The Islamic Ruling on Tending to the Cleanliness of Old People in Care Homes

16th August 2016


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

Question: What is the Islamic ruling regarding a person working in care home looking after the old which also requires cleaning their privates? Is it permissible or does one need to look for an alternative job?  

الجواب حامداً و مصلياً

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful



From the Islamic legal perspective, the person in question is not required to look for an alternative job. Working in care homes in looking after the old and sick people is a rewardable act in Islām. The question of cleaning their private area during their care is inevitable. As this is part of the job when working in care homes, it would be permissible as a necessity based on the rule that necessity permit prohibited acts.[1] The jurists have permitted a doctor to view the private area of a man or woman during surgical operation as a necessity. This is also applicable to cleaning the private area in the sense that both cases require tending to remove unwanted substance or harm, namely filth in this case which is a fundamental requirement in Islām for ones Ibādāt (worships) to be accepted. Islam allows exposure of the private area for this reason otherwise in normal circumstances it disallows it. As the rule of necessity applies, the following conditions must be met;[2]

  1. Only that area should be exposed which is necessary. Seeing or exposing anything beyond the required area is not allowed because necessity is restricted only to its required perimeter.
  2. Carers of the same gender as the patient should clean the private area. In other words, female carers should clean female patients and male patients should tend to male patients. This is because in the case of necessity, exposure of the private area to the same gender is considered a lesser degree harm than that of the opposite gender. Should this be near impossible for instance, carers are not allocated to one specific patient and due to the nature of the job, the time schedule varies as carers are rotated between different patients then as a last resort the carer can clean the private area of the opposite gender. But caution must be taken that carers do not look at the private parts of the patients unnecessarily. This also goes for female carer cleaning male patient also.



[Allãh Knows Best]



Written by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed

Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam

JKN Fatawa Department


[1] Kasāni, Badā’i Sanā’i, Kitābul Istihsān, vol 6, p. 499

لِأَنَّ الْحُرُمَاتِ الشَّرْعِيَّةَ جَازَ أَنْ يَسْقُطَ اعْتِبَارُهَا شَرْعًا لِمَكَانِ الضَّرُورَةِ كَحُرْمَةِ الْمَيِّتَةِ وَشُرْبِ الْخَمْرِ حَالَةَ الْمَخْمَصَةِ وَالْإِكْرَاهِ لَكِنَّ الثَّابِتَ بِالضَّرُورَةِ لَا يَعْدُو مَوْضِعَ الضَّرُورَةِ لِأَنَّ عِلَّةَ ثُبُوتِهَا الضَّرُورَةُ وَالْحُكْمُ لَا يَزِيدُ عَلَى قَدْرِ الْعِلَّةِ هَذَا الَّذِي ذَكَرْنَا حُكْمُ النَّظَرِ وَالْمَسِّ


[2] Durrul Mukhtār wa Ibn Ābideen as-Shāmi, Kitābul Al-Hazr wal Ibāhat-Fasl Fin Nazr wal Lums, vol 9 p. 532-3

وَشِرَائِهَا وَمُدَاوَاتِهَا يَنْظُرُ) الطَّبِيبُ (إلَى مَوْضِعِ مَرَضِهَا بِقَدْرِ الضَّرُورَةِ) إذْ الضَّرُورَاتُ تَتَقَدَّرُ بِقَدْرِهَا)

وَقَالَ فِي الْجَوْهَرَةِ: إذَا كَانَ الْمَرَضُ فِي سَائِرِ بَدَنِهَا غَيْرَ الْفَرْجِ يَجُوزُ النَّظَرُ إلَيْهِ عِنْدَ الدَّوَاءِ، لِأَنَّهُ مَوْضِعُ ضَرُورَةٍ، وَإِنْ كَانَ فِي مَوْضِعِ الْفَرْجِ، فَيَنْبَغِي أَنْ يُعَلِّمَ امْرَأَةً تُدَاوِيهَا فَإِنْ لَمْ تُوجَدْ وَخَافُوا عَلَيْهَا أَنْ تَهْلِكَ أَوْ يُصِيبَهَا وَجَعٌ لَا تَحْتَمِلُهُ يَسْتُرُوا مِنْهَا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إلَّا مَوْضِعَ الْعِلَّةِ ثُمَّ يُدَاوِيهَا الرَّجُلُ وَيَغُضُّ بَصَرَهُ مَا اسْتَطَاعَ إلَّا عَنْ مَوْضِعِ الْجُرْحِ


Ibn Nujaim, Bahr Raiq, Kitābul Karahiyyah-Fasl Fin Nazr wal Lums, vol 8 p. 353

وَالطَّبِيبُ إنَّمَا يَجُوزُ لَهُ ذَلِكَ إذَا لَمْ يُوجَدْ امْرَأَةٌ طَبِيبَةٌ فَلَوْ وُجِدَتْ فَلَا يَجُوزُ لَهُ أَنْ يَنْظُرَ لِأَنَّ نَظَرَ الْجِنْسِ إلَى الْجِنْسِ أَخَفُّ وَيَنْبَغِي لِلطَّبِيبِ أَنْ يُعَلِّمَ امْرَأَةً إنْ أَمْكَنَ وَإِنْ لَمْ يُمْكِنْ سَتَرَ كُلَّ عُضْوٍ مِنْهَا سِوَى مَوْضِعِ الْوَجَعِ ثُمَّ يَنْظُرُ وَيَغُضُّ بِبَصَرِهِ عَنْ غَيْرِ ذَلِكَ الْمَوْضِعِ إنْ اسْتَطَاعَ لِأَنَّ مَا ثَبَتَ لِلضَّرُورَةِ يَتَقَدَّرُ بِقَدْرِهَا