How is a free Muslim woman dresses when there are other people near her?

Details of the Question
salam alikum wramatullah wbarakatu. I know that a woman can remove her hijab in front of her father in law. But I would like to know wich type of clothes is she allowed to wear in front of him... Is she required to wear long sleeves? can she wear pants or 'capris' I am really confused, I would like to get the information about the islamic proper way to dress in front of a mahram, in details. Thank you a lot and may Allah bless you for you help.
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

When a woman is alone at home, she should cover between her navel and knees. There are angels that never leave a person. Therefore, it is virtuous for a woman to cover between her navel and knees.


The Messenger of Allah said:


"Avoid being naked because there are beings that never leave you except when you are in the toilet and when you have sexual intercourse."


A woman can be dressed as she wishes when she is with her husband. There is no limit of dressing between the wife and husband. It is permissible for a woman to put on make-up and wear immodest dresses in order to make herself beautiful for her husband. There is no drawback to having her head uncovered and wearing short-sleeved dresses. 
It is recommended for a woman to keep herself clean, put on nice perfume and clean dresses when her husband is at home.  
It is permissible for a woman to wear nice clothes and jewelry and to put on make-up.


İbn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "As my wife adorns herself for me, I adorn myself for her. I do not want to take all of my rights from her so that she will not take all of her rights from me because Allah, the Exalted, stated the following: "And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them." (the Quran, al-Baqara:228.)
How is a free Muslim woman dresses when there are other people near her?
 

a) When she is with her husband: The wife and husband can look at any parts of their bodies. There is no obligation of covering between the wife and husband because sexual intercourse becomes legitimate as a result of Islamic marriage; so, there is no doubt that looking and touching, which are slighter than sexual intercourse, are legitimate. However, it is more appropriate in terms of good manners not to look at the private parts. In fact, the following was reported from Hazrat Aisha: "I have never looked at the sexual organ of the Prophet (pbuh)”, in another narration, ”I have never looked at his sexual organ, and she has never seen mine.". (see Ahmad b. Hanbal, VI, 63, 190; al-Qurtubi, ibid, XII, 154.)


b) When she is with her mahram relatives: The woman can uncover her hands, feet, arms, hair, ears, neck and shins when she is with her relatives that she can never marry like her father, son, brother, father-in-law and step-son. It is halal for them to look at those parts of the woman because it is necessary to carry out some tasks and services due to being relatives and being in the same place, and a mischief cannot be thought of. However, she cannot uncover her abdomen and back; it would be shamelessness. As a matter of fact, the husband starts the procedure of divorce by saying his wife, “You are like the back of my mother to me” in zihar divorce. In the verse that determines zihar and the way of returning from it in case of repentance (al-Mujadala 58/1, see Elmalılı, ibid, VII, 450 et al), the attention is attracted to the back of the mother. Therefore, the back and the abdomen of the woman should be regarded among the parts that need to be covered in the presence of relatives. Since we will examine the relatives that a woman can be without cover when she is with them below, we have explained it shortly here.


c) When she is with other women: The parts of a woman that need to be covered when she is with other women are between her navel and knees. A woman can uncover the other parts (al-Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar, l, 45.). However, polytheist women are excluded. Therefore, it is not permissible for a woman to uncover her mahram parts when she is with women polytheists or deniers.  As a matter of fact, scholars like İbn Jurayj, Ubada b. Nusay and Hisham al-Qari' regard it makrooh (abominable) for a Muslim woman to be kissed by a Christian woman or to show her mahram parts to a Christian woman.  Ubada b. Nusay mentions the following letter that Hazrat Umar wrote to Abu Ubayda b. al-Jarrah (d. 18/639): "I heard that the women of the People of Zimmah (Christians and Jews) enter public baths together. Prevent them from doing it because it is not permissible for a zimmi to see a Muslim woman naked. When Abu Ubayda received the letter, he made the following announcement: If a woman goes to a public bath without any excuse, she means to whiten her face. May Allah blacken her face on the day of Judgment, when faces whiten (see Aal-e-İmran, 3/106,107.)." (al-Qurtubi, ibid, XII, 155.) Abdullah b. Abbas (d. 68/687) explains the reason why the non-Muslim women are excluded regarding the issue as follows: "It is not halal for a Muslim woman to be seen uncovered by a Christian or Jewish woman because they may tell their husbands about the uncovered state of the Muslim women. " (al-Qurtubi, ibid, XII, 155.) However, the issue has led to different opinions among Islamic scholars. As a matter of fact, there is a fatwa stating that a Muslim woman does not have to uncover her body when she is with her female slave.


d) When she is with non-mahram men: All of the body of a Muslim woman except her face, hands up to her wrists, and her feet is mahram for non-mahram men. Although there is disagreement about the feet, according to the sound opinion, the feet can be left uncovered. Those parts have to be covered both during the prayers and outside the prayers. We mentioned the form of covering the head and body and the qualifications of tasattur above. Therefore, we have mentioned it shortly. 


e) Uncovering the body due to an obligation or treatment: When there is an obligation like treatment, it is permissible for doctors, midwives, people who give injections and dressers to look at and to touch mahram parts. However, women should prefer women doctors, midwives and health personnel about their health problems. When they are not available of if they are available but they are not as good the male doctors in terms of expertise and skills, then the rule: “Obligations make objectionable things mubah (permissible)” is applied. However, the obligations are evaluated based on their quantities (Majallah), items 21, 22)

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