Male physician examining woman in emergency room
Fatwa No: 81316

Question

I am a physician. Is it haram to examine a woman during the month of Ramadan in the emergency room?

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.

There is evidence in the texts of the Sharee’ah that women are obliged to wear Hijaab and cover their ‘Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in Islam). However, it is permissible for men [i.e. male doctors] to examine women and women [i.e. female doctors] to examine men provided the two following conditions are met:

1- If there is no counterpart, i.e. no male doctors to treat men and no female doctors to treat women.
2- If there is a real necessity for doing so; like if the condition of the female patient cannot be delayed like the case when a woman is brought to the Emergency. Therefore, your being in the emergency room requires you to uncover and examine the part that is injured in the body of the woman, which needs to be treated, so you may examine her. Imam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated that the male doctor is allowed to examine a non-Mahram woman and look at what is needed and look at her ‘Awrah. Similarly, it is permissible for a female doctor to look at the ‘Awrah of a man in case of necessity. However, this is provided that the two above conditions are met, that there is no counterpart and there is a necessity for doing so.

Therefore, it is permissible for you to do this in Ramadan and at other times as the jurists mentioned that it is permissible to do something that invalidates fasting in case of necessity, like in order to save the life of a drowned person and the like.

Allah knows best.

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