A male medical student watching a female patient undergoing an operation

A: The basic rule is that it is obligatory for men and women to cover their `Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in public). A man's `Awrah is the part between his navel and knees. A free woman's `Awrah is her whole body except the face and hands during Salah (Prayer) and Ihram (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah). If non-Mahram (marriageable) men can see the woman, (Part No. 24; Page No. 412) she has to cover her face and body during Salah or Ihram. However, it is permissible to uncover their `Awrah, if there is a need for this. Also it is permissible to look at the `Awrah of another person, if there is a religious benefit in this. This applies to students' observing women during obstetrical and gynecological surgeries for learning and success in these subjects to move to a new stage of study until graduation. The religious interest of this act is to have an adequate number of Muslim doctors. Otherwise, Muslims will have to consult non-Muslim doctors which involves many harms, while the Islamic Shari`ah calls for bringing good and warding off harm.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.