Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.
Massage is of two types:
First: Therapeutic massage which is prescribed by doctors to cure weak muscles and other things. This type of massage is permissible because it is considered as permissible medicine, but private parts should be protected from being seen or touched except if it is out of need. Exposure should be limited in proportion to the part that must be uncovered or seen and the time taken to do that. This is because Allah instructed us to protect the private parts in the verse: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.)” [al-Nur: 30].
He (Allah the Exalted) also says: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.)” [al-Nur: 31].
Describing the qualities of believers, Allah says: “And those who Guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts). Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their Right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame ;).” [al-Mu’minun: 5-6].
Ahmad, Tirmidhi and others narrated a hadith with a sound chain of narrators on the authority of BahzIbn Hakeem who said: My father narrated to me from my grandfather, who said: 'I said: “O Messenger of Allah! Regarding our 'Awrah (private parts), what of it must we cover and what of it may we leave?" He said: "Protect your 'Awrah except from your wife or what your right hand possesses."' He said: "What about a man with another man?" He said: "If you are able to not let anyone see it, then do so." I said: "What about a man when he is alone?" He said: "Allah is most deserving of being shy from Him.” Bukhari narrated part of this hadith as a suspended hadith. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said: “A man must not look at a man's private parts nor must a woman look at a woman's private parts; neither should two men lie naked under one cover, nor should two women lie naked under the same cover”. All this shows that it is prohibited to touch someone’s private parts using any limb of the body.
Second: Relaxation massage. This is done by some people for the purpose of relaxing their body or just for the fun of it without any need. This is permissible if it is done without exposing private parts, touching them, exciting sexual instincts or arousing sexual desire. Over and above that, getting paid for it is allowed. That being said, my advice is doing away with hand massage and resorting to automatic massage which is done by devices because it is far from suspicion with regards to exposing private parts, touching them as well as stirring passions.
And Allah knows best.
Dr. Khalid al-Mosleh
07 / 09 / 1424 AH