Is it haram for a father to change his newborn baby's diaper?
Submitted by on Thu, 24/12/2009 - 19:40
Dear Brother / Sister,
Very little kids do not have private parts. It is until the age of four. It is permitted to look at or to touch the bodies of male or female kids below that age. After that age, until the age when sexual desire may be felt towards them, only their genitals are accepted as private parts and need to be covered. However, under necessary conditions it is permitted to look at children's private parts. And then until they become adolescent, until the age of ten, only the front and the hind organs and their vicinity and thighs are accepted as private parts. The private parts of children after the age of ten, whether male or female, both inside and outside of prayers, are accepted the same as adults. (Ibni Abidin, Raddu'l-Mukhtar, Egypt (n.d), I, 378)
According to Shafiis, a little girl's private parts are subject to the same rules as older women, whether inside or outside of prayers. According to Malikis, the private parts of a male kid at the age of seven in prayer are front and hind organs and thighs, groins and buttocks. It is mandub (religiously desirable) for such a kid to cover those parts as adults do. The private parts of a little girl who is commanded to perform prayers are between the belly and the knees. However, it is mandub for that female kid to cover herself as adult females do. And outside of prayers, there is no private parts for kids below the age of eight. (az-Zuhayli al-Fiqhu'l-Islami wa Adillatuh, 2. Edition, Damascus 1405/1985, I, 596)
It is not forbidden for men to look at female children's genitals and for women to look at male children's genitals. However, it is recommended that they be cautious in such matters and that they should not look at them unless they have to.
The same thing is valid for a father in terms looking at his female child's genitals. However, it is never permitted for a father to look at the genitals of his daughter whose lustful desires have developed.(Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen, Hukuku İslamiye, II. 93) Until that age, it is not forbidden to look. In this respect, it is permitted for a father to change the diaper of his female child and to bathe her when she is naked. However, the fact that it is permissible to look does not mean that he should not be cautious. It is better not to look and to behave cautiously as much as possible.
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