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Male doctor treating female patient

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwa.org.au
I am a revert and a heart surgeon. I am told that I am not allowed to touch opposite gender; however under the circumstances I have to operate on both male and female patients. What should be my course of actions?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

In normal circumstances, it is not permissible for one to touch an unrelated person of the opposite gender. However, when there is a genuine and dire necessity, it will be permissible to do so.

A woman should try her best to seek medical treatment from a female doctor. If that is not feasible — because a female doctor is not easily available or one is not satisfied with her medical treatment or there is some other valid (shar’i) excuse for not resorting to her treatment — then it will be permissible for her to go to a male doctor. In this case, it will be permissible for the male doctor to see and/or touch those parts of her body which he needs to see and/or to touch in order to diagnose or treat her illness.

In your situation, if a female patient comes to you and there are female heart surgeons available, you should advise her to resort to a female surgeon. However, if there are no female heart surgeons available or if the patient needs urgent attention and it would not be feasible to advise her to resort to a female surgeon then it will be permissible for you to operate on her provided that you only see and touch those parts of her body which will be required for the procedure. All other parts should be covered.

(Al-Fatawa Al-Hindiyaa: 5/330, Maktaba Rashidiya;  Kitabul Fatawa: 6/208)

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Faizal Riza

This answer was collected from Fatwa.org.au, which is connected to Darul Ifta Australia, based in Melbourne, Australia.
It is operated by Mufti Faizal Riza, a student of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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