Do I Need to Repeat My Prayer If I Am Unsure about My Wudu?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

Unfortunately, I broke my wudu yesterday. Then I forgot whether I made wudu before praying asr or not. It was not today. It was yesterday. So do I have to repeat these prayers or not?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

In the situation explained above, you are required to repeat that prayer.

Leaving Doubts for Certainty

The reasoning behind this is a legal axiom: “Certainty is not removed by doubt.” In the scenario, you mentioned that you broke your wudu. In other words, you were certain that you did not have wudu. Thereafter, you prayed but you were unsure whether you made a new ablution beforehand. In other words, you have doubt whether you made a new ablution. [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa al-Nazair]

In summary, you were certain that you did not have ablution and you doubted whether or not you made a new one. In this case, we leave the doubts and act according to certainty. This dictates, that you did not have ablution during the prayer and are then required to repeat it.

The Opposite Scenario

If we were to apply the above principle to the opposite scenario, it would look as follows: A person made wudu and prayed ‘Asr prayer. Later, a doubt arose in his mind whether he broke his wudu prior to praying ‘Asr. In short, he was certain that he had wudu and doubted whether he broke it. In this case, he considers his wudu intact and acts accordingly. He leaves the doubt and acts on certainty.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.