Muslim women will comply with requirements in specific clinical settings including keeping forearms free from clothing to reduce infection

Muslim women will comply with requirements in specific clinical settings including keeping forearms free from clothing to reduce infection

Ahead of changes that will allow Muslim nurses in the public healthcare sector to wear the headscarf at work from November, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has issued guidelines to Muslim women on the wearing of the tudung in specific clinical settings. This includes complying with clinical and safety requirements at the workplace, such as keeping their forearms free from clothing to reduce the risk of infection.

The fatwa was issued on Tuesday (Oct 26) in response to ‘requests for guidance on the specifics of this religious obligation, both for nurses in situations where they might be unable to fully comply with the religious requirement due to operational reasons, as well as for other uniformed services where tudung is not allowed’.

It ‘aims to guide Muslim women to carefully consider their unique situation and empower them with the principles and values of Islam that will enable them to make balanced and right choices for themselves.

In a Facebook post, Mufti of Singapore, Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir said that Muis has held various engagements with the Muslim community on the issue of tudung over the past few years.

“A shared sentiment is that there seemed to be a lack of clarity on how to guide the community to navigate this issue, and more importantly, what is the religious guidance for the officers who are unable to fulfil some religious needs at work,” he said. “At heart is the issue of how Muslims can practice their faith and make adjustments as permitted by the faith where appropriate and necessary.”

“Where there is a lack of guidance, some may feel that their faith is compromised. This could even lead to the blaming and guilting of Muslims for choosing jobs or placing themselves in situations where their faith cannot be fully practised,” he added.

The Mufti noted that Islam is a religion full of blessings, mercy and compassion.

“It looks into the circumstances we face, and seeks to facilitate our lives and provides solutions to our challenges,” said Dr Nazirudin. “This spirit of Islam is not drawn from rules and laws alone, but from its principles and values. This approach allows us to engage constructively with our social realities and empower us to contribute to the community, society and nation.”

Dr Nazirudin said that in issuing the Fatwa, MUIS is guided by the spirit of Islam and the feedback from various consultations.

Muslim women play an important role in society and the workforce.

The fatwa aims to assist them and reassure them in their course of duty and empowers them to confidently make the best choice for themselves based on the principles, values and objectives rooted in Islam, said Dr Nazirudin.

The fatwa situates the issue of the wearing of tudung in the workplace in the larger context of observing the teachings of Islam within a unique socio-religious environment. It said there could be other legitimate factors and considerations which are of critical importance. For nurses, such factors include personal and patients’ safety and care such as observing the “bare below elbow”  policy and the replacement of tudung in certain clinical contexts to reduce the risk of infection.

The fatwa also added that it is important to ensure that Muslim women who can wear the tudung should do so on their own volition and without any form of coercion.

“The change in policy for the healthcare sector is a testament of the confidence in Muslim women healthcare professionals as important members of the profession. Together, let us also continue to deepen relations across communities and remain guided by the Prophetic example as we strive to address our challenges and contribute to the betterment and well-being of our society.”
– Mufti of Singapore, Dr Nazirudin –

[irp posts=”7701″ name=”Mufti Nazirudin welcomes updates on tudung; exchanges letters with PM Lee”]


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