Fri 25 Jm2 1435 - 25 April 2014
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Sleep invalidates wudoo’ if it is deep

What is the evidence that sleep invalidates wudoo’?.

Praise be to Allaah.

With regard to the evidence that sleep invalidates wudoo’, that is proven by the hadeeth of Safwaan ibn ‘Assaal (may Allaah be pleased with him) in al-Sunan. He said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to command us, if we were travelling, not to take off our khufoof for three days and nights, except in the case of janaabah, but not in the case of stools, urine or sleep. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 89; classed as hasan by al-Albaani. So he mentioned sleep as one of the things that invalidate wudoo’. 

The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) differed as to whether sleep invalidates wudoo’ or not, and there are several points of view, including the following: 

1 – That all kinds of sleep invalidate wudoo’, whether it is a little or a lot, no matter in what position one sleeps. This is the view of Ishaaq, al-Muzani, al-Hasan al-Basri and Ibn al-Mundhir, because of the hadeeth of Safwaan ibn ‘Assaal (may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above, where he mentioned sleep as one of the things that invalidate wudoo’, and did not define it any further. 

2 – That sleep does not invalidate wudoo’ in all cases, because of the hadeeth of Anas ibn Maalik, according to which the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to wait for ‘Isha’ at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) until their heads drooped, then they prayed and they did not do wudoo’. Narrated by Muslim, 376. According to the report of al-Bazzaar: they would lie on their sides. 

This is the view of Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with him) and Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib. 

These two views are opposite, and each of them is based on a part of the evidence. However the majority of scholars reconciled this evidence and said that sleep invalidates wudoo’ in certain circumstances and not in others, although they differed in the way in which they reconciled between the evidence. 

3 – If a person sleeps sitting with his backside firmly on the ground, it does not invalidate wudoo’, and if his backside is not firmly on the ground, it does invalidate wudoo’, regardless of what position he is in. This is the view of the Hanafis and Shaafa’is.  

Al-Majmoo’, 2/14 

4 – Sleep invalidates wudoo’ except light sleep in the case of one who is sitting or standing. This is the view of the Hanbalis. See al-Insaaf, 2/20, 25 

The reason why an exception is made in the case of light sleep of one who is sitting or standing is that in this case the place where wind is emitted will be joined together and in this case one may think it most likely that he has not broken his wudoo’. 

5 – Some of them said: a great deal of sleep invalidates wudoo’ whatever the case, unlike a little sleep. This is the view of Maalik and was narrated in one report from Ahmad. 

The difference between a great deal of sleep and a little is that a great deal of sleep is deep sleep in which a person does not feel that he has broken his wudoo’ if that takes place. A little sleep is that in which a person does feel that he has broken his wudoo’ if that takes place, such as passing wind. 

This view is the one favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him), and among our contemporary scholars it was the view favoured by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen and the scholars of the Standing Committee, and it is the correct view. This view reconciles all the evidence, for the hadeeth of Safwaan ibn ‘Assaal indicates that sleep invalidates wudoo’ and the hadeeth of Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) indicates that it does not do so. 

The hadeeth of Anas is to be interpreted as referring to light sleep in which a person can feel that he has broken his wudoo’ if that takes place, and the hadeeth of Safwaan is to be interpreted as referring to deep sleep in which a person does not feel if he breaks his wudoo’. 

This is supported by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The eye is the string that ties the anal sphincter; when the eyes sleep, the string is loosened.” Narrated by Ahmad, 4/97; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4148. 

What this means is that wakefulness is the string that ties the anal sphincter, i.e. it keeps what is inside from coming out, because so long as a person is awake he can feel what comes out, but when he sleeps the string is loosened. 

Al-Teebi said: When a person is awake, he keeps control of what is in his stomach but when he sleeps he loses that control and his muscles relax. End quote from ‘Awn al-Ma’bood

If a person cannot control his sphincter in the sense that if he breaks his wudoo’ he cannot feel it, then his sleep invalidates wudoo’, otherwise it does not.  

See: al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 1/275 

Al-San’aani said in Subul al-Salaam (1/97): 

The most likely to be correct is the view that sleep invalidates wudoo’, because of the hadeeth of Safwaan… but the word nawm (sleep) in his hadeeth is general in meaning, and there is the hadeeth of Anas which speaks of the sleep of the Sahaabah and says that they did not do wudoo’ even if they snored, and that they used to lie on their sides, and that they would be woken up. The basic principle is that they are people of integrity and that they were not unaware of what invalidates wudoo’, especially since Anas narrated this from the Sahaabah in general, and it is well known that among them were knowledgeable men who had deep knowledge of the religion, especially the prayer which is the greatest pillar of Islam, and especially those among them who used to wait to pray with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). They were the elite of the Sahaabah, and as that is the case, the general wording of the hadeeth of Safwaan is to be taken as referring to deep sleep only, in which a person is no longer aware, and what Anas said about snoring, lying on their sides and being woken up is to be understood as referring to sleep that was not deep, because a person may snore at the beginning of sleep, before sleep has become deep, and lying one one’s side does not necessarily mean that one is sleeping deeply. End quote. 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, when listing the things that invalidate wudoo’: 

A great deal of sleep means if it is such that the sleeper does not feel it if he breaks his wudoo’. But if the sleep is light and the sleeper can feel it if he breaks his wudoo’, then sleep does not invalidate wudoo’. It makes no difference if the sleeper is lying down, sitting leaning on something or sitting without leaning. What matters is the level of awareness. If it is such that he will feel it if he breaks his wudoo’, then his wudoo’ is not invalidated by sleep. If he is in a state where he would not feel it if he breaks his wudoo’, then he must do wudoo’, because sleep itself does not invalidate wudoo’, rather there is the probability that one has broken one's wudoo’ when sleeping. But if one is still aware and can be certain that he has not broken his wudoo’ because he can feel it if it happens, then sleep does not invalidate his wudoo’. The evidence that sleep itself does not invalidate wudoo’ is the fact that light sleep does not invalidate wudoo’. If sleep did invalidate wudoo’ then a little or a lot of it would do so, just as a little or a lot of urine invalidates wudoo’. End quote. 

Similarly in Fataawa Ibn Baaz (10/144) it says: 

Sleep invalidates wudoo’ if it is so deep that one is no longer aware, because the great Sahaabi Safwaan ibn ‘Assaal al-Muraadi (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:  The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to command us, if we were travelling, not to take off our khufoof for three days and nights, except in the case of janaabah, but not in the case of stools, urine or sleep. Narrated by al-Nasaa’i and al-Tirmidhi; classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah. 

And Mu’aawiyah (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The eye is the string that ties the anal sphincter; when the eyes sleep, the string is loosened.” Narrated by Ahmad and al-Tabaraani. Its isnaad contains some weakness, but there are corroborating reports that support it, such as the hadeeth of Safwaan mentioned above, thus it is counted as a hasan hadeeth. As for feeling drowsy, this does not invalidate wudoo’ because it does not cause loss of awareness. Thus the ahaadeeth that have been narrated on this topic can be reconciled. End quote. 

The scholars of the Standing Committee said: 

Deep sleep may lead to breaking of wudoo’, so whoever sleeps deeply in the mosque or elsewhere has to repeat his wudoo’, whether he was standing, sitting or lying down, and whether he has a masbahah in his hand or not. But if the sleep is not deep, such as dozing off, in which one does not lose awareness, he does not have to repeat his wudoo’, because of the saheeh ahaadeeth which have been narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) concerning that, as mentioned above. End quote. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/262 

And they also said: 

Light sleep in which one does not lose consciousness does not invalidate wudoo’. It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to delay ‘Isha’ prayer on some occasions, until the heads of the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would droop, then they would pray and would not do wudoo’. End quote. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/263 

See al-Majmoo’, 2/14-24; Mawaahib al-Jaleel, 1/312; al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/189-191.

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