Joined: Mar 2008
As salaamu Alaykum,
Sorry, its a really long post, but its pretty important to get the details in.
I started studying midwifery at university back in March, as youıre probably well aware this is mainly a female dominated job.
The students are female, the lecturers are female, even in the workplace the majority of midwives are female, and the patients as you know are female. So I thought this would be a sound occupation to go into as a Muslim sister, mainly for the simple reason that there are hardly any Muslim midwives in this country (UK).
I think this is something important as a Muslim to go into, not only as an occupation, but for the wider Muslim community. A lot of sisters feel that there should be more Muslim women in this field who understand their requirements, i.e. privacy and advise them in matters concerning the deen, in relation to childbirth and breastfeeding etc.
Also, the advantage of this course was that I was allowed to wear hijab, and dress modestly, whilst I worked in the hospital, 3 days a week, for experience.
A few months after I had started, a new policy had been given by the government to all hospitals, that everyone who works in a hospital should be ıbare below the elbowı. I left the course, due to the fact that I had to leave my arms bare, and considering the fact that I cover properly, I thought I shouldnıt carry on.
I was told by the manager that I could cover my arms with a cardigan or something similar when I am not performing any procedures on patients. I would have to uncover my arms whilst giving injections, taking blood or something like that; but when around the hospital generally I can cover them up.
Although this occupation is female dominated, the problem is sometimes, a male member of the patientsı family may be present when she comes into the hospital, and then if I were to be the midwife performing any procedures, I would have to uncover my arms up to my elbow.
The reason this new policy has come in is due to the ısuperbugsı in hospitals such as MRSA, and according to their research, leaving arms bare encourages hospital staff to wash their hands and arms properly so as to not pass on any infection to patients.
However, I thought it might be appropriate to get a scholarly opinion on the matter, because this policy is to be implemented nationally, that would mean there would be hardly any Muslim sisters, working in hospitals, particularly in the midwifery department as there very few anyway in the UK.
So I just wanted to know would uncovering my forearms for medical procedures be haraam, if there was a male present?
Although, this question is quite obvious to most, I just wanted to know the opinion of the scholars, in regards to this question, in light of the fact that this doesnıt just affect me, but the Muslim community in the UK at large who work in hospitals.
Also, a male being there is not something that happens all the time when working as a midwife.
I would be grateful if you could answer these questions.
Jazak Allah Khair