more confirmed if the 'Awrah is the private parts. However, if a trustworthy Muslim doctor determines that there is a high possibility of being affected by the disease and there is a dire need for carrying out this periodic test, then we hope that this is permissible.

In carrying out the test, the female doctor comes in priority over the male doctor, and the female Muslim doctor comes in priority over a female non-Muslim doctor. Besides, it is not permissible to show the 'Awrah more than what the necessity requires.

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa090424 and 84882.

Finally, it should be noted that the strongest reason for the prevention from every evil or harm is relying on Allaah and earnestly asking Him for good health because it is He Who afflicts a person with diseases and it is He Who provides the cure and good health.

Allaah Knows best.

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