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Decisions and recommendations of AMJA’s tenth annual convention - Kuwait

اضغط هنا لقراءة توصيات المؤتمر باللغة العربية

The Declarations of the Tenth Annual Convention of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America on:

Recent Issues Facing the Muslim Woman Outside of the Muslim Lands

 

Women and Education

It is obligatory to separate between the sexes in Islamic schools starting from the age of ten, if the school has enough halls and teaches to accommodate that, in order to preserve virtues and to block off the means to temptations. It is obligatory that the educational policies of Muslims societies be structured on this premise as well.

If it would be difficult to separate between the sexes due to lack of space or ability, as an exemption, it would be acceptable to seat the females behind the males while ending to the Islamic principles of mixing between the sexes. If possible, there should be separate entrances for the male and female students.

It is prohibited for a woman to be in seclusion with a non-mahram man, even if be for the purpose of teaching or learning. What is meant by seclusion here is wherein they are behind closed doors or wherein they are safe from being seen by anyone else.

If the common situation is that of mixing between the sexes in the educational institutions and there is no Shareeah compliant alternative, then it is permissible for Muslim women to join such educational institutions. They must adhere to the Shareeah principles related to mixing between men and women and Islamic dress. They must avoid flirtatious speech, being alone with the opposite sex and similar such things.

If the education system demands that the schooling takes place in a setting where men and women are mixed and not separated, there is an exemption for women to participate and be present in the public places, such as auditoriums, classroom, library halls and the like, adhering to  the Shareeah principles relating to the mixing of men and women.

The norm is for men to teach men and women to teach women. It is acceptable due to need for one of the sexes to teach the other, as long as they it is an environment free of temptation and the Shareeah protocols of interaction between the sexes are adhered to.

The norm is for the Muslim female in a mixed education environment to sit next to other female students. However, if she came late and could not find a free seat except next to a male, it is permissible for her to sit next to him as long as there is some distance and no contact between them.  

The norm in the relationship between women and non-related men is that of lowering the gaze. The prohibition of either sex looking at the other is a form of blocking the means of something that may lead to great harm. As such, looking at the opposite sex is then permitted if there is need, necessity or greater benefit in doing so, such as when a suitor looks at a prospective bribe, when a doctor looks at a female patient, when a student looks at a female teacher, when one is giving witness, when one is acting as a judge and so forth. Religious and worldly education are both general needs for men and women. Thus, what is necessary for teaching or learning is then permitted. However, it should be noted that women looking at men is, in general, more acceptable than vice-versa according to the majority of the scholars, except for the Shafiees.

The voice of the woman is not aurah (needed to be concealed), as long as she is not being coquettish. However, it can be a means to fitnah (temptation). It is permitted to hear her voice to the level needed for teaching or leaning and other daily activities.

The normal ruling concerning women traveling without a mahram is that it is forbidden. An exemption is made for her traveling to learn or to teach with the permission of her guardian and in the accompaniment of a trustworthy group or trustworthy women. An exemption is also made for her living in a land by herself for teaching or learning with the permission of her guardian and with trustworthy women in a land where she has no mahram, provided that the land she is moving to is secure and free of temptation.

 

Women and Men Taking Part Together in Virtual Classrooms

There is no harm in a number of men and women being together for a class or dawah program on the Internet. That is normally permissible if there is reasonable distance between them and the internet more than satisfies that. However, that is conditioned upon the participants adhering to Islamic manners and the proper interaction between the sexes.

It is not permissible for there to be privacy and communications in a private chat room, except in a very limited basis, such as between a female students and her professor who is known for righteousness and piety. However, if the chat is open to others at the time of a lecture and they are simply waiting for others to join them, then that would not be considered a private conversation.

 

Women and Political Activities

Women are the siblings of men. They have rights similar to those over them according to what is just and customary. The default ruling is that every Shareeah communique is directed to both men and women alike unless there is evidence specifying one vis-à-vis the other.

Being responsible for the house and bringing up the family is the first responsibility in the life of the Muslim woman. In particular, the proper interaction between men and women must be adhered to. Thus, for example, being alone with a non-related woman is forbidden. Looking at women and mixing with them is not allowed unless there is some overriding need to do so.

Within the limits of the parameters of the hijab and chastity, Muslim women may participate in the fields of dawah and ordering what is right. This would include political activities in a general sense and those activities that meet her circumstances and are in accord with her nature. She should not be exposed to anything that touches upon her modesty and feminine nature.

There is no harm in women being members of parliament or boards of Islamic Centers, being voted in or nominated, given the above-mentioned parameters. She is qualified for such acts and her participation is required for the well-being of the whole. New means and apparatus have been developed such that her participation in such things does not lead to harm or it being less beneficial. Being a member of such bodies is a form of making ijtihaad, administering and auditing of others. This is a partial or minor guardianship and responsibility. There is no harm in women undertaking guardianships and leadership of that nature. This is not the same as the general leadership and guardianship over the entire nation, concerning which scholars are agreed that women are not suited for.

The best way women can participate is for there to be a women’s delegation in the governing body. Thus, the women would have their own section and own committees. They can do political or dawah activities within the framework of the dawah organization or political organization. This would be considered the best way to use their abilities in a way that does not contradict the rulings of the Shareeah.

If some need requires both the men and women to participate in some general gatherings to debate some issues or to make a general agreement according to the benefit of all, then they must strive to stay within the Shareeah limits related to mixing between the sexes. Thus, they should arrange the meeting and behavior of the participants to abide by those goals.

 

The Muslim Woman and Demonstrations

A “demonstration” is where one publicly expresses one’s opinion in the form of a public display by a group. It is considered a modern form of expressing one’s view and of influencing political decisions in democratic societies. In most of those countries, demonstrations are considered a constitutional right. Of course, such countries due lay down some laws with respect to demonstrations; for example, one must first get permission for the time and place and so on.

Demonstrations have some benefit as well as some harm to them. The good and harm are clearly mixed, containing a number of good and bad points to them. Some of its evils are extreme mixing between the sexes, individuals bumping against one another and so forth. Thus, the people of knowledge have to make the final decision concerning their approval.

In the manner in which it is practiced in the Western context, it is a means of supporting the truth, ordering good and eradicating evil and of the forms of jihad through speech. In some cases, it may be considered the only means by which to achieve such goals and would be acceptable as long as the Shareeah parameters concerning mixing between the two sexes is observed and efforts are made to reduce its harms as much as possible.

Women participating in demonstrations must be conditioned by Islamic principles, such as their being a Shareeah goal behind the demonstration, being free of temptations, permission of her guardian or spouse, being protected by hijab, not displaying one’s adornments and beauty, not staying outside of one’s house and overriding benefit such that the goal cannot be through other means. Furthermore, the demonstration must be peaceful, not carrying weapons concurrently or later. If someone feels that these conditions will not be met, then the woman should avoid it. There is no harm in non-Muslims taking part in the demonstrations if there is some benefit in that as long as their harms can be limited.

 

The Muslim Woman and Employment

There is no harm in women taking part in juries. As for her being a judge, the default would be for her to avoid it since, in general, it does not rule according to what Allah revealed and, furthermore, the majority of the scholars are of the view that women should not be judges.

The norm for women would be work among women and not be exposed to mixing with men. There is no harm in her teaching in primary schools in such schools that the sexes are mixed. As for the other levels of schooling, there is an exemption for her to teach at those levels if there is a great need for her to do so, all along adhering to the Shareeah principles related to dress and behavior.

It is permissible for women to work in companies during the time of the Friday Prayer if her customers are not required to attend the Friday Prayer.

There is an exemption for women to work in restaurants during the daytime of Ramadhaan, adhering to the Shareeah principles for women working. However, if it is a restaurant that Muslims usually go to, then it is not permissible so that they do not assist them in breaking their fast during Ramadhaan.

It is not appropriate for women to work in women’s clothing stores if the majority of the people in that society use such clothing in displaying themselves in a forbidden manner, as this would imply assisting them in committing sin and spreading immorality.

It is permissible for women to have work hours during the evening and night as long as Shareeah protocols are observed, such as not being in private with non-mahram males, proper Islamic dress, fulfilling the rights of her husband and children and that the work is secure and safe.

There is no harm for a woman to work in the medical field, even though she will face some compromises during the period of her studies. She should seek specialties that will not expose her to mixing with the opposite sex or uncovering the private parts, such as obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrician or diagnostics.

It is not allowed for a woman to work in a hospice or retirement home except in a case of necessity or strong need that would be treated like a necessity. At the same time, she should try to minimize the contact with others’ private parts. Working in a hospice would be considered preferable to a retirement home.

The norm is for the husband to support and maintain his wife, regardless of whether she is Muslim or non-Muslim.

The Muslim woman has financial independence and responsibility. She is free to spend her wealth and earnings as she wills. However, it is recommended that she consult with her husband on such issues. It is permissible for the husband and wife to agree that the working wife will share in the expenses of the household and that they would consult with each other on such issues. If the woman leaving the house for work has specific expenses for that purpose, then it is upon her to meet those expenses.

 

The Muslim Woman and Dawah Activities

The obligation of conveying Allah’s message and preventing evil is commanded for both men and women.

It is permissible for a woman who is qualified to make dawah outside of the Muslim lands to lecture to a mix audience of men and woman (on her specialty or due to being specifically chosen for that position) within the limits of the Shareeah, such as avoiding displaying one’s adornments, being coquettish in speech and improperly mixing with the opposite sex.

In the light of those conditions, it is permissible for a Muslim woman to participate in women’s television shows that will be watched by both men and women or to participate in dawah programs that will be televised, even if she is featured in such programs. Again, this is with the condition of her not displaying her adornments. This is considered a practice that is simply unavoidable in the field of dawah nowadays.

AMJA recommends that Muslim women involved in dawah should exert themselves to attain the appropriate knowledge in order to fulfill the demands of dawah while at the same time fulfilling her responsibilities and obligations towards her husband and children.

 

Women, Make-up and Beautification

The parameters of the Islamic dress women:

  1. It must cover all of the body, except for the face and hands (given the difference of opinion among the scholars)

  2. The clothing must be loose and not describe the shape of the body and not see through.

  3. The clothing and person should not be perfumed.

  4. It should not be a clothing for the purpose of show and fame.

  5. It should not be in imitation of the dress of men, evildoers or non-Muslims.

 

The Application of the Requirements of Dress Given Changes in Customs and Cultures

The form and nature of the dress is left open to the discretion of the woman as long as it abides by the conditions stated earlier.

The khimaar or headscarf does not have any fixed attributes to it. However, it is what covers the head and also covers the opening in the front in order also conceal the chest. It is preferred for those who do not wear a cloak or other apparel over their garment that the khimaar be very loose and wide.

There is no harm in the Muslim woman’s dress being uniform or having different colors on it, as long as it covers the woman appropriately and its lose and also adheres to the other conditions of the dress mentioned above.

There is no specific color in the Shareeah for the Muslim woman’s dress. She may whatever colors are appropriate given the customs of the land wherein she resides. However, she should wear colors that are consistent with the goals of the hijaab in cutting off any desires or looks from men. Similarly, her dress should not attract the attention of others or lead to any type of suspicion.

It is not befitting for a Muslim woman to wear any type of advertising on her garment. Even if the advertising is not for anything that arouses feelings, calls to immoral acts or anything else that is forbidden, simply by wearing it the woman is drawing people’s looks to her, as otherwise there would be no purpose behind the advertising. The Muslim woman is instructed to conceal herself and not draw people’s looks to her.

If the advertising is for an Islamic dawah organization and it is worn only among women, then there is no harm in it. However, if it is meant to be worn among both men and women, then it is not appropriate. This is because its wearing is meant to be looked at, otherwise it would not serve its purpose while the Muslim woman is instructed to conceal herself and not draw people’s looks to her. Exempted from this are the designers’ marks which can hardly be seen on the garment. This would not be forbidden as it does not violate the goals of the Shareeah.

 

Pictures on one’s clothing

There are different rulings concerning pictures on clothing depending on the nature of the pictures. [Pictures should be such that they are not being displayed out of respect or love for the pictures.] Many garments containing pictures have pictures of performers, singers, actors and those are worn out of love and respect for them and it is clear that these are not permissible. Some pictures on clothing do not contain any respect for the object, such as the pictures on children’s diapers and it is apparent that those are exempted. Some pictures are unclear concerning which category they fall into. There are some pictures for children that one cannot truly make out a human figure to them or they are in the form of caricatures for which there is no living creature that looks like them. These types of picture are open to ijtihaad but to be more pious one should avoid them.

 

Temporary designs on one’s skin [such as henna] for the sake of beautification

Exemption is given for temporary designs, such as henna, on one’s skin as long as they meet the following conditions: The design must not contain any animate drawings on it nor any signs of other false religions or incorrect beliefs. The design must also be free of imitating evildoers or disbelieving women.

It is forbidden to have any permanent tattooing.

 

 

Beautifying oneself with colored contact lenses

There is no harm in beautifying oneself with colored contact lenses regardless of whether they are for medical reasons or for beautification as long as one is sure that there is no harm in them. However, they are not allowed if they are used to deceive others or if one fears a fitnah. It would be safest for the religious individual only to wear them in front of her husband or male relatives who are mahram.

 

Beautifying oneself with artificial nails

There is no harm in beautifying oneself with artificial nails as long as they are not grossly long. They must be according to what is the norm among the women. They should be treated like natural nails but it is obligatory to remove them when making the acts of purification. Therefore, a Muslim woman should refrain from them.

 

Wearing make-up in front of non-related men

It is not permissible for women to wear make-up in front of non-related men unless it is to cover a blemish and return the skin to its natural other. There is no harm in wearing make-up that is the norm when meeting a prospective husband, in analogy with kohl and dyes that are permissible.

 

Beautifying oneself by wearing a wig

There is no harm if a woman who has lost all of her hair wears a wig to cover that shortcoming, regardless of whether she wears it as beautification for her husband or in the presence of mahram men, as long as it does not belong to another woman or is not meant to deceive a potential fiance. Anything other than that necessity is not allowed as it is a type of forbidden hair extensions [mentioned in the texts].

It is permissible for women to wearing earrings and other rings on her ears, nose, eyebrows and other place. However, it should not be worn in the private parts. Similarly, the principles of exposing one’s adornments to non-mahram men must be adhered to.

 

Plucking and Trimming Eyebrows

There is no harm, if there is a need, to trim the eyebrows by a razor, as that is not lexically or Shareeah wise what is meant [by the prohibited] al-nams. This is because trimming is neither removing nor changing the original nature. Plucking the eyebrows, though, is al-nams, which is considered a change in Allah’s creation and concerning which some hadith have cursed the one who performs that act.

Al-Nams has to do with the eyebrows only. Thus, removing other facial hairs or what is between the eyebrows is permissible. Trimming the eyebrows is also not considered al-nams and is therefore permissible.

 

Facelift and Whitening One’s Teeth

It is permissible for a woman to have a facelift if it is done for medical reasons. If it is done simply for beauty and to remove the signs of aging, it is not permissible.

There is no harm in whitening one’s teeth in order to remove any staining, yellowing or blackening that may be the results of specific drinks. This would be a form of removing a blemish and returning something to its natural state.

 

Muslim Women and Marital Relations

Chastity is a right of both spouses. The Shareeah has required that the spouses act in harmony with this natural demand and it has also required that the husband take into consider the health and psychological state of his spouse concerning this issue.

The right to have children is a shared right between the husband the wife. Such decisions should be the result of consent and mutual consultation between them. A spouse should not continually refuse to have children when living under normal circumstances in which pregnancy will not cause any medical harm.

It is not permissible for one of the spouses to repeatedly insist on abortions when there is no Shareeah justification for it. Nor should the husband insist upon it from his wife under such circumstances. It is the right of the wife to continue with her pregnancy, even if her husband does not want the pregnancy to continue.

The default is that the husband and wife have the right to physical enjoy each other in any manner except anal intercourse or while the woman is menstruating. Each spouse has the right to enjoy the other in any manner he or she wishes. However, Muslims should avoid the gross and abnormal practices that have come through the Internet. One who reads and abides by the Quran should be above such practices.

 

Women and Social Relations

 

Birthday celebrations among the family

There is no apparent analogy between the Shareeah celebrations, such as the Eid of Fitr and Adhhaa, and birthdays, as those are general celebrations for everyone as opposed to birthdays.

At the same time, birthdays are a form of following an imported culture and has no basis in our religion. However, we stress that one should bring joy to children during special occasions, such as when they are successful in any religious or worldly activity.

 

Family Gatherings during non-Muslim celebrations

There is no harm in Muslim families gathering together during non-Muslim holidays if they are simply taking of a vacation time by visiting one another and keeping the ties of kinship. It must be emphasized thought that they must adhere to the religious protocols of such social gatherings, making sure not to participate in innovated or blasphemous celebrations. Holidays are something specific to each people and is an outward sign of the faith. Muslims have two such holidays in a year, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhhaa. Being good and kind to a people does not mean that one has to imitate them in everything that they do.

 

Buying the Holiday foods of the non-Muslims

It is permissible for Muslims to purchase the food that is specifically in the market for non-Muslim holidays, taking advantage of the sales on those items. At the same time, one should avoid consuming or offering such food at the same time and in the same manner as their holidays in order to avoid the celebrations of those holidays slowly creeping into the Muslim life, as each people has their own holidays and holidays are a public display of the faith.

 

Women Shaking Hands with non-Mahram Males

The default ruling is that members of the opposite sex that are not married to one another or mahram to one another should avoid shaking hands. Nor should they be the ones who would initiate such an act. However, since it is prohibited as a means of blocking the means to something more harmful, an exemption is made in the case of necessity or strong need under specific circumstances, as is the case with everything that is prohibited simply because it is a means to something worse. There is also more lenience when it comes to shaking the hands of elderly men or women.

 

Women and Internet Matchmaking Sites

There is no harm in dealing with a trustworthy website that collects information from those who are desirous of marriage and to connect together such people. Of course, they must uphold the principles of privacy and security, blocking the means to any fitnah and steps of Satan. It would best for that website to have a Shareeah advisory board what would supervise its activities to make sure they are sound.

However, what some Islamic institutions do wherein a group of people who are interested in marriage along with their fathers sit in one room and each person sits and talks to a different prospective spouse for a few minutes [like speed dating, is not proper]. They should first make an effort to see if there is any compatibility between individuals through questionnaires and the like before such a general meeting. Then they can arrange individual meetings for those who are suitable to one another with respect to age and other characteristics. Then they can move from the most likely candidate to one less likely and so on. All along they must be certain to protect the individuals’ modesty, honor and dignity. They must try to minimize the mixing between the sexes as much as possible. This kind of meeting should only be resorted to as a kind of exception to the general rule of mixing between the sexes only when it is not possible for the individuals to meet qualified prospective spouses on an individual basis.  

 

Women interacting with others through social media (such as Facebook and Twitter)

The Shareeah does not recognize any special relationship between a man and a woman except via marriage or blood relation.

There is no harm in men and women communicating with each other in a manner that is proper if there is some need to do so, if the contact is free of fitnah and suspicion. The communication should not be for the sake of gossip or simple chatter but must be due to some Shareeah justification.

The parameter by which any speech may be considered customarily acceptable is that anything which one would be ashamed of, embarrassed by or dislike to have others hear about must be avoided. Of course, this standard is set according to the behavior of respectable people and people of class, as others, of course, may not care at all about such issues.

 

Muslim Families gathering for dawah or social events during the non-Muslim religious holidays

There is no harm if a Muslim family gathers for dawah or social reasons during the religious or social occasions of non-Muslims. The key to this issue is the intention of the individuals. However, they should refrain from specifying that date on a fixed basis as it may lead to an type of innovation of adding on to what is established in the Shareeah.



Women socializing and being in seclusion with lesbians

If that privacy is demanded by work or as a result of living next to one another and such, and the situation is free of fitnah or suspicion and the Muslim woman has a good intention, then there is no harm in that as required by need.

It is not advised for young sisters or those who have only recently become religious to have interaction with such women as they are most in need of pious companions.



Intermingling with men who have had sex-change operations and became women

If that operation was due to some genetic shortcoming and was meant to restore the individual to her natural state, then there is no harm in intermingling with someone of that nature, if work demands that or if one is living close to them, as long as the Muslim woman’s intention is sound.

However, if that sex change operation was simply a result of sexual perversion and desires and one fears that some remnants of being a male may still be present, then they would be considered to be among those males who have no drive for women and therefore are not affected by the woman’s appearance. One must not intermingle with such a person except to the limit demanded by necessity or strong need.



Exchanging gifts between the sexes

The default ruling is that it is permissible for people to give gifts to one another. However, gifts between a man and a woman may be a means by which Satan may lead them into fitnah. It is not allowed for woman to accept a gift from a man unless there is no doubt or suspicion concerning it. For example, an elderly teacher may give a gift to one of his students as a reward for her good behavior or achievement. It is recommended that the husband or parents be informed about that as if it is concealed then it may lead to some doubt or question.

 

Baby Showers

There is no harm in giving gifts to women when they are close to giving birth nor in arranging that gift-giving in a way that it will be most beneficial and not repeated, with the condition that no one who is not able or does not wish to participate is forced into participating or embarrassed into participating. Thus, it would be best for those who wish to give gifts to do on their own and not everyone feel the pressure to have to give a gift due to such a gathering.

 

Exchanging gifts with non-Muslims

It is permissible for Muslims and non-Muslims to exchange gifts, as long as the gift is something permissible and the goal is sound, as this is a noble practice of goodness and justice that we are command to have towards non-Muslims. It is also permissible for a Muslim to accept a gift from a non-Muslim on the occasion of one of their holidays as long as the gift is not something forbidden in and of itself. However, a Muslim must refrain from giving gifts to them on their holidays to avoid participating in or accepting their holidays. Holidays are considered aspects that are specific to each religion. Other than that, the door is open through the remainder of the year to exchange gifts.

 

Congratulating non-Muslims on their holidays

The norm is to treat non-Muslims with kindness and justice. That would include congratulating them on common social events such as marriage, giving birth and so on. As for religious holidays and celebrations, that is something that is specific to each religion and people. It is to remain as specific to its people. However, if one lives with them or mixes with them at work or in a family or in a social setting, there is no harm in being courteous to them with general. The greeting must not be a violation of the recognition of the particularity of each religion nor contain any aspect of accepting their beliefs or practices that a Muslim should not perform as a religious act.



Women Performing Prayer in a Public Location

There is no harm in a Muslim woman performing her prayer in a public location while she should conceal herself as much as she can and she cannot resort to simply sitting for performing the prayer unless she is not able to stand.

 

A Woman Staying at a Place other than Her Own House

The default is for a woman to stay at home and only to leave when there is a need to do so. There is no harm in her staying at a friend’s house for the purpose of study or fun as long as it is free of fitnah or suspicion and it is done with the knowledge and permission of her spouse. Furthermore, this should not be a common practice as there has come a prohibition for women to remove their garments except in their husband’s house to keep from suspicion and forbidden acts.

 

Men and Women sitting together at one table

The basic rule is that it is not allowed for men and women to be sitting at one table wherein they face each other, as it would not then be possible form them to lower the gaze in the manner that they have been commanded. This is the principle that Islamic organizations should abide by in order to avoid fitnah and what may lead to evils. However, if it is necessary for some individuals to participate at such a meeting and it would be difficult not to have them, an exemption may be had in that case, with them remaining a reasonable distance apart and them lowering their gaze. This is simply to remove hardship and should be restricted according to the need and one should advise against this behavior as feasible.



The Muslim Woman and Athletic Activities

The default ruling concerning women taking part in athletic activities within the parameters of the Shareeah is that of permissibility. In fact, it can even be recommended if there is a sound intention behind it. The key to permissibility, though, is that the woman be properly concealed and covered.

The following are the conditions for women’s athletics:

  1. The private parts (aurah) of the women must be covered and she should avoid those athletic activities that lead to her body being uncovered in public in front of non-related men. The aurah of the woman in front of other women is between the navel and the knees. That is the case in front of either other Muslim women or non-Muslim women according to the strongest view. Her aurah in front of men is the entire body with a difference of opinion concerning the face and hands. As for activities that do not lead to her being uncovered, such as walking and so forth, then there is no harm in her doing them in public.

  2. She must avoid violent sports that are not in accord with her feminine nature or which may harm her while performing them.

  3. One should not get so involved in such activities to the point that one fails to perform other religious obligations or meet the rights of one’s spouse and relatives.

  4. While practicing such a sport one must always be mindful of modesty, noble virtues and proper etiquette.

  5. The activity must be free of gambling and forbidden wagering.

 

As for swimming, it is not forbidden in and of itself. However, in most cases, it may lead to the aurah being uncovered. If one can avoid uncovering the aurah and is, for example, in a pool only for women or has chosen a time in which the pool is free of men, then the default ruling is that of permissibility.

 

Women receiving massages from men over lesser aurah parts of her body [such as in the case of physical therapy]

The norm is for a Muslim woman doctor to treat a Muslim woman. If a Muslim woman cannot be found, then one resorts to a non-Muslim woman. If one cannot be found, then one turns to a male Muslim doctor. Finally, if one cannot be found, one turns to a non-Muslim male doctor.

There is no harm in a Muslim woman receiving a massage/physical therapy from a male as a type of medical treatment that is needed for her cure if no female technician is available. This can be done as long as it is expected that it will help in curing the individual and should only be resorted to according to the extent that it is needed.

However, if it is not for medical treatment or if there is no evidence to confirm that it leads to a cure, then such an act is, according to its default ruling, prohibited and, in fact, there are other tools that one can use nowadays that should suffice.