wuḍūʾ (ablution)

Does smiling or laughter break wudu?

Does smiling or laughter break wudu? Lets say one laughed once and realize it would that break wudu?

No, they do not have an influence on wudu. There was a difference of opinion on whether laughter during the prayer would nullify both the prayer and the wudu, but the stronger opinion is that it only nullifies the prayer without affecting the wudu.

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The permissibility of wiping off wudu water

Salam alaikum. Is it permissible to wipe off our wudu, as in drying the water off our skin with a towel, after taking a wudu before prayer?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

According to Imām al-Nawawī, all scholars agree that it is permitted. But there is disagreement on whether it is makrūh (“disliked”) thing to dry off the wudu water or whether it is mubāḥ (“permitted and neutral in value, netiher good nor bad”). The fatwa I cite below says that it is sunna to not dry off the water (since the Prophet PBUH never did that), but that doing so has no harm.

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Is a shower the same as ghusl? Is wudu necessary after ghusl?

selam My question is if I had intercourse and I take shower and then wudu is my prayer valid? Olso is Gusul considered under shower or are they any other steps involved thanks

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

As discussed in this previous answer, taking a shower is ghusl provided that you take the shower with the intention of ghusl and provided that the water reaches your entire hair, head, face and body. So taking a shower with the intention of ghusl is sufficient to be able to pray afterwards.

Most scholars also agree that there is no need to perform ablution (wudu) after ghusl, as ghusl brings you into a state of purity that includes the state of ablution. However, after the water reaches the parts of the body that are washed during wudu, if a person does something after that that nullifies wudu (such as touching the private parts), then they should make wudu afterwards in order to pray.

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How should females wipe their hair during wudu?

How should females wipe their hair during wudu? It's difficult to wipe back to front

It is sufficient to wipe the front part of your head without wiping anything else. This is what Aisha, may God have mercy on her, used to do.

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Can you make wudu when your awra is visible?

Salaam. I have couple things to ask. Is it okay if we take wudlu while our awrah is visible, e.g. our chests (for women), navel or knees revealed?

Hiding the awra is not necessary for the correctness of wudu. A person can perform wudu naked during the performance of ghusl (i.e. during showering).

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Does bleeding from the gum nullify wudu or fast?

Salam brother, does swallowing blood break fast/wudu? what if it’s only a small amount? I have a tooth that constantly bleeds and it’s frustrating worrying about it all the time.

According to a fatwa by the Qatari Fatwa Authority bleeding from the gum does not nullify wudu, but a person should avoid swallowing it as much as possible. As for fasting, a fatwa by the respected Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi states that bleeding from the gum does not nullify the fast as long as a person does not intentionally swallow the blood. If some of the blood mixes with the saliva and a person swallows some of it unknowingly or because they are unable to avoid it (since it may not be possible to remove all blood from the mouth), then there is no issue with this either.

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Wiping over socks to avoid frostbite from ablution

Brother, I get frost bite on my toes in winters so I have not been washing my feet while performing ablution since grade 9 (Only In winters). Is my act right or wrong? Also I miss prayers cux of cold weather nowadays so tell me how can I get motivation to offer prayer regularly in winters.

You can do what is known as al-masḥ ʿala al-khuffayn, which is to use your hands to wipe the top parts of your socks during ablution without taking them off. This, however, can only be done if you perform an ordinary ablution, then put on the socks. Afterwards, you can use the bathroom, then when performing ablution again, you can wash your face and hands like normal while keeping your socks on. Instead of taking the socks off, you may simply wipe your hands over the top part of your feet, starting with the toes.

This can only be done for 24 hours, after which the person has to take the socks off and perform an ordinary ablution for the next prayer. In this way, you can perform ablution at home, put your socks on, then keep the socks on all day and only wipe your hand over them when performing ablution.

Now there are differences of opinion on whether the above is permissible or not. According to Shaykh Yusur al-Qaradawi nine Companions of the Prophet PBUH said it is permissible, along with numerous Successors, therefore it is a safe option according to him.1

As for having motivation to pray, I recommend reading a regular amount of Quran everyday so that you may feel a closer connection with God. And the best way to do this is to read Quran during tahajjud, as I explain in this essay.

Is “halal” nail polish really halal?

I’ve recently came across ‘halal nail polish’ that is apparently water permeable and therefore we can perform our prayers as usual. What are your thoughts on this? (Since we cannot pray with normal nail polish on) I hope you can answer my question

Proper wuḍūʾ (ablution) requires that the nails should be washed. From what I understand, water-permeability is not sufficient to make the nail polish suited to ablution, because it might simply be like ordinary nail polish but with microscopic holes that allow water to seep through, meaning that on a microscopic level part of the nails will be completely blocked by the material from being touched by the water and other parts not blocked off. It might be like using ordinary nail polish but using a microscopic needle to put millions of holes in it, it does not change the fact that there are still many areas that will not get any water touching them.  If the material was fully water-permeable then one would expect it to fall off as water gets under it. But since it does not fall off, it suggests that part of the substance gets firmly stuck to the nails, preventing water from touching those parts.

Besides that, there is also another issue. According to the Qatari Islamic website IslamWeb, a niqab-wearing woman’s ablution is not valid if she washes her face over her niqab without taking it off.1 Since both the face and the hands are treated equally in ablution (they both have to be washed, meaning water has to run over them directly), then according to this fatwa even having woolen gloves on would make ablution invalid, even though a woolen glove is perfectly water-permeable the way a niqab is. So if this fatwa’s thinking is valid (I cannot find any others that say the same thing), then water-permeability might be completely irrelevant; regardless of how water-permeable it is, at best it is like having a piece of water-permeable cloth over the nails, which still nullifies the ablution.

The types of touching between spouses or strangers that nullify wudu

I recently went to a Mastura group and was told that women’s wudu is invalidated if she so much so touches her husband but when you sleep it isn’t invalidated. So if you go to Makkah again if you touch a non Mahram it’s not invalidated because of the crowds and circumstances. Things like this make me question the logic behind the rulings. Why is it so inconvenient for us? I genuinely struggle with believing it’s so rigid. My husband constantly asks for massages so I need to retake wudu 24/7?

There are many differing opinions on this issue. According to the Ḥanbalī school touching a spouse or a stranger does not nullify wuḍuʾ because they interpret the relevant Quranic verse (4:43) as referring to sexual intercourse (Ibn Taymīya, d. 1328 CE) (Ibn Bāz, d. 1999 CE) or erotic touching (al-Mardāwī, d. c. 1480 CE).

Ibn Nujaym (d. c. 1562 CE), representing the Ḥanafī school, says that mere skin contact does not nullify wuḍuʾ regardless of whether the contact is accidental or intentional, and regardless of whether it is done with erotic intent or not, and regardless of whether it is with one’s spouse or a stranger.

Al-Nawawī (d. 1277 CE), representing the Shāfiʿī school, says that any form of contact between members of the opposite sex who have reached puberty nullifies wuḍuʾ, regardless of whether the two persons are married or not. It is probable that what you heard was from a Shāfiʿī source.

The Egyptian jurist Muhammad ʿIllīsh (d. 1882 CE), representing the Mālikī school, says that the only type of touching that nullifies wuḍuʾ is that which is done with erotic intent (i.e. with the intention of obtaining sexual pleasure), regardless of whether the person obtains the pleasure they sought. It is also nullifies wuḍuʾ if a person obtains sexual pleasure from touching even though they did not intend to obtain pleasure.

The main matter at issue here is the interpretation of lāmastum in verse 4:43. The Shāfiʿīs interpret it as “if you touch”, while the Ḥanafī and Ḥanbalī scholars appear to interpret it as “if you have sexual intercourse with”. Both of these interpretations involve taking an extreme position that is not implied by the verse. The phrase lāmastum literally means “if you caress”, it suggests prolonged contact and has a sexual connotation to it. The Mālikī opinion in my understanding best represents the intent of this verse. Touching a person of the opposite sex only breaks wuḍuʾ if the touching is done with erotic intent or if the touching leads to erotic pleasure without intent. This would apply whether the touching involves a stranger, relative or spouse. The Mālikī opinion represents a middle road between the extremely strict Shāfiʿī view and the extremely lax Ḥanafī/Ḥanbalī views.

On this issue I prefer the Mālikī view, which is that touching between spouses or strangers does not nullify wuḍuʾ unless the person does it with erotic intent or gains erotic pleasure from it. Giving your husband a massage wouldn’t nullify wuḍuʾ if there is no erotic intent or pleasure involved. The Ḥanbalī scholar al-Mardāwī also appears to share a similar opinion.

Source for the opinions of the scholars mentioned above: IslamWeb, fatwa 41160 [archived link], Ibn Baz’s website, fatwa 2961 [archived link].