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IslamQA: The ruling on watching uncovered women on television

In answer to questions regarding whether it is permissible to watch people on television or in public not dressed according to the Islamic dress code, for example watching a female television presenter who does not wear the hijab

While the Quran prescribes what Muslims should wear on public, there are no Quranic verses or hadith narrations to help us formulate a clear policy regarding watching people not dressed according to the Islamic dress code. Many scholars have issued fatwas prohibiting watching non-hijabi women on television, or watching soccer matches where the men wear athletic shorts that end above the knee. But their prohibitions are not based on any clear evidence–they are extending the logic of the Islamic dress code into a different domain. Due to the lack of clear evidence regarding this issue, it is best to follow the common sense policy that the majority of Muslims already follow, which is to avoid watching sexually suggestive material while considering everything else neutral (such as watching non-hijabi television presenters and actresses).

Each person should judge the matter for themselves and according to each circumstance. When watching TV, it is sufficient to look away when sexually suggestive material is shown (for a example certain scenes of a film).

The Saudi scholar Dr. al-Sharīf al-ʿAwnī says regarding watching non-hijabi women on TV:

I cannot say with certainty that it is forbidden. I rather lean towards considering it a disliked thing. And if a Muslim can avoid it then it is better.

The Saudi scholar ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Suḥaym says there is no issue with watching non-hijabi females on television if there is no sexual desire involved.

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