Do I Have to Perform a Ritual Bath After Seeing Pre-ejaculate Upon Waking Up?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi


I don’t understand why we have to perform ghusl even if we are not sure whether it is sperm (mani) or pre-ejaculate (maziy) we see upon waking up from an erotic dream.

I skipped many ghusl when I woke up and doubted if it was maniy or maziy because I thought Certainty was not overruled by doubt. I just learned that in the Hanafi school, a ritual bath is required if you have doubts about whether it is mani or mazi.

Do I need to repeat all my prayers?


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

Yes, if you want your prayers to be valid according to the Hanafi school, you will have to make up all the prayers that you have prayed after seeing a dream containing actual intercourse and witnessing pre-ejaculate (mazi) upon waking up if you have not performed a ritual bath (ghusl) before starting to pray. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Nonetheless, you are not bound to follow the Hanafi school in your worship. If you can assess with certainty, or reasonable surety, that your passed prayers were valid according to another school, you won’t have to make them up.

You must describe your situation to a Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali scholar. Don’t hesitate to ask your question again at SeekersGuidance, demanding specifically the answer of a Shafi’i scholar for example, regarding the validity of your past prayers.

Please see:
Can We Follow Different Schools of Thought in Separate Issues?

Please remember that you will be rewarded for ensuring your prayers are valid according to the Hanafi school. This is because you are making sure to avoid differences of opinion regarding the validity of your prayer when it comes to the Hanafi school.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said: “Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.” [Tirmidhi]  

But don’t feel bad if you find it overwhelming to repeat your prayers and feel the need to seek a dispensation from another school of law.

Allah, Most High, says: “[Allah] laid upon you no hardship in the religion.” [Quran, 22:78]

Legal Principles

Legal principle such as “certainty is not lifted by a doubt” is not meant to be free from any exceptions. One cannot use them blindly and be sure they are not mistaken.

Scholars have only compiled those legal principles, which are often very general and make one think that they are flawlessly universal, to facilitate memorization of the numerous specific rulings of the sacred law (shari’a).

But most, if not all, of these legal principles, are not free from exceptions and sometimes contradict one another if used individually.

It is only when they are taken as a whole that each legal principle will condition, override, and specify one another, thus giving us a full picture of how they should be understood together. [Majalla al-Ahkam Al-Adlya]

In your situation the legal principle “Certainty is not lifted by doubt” [Majalla al-Ahkam Al-Adlya] has been overridden by another legal principle “caution is the basis when it comes to worship” [Sarakhssi, Mabsut].

This is why the Hanafi school deems the ritual bath to be obligatory in the situation you have described (waking up seeing Mazi). [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Amazingly, the legal principle “caution is the basis when it comes to worship” is based on the legal principle “Certainty is not lifted by doubt”!

We know with certainty that those prayers are due upon us. And thus, the certainty of this debt towards Allah, Most High, cannot be lifted in a doubtful manner. It is only when we are sure of the validity of our prayer that we can assume that we have fulfilled the divine command to pray. [Burnu, Mawsu’a Al-Qawa’id al-Fiqhiyya]

Hanafi scholars have deduced all of the above from the following verse:

Allah, Most High, says: “Most of them follow nothing but conjectures. Surely, conjectures are of no avail in the matter of truth at all.” [Quran, 10:36]

In summary, knowing what legal principle applies in a specific situation is extremely difficult. This is why it is extremely important to follow one school of law and learn it from living scholars.

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 for ways to learn Islam reliably and was disappointed at the answers he found locally.

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.