I want to get an explanation of two seemingly contradictory Hadith. One is from Tirmidhi Sahrif where its Baab is Ummul Muminin Aisha (RA) never saw the private parts of Rasulullah (PBUH) and reverse also. Another place (Hayatus Sahaba written by Mawlana Yusuf (RA) in the chapter of Sahabahs Shyness and Modesty) where Rasulullah (PBUH) stated that (its more or less meaning is) ALLAH SWT made the couple as libaas(dress) to each other, So they (Rasul of ALLAH and his wives) see their private parts. He (PBUH) made this comment on the shyness of Uthman ibn Maj'oon (RA). There its rewat was written from Sa'ad ibn Masud and Umarah ibn Guraab (RA).
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh
Hadith of Hayatus-sahaaba :-
و اخرج ابن سعد عن سعد بن مسعود رضى الله عنه و عمارة بن غراب اليحصبى ان عثمان بن مظعون رضى الله عنه اتى النبى صلى الله عليه و سلم فقال : يا رسول الله انّى لا احبّ ان ترى امرأتى عورتى , قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم " و لم " قال استحيى من ذلك و اكرهه , قال " انّ الله جعلها لك لباسا و جعلك لها لباسا و اهلى يرون عورتى و انا ارى ذلك منهم " قال انت تفعل ذلك يا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال " نعم " قال فمن بعدك , فلما ادبر قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم " انّ ابن مظعون لحيّي ستّير "
Hayaatus-Sahaabah Pg. 555 Vol. 2 (Darul Qalam)
Hadith of Tirmidhi:-
قالت عائشة رضى الله عنها ما نظرت الى فرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم او قالت ما رايت فرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قط
Shamaa'il at-Tirmidhi Pg. 24 (Qadeemi)
1) Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was the perfect and complete example for all mankind, likewise all his attributes, be it his outward appearance or his character, where of the highest standard.
· Shame and modesty are qualities, not only encouraged in Islaam, but rather emphasized and stressed upon.
· Due to this fact, Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would have been the embodiment of these qualities.
· Abu Saeed al-Khodhri has described the practical modesty and shyness of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to be more than a young virgin girl that is extremely modest and bashful.
عن ابى سعيد الخدرى قال كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم اشدّ حياء من العذرء فى خدرها و كان اذا كره شيئا عرفناه فى وجهه
Shamaa'il at-Tirmidhi Pg. 24 (Qadeemi)
· Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم)) had also verbally emphasized upon modesty stating "For every religion there is a salient characteristic, the salient characteristic of Islaam is modesty."
عن زيد بن طلحة قال قال رسول اللهصلى الله عليه و سلم انّ لكلّ دين خلقا و خلق الاسلام الحياء
Mishkaat Pg. 432 (Qadeemi)
· The sentiment expressed in the hadith of Hayaatus-sahaabah is not in conformity with the numerous ahaadith that indicate the excessive modesty of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
· Based on this fact we should consider the following point :-
o The عورة (private parts) are divided into two types.
لانّ العورة نوعان غليظة و خفيفة
Fathul-Qadeer Vol. 1 Pg. 262 (Darul-fikr)
1) – عورة خفيفة – Those part of the body which are necessary to cover, but are not very intimate e.g. the back of a women, or the thighs of a man.
و العورة الخفيفة ما عدا القبل و الدبر
Al-Binaiyah Pg. 147 Vol. 2 (Darul – fikr)
2) – عورة غليظة – Those parts of the body which are very intimate i.e. the hind side and the reproductive organs.
و العورة الغليظة هى القبل و الدبر
Fathul – Qadeer Pg. 262 Vol. 1 (Darul-fikr)
العورة الغليظة هى القبل و الدبر
Al-Binaiyah Pg. 147 Vol. 2 (Darul-fikr)
The reference made to عورة in the hadith is in fact indicative of عورة خفيفة (less intimate) rather than عورة غليظة (intimate). That is, possibly the back or a portion of the thigh was seen, but due to the dictates of extreme modesty the intimate private parts where not seen, thus conforming to the narration of Ayesha (رضى الله عنها) that she had never seen the private parts of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عليه و سلم) i.e. she had seen the less intimate, but the intimate was not seen and vice versa.
B) The words describing Uthmaan bin Maz'oon are حيى, ستّير these are on the Arabic morphological scale of فعيل which gives the word the meaning of excessiveness. That is, Uthmaan bin Maz'oon was extremely bashful and modest, to the extent that the considered those acts which where not shameless or immodest to be shameless and immodest.Therefore it is possible that he considered the less intimate private parts, which by looking at does not constitute an immodest act e.g. like looking at the back or shoulder of one's wife or the wife seeing the knee or thigh of her husband, to be in the same category as the intimate private parts. Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was pointing out to him the difference.
And Allah knows best
Ml. Abdul Hameed,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah