Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
While on the plane, some sexual fluid (madhy) exited from my privates. Afterward, I fell asleep and woke up to find more fluid in my underwear that I perceived to be semen. Being that I was on the plane, I couldn’t make a ghusl nor wash the impurities away – was I sinful for missing the prayer; should I have made tayammum instead?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
The situation you experienced sounds complicated, and these are the scenarios that one can navigate if they have a deep understanding of the rulings of purification and prayer.
Sexual Fluid and Ghusl
Generally, suppose one wakes up to find wetness from a sexual fluid on their body or clothing. In that case, it is obligatory to perform the ritual bath (ghusl) out of caution and the inability to discern between pre-seminal fluid (madhi) and semen (mani). [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]
However, if there is a tangible cause that the sexual fluid can be directly attributed to, the ruling is then based on the sexual fluid attached to that cause. For example, due to your thoughts, pre-seminal fluid exited (this is a tangible cause). [Ibid.]
Therefore, any fluid you see after sleeping is assumed to be the same (or a continuation of the) pre-seminal fluid. A ritual bath (ghusl) is not required; instead, a wudu is required. [Ibid.]
Purification on the Plane
Performing a wudu on the plane is doable and not unduly difficult; therefore, tayammum is not allowed. Furthermore, one can easily wash off the impurity from their underwear in the restroom by removing them, singling out the particular impure spot, and washing it under the tap until one is sure the impurity is gone.
In retrospect, you should have washed the impurity (if it was more than the excused amount), performed the wudu, and performed the prayer.
Since this was not done, please seek Allah’s forgiveness, make up the prayers missed, and act according to the above, if this happens again.
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 Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.