What is the ruling for the Awra between father and daughters i.e. what age is it not permitted for a father to change their daughter’s nappy/clothes/or take them to the bathroom?



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

Praise be to Allah, and His Salutations and Peace be upon our Master Muhammad ﷺ, his believers and Companions.

The ‘Awra between father and daughters is anything between, and including at least a part, the navel and knee. Besides from this area the remaining areas are not considered ‘Awra; therefore, looking and touching besides the areas mentioned are permitted (of course where there is no desire, otherwise prohibited).

In the case of babies and toddlers for nappy changing/bathroom duties etc, it is permitted for the father to look and touch according to necessity. This is true throughout the duration of the baby/toddler’s development and training.


It is important to firstly understand what the term ‘Awra means. ‘Awra, in the Arabic language, is a term used to refer to an area(s) of the human body which are prohibited to be looked at or touched by certain individuals and may differ depending on situational context. These areas in many instances need to also be covered appropriately to protect it from either onlookers or because it is part of the modesty that even in private needs to be covered.

In this particular question, daughters in the presence of fathers, and vice versa, must never uncover any part of the body situated between the naval and the knee, including at least part of the navel and the knee as minimum, according to Shaykh Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Allah have mercy on him, whereas Shaykh Shams’ud-din ar-Ramli, Allah have mercy on him, states the whole navel and knee.

Even when covered it is still prohibited to look at this area. Our scholars have also stated in numerous texts that wherever it is prohibited to look, it is also prohibited to touch.

In the case of a baby or toddler daughter, our scholars have stated it is permitted for the father to look and touch the aforementioned ‘Awra area according to necessity, such as for nappy changing or bathroom duties, throughout the duration of the child’s development and training.

Shaykh Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974AH) states in Tuhfat’ul-muhtaj (7/195):

  الْأَصَحُّ حِلُّ النَّظَرِ (إلَى صَغِيرَةٍ) … (إلَّا الْفَرَجَ) فَيَحْرُمُ اتِّفَاقًا وَمَا فِي الرَّوْضَةِ عَنْ الْقَاضِي مِنْ حِلِّهِ عَمَلًا بِالْعُرْفِ ضَعِيفٌ نَعَمْ يَجُوزُ نَظَرُهُ وَمَسُّهُ لِنَحْوِالأم زَمَنَ الرَّضَاعِ وَالتَّرْبِيَةِ لِلضَّرُورَةِ أَمَّا الصَّبِيُّ فَيَحِلُّ نَظَرُ فَرْجِهِ مَا لَمْ يُمَيِّزْ

 “The Asah [position] is that it is permitted to look at (the child girl)…(except for the pubic area) where it prohibited, by agreement. As for what is mentioned in ar-Rawdah on the authority of al-Qadi [Husayn] that it is permitted due to custom is weak. It is permitted for the one like the mother to look and touch the child girl during the weaning and training period due to necessity. As for the child boy, it is permitted to look at his pubic area until they reach a stage of discernment [tamyiz].” 

We can gather from the above text that for a child girl it is permitted for the mother to touch and look at the private area due to necessity. In addition, the duration for this care is also specified in the text to be during the early years of the child’s training and development. In the following text, we shall see how this is not limited exclusively for the mother, rather it extends to whoever is responsible for caring for the child.

Shaykh Abdul Hamid ash-Sharwani (d. 1301AH) states in his sub commentary to Tuhfat’ul-muhtaj:

(قَوْلُهُ لِنَحْوِ الْأُمِّ إلَخْ) 
 أَيْ مِمَّنْ يَرْضِعُ بِهَا نِهَايَةٌ وَمُغْنِي قَالَ ع ش التَّعْبِيرُ بِالْإِرْضَاعِ جَرَى عَلَى الْغَالِبِ وَإِلَّا فَالْمَدَارُ عَلَى مَنْ يَتَعَهَّدُ الصَّبِيَّ بِالْإِصْلَاحِ وَلَوْ ذَكَرًا كَإِزَالَةِ مَا عَلَى فَرْجِهِ مِنْ النَّجَاسَةِ مَثَلًا وَكَدَهْنِ الْفَرَجِ بِمَا يُزِيلُ ضَرَرَهُ ثُمَّ لَا فَرْقَ فِي ذَلِكَ بِالنِّسْبَةِ لِمَنْ يَتَعَاطَى إصْلَاحَهُ بَيْنَ كَوْنِ الْأُمِّ قَادِرَةً عَلَى كَفَالَتِهِ وَاسْتِغْنَائِهَا عَنْ مُبَاشَرَةِ غَيْرِهَا وَعَدَمِهِ اهـ

“(such as the mother and her likes) meaning those who wean her, Nihayah and Mughni [reference to two books]. ‘Ayn Sheen [referring to Shaykh ‘Ali ash-Shabramallisi] says that particular reference to weaning is made as this is the common need, otherwise the basis is on whoever is caring for the child’s needs, even if male, such as removing filth from their private area and oiling it to remove harm. There is also no difference in whether the one caring for the child is doing so whether the mother is able to do this or not.”

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Written by,
Mohammed Jamili
Sheffield, UK
20th Dhul-Hijjah 1445