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Uncertainty Ruining my Prayers

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat gives advice on how to deal with uncertainty about wudu and purity when one has chronic gas troubles.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I know that Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said that in case of doubt, wudu doesn’t break unless one hears the sounds or finds smell. My problem is that, most of the time, I have gas in my stomach and this is the default state. This gas is accompanied with sound, so most of the time I can’t figure out if this sound is from stomach only or my wudu actually broke.

The problem is due to the confusion caused by sound, which causes to me to do wudu multiple times for a prayer, and my entire day passes like that, trying to complete my prayers.

Sometimes it takes an hour to offer four rakas. I remain so occupied with this affair that I find very little time for my worldly duties and my life is all messed up due to this. Please tell me what should I do?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Basing Rulings on Certainty

If you cannot distinguish when you have broken your wudu through sound then you should disregard it – unless you are certain that a particular sound is of wind exiting. Scholars mention the legal maxim ‘Certainty is not removed by doubt’ for situations like this (Zarqa, Sharh al-Qawa’id al-Fiqhiyya). Otherwise, just rely on smell, and other certainties.

It may also be of benefit to familiarise yourself with the rulings related to chronic excuses from our answers section.

Practice of the Religion Is Easy

The Messenger of Allah told us that “Practice of] the religion is ease [itself].” (Bukhari). Do not feel overwhelmed. This is a test, so you should turn to Allah through supplication, salat al haja, and other means and ask for this difficulty to be removed.

Taking the Means to a Solution

Please refer to this answer for possible solutions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is quite effective in dealing with you issues. I have known people to have gut issues due to stress and trauma. Perhaps looking into a therapy which deals with psychosomatic issues, like EFT, will help. There are all means; Allah is the one who makes things happen in reality. Ask Him for help.

May Allah facilitate the matter for you. Amin.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


How Do I Deal with Obsessive Thoughts about Purity and Filth?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Religion has become really difficult for me. I fear becoming impure, which means I can’t offer my prayers.

If my husband touches the phone after intimacy I feel that impurity is transferred. I feel like impurity has travelled everywhere and I keep cleaning.

I feel Allah will not forgive me for this. If an impure hand touches a place do I have to wipe the place 3 times or just once is enough?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

May Allah grant you ease in your tribulation.

Purity and filth

Fiqh-wise, washing with water just once is sufficient to clean medium filth. Three times is recommended.

In the Shafi’i school of thought, examples of filth include:

-blood
-pus
-vomit
-anything which exits the front or rear private parts other than sperm or female sexual fluid
-any animate life which dies without being Islamically slaughtered, other than aquatic life, locusts or human beings
-dogs, swine of their offspring (major filth)

from Al-Maqasid, Nawawi’s Manual of Islam

Certainty vs Doubt

There is a legal maxim in which certainty is not lifted by doubt. Suspecting that something has filth on it does not make it so. You must be absolutely certain that there is filth on your hand (you must be able to see it, smell it, etc), instead of suspecting that it is there.

Obsessive thoughts

Are you able to consult a skilled and compassionate therapist? It sounds like you are struggling with obsessive thoughts, and it is very difficult to overcome this on your own. Therapists are trained to help you manage these symptoms, and a good therapist can help you uncover and heal the root cause of your pain. In the meantime, please consider listening to this OCD treatment track on Hypnosis Downloads.

The rules of purity and filth in Islam are clear and simple, and are not meant to burden you in any way. To give you some peace of mind, please enrol in a fiqh class, either Hanafi or Shafi’i, and revise the rulings on purity and filth.

I pray that Allah helps you take the means to heal.

Please refer to the following links:

Key principles relating to certainty, doubt and baseless misgivings (waswasa)

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Key Principles Relating to Certainty, Doubt, and Baseless Misgivings (waswasa)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I was wondering about doubts while fasting. I rinsed my mouth for ablution (wudu) but thereafter had doubts whether I had swallowed water or not. I understand that for matters of purification (tahara), doubts are ignored, is this the case with worship (ibadat).

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

When in such a situation, find out what is the right thing to do, and simply do it.

Do not think about the problem or worry about it. Rather, think and thank: think about the blessings of Allah for you, and thank Him for them with your tongue and heart. This is a means of making Shaytan leave you, and despair of making you despair.

Exercise Caution

It is important to calmly find out:

a. what all the relevant related rulings are;

b. ask as many specific questions as you have to (don t make assumptions!);

c. then figure out what you were doing wrong, if anything, and what the consequences are.

Don’t Have Baseless Misgivings

It is essential that one not have baseless misgivings (waswasa). This usually occurs from unawareness of the sunna, as operationalized by the fuqaha, or by lack of intelligence (in one’s behavior).

As such, we should take the proper means, as described above, and not go beyond them.

Our legal responsibility (taklif) is within the limits of reason: Allah Most High has informed us, “Allah does not burden souls with more than they can manage.”

Principles Related to Certainty & Doubt

Once you have taken the reasonable means, the default assumption is that you are now free error. Then, we return to the important fiqh principle:

“Certainty is not lifted by a doubt.”

[Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa’l Nadha’ir; Majallat al-Ahkam al-`Adiliyya]

This means that if one is certain about something, such as the validity of our worship, with this being the basic assumption for all human actions, then we will keep assuming it valid until certain that it was not. Mere possibilities and even likelihoods do not change this.

The important fiqh principles related to this matter include:

1.    Certainty is not lifted by doubt;

2.    Certainty is only lifted by another certainty;

3.    The default assumption about a matter is akin to certainty;

4.    The default assumption about all matters is validity and soundness;

5.    Mere doubts and suppositions are of no legal consequence.

Ibn Abidin points out that following one s misgivings (waswasa), whether about the validity of one s works or about  how hard  we imagine the legal prescriptions of the Shariah to be,  is highly blameworthy in the Shariah: it is from the Shaytan, and Allah Most High has commanded us to refuse his enticing.

As such, until you are certain that any of your prayer was invalid, you do not have any prayers to make up. One should, however, take the steps described above in  exercising caution.

This deen is mercy. The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) is mercy. It is a means of mercy, success, and felicity. When one does not find this, one must be doing something wrong.

“Ask the people of remembrance when you know not”,  Allah tells us in the Qur’an.

This is an important final point: when in doubt, one should not make up legal rulings. Rather, one should seek reliable knowledge, either from a reliable book one is able to understand or from persons of sound traditional learning.

May Allah grant us success in doing that which He loves.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabban