Does Touching Private Parts Always Break One’s Ablution?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


When inquiring about “privates” in Islamic jurisprudence, does this term specifically refer to the ‘awra, or does it encompass other areas?

Additionally, is the act of touching these private areas—be it one’s own or those of another person—considered to break wudu (ritual purity)? These questions seek further clarification as the articles I have consulted do not explicitly address these points.

Moreover, is there a consensus within the respective School regarding this matter, or are there recognized differences of opinion on whether touching the private parts invalidates wudu and the exact definition of what constitutes “privates” in this context?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

The Shafi‘i School’s reference to the factors that nullify one’s ablution includes “touching human private parts with the palm or inner surface of the fingers.” There is agreement within the Shafi‘i School on this matter, but the Hanafi School differs (holding that it does not break one’s ablution).

See the Hanafi position here:
Does Touching One’s Private Part Invalidate Wudu?

What Constitutes Human Private Parts?

“Human private parts” (in the above clause) are defined below.
– Touching the scrotum does not invalidate ablution for men, but touching the penis does.
–  For women, ablution is invalidated by touching the labia minora but not the labia majora. Touching a woman’s chest does not invalidate one’s ablution.
– For both genders, ablution is invalidated by touching the anus.
Human private parts include any human, oneself or others. [Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj]

When Does Touching Nullify One’s Ablution?

A person’s ablution is invalidated by touching human genitalia or the anus with the palm or inner surface of the fingers—the parts that make contact when hands are clasped palm to palm. This ruling applies regardless of the context in which the touch occurs, including:

–  Touching absentmindedly,
–  Without sexual desire,
–  Whether touching the genitalia in front or rear,
–  Regardless of the gender of the person being touched,
Whether touching oneself or another person (regardless of age or if they are deceased). [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]

When Does Touching Not Nullify The Ablution?

However, ablution is not invalidated if the touch involves:
– The fingertips,
– The skin between the fingers,
– The back side of the hand,
– Or if touching the corresponding genital or anal areas of an animal. [ibid.]

The Hanafi Position

The position of the Hanafi School is that touching, in any way, does not nullify ablution unless something exits [in which case the ablution is nullified due to the fluid and not due to the touch]. This ruling applies regardless of whether the touch is over a cloth, bare-handed, with the palm, or with the outer hand.

Ibn Nujaym (May Allah have mercy on him) states: ‘Touching the male organ, the anus or female organ, in general, does not nullify one’s ablution. [Ibn Nujaym, al-Bahr al-Ra’iq]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan (Allah have mercy on him), where he taught.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Shaykh Muhammad Awama, Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Hitu, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has been the Director of the Discover Islam Centre, and for six years, he has been the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has fifteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic podcast, education, and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy Prophetic living and fitness.