Covering the Awrah

Question:

As there are many sectors including the military where people wear special outfits for physical exercises and which uncover some parts of the body beneath the navel and half or more of the thigh and due to the spread of these kinds of clothes, we want your Eminence to give us your Fatwa regarding this issue and explain the legal ruling as it has become so familiar seeing many people wearing these outfits as if they have become permissible these days. May Allah reward you with the best.

Answer:

According to the consensus of Muslim scholars, covering the ‘Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in public) is Wajib (obligatory). The whole body of the woman is ‘Awrah, whereas the front and back private parts of the man is regarded as ‘Awrah by consensus of scholars. The most preponderant view of scholars is that man’s ‘Awrah is from the navel to the knees, for what is narrated from ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Do not uncover your thigh, and do not look at the thigh of the living and the dead” Related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah. 1

It is also related on the authority of Muhammad ibn Jahsh that he said, “The Messenger of Allah passed while Ma’mar was sitting and his thighs were uncovered. He (the Prophet) said, ‘O Ma’mar! Cover your thighs for they are ‘Awrah.’” Related by Ahmad in his Musnad and Al-Bukhari in his Sahih as Mu`allaq (a Hadith missing a link in the chain of narration, reported directly from the Prophet), and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak. 2

It is also related by Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The thigh is a private part.3 Related by Al-Tirmidhy and Ahmad with the wording: The Prophet (peace be upon him) passed by a man whose thigh was uncovered. He (peace be upon him) said, “Cover you thigh as the thigh is a private part.4

Furthermore, it is related on the authority of Jarhad Al-Aslamy that he said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) passed by me while I was wearing a burdah (garment) and my thigh was uncovered. He (peace be upon him) said, ‘Cover your thigh as the thigh is a private part.’” Related by Malik in Al-Muwatta’, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and he commented on it saying that it is Hasan. 5

Such Hadiths support one another, and when taken as a whole they provide the required evidence.


  1. Abu Dawud, nos. 3124 and 3996. 

  2. Imam Ahmad, vol. 5, p. 290. 

  3. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on manners, no. 2798; and Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on public baths, no. 4014. 

  4. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on manners, no. 2798; Book on remembrance of Allah, supplication, repentance and seeking forgiveness, 1, p. 275. 

  5. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on manners, no. 2795; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on publica baths, no. 4014; Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 479; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Book on asking permission, no. 2650. 

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions