Looking at Images in Textbooks and Websites Whilst Studying
Fatwa No: 379303

Question

Shaikh I'm female medical student & I sent you two questions. in one answer you told that "as a female medical student I can read all branches of medical science although some of are not needed at now/future whether via textbook & online" & in answer of another question you told that "it is forbidden to see awrah of other person whether in real life or as image". Now I have two questions.1)is it right that a man's awrah in front of non mahram women is from navel to knee & a woman's awrah in front of another women is also from navel to knee?2) Can't I see image of awrah even if I have no bad intention & only I do for my detailed extra knowledge?3) lf it is forbidden even for gaining extra knowledge & without bad intention, can I atleast read written articles while avoiding seeing image attached with writings whether in online & reading textbooks/guide books/ other books /journals etc in real life? Cause I love to gain detailed knowledge about other branches of medical science besides my chosen subjects for post graduation in future. It seems from your two answers that I can read sensitive things to increase my knowledge about disease of awrah but I can't watch images to understand it. Please kindly clarify it. Can't I even watch those to gain knowledge without bad intention & lust?

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.

What you mentioned regarding the ‘Awrah of a man in front of non-mahram women, and the ‘Awrah of a woman in front of other women is the implication of the statements of the majority of the scholars, with the condition that it does not result in arousing desires and that one is safe from being tempted.

As for looking at images: prohibited images have become widespread on website and elsewhere, in a way that it has become difficult to avoid at times. Therefore, our opinion is that it is permissible to surf websites and read books that include such images while lowering one’s gaze and not looking at these images as much as possible.

If looking at images is for learning, like studying medicine and understanding diseases, then the matter is broad and it appears to be permissible as long as it is mandatory in order acquire knowledge, with the conditioned that one does not fear to be tempted and that looking at these images does not lead to a greater evil. However, images in medicine books or sites are usually of limbs and other parts of the body and are not for the entire body, which makes the matter even easier.

Allah knows best.

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