Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
- Islam encourages Muslims to seek medication and make use of modern science in this field as long as there is no violation to the dictates of the Shari`ah.
- As for massage therapy, it’s permissible, in principle, provided that it does not involve uncovering the awrah (parts of one’s body which should not be exposed in front of others).
Focusing more on the question you posed, Sheikh Abdel-Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, a prominent Azharite scholar, states:
As far as Islam is concerned, there is nothing wrong in carrying out massage therapy for relaxing the muscles so long as three considerations are observed:
- The awrah (private parts) is covered.
- It is done by the person of the same gender, i.e. a woman for a woman and by a man for a man. In all cases, the massage therapy should be carried out in an isolated place, away from people.
- The person who does it should be trustworthy that he/she does not describe the features of the body of the patient to other people whether they are men or women.
Mufti Ebrahim Desai, a senior lecturer in hadith in Darul Uloom Numaniyyah in South Africa, adds:
Direct massage therapy by skin contact done by a person of the same gender is permissible only within areas which are not restricted and not regarded as awrah.
In the case of a male, the area between the navel and knee is private. It is permissible for a male to massage a male by applying oil on his shoulders and back in line with the navel area.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.