The Fiqh of Chronic Excuses and Ablution
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Could you please detail the fiqh of chronic excuses and ablution?
If someone has a chronic excuse (‘udhr) such as being unable to stop intermittent drops of urine or one whose bowels have become loose, should:
- perform wudu at the time of every fard prayer and
- pray with that wudu as many fard or nawafil as one wishes.
‘A’isha reports from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he told Fatima bint Hubaish, “Perform wudu at the time of every prayer.”
The wudu of one suffering from a chronic excuse becomes void only with
- the expiry of the prayer time or
- the occurrence of that which invalidates the wudhu, other than the current reason.
[Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah Sharh Nur al-Idah, p. 145,146]
The conditions for being considered someone with a chronic excuse are of three types:
1. The Condition of Initiation
This is that an entire prayer time passes with the excuse (that renders one unable to retain wudu) present such that one did not have enough time to perform a minimal wudu and pray a quick prayer.
If bleeding starts during the time of a prayer, one waits until the end of the prayer time (or until just before the disliked time, in the case of ‘Asr) in hope that the bleeding will stop, and then prays immediately after performing wudu (and striving to take the means to stop or minimize the bleeding).
2. The Condition of Continuation
To remain considered as someone with a chronic excuse, it is merely necessary that the excuse exist once in each prayer time. (This illustrates the legal maxim, ‘Continuation is easier than initiation.’)
3. The Condition of Termination
One is no longer considered legally excused and, therefore unable to act on the dispensation given to such an individual after an entire prayer time goes by without the excuse occurring. [‘Ala’ al-Din ‘Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya]
It is necessary to take all reasonable means to stop that which makes one unable to retain one’s wudu. So, for example, if it is possible to pray sitting without the excuse (such as passing wind) occurring, one must pray sitting. [ibid.]
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.