TSA has installed about 400 full body scanners at about 69 airports all around the country and those who opt out of the scanning are subject to an enhanced pat-down.
Both of these procedures are very intrusive and invasive as we are learning more and more about them.
We pray to Allah that these are replaced by some procedure that alleviates the privacy concerns of many travelers without compromising the safety of passengers.
Since both of the procedures are invasive, we should look for the one wherein there is less harm for the traveler. In my opinion, in such a situation a person should go through the full body scanner as the image developed by the scanner is only in form of x-ray and not digital. Furthermore, the officer appointed to do the monitoring is remotely located and can not see the traveler.
With the new enhanced pat-down, a person will have to allow the officer to literally strip search the traveler in public which should be avoided at all cost if there is an alternative available.
Therefore, I advise the travelers that they should use the body scanners when passing through a security clearance point at an airport, instead of selecting enhanced (invasive) pat-down.
If our opinion changes based on some new information, we will inform everyone Insha'allah.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Fatwa Center of America
15 Dhul-Hijjah 1431/ November 21 2010
ثم الاصل فى جنس هذه المسائل أن من ابتلى ببليتين وهما متساويتان يأخذ بأيتهما شاء وان اختلفا يختار أهونهما لأن مباشرة الحرام لا تجوز الا للضرورة ولا ضرورة فى حق الزيادة
(الأشباه والنظائر ج1 ص 261)