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How would a person experiencing incontinence purify himself (wudhu’) and what is the ruling of him being an imam?



Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The jurists (fuqaha) state that anyone experiencing incontinence (سَلِسِ الْبَوْل ) is considered as the same as a woman who is experiencing istihadah (bleeding other than menstruation or giving birth). They are categorized as people with special ‘excuse’ or in other words, there are certain rules that are especially for them in term of purification.

Here, we include the guidelines set by the fuqaha regarding ablution for people who is experiencing incontinence:

  1. The obligation of prayer and other worships are still applicable
  2. First the private parts need to be cleaned thoroughly and then cover the private part using cotton, bandage or by wearing diapers or other means to stop urine from dripping or leaking out.
  3. For ablution, immediately perform ablution making sure there are no urine dripping after covering or bandaging the private parts. However, ablution must be performed after the time of prayer started.
  4. It is obligatory to perform ablution for every obligatory prayer and the ablution is valid for sunnah prayers after the obligatory prayer.
  5. It is obligatory to immediately perform the prayer after ablution to decrease the hadas, however it does not harm the prayer if he delays his prayer for a maslahah, such as waiting for the adhan and iqamah to end, waiting for other people to arrive at the masjid, finding the qibla, travelling to the mosque, or searching for sutrah. All these maslahah does not harm his ablution even if there is some leakage of urine.
  6. If he delays his prayer without any maslahah, then his ablution is invalid, and it is obligatory for him to repeat his ablution as a careful step for he is in a state of hadas.
  7. It is obligatory for him to perform ablution for every obligatory prayer and the ablution is valid for sunnah prayers after the obligatory prayer.
  8. It is obligatory to replace the cover/bandage/plaster/diaper if he performs a new ablution and his wudhu’ would be invalid according to the things that would invalidate wudhu’, such as farting and fainting, however involuntary urination (due to incontinence) does not invalidate his ablution.

The Ruling of a Person Experiencing Incontinence to Be an Imam

After learning about how people experiencing incontinence purify themselves, what is the ruling of them being an imam?

Al-Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah said that the accepted opinion state that the prayer is valid. This is the opinion of al-Imam al-Haramain, al-Imam al-Ghazali in his book al-Basit. The scholars used qiyas (analogical deduction) with people that used rocks for istinjak, or people who prayed while there are forgiven najis (impure) on their clothes or bodies. [2]



End notes:

 See Al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e. Dar al-Qalam, (1/122-124)

[2] See Al-Majmu’. Dar al-Fikr, (4/263) & Al-Mughni al-Muhtaj. Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, (1/484)