Islam: Intimate parts (Islam)
In Islam the area of the body not meant to be exposed in public is called the awrah, and while referred to in the Qur’an, is addressed in more detail in hadith. In the Sunni tradition, the male awrah is from the navel to knees. Other denominations have differing interpretations. For women, there are different classifications of awrah. In public, many Muslim women wear the hijab and long dresses which covers most of their head and body, with only specific body parts such as hands and face exposed. But in front of direct family (parents, children, siblings), the awrah is relaxed further, allowing them to be uncovered, except between the chest and the thighs. Sharia law in some Islamic countries requires women to observe purdah, covering their entire bodies, including the face (see niqab and burqa), However, the degrees of covering vary according to local custom and/or interpretation of Sharia law.
- For men, the awrah is from the navel (not inclusive) to the knees (not inclusive according to the Shafi’is, Hanbalis and Malikis; inclusive according to the Hanafis). However, in most Islamic cultures, a man is frowned upon should he walk around in public without covering the upper half of his body.
- For women, in front of non-mahram men and non-Muslim women, the awrah is the whole body, apart from the hands and the face (and, solely according to the Hanafis, the feet). In front of Muslim women it is from the navel (not inclusive) to the knees (not inclusive according to the Shafi’is, Hanbalis and Malikis, inclusive according to the Hanafis), and with mahram men there are three opinions:
- It is from the shoulders (inclusive) down to the knees (inclusive). (Hanbali opinion)
- It is from the stomach (inclusive) down to the knees (inclusive according to the Hanafis, but not according to the Shafi’is and Malikis). (Hanafi, Shafi’i, and Maliki opinion)
- It is from the navel (not inclusive) to the knees (inclusive) when with either. (Alternate Hanafi opinion)
- For both genders, it is encouraged to wear loose clothing. Note that the awrah is not necessarily what is preferable to wear but what is the bare minimum. It is reported that Muhammadsaid, “Modesty is a part of faith.”
Oh yeah, ladies!!!