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Touching male patients in the course of studies

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

I am studying in final year MBBS, in my ward related studies our teachers teach us on male patients and our placement is always in the male ward. Although there is a female ward but no batch is placed there. However we can go there on our own after class. Our classes take place in male ward and at times there are patients with certain findings which we might find in the female ward but we are not sure, and we might not as well, also as far as chest examination is concerned, we can’t do that on females as males are also present there and it is also difficult. So while studying we need to practise, now we do practice the procedure on ourselves but there are certain findings which we need to realize and which are found in the male patient. So can we touch the patient? And also look at him, below the umbilicus as it involves in palpation of spleen ,please explain to what extent we can touch and see male patients in course of our studies? Jazakalah.

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.


The ruling on whether male can treat or touch female genital organs or vice versa can be seen from the following ruling found in Allahmah Ibn Abideen Shami (RA) Raddul Muhtar.

If a Muslim female is in need of medical treatment, then one should endeavour and try that she is treated by a female doctor, or by a male Muslim doctor who is a relative of the female. (Raddul Muhtar P.529 V.9)

However, if that is not possible then in extreme and dire situations it will be permissible for a male doctor to examine and treat a female patient.

Allahmah Ibn Abideen Shami (RA) has written in his Raddul Muhtar:

“…And for the medical treatment in that a male doctor may look at (and treat) the effected area but only to the extent of need… And it is preferable that the male doctor teaches and instructs a female to treat her, for looking at someone from the same gender is a lesser of an evil.” (P.533 V.9)

He goes on to say; “If the treatment is on her private parts; then he should teach and instruct a female to treat her. If this is not possible and it is feared that the woman patient may die or undergo unbearable pains, only then it will be permissible for a male doctor to treat her, provided her non effected parts of the body are covered and provided he keeps his gaze as low as much as possible except from the effected area.” (Ibid)

I mentioned before that as there is a need for Muslim women to be involved in medicine leeway exists in touching male patients in the course of you studies if there is a need or it is part of your studies. However, touch what you are required to do and what is the minimum. Finally, I will remind you to remember to fear Allah (SWA) at all times and be conscious of His presence. Pray to Allah to save you from the mischief of the Nafs and Shaitan.

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.