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Last Updated: 2007/06/09
Summary of question
What is the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s fatwa on looking at non-mahrams?
question
What is the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s fatwa on looking at non-mahrams, and is it wajib for them to cover their feet in the presence of non-mahram men?
Concise answer

The Supreme Leader’s fatwa on looking at non-mahrams is the same as the late Imam Khomeini’s. Imam Khomeini says: “It is haram for men to look at the body of non-mahram women, regardless of whether it is with the intention of pleasure or not. Looking at the face and hands (up to the wrists) with the intention of pleasure is haram, but without it is permissible. Also, it is haram for women to look at the body of non-mahram men (with or without the intention of pleasure). Looking at the face, body and hair of non-baligh girls (girls who haven’t reached religious puberty) without the intention of pleasure and without fear of it causing them to fall into sin is permissible, but as an obligatory precaution, they mustn’t look at the parts that are usually covered, such as the thighs or stomach.”[1]

In response to this question: “What is the ruling on looking at a non-mahram woman’s face and hands and is it necessary for them to cover their feet in the presence of non-mahram men?”, Ayatollah Khamene’i says: “In the case that this question has assumed, looking at the hands and face is permissible, if it is without the intention of pleasure and the fear of falling into any other sin (as a result of looking), and if her face and hands haven’t been decorated in any way (e.g. make-up, jewelry and the like).”[2]

Concerning non-Muslim women, they have said: “It is permissible to look at the hands and face of the women of the People of the Book (such as Christians and Jews) without the intention of pleasure and without the fear of falling into haram acts.”[3]

Also, in response to the question: “What is the ruling on looking at the parts of the body that non-Muslim women usually don’t cover outside (other than the hands and face) such as the hair etc.?” they have answered that looking is permissible if there is no fear of falling into other sinful acts or any other problems.[4]



[1] Tawdih-Almasa’el (Al-Muhasha lil-Imam Al-Khomeini), v.2, pg. 485, ruling 2433.

[2] Masa’le Jadid az Didgahe Ulama va Maraje’e Taqlid, Seyyid Muhsin Mahmoodi, v.3, pg. 111.

[3] Tawdih-Almasa’el (Al-Muhasha lil-Imam Al-Khomeini), v.2, ruling 2434.

[4] From an Istifta from his office. Also see: Resaleye Daneshjooyi. Seyyid Mojtaba Hosseini, question 291.

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