Is My Prayer Valid While I Suffer from Urinary Incontinence?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I have a urinary discharge problem which I discovered a few days ago. Before this, I always felt a sensation that I thought were drops of urine, but I deemed it waswasa. I couldn’t tell afterward as the feminine area is always moist. Wady may have been emitted after the drops, but I never checked properly. Were my prayers valid?

Also, I started missing prayers a week ago as I wasn’t doing well mentally. I always noted how much I forgot, but now I doubt one particular day I missed or not.

Answer

Thank you for your question. First, I assume that you discover a doctor has checked urinary incontinence. Please do so if you haven’t already seen one. Also, Kegel exercises can prevent or control urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor problems. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. You can do Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, just about anytime.

The correct way to pray with urinary continence is here: Urinary Incontinence and Wudu

In a nutshell, you must wait until the prayer’s time comes in, wash the area, apply a dressing so that filth does not spread, and then make a wudu to seek permission (with the intention) to pray. Then you should pray without delay. With this purification, the exiting of urine will not affect your worship’s validity. You can pray one obligatory prayer and do as many sunna acts as you like (touching a mushaf, praying sunna) until you need to pray the following obligatory prayer. This opinion is according to the Shafi’i school.

Wady

If you don’t know that wady was emitted after the drops of urine, then assume it wasn’t. Certainty is not removed by doubt. Just wash the area and apply a dressing (pad) to catch the urine.

Previous Prayers

Estimate when your urinary incontinence started. Add those days up, subtract the days of menstruation, and the remainder is the number of days of prayers that you would need to make up. Make them up at a consistent and moderate rate, but be sure that you have learned all of your personally obligatory knowledge first about worship in order not to repeat mistakes.

If you can’t remember if you missed one particular day of prayers or not, then you should make up (qada) that day out of precaution.

Please see these readings:
How Can I Maintain Purity and Pray When I Have a Weak Bladder that Constantly Leaks?
How Can I Deal With These Issues Concerning Urinary Incontinence? (Shafi’i School)
Is It Permissible to Not Fast While at My Destination If I Intend to Stay There 6 Days? How Urinary Incontinence Should Be Dealt With Regarding Prayer? (Shafi’i School)
Making up Obligatory Fasts and Prayers

May Allah reward you and give you good health.

[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.