Islamic concepts

ʿAwrah عورة — nudity

ALA-LC ʿawrah
IPA ˈʕæwrɑh

The ʿawrah is the private parts of a Muslim’s body. To expose your ʿawrah would be embarrassing.

Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘Faith has over 70 branches, and modesty is a branch of faith.” (reported by Abū Hurayrah in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

Man’s intimate parts

For ritual prayer and in public, men must cover all skin between the navel and knees. It’s preferable to also cover the shoulders.

Woman’s intimate parts

situations private parts non-private parts1

everything except

  • face
  • hands
  • feet (Shāfiʿī, some Ḥanafī)
  • feet (Mālikī, some Ḥanafī)
  • rest of body

from belly button to below knees
(front and back of body)

  • head and hair
  • face and neck
  • shoulders and breasts
  • arms and hands
  • legs from below knees
  1. Technically, a woman can show or be touched on her non-private parts, as long as there’s no risk of awkwardness or temptation. As a general rule, many non-private parts should be covered, unless there’s a practical reason to uncover them. For example, a woman can breastfeed in front of close male relatives.
  2. ‘Fellow women’: According to one opinion, it means Muslim women only. According to another, it means women she trusts, regardless of their religion.
  3. A woman can be completely naked when alone with her husband. However, even during lovemaking, it’s exemplary to maintain modesty. ʿĀʾishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) said ‘I never saw the private parts of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ.’ (Sunan Ibn Mājah, Ḥadīth #662)

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