How Can I Deal with Difficulties in Achieving Proper Ritual Purity?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi


I have two problems that are making my life very hard these days.

One: I keep thinking back at the times I didn’t wash myself properly, and then I wash over those areas, but later on, I remember another area, and I wash that area, and then I feel like it might have spread, so I need to wash again. How do I fix this?

Two: My other problem is istinja’. I started getting better, but I feel like something else happens every time I get better. Now I have this problem where I feel like the water doesn’t get to the area I need to wash properly and when I wash myself, there is not enough water so I have to stop and wash my hands and then wash the area again and over and over like this until I am in the bathroom for almost an hour. I have no idea how to stop it. please help.


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

As it is clear from your questions, you are reasonably confident that no traces of filth are left on this area of your body after washing it and that you have washed the soiled areas the first time. But you want more; you want to be certain that no trace of filth is left. But reaching this type of certainty is not asked of us. We are not asked to reach full certainty in regard to this matter because there is genuine hardship in this.

Allah, Most High, says: “Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford.” [Quran, 2:286]

We simply are asked, when it comes to matters of purity, to be confident, and to have a strong inclination that the filthy area has been purified. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

And it is obvious from your question that you have reached this strong inclination very early in your washing. You must stop there and consider yourself pure because you are pure by the Sacred Law (the Shari’a) standards. The quest for full certainty in matters of purity is not asked of you. This is something you are imposing on yourself. Allah, Most High, has asked from far lesser than that because, in His Own Words, “Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford.” [Quran, 2:286]

Now, persisting in this quest of reaching full certainty when it comes to ritual purity is a direct disobedience to Allah and will be the source of tremendous trials in your life (May Allah protect us).

The Messenger of Allah (Blessings and Peace be upon Him) has warned us: “Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion, but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

So stop washing as soon as you think that you may very well have cleaned yourself properly because this is enough to be able to pray a valid prayer, even if you are not sure that you are perfectly clean. And enjoy how easy it is to fulfill Allah’s commands while thanking Him for this tremendous blessing.

Allah, Most High, says: “Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford. All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss. (The believers pray,) ‘Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord! Do not place a burden on us like the one you placed on those before us. Our Lord! Do not burden us with what we cannot bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our (only) Guardian. So grant us victory over the disbelieving people.’” [Quran, 2:286]

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.