Can a woman see a man without desire.

Can a woman see men without desire.

Aisha radhiAllahanha said:

” دَخَلَ الْحَبَشَةُ الْمَسْجِدَ يَلْعَبُونَ فَقَالَ لِي : يَا حُمَيْرَاءُ؛ أَتُحِبِّينَ أَنْ تَنْظُرِي إِلَيْهِمْ ؟ فَقُلْتُ : ” نَعَمْ ، فَقَامَ بِالْبَابِ وَجِئْتُهُ فَوَضَعْتُ ذَقَنِي عَلَى عَاتِقَهُ فَأَسْنَدْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَى خَدِّهِ ” قَالَتْ : ” وَمِنْ قَوْلِهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَبَا الْقَاسِمِ طَيِّبًا ” فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : حَسْبُكِ فَقُلْتُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ لَا تَعْجَلْ ، فَقَامَ لِي ثُمَّ قَالَ : حَسْبُكِ فَقُلْتُ: ” لَا تَعْجَلْ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ ” قَالَتْ : ” وَمَا لِي حُبُّ النَّظَرِ إِلَيْهِمْ ، وَلَكِنِّي أَحْبَبْتُ أَنْ يَبْلُغَ النِّسَاءَ مَقَامُهُ لِي وَمَكَانِي مِنْهُ “.


“Habshi people entered the masjid playing, The Prophet said to me, Oh Humayra, do you like looking at them play? i replied yes. He stood by the door and i went to him and placed my chin on his shoulder, and leaned my face against his cheek, Those people repeated these words again and again on that day: “Abba al-Qasim Tayyaban” The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked me: “Is it enough now?” I said: O Messenger of Allah, do not hurry. He remained standing and (after some time) again asked: “Is it enough now?” I said: O Messenger of Allah, do not hurry. Actually I didn’t like to look at these people, I just wanted other women to know about my position in front of Prophet and his position in my eyes.

أخرجه النسائي في “السنن الكبرى” (8/ 181)، والطحاوي في “شرح مشكل الآثار” (1/ 268 وصححه ابن القطان في “أحكام النظر” (360)، والألباني في “السلسلة الصحيحة” (7/ 818)، وشعيب الأرناؤوط في “تخريج شرح مشكل الآثار” (292).

Mulla Ali al Qari said:

والأصح إنه يجوز نظر المرأة إلى الرجل فيما فوق السرة وتحت الركبة بلا شهوة وهذا الحديث محمول على الورع والتقوى قال السيوطي – رحمه الله – : كان النظر إلى الحبشة عام قدومهم سنة سبع ولعائشة يومئذ ست عشرة سنة وذلك بعد الحجاب فيستدل به على جواز نظر المرأة إلى الرجل اه . وبدليل أنهن كن يحضرن الصلاة مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في المسجد ولا بد أن يقع نظرهن إلى الرجال فلو لم يجز لم يؤمرن بحضور المسجد والمصلى ولأنه أمرت النساء بالحجاب عن الرجال ولم يؤمر الرجال بالحجاب

And the correct view is that it is permissible for a woman to look at a man above the navel and below the knee without desire, and this hadith (where Prophet peace be upon him prevented Maimoona and Umm Salamah ra to see Ibn Umm Maktoom) means (he peace be upon him stopped them due to) devoutness and piety.

al Suyuti said: Aisha ra saw Habashis (doing training and hopping in the masjid) in 9 AH and she was 16 years of age that time and it was after the verse of Hijab revealed, so this hadith can be used for permissibility of a woman to look at man.

And another evidence (of this permissibility) is that women used to attend the prayer with the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, in the mosque, and (it is not possible that) their gaze didn’t fall on the men. If it was not permissible, they would not be commanded to attend the masjid and prayer place (on eids), and (another evidence is that) because women were commanded to veil in front of men, and men were not commanded to veil.

(Mirqaat al Mafateeh no. 3116)

Note: Many scholars declared the hadith weak where Prophet peace be upon him prevented Maimoona and Umm Salamah ra to see Ibn Umm Maktoom, and others authenticated, but Abu Dawood said after narrating it:

“This was peculiar to the wives of the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him). Do you not see that Fatimah daughter of Qays passed her waiting period with Ibn Umm Maktum. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to Fatimah daughter of Qays: Pass your waiting period with Ibn Umm Maktum, for he is a blind man. You can put off your clothes with him.”(Sunan Abu Dawood Book 33, Hadith 4100)

Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said:

نظرة مجردة لا شهوة فيها ولا تمتع فهذه لا شيء فيها على الصحيح من أقوال أهل العلم ، وهي جائزة لما ثبت في الصحيحين ( أن عائشة رضي الله عنها كانت تنظر إلى الحبشة وهم يلعبون ، وكان النبي صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يسترها عنهم ) وأقرها على ذلك .

Simply looking with no desire or enjoyment; there is nothing wrong with this according to the correct scholarly view, and this is permissible because it was proven that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) watched the Ethiopians when they were playing in the mosque, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was screening her from them, and he approved of her doing that.

فتاوى المرأة المسلمة، اعتنى بها أشرف عبد المقصود، ج2 ص973.

P.s: Seeing men with desire is prohibited by consensus.