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Privacy in Islam

Privacy in Islam.

Nowadays asking for permission is a basic manner but it is not practiced by people here in Pakistan. Rather than ringing alarms or knocking on doors, they simply enter. This is very unIslamic behavior. We must respect everyone’s privacy, there are also sunnah practices which are mentioned below.

Allah has enjoined us to ask for permission as mentioned in Qur’an. We also have to train our children to follow the basic manner.

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لِيَسْتَـْٔذِنكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُكُمْ وَٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُوا۟ ٱلْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلَٰثَ مَرَّٰتٍۚ مِّن قَبْلِ صَلَوٰةِ ٱلْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَابَكُم مِّنَ ٱلظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِنۢ بَعْدِ صَلَوٰةِ ٱلْعِشَآءِۚ ثَلَٰثُ عَوْرَٰتٍ لَّكُمْۚ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌۢ بَعْدَهُنَّۚ طَوَّٰفُونَ عَلَيْكُم بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلْءَايَٰتِۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

O you who have believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times: before the dawn prayer and when you put aside your clothing [for rest] at noon and after the night prayer. [These are] three times of privacy for you. There is no blame upon you nor upon them beyond these [periods], for they continually circulate among you – some of you, among others. Thus does Allah make clear to you the verses [i.e., His ordinances]; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.

An-Nur 24:58

وَإِذَا بَلَغَ ٱلْأَطْفَٰلُ مِنكُمُ ٱلْحُلُمَ فَلْيَسْتَـْٔذِنُوا۟ كَمَا ٱسْتَـْٔذَنَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

And when the children among you reach puberty, let them ask permission [at all times] as those before them have done. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.

An-Nur 24:59

فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا۟ فِيهَآ أَحَدًا فَلَا تَدْخُلُوهَا حَتَّىٰ يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْۖ وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمُ ٱرْجِعُوا۟ فَٱرْجِعُوا۟ۖ هُوَ أَزْكَىٰ لَكُمْۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ

And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given you. And if it is said to you, “Go back,” then go back; it is purer for you. And Allah is Knowing of what you do.

An-Nur 24:28

This shows how great is Muslim’s rights over his brother when it comes to privacy. There are ahadith which we should practice.

Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, “When someone enters a house which is not lived in, he should say, ‘Peace be upon the righteous slaves of Allah.'”

Al Adab Al Mufrad 1055

Ibn ‘Umar reported that when his children had reached puberty and he had withdrawn to his room, none of them entered where he was except with his permission.

Al Adab al Mufrad 1058

We also have to ask our close family, whether it be our parents or siblings.

Alqama said, “A man came to ‘Abdullah and said, ‘Should I ask permission to go in where my mother is?’ He said, ‘At all times. Do you want to see her (exposed)?'”

Al Adab Al Mufrad 1059

Jabir said, “A man should ask permission from his son and his mother, even if she is old, his brother, his sister, and his father.”

Al Adab al Mufrad 1062

We should say greeting

Abu Hurayra said, “When someone comes in and does not say, ‘Peace be upon you,’ then say, ‘No,’ until he brings the key which is the greeting (salam).”

Al Adab al Mufrad 1067

Prophet peace be upon him gave us stern warning of violating the privacy.

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If a man looks into your house and you take some pebbles and gouge out his eye, there is no fault in you.”

Al Adab al Mufrad 1068

Anas said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was standing in prayer and a man looked into his room. He took an arrow from his quiver and aimed it at his eyes.”

Al Adab al Mufrad 1069

We can only ask for permission 3 times, if it exceeds that we should leave them alone.

Ubayd ibn Hunayn related to him that Abu Musa said, “I asked permission three times to come in to ‘Umar, but he did not give me permission and so I went away. He said, ”Abdullah, is it hard on you to be kept waiting at your door.’ I said, ‘I asked permission from you three times and you did not give me permission, so I went away (and we were commanded to do that).’

Al Adab al Mufrad 1073. (This hadith is lengthy)

If we are given an invitation it is permission.

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When one of you gives someone an invitation and the person you invited comes with your messenger, that is his permission to enter.”

Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1075

We must also look away and not look at the door directly so that we don’t look at prohibited things.

Abdullah ibn Busr, the Companion of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said that when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to a door when he wanted to ask permission to enter, he did not face it directly. He stood to the right or the left. If he was given permission, he went in. Otherwise he went away.

Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1078

It is not good to simply say “Me” when you are being asked about your idenifty

I came to the Prophet (ﷺ) in order to consult him regarding my father’s debt. When I knocked on the door, he asked, “Who is that?” I replied, “I” He said, “I, I?” He repeated it as if he disliked it.

Sahih al-Bukhari 6250

For more information please read these articles:

Guidelines on seeking permission to enter

She lives with her mother and her sister. Is it okay for her brothers to come in at any time on the grounds that this is the house of their deceased father?