Peeping into keyhole or window before permission to enter

Peeping into keyhole or window before permission to enter

Question

Can a person peep into someone’s key hole or window before obtaining permission to enter?

Answer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

It is not permissible to peep into someone’s keyhole or window before obtaining permission not least because it contradicts the rationale for seeking permission. A person who does so invades the privacy of the house owner as his eyes may fall on something unlawful or a something the owner would prefer him not to see.

Once, a man peeped into the room of the house of the Prophet ﷺ, whilst the Prophet ﷺ was scratching his head with an iron comb. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Had I known you were looking [through the hole], I would have pierced your eye with it. Verily, [the order of obtaining] permission to enter has been enjoined because of the sight” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 5924, 6241, 6901).

In this ḥadīth, the Prophet ﷺ is explaining the severity of this sin, because to pierce the eye is not permissible in this circumstance according to the Ḥanafīs and Mālikīs (Sharḥ Ibn Baṭṭāl, 8: 547; Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ, 6: 2298; Radd al-Muḥtār, 6: 550), although the Shāfiʿīs and Ḥanbalīs suggest it is permissible (al-Umm, 6: 34; Sharḥ Muslim, 14: 138; Fatḥ al-Bārī, 12: 243; al-Mughnī, 9: 186; Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, 15: 380; Zād al-Maʿād, 5: 363), a view that is shared by Ḥāfiẓ Badr al-Dīn al-ʿAynī (d. 855/1451) in ʿUmdah al-Qārī (22: 239).

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shabbir

24 Jumādā al-Thāniyah 1427 / 20 July 2006