Does Wiping One Hair to Fulfill the Condition of Wiping the Head during Wudu?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I have heard that one has to wipe the whole head from front to back during wudu, but I have also heard that in the Shafii madhhab, wiping a small portion of the head is sufficient for validity. I have also heard that as little as one strand of hair would do the job. Would it be sufficient if I only wiped one hair on my head?

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your concern about your worship, and may He give devoutness, inwardly and outwardly.

Wiping the Head

It says in the Reliance of the Traveller:

Then one wipes the head with wet hands, beginning at the front of the head, sliding the paired hands back to the nape of the neck, and then returning them to where one began, (O: This is an explanation of the best way, for otherwise, fulfilling the obligation does not depend on starting at the front, but may be from any part of the head.) One does this three times. […]”

Each of the following suffices as wiping the head:

  1. to place the hand on the head without moving it so that one wets any of what is referred to as “wiping the head,” the minimum of which is part of a single hair, provided this part does not hang below the limits of the head;
  2. to drip water on the head without making it flow over it;
  3. or to wash the head.

If it is difficult to remove one’s turban, then after wiping the minimum of the head required, one may finish by wiping the turban.

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.