Can I Leave Sunna Actions Because of My Waswas?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi


Can someone with a lot of waswas and difficulties leave the sunnas of wudu, prayer, and so on? If I have waswas regarding washing my face, arms, etc., can I ensure I washed those parts once properly? I read that leaving sunnas regularly is sinful. Is this also true for people who have waswas?


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

Yes, it can become sinful to leave the emphasized sunnas without excuse and to make a habit of it. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

As for the non-confirmed sunna or recommended (mustahab) actions, the one who performs these is rewarded, and the one who leaves it is not sinful, nor is it blameworthy. [Ibid]

We can understand from the actions of reliable scholars when advising people suffering from waswas that sometimes the remedy could be to leave a sunna to deal with these misgivings. Thus suffering from waswas could be an excuse to leave a sunna.

Allah, Most High, says: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.” [Quran, 2:185]

An example mentioned by our teachers was the case of a reliable scholar encouraging someone suffering from waswas during istinja to pray once without Istinja at all in order for this person to understand that the validity of his prayer is not dependent on a thorough Istinja that would take hours to achieve.

Nonetheless, assessing your situation from a distance would be difficult. Please consult a reliable local scholar to help you address these issues.

But yes, it is very likely that your waswas are a temporary excuse to leave the emphasized sunnas that are triggering them.  In the meantime, you should take the means to deal with them appropriately.

I would advise you to try to implement in your life the priceless advice that you can find in this reader: A Reader on OCD and Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

It is blameworthy to accept the situation you are in and not to strive to deal with it.

Baseless misgivings (waswas) have satanic origins, and we have been commanded not to follow them.

Allah, Most High, says: “Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy.” [Quran, 35:6]

And Allah knows best.
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found. Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha‘ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others. He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.