Does Chronic Incontinence Invalidate Wudu?


Question: Is the wudu valid if one splashes water on their undergarments, washes themselves to remove filth, and then makes wudu? If one has incontinence of urine during the prayer, how does one determine whether the amount is within the excusable range if their undergarments already have water on them?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

 

A Valid Wudu

Washing filth off the body and splashing water on the undergarment is irrelevant to the validity of the wudu. The wudu is valid as long as the 4 integrals of wudu are performed, washing the face, both arms, wiping at least one-fourth of the head, and washing the feet. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]

 

Acute Incontinence Of Urine
 
If one has an acute case of incontinence they may fall under the category of “the excused person.”

 

An Excused Person

People suffering from difficulties, like yours, in purification may be excused from certain rulings – as a dispensation and facilitation to perform the prayer.
Becoming an Excused Person
In order to be considered “excused” the following condition must be met:
An entire prayer time must come and go and in which one does not have enough time to make wudu and pray a full prayer without any urine dripping. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Note that the prayer time used to determine such a ruling can be the shortest prayer time such as that between Fajr and sunrise or Maghrib and ‘Isha.

Also note that it is not a condition to continuously check yourself for urine, rather reasonable surety of the presence of urine is sufficient.

Rulings Regarding the Excused Person
Once you have met the above condition you are excused from certain rulings. This entails the following:
(1) Your wudu is not considered invalid due to urine leakage. However, all other factors that invalidate the wudu still apply. The dispensation only relates to the specific issue. [Ibid.]

(2) Your wudu is invalid when each obligatory prayer time exits. This only applies if you have experienced urine leakage during or after performing the new wudu. [Ibid.]

If you made a new wudu and do not experience any leakage till the prayer time exits you still have wudu as the dispensation was not found. [Ibid.]

(3) You are excused from the presence of urine on your body and/or clothes during the prayer. If there is no difficulty in washing yourself or clothing before each prayer, this is ideal, but if the leakage is continuous this may prove to be difficult – thus it is not obligatory. [Ibid.]
Until When Is An Excused Person Considered Excused?
Once you are established to be an excused person by meeting the aforementioned condition, you will remain to be so until one entire prayer time comes and goes in which no leakage, whatsoever, has occurred. At this point, you will have to act upon the regular rulings of purification. [Ibid.]

Slight Incontinence

If you do not meet the aforementioned condition to be considered “excused,” then any urine leakage breaks the wudu. If this occurs during the prayer, you must repeat the prayer. If there is anything that you can reasonably do – without causing yourself undue difficulty – to prevent urine leakage, you must. This may entail, sitting down during the prayer or using the restroom prior to the prayer, for example. [Ibid.]

Likewise, you are fully excused from the presence of urine on your clothing. However, if the amount of urine on your clothing or body is less than 5cm in diameter, you are not obliged to wash it before praying. You can exercise your judgment in determining the above amount, you are not obliged to check and/or measure. [Ibid.]

 

Summary

Apply the above condition to your circumstance to see if you meet the requirements of “the excused person.” If you do, make a new wudu for each prayer time, and do not put yourself into difficulty worrying about urine on your clothing. If you do not meet the criteria, try to time your prayer such that no drops come out during the prayer, and only wash your undergarments if you are reasonably sure that the urine is a large amount, i.e. 5cm or the size of the hollow part of you palm between the bones.

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences