How Can I Touch and Read from the Mushaf If I Have Incontinence?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

My question is about incontinence in urine/gas etc., and how to classify it from ordinary. I struggle with incontinence of both urine and gas, so when I use the restroom, I make ablution and pray. On this occasion, someone was saying something funny, and I was laughing simultaneously, feeling my bladder was full and things coming out. I am not 100% sure if anything came out. I considered it as waswas and continued my ablution; this thing continued until I finished my prayer.

My question is: Should I have checked myself and washed from when I initially felt it when laughing, or would it still be considered incontinence, and I can continue my prayer. Jazakum Allah khairan.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.

If a person is not sure whether wind or urine exited, this mere uncertainty does not invalidate his ablution; instead, he has to carry on with his ablution/prayer, and in this case, his prayer is valid, and he does not have to repeat it unless he is confident that wind or urine passed (by hearing, smelling, or seeing evidence thereof).

Sa‘id Ibn Al-Musayyab (and ‘Abbad Ibn Tamim) (May Allah be pleased with them) narrated, from his paternal uncle, that he complained to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) about when a man thinks that something has happened during the prayer. He said: “Do not stop unless you hear a sound or notice a smell.” [Agreed Upon – Bukhari and Muslim]

It was narrated that Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “If one of you feels something in his stomach and is not sure whether something came out of him or not, let him not leave the mosque unless he hears a sound or notices a smell.” [Muslim]

If you have been medically diagnosed with an incontinence problem, please follow the procedures described below, but if not, please be aware of the tricks of Shaytan called waswasa. Waswasa should categorically be ignored. May Allah protect us all.

Dealing with Medically Diagnosed Incontinence

All symptoms that make it difficult or impossible to maintain a state of purity should be treated with the measures prescribed by Sacred Law for a woman with chronic vaginal bleeding (mustahada).

A woman with chronic vaginal discharge preparing to pray should wash her private parts, apply something absorbent to them and a dressing, and then perform ablution. She may not delay commencing her prayer after this except for reasons of preparing to pray, such as clothing her nakedness, awaiting the call to prayer (adhan), or for a group to gather for the prayer. If she delays for other reasons, she must repeat the purification. She is obliged to wash her private parts, apply a dressing, and perform ablution before each obligatory prayer (though she is entitled, like those mentioned below, to perform as many nonobligatory prayers as she wishes, carry and read the Quran, etc. until the following prayer’s time comes (n: or until her ablution is broken for a different reason) when she must renew the above measures and her ablution). [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

Incontinence and Similar Issues

People unable to hold back intermittent drops of urine coming from them must take the same measures as a woman with chronic vaginal discharge. And likewise for anyone in a state of chronic annulment of ablution, such as continually breaking wind, excrement, or madhy  though washing and applying an absorbent dressing are only obligatory when filth exits.)

If a person knows that drops of urine will not stop until the time for the following prayer comes, then he takes the above measures and performs the prayer at the first of its time. [ibid.]

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. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, 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 served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

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