What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Can a doctor check the private parts of a female in the case of an illness?

Questioner: Sister from UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

Our respected jurists of Islām due to need have permitted doctors to look, in fact, even touch the area affected by an illness of a non-Mahram patient [for the purpose of checking] if needed. Just as it is stated in the highly credible book of Hanafī Fiqh – al-Hidāyah,

“وَيَجُوزُ لِلطَّبِيبِ أَنْ يَنْظُرَ إلَى مَوْضِعِ الْمَرَضِ مِنْهَالِلضَّرُورَة وَيَنْبَغِي أَنْ يُعَلِّمَ امْرَأَةً مُدَاوَاتَهَا) لِأَنَّ نَظَرَ الْجِنْسِ إلَى الْجِنْسِ أَسْهَلُ  (وَكَذَا يَجُوزُ لِلرَّجُلِ النَّظَرُ إلَى مَوْضِعِ الِاحْتِقَانِ مِنْ الرَّجُلِ) لِأَنَّهُ مُدَاوَاةٌ وَيَجُوزُ لِلْمَرَضِ”

“It is permissible for a doctor to look at the area affected by an illness for a non-Mahram woman. This permissibility is on the basis of need, and it is appropriate that women are made aware of how to cure themselves, because it is easier for the same gender to look at each another. Likewise, it is permissible for a male doctor to look at the rear private area of a patient in order to administer an injection because this is the medicinal treatment for them, and to do this due to an illness is permissible.”

[al-Hidāyah, vol 4, pg 60]

One comes to know that just how a doctor is allowed to look at the private area due to need in the case of administering an injection, likewise, if a female doctor is not available, then in this case, a male doctor is permitted to look at the relevant private area, and this is only when there is an actual genuine need.

Likewise, it is also stated in Bahār-e-Sharī’at that another circumstance wherein one is allowed to look towards a non-Mahram woman is in the situation of illness, where she is ill and there is a need to look towards certain parts of her body, and there also arises the need to touch certain parts of the body. For example, one has to touch the hands to check the pulse or if there is the notion of their being swelling in the stomach, then to feel the stomach becomes necessary or if there is a sore (wound) on any part, then it needs to be seen and in some cases, one also needs to feel it. In such a condition, to look at the area of the illness and based on this necessity, to touch that area is also permissible.

[Bahār-e-Sharī’at, vol 3, pg 447]

However, if there are female doctors present, then one will not refer to male doctors, rather one will approach only the female doctors.

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Haider Ali

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0744] Can a male doctor check the private parts of a female to cure an illness?

Also see:

[Q-ID0667] Can a Pharmacist administer injections to females that are non-Mahram?

[Q-ID0508] What is the Islamic ruling on performing CPR to save a non-Mahram’s life?

[Q-ID0411] Can women reveal their private parts to a female doctor?

[Q-ID0385] What is the ruling on women having IVF treatment?

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