Ruling on a woman removing her clothes in a place other than her own house
I came out of the bathhouse and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Where are you coming from, O Umm ad-Darda’?” I said: From the bathhouse. He said: By the One in Whose hand is my soul, there is no woman who removes her clothes in a place other than the house of one of her mothers but she is destroying every screen between her and the Most Merciful, may He be glorified and exalted.”
At-Targheeb wa’t-Tarheeb, 1/119
“There is no woman who removes her clothes in a place other than her husband’s house but she has removed the screen between her and her Lord.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in ad-Radd al-Mufhim, p. 73
My question is: We have a sports club near us that is a respectable place and very well monitored. Inside it there is a room for exercise that is only for women. All the women in charge of this building and those who frequent it are religiously committed and wear hijab, and they do not allow any man to enter it at all. The doctor has advised me and my sister to exercise in order to overcome our general state of weakness and muscular and joint pain. They have also given similar advice to my mother, because she suffers from osteoporosis. My sister and I go to that gym wearing full hijab and covering ourselves properly, but when we enter it we exercise wearing clothing like that which we wear in front of our mahrams; there is no indecency there or extreme uncovering at all; only our heads and forearms are uncovered, and that is in safe rooms that are entirely enclosed inside this building, and all the people around us are women. Is it permissible for us to do that or does it come under the heading of what is forbidden by the two hadeeths quoted above?
I would also like to find out from you any exemptions to the prohibition in the two hadeeths if there is any? Does it also mean that it is not permissible to go to beauty parlours or hairdressers who work with women who wear hijab for the purpose of simple and permissible beautification in which there is nothing that is contrary to the laws of Allah, in places that are safe, where all the workers are women, even if one of my mahrams is going to take me there and back by car? (And does that apply) even if I am a bride and even if it requires me to uncover a little as a woman uncovers in front of her mahrams?
What is the ruling on beauty parlours or cosmetic surgery clinics that are operating on a larger scale than that and in which more extensive procedures are carried out?
I hope that you can respond in detail; may Allah reward you with good.
Ahmad (6/173), Abu Dawood (4010) and at-Tirmidhi (2803) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that some women from Homs asked permission to enter upon her, and she said: Perhaps you are among those who enter bathhouses? I heard the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “There is no woman who removes her clothes anywhere other than her husband’s house, but she has torn the screen that is between her and Allaah.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah.
This hadeeth indicates that it is haraam for a woman to take off her clothes anywhere but in her own house. What is meant by that is if she removes her clothes in a place where she is not safe from being seen by men who are not her mahrams, or there is the fear that that may result in fitnah or falling into something haraam.
Al-Manaawi said in Fayd al-Qadeer, 3/176:
“Removing her clothes anywhere other than her husband’s house” is a metaphor for her being seen by non-mahrams and not being concealed from them.
“she has torn the screen that is between her and Allaah” – because Allah, may He be exalted, sent down garments for them to conceal their ‘awrah, Which is the garment of piety. So if a woman does not fear Allah and she uncovers her ‘awrah, she has torn the screen between her and Allah, may He be exalted, as she has exposed herself and did not protect herself, and she has betrayed her husband, so Allah will remove the screen that is concealing her. The punishment fits the misdemeanour and what is meant by removing the screen is scandal. End quote.
He also said (3/189):
Because if she does not adhere to what is being enjoined upon her of covering herself before non-mahrams, she will be requited for that and the requital fits the misdemeanour. It seems that removing clothing refers to her uncovering herself before a non-mahram man so that he may engage in intimacy with her or in that which leads to it. This is something different from her removing her clothing among other women whilst being careful to cover the ‘awrah, as there is no way that this could be included in this warning. End quote.
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 17/224:
What the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) meant, and Allah knows best, was to prevent a woman from being careless with regard to removing her clothing anywhere but in the house of her husband in such a way that her ‘awrah could be seen and then she may be accused of seeking to commit immoral actions and so on. As for removing clothing in a safe place, such as in the house of her family or her mahrams in order to change her clothes, or to relax and other permissible aims that are far removed from fitnah, there is nothing wrong with that. End quote.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Fataawa Noor ‘ala ad-Darb (Commentary on hadeeths and their classification):
This hadeeth, if it is saheeh, which says that the one who removes her clothing anywhere but in the house of her husband has torn the screen – if it is saheeh, then what is meant is if a woman removes her clothing in a situation where there is the fear that she may be seen by one for whom it is not permissible for him to see her. End quote.
Based on that, there is nothing wrong with a woman removing her clothing outside her house for a necessary purpose, when she is safe from anyone seeing her ‘awrah, such as in her mother’s or sister’s house, or in indoor clubs that are only for women, or in beauty parlours where no one goes except women… And so on.
With regard to going to the hairdressers, there is nothing wrong with it if the place is only for women and there are no haraam things there such as plucking the eyebrows, imitating kaafir or immoral women, or uncovering that which it is not permitted to uncover of ‘awrahs, and it is only limited to beautifying the hair and face.
With regard to cosmetic centres, the basic principle concerning various kinds of cosmetic procedures is that if it is done to remove a defect that is disfiguring to the body, there is nothing wrong with it, but if the aim is to go to extremes in beautification, and not to remove a defect, then it is haraam.
You will find more details on that on our website under the heading “Clothing, adornment and images”
And Allah knows best.