All Praises are Due to Allah
In this issue, the strongest of the statements of the scholars is that touching the wife does not break the wudu, unless there is a discharge of sperm. This is the statement of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and it is also from Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) as well as Hasan, Mujahid, and Qutada. It is also of the madhhab of Abu Haneefah. Ibn Jarir supports this statement, as well as At Tabari and Sheik Al Islam ibn Taimiyyah. The people who support this statement, use as proof the hadith of Ai'isha (may Allah be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who said, "I was sleeping in front of the messenger of Allah and my legs were in his qiblah. When he prostrated he touched me and I withdrew my legs, and when he stood I stretched them out". (Homes in those days did not have lamps.) (Bukhari narrated it, #328.)
They also use the hadith where A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) says, "I noticed the Messenger of Allah was gone one evening from the bed, so I looked for him and my hand landed on the sole of his feet and he was in the masjid. They were close together and he was saying , "O Allah I seek refuge with you, pleasure from your anger, and with your pardon, and from your punishment. I seek refuge with you from what is falsely attributed to you as praise. You are how you have praised yourself". (Muslim narrated it #486.)
An-Nawawi states in explaining this hadith that her statement, "and my hand landed on the soles of his feet when he was in the masjid and they were close together," is proof for the one who says that touching the wife does not break wudu. Sheik Al Islam Ibn Taimiyyah says the statement of Allah, "Or ye have been in contact with women" refers to sex as Ibn Abbas and others from the Arabs have said. It is reported by Ali and others, and it is the correct meaning of the ayat. There is nothing showing that touching one's wife breaks wudu in the Qur'an or Sunnah. The Muslims used to touch the wives all the time and not one of the Muslims reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered anyone to make wudu because of touching women. (Majmu'ah Fatawa 21/401.)
Allah knows best about this. Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet .
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid