Treating Female Patients

By Mufti Taqi Usmani
Posted: 14 Zul-Hijjah 1423, 16 February 2003

Q.) I am a Muslim doctor (male) in USA. Since Allah gave me hidayah, I have slowly endeavored to become a more practicing Muslim and try to remove any haram in my life. One big concern of mine at the moment is that as a Doctor in USA, it is very difficult to avoid female patients. Many times I find myself alone in consultation with a female patient, and then there's the examination. Is this allowed in Islam? Will I be committing a sin? Please advise me on this matter.

A.) Shariah has allowed a male medical practitioner to treat female patients. In the course of treatment the necessary examination is also allowed. However, you should try to persuade the female patients to consult a female doctor but if no female doctor is available or is not relied upon by the patient, it is lawful to treat them by taking all precautionary measures to save yourself from being in total privacy with them as far as possible and from exceeding the steps necessary for treatment.

Albalagh Note: It should be remembered that a female patient has a right to ask to be treated by a female physician and she is encouraged to exercise that right to the maximum extent possible. Further, if out of necessity she has to be examined by a male physician then it is suggested that the examination be limited to the area necessary for the treatment. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi suggested that she be covered in her dress and an opening be made into it to allow only the necessary area to be exposed.