Rules Regarding Looking, Touching and Examining
By: Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei’i
Question 40: Is one able to refer to a doctor of the opposite sex for something that a doctor of the same gender is able to do?
Answer: If the doctor of the same gender is able to cure the patient than it is impermissible to refer to a doctor of the opposite sex.
Question 41: Can a man refer to a woman doctor or a woman refer to a male doctor when there is a doctor of the same gender available for such things as injections or casting broken bones?
Answer: If the doctor of the same sex is able to cure the patient than it is impermissible to refer to a doctor of the opposite gender.
Question 42: When there are male and female doctors of the same caliber is it forbidden for a woman to refer to a male doctor? This examination includes looking and touching.
Answer: Refer to the previous answer.
Question 43: Male medical students examine different parts of a woman’s body and female medical students examine different parts of a man’s body in hospitals and medical centers. With keeping in mind that this is for learning and is part of the educational system of medicine, what ruling does this have and what is your position about its limits?
Answer: If the doctors in this country depend on the knowledge obtained from this method, the limit would be the minimum amount required. But, it is not permissible for pure intellectual purposes.
Question 44: Usually a few medical students are responsible for some patients in certain parts of a hospital. Are the medical students allowed to inspect patients of the opposite gender in order to gain experience, not to cure the patient?
Answer: If doctors in this country are dependant on the knowledge or experience gained through this, or there is another reason for it to become necessary there is no problem. Other than this, it is impermissible to look at the opposite gender.
Question 45: Even though there are women specialists and women workers in hospitals, usually male doctors or hospital workers help with giving birth. Is there any problem in this?
Answer: It depends on the necessity, if it is necessary there is no problem, but if it is not necessary there is a problem.
Question 46: Is there a problem with seeing pictures of nude women and men who are Muslim but unknown to the looker. The purpose of looking at the pictures is for medical knowledge.
Answer: There is no problem to look at pictures of someone that one does not know without lust or corruption.
Question 47: Many professors say that the best examination is a complete examination. If one does not pay attention to this the professor will complain about the student. But, the student, taking into consideration the conditions of the patient, determines that is unnecessary to perform many of the different types of examinations. What is the student’s duty in this situation?
Answer: The student must act according to his own religious duties.
Question 48: Today, in a certain city, there are male and female specialists in different fields of medicine. What ruling does going to a doctor of the opposite sex have in this city? What if the male doctor is more knowledgeable?
Answer: This is measured by necessity. If it is necessary there is no problem.
Question 49: Sometimes it is possible to examine a patient by using a mirror. What ruling does not paying attention to this have?
Answer: It is not permissible to touch or look at the (patient’s) body when one can be cured without touching or looking.
Question 50: Is it permissible for a male doctor to touch a female patient if there is or is not a female doctor present.
Answer: It is not permissible if it is not necessary.
Question 51: Is it permissible to use the bones found in Muslim graves to learn medicine? Does touching these bones necessitate a ghusl?
Answer: The mentioned bones must be buried, but if it is necessary for doctors to learn using these bones then there is no problem. If it is considered that a ghusl was performed on the dead bodies then there is no need to perform a ghusl after touching them. If possible, after using the bones they should be buried.
Question 52: What ruling does touching a part of a live human’s body that has died and become stiff have?
Answer: Like all other parts of a live human’s body, there is no special ruling.
Question 53: In the case where an external part of the body, for example an arm or leg from the opposite gender, is transferred to another person, does touching the transferred part have a problem?
Answer: If it has become part of his own body there is no problem in touching it.
Question 54: It is commonly seen that some laymen usually interfere in medical issues and tell patients to take certain medicine. What is the ruling if this causes death or serious injury?
Answer: If he was not a doctor and only advised a patient to take medicine and the patient, with his own will, took the medicine, there is no ruling regarding the layman.
Question 55: Women medical students have been taught enough regarding childbirth. Is there a necessity for men to be areas where women are giving birth because their presence causes them to see or touch women’s bodies?
Answer: According to the question it is not permissible.
Question 56: It is easy to check one’s pulse or blood pressure over a piece of cloth. Is it not forbidden to have a person of the opposite sex perform these procedures?
Answer: Touching and looking at the opposite sex is impermissible unless there is a necessity.
Question 57: If a part of a non-Muslim body is transferred to a Muslim body but does not come to life, what ruling does touching this part or praying with this part have?
Answer: If the ‘urf consider it part of his body then it has the same ruling as the other parts of his body.