Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: I just learned that it is obligatory to pass one limb over another limb in ghusl. Do I have to pray for all the years that my ghusl was not sound? Do these prayers become qada?
I would like to have this answered according to the Maliki school.
Answer: I have personally brought this issue up to one of my shuyukh while I was studying as this situation does happen often. People who have not formally studied may go for years not realizing that they are missing something integral and sometimes even serious students or even scholars may overlook something.
In your situation, there is room within the Maliki madhab to allow for you not to have to repeat those prayers. The reason for this is there is a sound Maliki opinion that passing one limb over another (dalk) is not an obligation (see the shuruh of the Mukhtasar in the section of the obligations of wudu).
Furthermore, dalk is not an obligation in the Shafi’i and Hanafi schools and this should be considered by a person when they analyze past actions that may be deficient. This analysis though should be done with the guidance of one trained in the science of law (fiqh). Because you were leaving dalk not realizing that it is an obligation according to the school, your previous acts of worship are valid.
If you would like to make them up out of wara (leaving matters of difference of opinion) then you can do that as a spiritual practice. But you should not embark on that if it is going to cause you resentment. If you feel happy about repeating those prayers out of wara, then do so, but remember it will be a big task that will take a while. And Allah knows best.