Praise be to Allaah.
A woman’s ‘awrah before her
mahrams such as her father, brother, and brother’s son is her entire body
except that which ordinarily appears such as the face, hair, neck, forearms
and feet. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“and not to reveal their
adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s
fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their
brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their
sisters in Islâm)”
So Allaah has permitted a
woman to show her adornment before her husband and her mahrams. What is
meant by adornments is the places where adornments are worn, so the site of
the ring is the hand, the site of the bracelet is the forearm, the site of
the earring is the ear, the site of the necklace is the neck and chest, and
the site of the anklet is the calf.
Abu Bakr al-Jasaas said in
his Tafseer: The apparent meaning indicates that it is permissible to
show one’s adornments to the husband and those who are mentioned alongside
him, such as the father and others. It is well known that what is meant is
the places where adornments are worn, which are the face, hand and forearm.
… This implies that it is permissible for those mentioned in the verse to
look at these places, which are the sites of concealed adornment, because at
the beginning of the verse it states that non-mahrams are allowed only to
see the external adornment, and it is permissible for the husband and
mahrams to see the hidden adornments. It was narrated from Ibn Mas’ood and
al-Zubayr (that it refers to) earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets.
The husband and those who
are mentioned alongside him are equal with regard to that. The general
meaning indicates that it is permissible for those mentioned to look at the
places where adornment is worn, just as it indicates that it is permissible
for the husband to do so. Because Allaah mentioned alongside the father
other mahrams to whom it is permanently forbidden to marry her, this
indicates that those to whom the same prohibition applies come under the
same ruling, such as the daughter’s husband, wife’s mother, women who are
mahrams due to breastfeeding, and so on. End quote.
Al-Baghawi (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said: The words of Allaah, “and not to reveal their
adornment” mean that they should not uncover their adornments before
non-mahrams. What is referred to here is hidden adornments. There are two
types of adornment, apparent and hidden. The hidden adornments include
things such as the anklets, henna on the feet, bracelets on the wrist,
earrings and necklaces. It is not permissible for her to show them or for a
non-mahram to look at them. What is meant by adornment is the site where the
adornment is worn. End quote.
It says in Kashshaaf
al-Qinaa’ (5/11): A man may look at the face, neck, hand, foot, head and
calf of a mahram. Al-Qaadi said, based on this report: It is permissible (to
look at) that which ordinarily appears such as the head and hands up to the
elbows. End quote.
These mahrams may vary with
regard to closeness and being free of fitnah. Hence a woman may show before
her father that which she should not show before her husband’s son.
Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Because Allaah mentioned
husbands first and then mahrams, and stated that they were equal with regard
to showing adornment, but their status varies according to human nature. No
doubt uncovering before a father or brother is safer than uncovering before
her husband’s son, so they vary in what may be uncovered before them, and
one may show to the father what one may not show to the husband’s son. End
Based on this, the woman
must cover her breasts when she wants to breastfeed her son in the presence
of any of her mahrams, so she may offer her child the breast beneath a
blanket and the like. This is part of modesty and keenness to remain
For more information please
see the answer to question no.
And Allaah knows best.