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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Prayer Without Ablution Due to a Medical Condition

Question

Someone has a problem of very frequent discharge of wind, but he is keen to attend prayers in the mosque, knowing full well that he cannot maintain his ablution because of the discharge. Therefore, he attends the prayer, without doing the ablution, and then goes home, where he performs ablution and then performs the prayer again. Is he doing right?

Answer

It is not permissible to perform prayers without first performing the ablution. The prayer will not be valid. So, what this person does by going to the mosque and praying with the congregation without ablution is not valid. His later prayer at home, with ablution, is valid, God willing. Therefore, he does not need to do anything concerning the past.

It is clear that the man has a medical condition, for which there may be some sort of treatment and cure. He should consult a doctor about this. From the Islamic point of view, if someone has a problem of this sort, like incontinence, making it practically impossible for him to maintain his ablution, he can still attend the congregational prayer and his prayer will be valid.

What he needs to do is as follows: He should perform his ablution as close to the congregational prayer (jama’ah) as possible, either at home or at the mosque, but certainly after the adhan is called, not before it. He should also intend that this ablution is for the prayer he is about to offer, resolving within himself that he will keep his ablution intact until the prayer is finished. When he has done that, he proceeds to join the congregation. When the prayer is called he joins it, even if he feels that a wind discharge has taken place. The point is that this is an illness, not a normal situation. He should continue with the prayer until he has finished. If he needs to offer Sunnah afterward, he can do so. It is all valid, God willing. Every time he needs to go to the mosque for congregational prayer, he should to do the same, starting always with a fresh ablution, after the adhan has been called.

As I have said, the problem may have a medical solution, but he needs to attend to that. On the other hand, it may be partly due to some tension in his mind, which is always causing him to be tense, fearing that he may discharge wind and invalidate his prayer. If he follows the steps I have indicated, he will find that the situation will improve as a result of the decrease of his tension. In some cases, such tension develops into a case of obsession which gives the person a great deal of trouble, making him imagine that he has discharged wind or urine when he has not. The best answer to such obsession is to go directly against it, telling oneself that the obsession, whatever it is, is not true. If the obsession is with having released drops of urine, then no urine has dropped; if it is with wind, then no wind has been discharged. One should act on this basis, offering one’s prayer normally, dispelling any thought of the need to re-do it. Within a few days, the situation will improve, God willing, and the obsession will begin to wear out

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