When To Shorten Prayers? Does Touching a Child’s Privates Break Wudu?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question

When are you obliged to shorten prayers? Does touching a child’s private parts break one’s wudu?

Answer

In the Shafi’i school it is recommended [sunna] and not obligatory [fard] to shorten prayers on a permissible journey of 50 miles or more. The distance is judged from city limit to city limit, not from door to door, and it is the actual distance of the route, not how the crow flies. [Bashin, Bushra al-Karim]

As for touching a child’s private parts, it does break the wudu if it is skin-to-skin contact with the actual genitals: the penis itself, the anus itself, and the labia majora. Touching with a barrier, such as nappy cream, would not count as something that breaks wudu. [Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin] 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Whoever touches his private parts with his hands without any barrier or anything else between them, let him make wudu.” [Ibn Hibban and others] 

Touching any other human private parts is treated the same via analogy.

There are more details, and some useful dispensations, so it is advisable to take this course: Absolute Essentials of Islam.

I pray this helps.

[Shaykh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.