Looking at Others
Ayatullah al-`Uzma al-Hajj ash-Shaykh Lutfullah as-Safi al-Gulpaygani
One of the gifts from Allah to makind is the gift of sight. We must use this great blessing in the path towards perfection and to improve others, and ourselves and thus we must prevent ourselves from looking at those people whom we are not permitted to look at. Looking at the natural and apparent parts, as long as it is does not intrude on the rights of others is not a problem. Protecting others and ourselves from looking at others, to whom one is a Non-Mahram has specifics, and some of these will be explained in this chapter.
Mahram and Non-Mahram
Issue 443: A Mahram is that person who one is allowed to look at - to a certain extent - more than others, and with whom marriage is Haram.
Issue 444: The following people are Mahram for boys and men:
• Mother and Grandmother
• Daughter and Granddaughter
• Niece - Daughter of one's sister
• Niece - Daughter of one's brother
• Aunt (Father’s sister) - One's own aunt, his father’s aunt and his mother’s aunt
• Aunt (Mother’s sister) - One's own aunt, his father’s aunt and his mother’s aunt
The above group of people, by blood relations are Mahram; and there is another group which are also Mahram by means of marriage for the boy or man and these include:
• Wife's Mother (Mother-in-Law) and the wife’s Grandmothers
• Wife of her father (Stepmother)
• Wife of her son (Daughter-in-Law)
• The wife of one’s brother and the sister of one’s wife are Non-Mahrams.
Issue 445: These people are Mahram to a girl and woman:
• Father and Grandfather
• Son and the son of her child (Grandson)
• Nephew - Son of one's sister
• Nephew - Son of one's brother
• Uncle (Father’s brother) - One's own uncle, her mother’s uncle and father’s uncle
• Uncle (Mother’s brother) - One's own uncle, her mother’s uncle and father’s uncle
The above group of people, by their own blood relations are Mahram, and another group is also Mahram by marriage on the girl or woman. These include:
• Husband's Father (Father-in-Law) and the husband’s Grandfathers
• Husband of one's daughter (Son-in-Law)
• The husband of her sister and the brother of her husband are Non-Mahrams.
With the exception of those who have been listed, it is possible that others - by the way of marriage and with certain conditions - may also become Mahram of each other, and these instances are mentioned in the detailed books of Fiqh.
Issue 446: If a woman breast feeds a child according to the specific conditions that are mentioned in the books of Fiqh, then that child will become a Mahram for that woman and certain others. For a better understanding of this rule, please refer to the “Islamic Laws” rule number 2483.
Looking at Others
Issue 447: With the exception of the husband and wife, it is Haram to look at any other person with the intention of deriving pleasure or lustfully, even if that person is of the same sex. For example, a man looking at another man; or someone of the opposite sex, for example, a man looking at a woman, whether or not he/she is a Mahram or a Non-Mahram, and this rule applies for looking at any part of the body.
Issue 448: Boys and men may look at the complete body with the exception of the private parts, of a woman who is their Mahram as long as it is without lust or the intention of deriving pleasure.
Issue 449: Boys and men are not allowed to look at the body or hair of a Non-Mahram woman, but to look at the hands up to the wrist, and the face, in that amount that must be washed in Wudhu - without the intention of pleasure or lust, is no problem.
Issue 450: Girls and women are allowed to look at the head, face, hands and feet of Non-Mahram men, in that amount which is normally uncovered, as long as it is not done with the intention of deriving pleasure.