Washing or wiping over spot that prevents water from reaching skin
Fatwa No: 361111

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. Some scholars have said that if there is a spot on the skin that is difficult to remove in ablution and Ghusl (ritual bath), the ruling is the same as that for a splint, meaning that you wipe over the spot. Other scholars have said that you can just wash it and that that is enough. If you follow the first view for Ghusl and the second view for ablution, is this permissible? May Allah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

As for the spot or barrier that prevents water from reaching the skin when performing ablution or Ghusl and which is difficult to remove, then its ruling differs from the ruling of a splint, as it is not sufficient to wipe over it. Wiping over it is meaningless; rather, it must be washed with the body, and the water must pass over it just as it passes on the body part on which it is, even if the water does not reach the skin, because Allah says (what means): {Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.} [Quran 2:286] Allah also says (what means): {…and He has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty.} [Quran 22:78]

Also, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "If I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The Maaliki scholar Al-Hattaab said in his book Minah al-Jaleel, "Maalik said in Al-Mawwaaziyyah about the one who performs ablution while he has ink on his hands but he only saw it after he prayed in that condition, 'This does not harm him if he passed the water over the ink.'"

Therefore, one must pass water over it, and wiping is not sufficient.

We have already mentioned the view of the majority of the scholars, that anything that prevents the water from reaching the skin must be removed in ablution and in Ghusl, even if it is insignificant, if it is possible to remove it, in several fatwas. If someone does not remove it (if it is possible to remove it), his ablution or Ghusl is not valid, and neither is his prayer.

We also mentioned that some scholars gave a concession in regard to an insignificant thing that remains on the body by analogy with the dirt that remains under the nail (which is pardoned). This is the view that is considered to be the preponderant opinion by Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.

The Hanbali scholar Al-Mardaawi said in Al-Insaaf, "The insignificant dirt [which prevents the water from reaching the skin] under the nail and the like does not harm… Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah held that the same ruling applies to any insignificant thing that prevents water from reaching the skin, regardless of its place on the body, like blood, dough, and the like; and this is the view that he chose." For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 358009.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the view of the majority of the scholars is better and safer in terms of clearing one of their liability.

As for to the view that an insignificant barrier is pardoned, then there is no harm on you to act according to this opinion in ablution and Ghusl, or in either of them, if the spot is insignificant and provided that you feel confident about this view and that this is not a way of following your desires or following every concession.

An-Nawawi said in Rawdhat At-Taalibeen,  "A layman may seek the fatwa from whomever he wishes or whomever he comes across to ask, but without following concessions."

Besides, Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "A layman may imitate in regard to the branches of religion whomever he wishes among the scholars who make Ijtihaad (independent reasoning)."

Allah knows best.

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