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Awrah for children in public

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

Q. My questions are regarding our usage and practices on our beaches. Are there any awrah for children between the ages from birth to 8 years old? Lots of parents are careless in changing the clothes of their children in beaches, in the presence of relatives, in public places, etc. What are your opinion on adults who wears the hijab, but takes it out on the beach?

A. The awrah to be covered by an adult male or female is not the same for small children until 8 years. This means that just as a man is required to cover the area between the navel and the knees, this is not essential upon a boy child who is 8 years old. In the same manner, it is not essential for a girl at 8 years old to cover her entire body as it is essential for an adult woman. However, even though this ruling is not upon them, the Shariah prescribes that their ‘grave awrah’ (that is the area of the private organs, including the chest of the young girl) be covered as far as possible. This means that the habit of some parents in having their young children naked in front of others, whether at the beach or another place, is not allowed in the Shariah. It should however be noted that if the young girl is of such a built that she looks like one who has reached the age of puberty or her state is such that males can cast lustful gazes upon her due to her physique, then in this case, she will be required to cover herself like that of an adult female, even though she may still be at a tender age below the age of puberty.

With respect to females taking off their hijab at the beach, this is totally haram.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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