Looking at Images of ‘Awrah in Study Materials
Fatwa No: 375451

Question

shaikh in case of medical science only image of sexual organs are considered image of awrah?Or the image of heart,lungs,kidney, liver,brain etc of women & muscles,joints of women's thigh,leg ,arm etc are considered awrah? Or image of men's thigh muscle,abdominal muscle ,knee joints are also considered awrah? If it is,it seems that I can't see most of the images of medical books to increase my detailed knowledge in all branches of medical science.. I'm female medical student.can you clarify?

Answer

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

Dear questioner, you have asked us so many questions about images and the ‘Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered according to the Sharee’ah), and this indicates that you are affected with whispers.

If this is the case, we advise you to fear Allah and to avoid giving in to these whispers as they are a great evil.

To answer your question in brief we say that the ruling on looking at them depends on temptation and desires. Anything that leads to this is forbidden to look at, and, therefore, it is ordained that we cover them, even if it is an image of part of the body only, or one of its limbs, such as the image of the thigh, the chest, or the muscles of the woman’s abdomen. This is the principle.

Ibn ‘Aabideen said in his footnote of Rad Al-Muhtaar: "Looking is ruled to be forbidden due to the fear of affliction and desire (lust)." [End of quote]

It is for this reason that some scholars stated that it is prohibited to look at the image of an ‘Awrah in the same manner that it is forbidden to look at the ‘Awrah itself.

Ibn Al-Qattaan Al-Faassi said in his book, Ihkaam An-Nathar fi Ahkaam An-Nathar bi haasatil-basar:

"Whatever we said to be impermissible for a man, or others, to look at from the A’wrah parts or the body, then it is not permissible to look at its reflection in a mirror, water, a glittering or polished material (that reflects the image)…." [End of quote]

As for a medical student looking at images that include the ‘Awrah for the purpose of studying, then this is permissible because it is a need. The jurists stated that it is permissible to look at the ‘Awrah for a necessity or a dire need.

Al-Izz ibn ‘Abdus-Salaam said in his book Qawaa’id Al-Ahkaam:

"Concealing one’s ‘Awrah is obligatory, and it is one of the best acts of nobility and the most beautiful custom, especially in case of non-Mahram (marriageable) women. However, this becomes permissible for necessities and dire needs. The necessities are things like each the spouses looking at the one another’s ‘Awrah, and owner looking at his slave-girl whom he is permitted to look at. Also, the witnesses looking at a woman when giving their testimonies on her in order to confirm her identity, and the doctors looking at a woman for the need of treatment." [End of quote]

Allah knows best.

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