The Nullifiers of Wudu'

The Nawaqid of Wudu' (The Things which break wudu')


What is a Naqid?


It is what breaks wudu' in itself (such as urine) or that which leads to the breaking of wudu' (like deep sleep).


What are the different categories of things which break wudu'?


There are seventeen things which break wudu'. They are divided into three categories.


1) Ritual impurities, of which there are eight:


1. Breaking wind


2. Feces


3. Urine


4. Madhy


5. Wady


6. Semen (when it emerges with unexpected pleasure, as explained in section 54)


7. Hadi


8. Bleeding from false menstruation


The first six are general to both men and women and the last two are specific to women. All these ritual impurities emerge from the urethra except for wind and faeces which emerge from the anus.


2) Asbab, which are those things which are considered to lead to the emergence of ritual impurities. There are seven:


9. Sleep


10. Intoxication


11. Unconsciousness


12. Insanity


13. Touching a person of the opposite sex


14. Kissing


15. Touching the penis


(NOTE: Some scholars add an eighth sabab, which is inserting the fingers into the vagina.)


3) Those things which do not fall into either of the above-mentioned categories of which there are two:


16. Doubt


17. Apostasy. May Allah protect us from it!


52. What is meant by a ritual impurity?


It is that thing which normally emerges from the anus or the urethra when one is healthy and one's bodily functions are working properly. Thus wudu' is not broken if:


a) Something enters one of these orifices, such as a stick, a hypodermic needle or a finger.


b) Blood, pus, pebbles or worms are emitted, as these do not normally emerge from the anus or urethra, rather they emerge because of illness.


c) Something comes out of the mouth or other orifices in the body (with certain exceptions, which are dealt with in section 56).


d) Wind emerges from the urethra or urine from the anus, because this is not the orifice they normally emerge from.


 What is madhy, wady, hadi and the blood of false menstruation?


Madhy is a thin white liquid which emerges during sexual arousal and foreplay or after thinking about sexual matters. It is known as pre-seminal fluid in men and vaginal-lubrication fluid in women. If this liquid emitted by a man he must wash his entire penis with an intention, as this washing is considered an act of worship, like wudu' and ghusl. He should intend that he is washing his penis on account of madhy.


Wady is a thick white liquid which emerges immediately after urination. It is known as post-urinal fluid. If it emerges, its ruling is the same as that for urine (i.e. the impurity must be washed off. No intention is needed.)


Hadi is a white liquid which emerges from the pregnant woman at the moment of giving birth. It is considered to be like urine.


Blood of false menstruation (chronic bleeding) is the blood which emerges from the vagina because of illness or imbalance and emerges after the maximum period for menstruation or the maximum term for post-natal bleeding (lochia) has come to an end (Menstruation and lochia will be discussed more fully in chapter 7).


 When does the ejaculation of semen only require wudu' and not ghusl? Give examples of the circumstances in which this could happen.


Ghusl is made obligatory by the emergence of semen with orgasm (sexual gratification). However if it emerges without accompanying pleasure, only wudu' is made obligatory. This may happen under the following circumstances:


1) When scratching scabs and sores caused by scabies.


2) After being stung by a scorpion.


3) When getting into a tub of hot water.


4) The rubbing and jolting caused by riding a horse.


If the person in these cases starts to experience sexual pleasure with the emergence of the semen, then he must immediately desist from that action which caused the semen to emerge (such as riding his horse or scratching his scabs). If he experiences pleasure with the emergence of the semen and deliberately continues in that action regardless, then he must perform ghusl.


What is incontinence (salas) and what is its legal ruling?


Salas is the ritual impurity that emerges from the urethra or anus due to illness and outside one's physical control. It is the medical condition known as incontinence and may happen with urine, faeces, wind, semen, madhy, wady or the blood of false menstruation. Its legal ruling varies according to the form it takes:


If a person is afflicted by this condition the whole time (for example urine is constantly dripping from his body), then it does not break his wudu' and it is not recommended for him that he perform wudu'.


(NOTE: The emergence of other ritual impurities which he has control over do still break his wudu', however).


If a person is incontinent for most of the time or for half of the time, it does not break his wudu', but it is recommended for him that he perform it for each prayer.


If the incontinence lasts less than half of the time, then it does break his wudu' and it is obligatory on him to perform wudu' if he desires to perform the prayer.


What is meant by 'time' here is from midday to sunrise of the following day, for this is the time in which all the obligatory prayers fall (midday to sunset is the time for Dhuhr and 'Asr, sunset to dawn is the time for Maghrib and 'Isha and dawn to sunrise is the time for Subh).


The rulings mentioned above only apply if the afflicted person cannot accurately pinpoint the times of day in which the incontinence afflicts him and cannot treat it.


If he can pinpoint the times of day he will be afflicted, then he must perform his prayers in the times he knows he will be free of the condition (for example if he knows that he will be free of incontinence in the time of Dhuhr, but will be afflicted by it throughout the time of 'Asr, then he must bring his 'Asr prayer forward).


If he is able to treat it, then he must do so. He is only excused from doing wudu' during the days of his treatment. However, an exception is made in the incontinence of madhy if it is caused by cold weather or illness. The one who suffers from this condition does not have to treat it, even if he is able.


(NOTE: If the incontinence of madhy is caused by prolonged bachelorhood, however then he must treat it; by fasting, getting married or by medication.)


 What is the ruling of what emerges from a perforation?


When a ritual impurity (such as urine or faeces) emerges from a perforation under the intestines and both the anus and urethra are blocked, then it does break wudu'. If the anus and urethra are not blocked then the emergence of a ritual impurity from that perforation does not break wudu'. As for when only one of them is blocked it is said that it does not break wudu'.


A ritual impurity that emerges from a perforation above the navel does not break wudu' regardless of whether the anus and urethra are blocked or not.


 Is wudu' broken by the emergence of sperm from the vagina of a woman after she has performed a ghusl?


If semen entered the vagina of a woman through intercourse, and then emerged from her vagina after she had performed ghusl, then it is obligatory for her to perform wudu'. If the male semen entered into her vagina by means other that intercourse (such as being injected into it by a needle or some such thing), then its emergence is not considered to break purity.


What is a sabab?


A sabab is that which leads to the emergence of a ritual impurity (hadath) (For example sleep leads to the emergence of wind, touching and kissing lead to the emergence of madhy etc.).


59. What are the rulings regarding sleep?


There are four types of sleep:


1) Deep and long. This breaks wudu'.


2) Deep and short. This also breaks wudu'.


3) Light and long. This does not break wudu', but wudu' is recommended after it.


4) Light and short. This does not break wudu', nor is wudu' even recommended after it.


"A deep sleep" is defined as that sleep in which a person is not aware of the voices around him or does not notice when something falls from his hand.


"A light sleep" is defined as when a person awakens when his name is called and notices when something falls from his hand.


 What is the ruling on intoxication, unconsciousness and insanity?


Intoxication breaks wudu', even if that drunkenness came about in a lawful manner (such as unknowingly drinking milk which had become alcoholic). What is meant by 'intoxicant' is that which removes the ability to reason and gives a sense of light-headed euphoria. It does not need to go as far as befuddling the senses and affecting co-ordination.


Unconsciousness also breaks wudu', regardless of whether the person is unconscious for a long time or just a moment.


Bouts of insanity break wudu'. What caused them is not taken into account. It does not matter if the cause was epilepsy, mental illness or possession by a jinni.


What is touching (lams) and when does it break wudu'?


Lams is the direct touching of the body with the hand. If an adult physically touches someone of the opposite sex, whom it is normal to desire (i.e. not a sister or brother or aunt etc. or a very

young girl or boy), then his wudu' is broken or not according to his intention and the outcome:


1) If s/he intends and experiences pleasure, his wudu' is broken.


2) If s/he intends pleasure but does not experience it, his wudu' is broken.


3) If s/he experiences pleasure without intending it, his wudu' is broken.


4) If s/he does not intend pleasure and does not experience it, his wudu' is NOT broken.


Wudu' is also not broken by touching someone whom it is not normal to have sexual desires for, such as a young girl or boy or a member of your immediate family (excepting your wife or husband). The same applies to touching an animal or a member of the same sex.


Wudu' is broken by touching the nail, hair or a thin barrier through which the moistness of the skin may be felt. As for touching through a thick barrier, that does not break wudu'. As for actually gripping part of the body, this breaks wudu' regardless of whether the barrier is thick or thin.


The same ruling applies equally to the one who is touched and the one who touches, if the same preconditions are met (i.e. that the he is touched by an adult of the opposite sex etc.).


What is the ruling on kissing?


When a kiss is on other than the mouth, then its ruling is the same as that for touching (mentioned in section 61).


If the kiss is on the mouth, it always breaks wudu', even if it is forced or done absentmindedly. Both the wudu' of the one who is doing the kissing and the wudu' one who is being kissed are broken. The exception to this is when the kiss is merely to say farewell or out of mercy (such as when one's wife is very ill), in which case it does not break wudu' (unless pleasure is experienced).


Is wudu' broken by looking and thinking accompanied by an erection?


Wudu' is not broken by looking at a beautiful form or thinking about sexual matters, even if that looking or thinking causes an erection.


What is the ruling on touching the penis?


Touching the penis directly, without a barrier breaks wudu' regardless of whether it is the top, of the penis which is touched or the bottom or the middle, even if it is touched accidentally. It matters not whether pleasure was experienced by that touch or not. What is meant by touching here is touching with the palm or side of the hand or the inside or side of the fingers, not with the back of the hand. If a person has a sixth finger, it is treated as the same as the others if there is feeling in it. If that extra finger is dead then touching with it does not break wudu'.


This ruling applies to adult males. As for a child touching his penis that does not break wudu'.

If the penis is touched through a barrier which is very thin, then wudu' is broken. However if the barrier is thicker than that, touching through it does not break wudu'.


As for touching the anus and even inserting ones fingers into it, it does not break wudu', even if that touch causes pleasure. The same is true if a woman touches her vagina, even if she inserts a finger or two between her labia.


(NOTE: As there is a difference of opinion regarding whether a women inserting her fingers into her vagina breaks wudu', it is safer to take the position that it does break wudu')


What are the rulings regarding apostasy and doubt?


Apostasy: There is a disagreement about what the ruling on apostasy is. Apostasy is leaving Islam. There are two predominant positions on what is obligatory for the person who leaves Islam and then returns to it. One is that ghusl is obligatory for him and the other is that only wudu' is obliged. The more reliable position is that only wudu' is made obligatory.


Doubt: Doubt breaks wudu' because man only discharges his liability by certainty. There are three different ways in which doubt can occur:


1) He remembers performing wudu', but is unsure as to whether he has broken his wudu' since then.


2) He remembers breaking wudu', but is unsure as to whether he has performed wudu' since then.


3) He remembers performing wudu' and breaking wudu', but is unsure as to which happened first.


All of these render wudu' obligatory.


If these three types of doubt occur during the prayer, there are additional details attached:


1) If he entered into the prayer believing himself to be in a state of wudu' and then doubt occurs to him about whether he has broken it or not, then it is obligatory for him to continue his prayer. If the doubt leaves after he has finished the prayer and becomes clear to him that he was pure then he does not repeat the prayer. If the doubt persists then he must renew his wudu' and repeat the prayer.


2) If he entered into the prayer believing himself to be in a state of wudu' and then he remembers breaking wudu' and doubt occurs to him about whether he did wudu' after he broke it or not, then he must immediately break his prayer and renew his wudu'.


3) If he entered into the prayer believing himself to be in a state of wudu' and then, having remembered performing wudu' and breaking it, doubt occurs to him about which one occurred first, then he must break his prayer and renew his wudu'. This ruling is the same as that for case (2).


(NOTE: These rulings on doubt do not apply to the person who experiences these sorts every single day, even if that doubt only happens once a day)

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