Question # 57: I understand that ‘Awrah is a term used within Islam which denotes the intimate parts of the body, for both men and women, which must be covered with clothing. Exposing the awrah is unlawful in Islam and is regarded as sin. However, can you please explain the exact meaning of the word ‘awrah because it has been loosely translated as “nakedness” by many?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Linguistically, (Arabic: عورة‎) ‘awrah in Arabic means a weak point along a border and the like. In Misbaah al-Muneer it says: Everything that a person covers out of dignity or modesty is ‘awrah. According to the fuqaha’, everything that it is haram for a man or woman to uncover is ‘awrah. Covering the ‘awrah, in the terminology of the fuqaha’, means covering that of which exposure is shameful and causes shame, whether the individual is male or female or hermaphrodite. (al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah) (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

Further, according to Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary, the term ‘awrah or ‘awrat derives from the root ‘a-w-r which means defectiveness, imperfection, blemish or weakness. In Lisan al-Arab (ibn Manzur), ‘Awrah is an Arabic term the plural of which is awrat. Linguistically, it means a hidden and secret place, and [therefore,] a person’s ‘awrah is that which must be kept hidden. It also refers to everything that causes shame when exposed, thus, the ‘awrah of an individual is the area of the body which (normally) causes embarrassment if exposed.

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

 Wassalaam