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21 May 2019 CE | 17 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

Medical Treatment and Hijab

Jabir (radi Allahu anhu) narrated: “Once Ummi Salamah (radi Allahu anha) asked permission from the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) for cupping (Hajamah). The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) asked Abu Taiba to cup Ummi Salamah (radi Allahu anha).” Jabir (radi Allahu anhu) said, “I think the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) asked Abu Taiba to cup Ummi Salamah because he was either her foster brother or a young boy.” [Muslim]

Hijab should be observed even during medical treatment as much as possible. In this day and age, we see that even in the homes where women observe Hijab, they become quite careless about it when seeking medical treatment.

This Hadith points to the need for Hijab even during medical treatment, because if it were not necessary, Jabir (radi Allahu anhu) would not have clarified that Abu Taiba was Ummi Salamah’s foster brother or a young boy. Even for medical treatment one should attempt to go to a Mahram where possible. If one is not available, then a non-Mahram may provide treatment as well.

It is permissible to uncover Satr for the purpose of medical treatment, but only as much as is absolutely necessary. For example, if the doctor can do with checking the pulse and asking for symptoms, he is not permitted to touch or see anything else. Similarly, if there is a wound in the arm or ankle, he may only see that part which is affected.

These restrictions will also be applicable to a doctor who is Mahram for the patient, because even he may not look at the entire body of a Mahram woman. The whole body of a woman, except the face, the hands and the feet, is Satr which is not allowed to be uncovered, even before her father, uncle, brother or son, and during Salat.

Since a woman is not permitted to uncover any parts of her body between the navel and the knees in front of even other women; therefore, even a lady doctor will be permitted to examine these places only as needed through clothes with openings made at the required places. It should also be remembered that while the doctor is examining the patient, the relatives who are present are not permitted to look at those parts, except for such a person who is lawfully allowed to see those body parts.

All the above applies to the medical treatment of men as well, as it is not permitted for men to uncover their bodies between the navel and the knee in front of other men.

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