Praise be to Allaah.
The scholars differed as to whether wudoo’ is invalidated by
touching a woman. There are three views:
The first view is that touching a woman invalidates wudoo’ in
all cases, whether the touching is with desire or not, and whether he
intended to do that or it happened by mistake. This is the view of Imam
al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him).
He quoted as evidence the verse (interpretation of the
meaning): “or you have been in contact with
[laamastum] women” [al-Nisa’ 4:43].
The basic meaning of the word lamas (translated here
as “been in contact with”) is touching with the hand.
The word lamas appears in ahaadeeth with the meaning
of touching with the hand, as in the words of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) to Maa’iz (may Allaah be pleased with him):
“Perhaps you kissed her or touched (lamasta) her.” Narrated by Ahmad
in al-Musnad (2130).
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“The zina of the hand is touching (al-lams).” Narrated by Ahmad
(8392) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah
But these ahaadeeth indicate that what is meant by touching
is that which is less than intercourse, and there is no dispute concerning
this. Rather the dispute is whether the “touching” mentioned in the verse
refers to intercourse or that which is less than it. These ahaadeeth do not
refer to any such thing.
This opinion is the weakest of the scholarly views on this
matter. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, as
is mentioned in al-Ikhtiyaaraat (p. 18): If he touches a woman
without desire, then it is well known that the Lawgiver does not require him
to do wudoo’ and it is not mustahabb for him to do wudoo’. End quote.
The second view is that touching a woman does not invalidate
wudoo’ at all, whether it is with desire or without desire. This is the view
of Imam Abu Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on him).
This view is indicated by a number of things:
The basic principle is that
purity (tahaarah) remains valid and is not cancelled out unless there is
sound evidence that this thing invalidates wudoo’, and there is no such
evidence in this case. As for the verse, we shall see below that what it
refers to is intercourse, not just touching.
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah
(may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I used to sleep in front of the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and my
legs would be in the direction of his qiblah. When he prostrated, he would
poke me and I would draw my legs up and when he stood up I would stretch
them out again. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (382). In al-Nasaa’i (166) it says
with a saheeh isnaad: until, when he wanted to pray Witr, he touched me with
It was also narrated that she
(may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I noticed that the Messenger of
Allaah (S) was not in the bed one night, so I looked for him, and my hand
fell on the sole of his foot. He was in the mosque, with his feet held
upright, and he was saying, “O Allaah, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from
Your wrath, in Your forgiveness from Your punishment.”
Narrated by Muslim (486). According to a report narrated by
al-Bayhaqi with a saheeh isnaad: I started reached out for him with my hand
and my hand fell on his feet, and they were held upright and he was
prostrating… It is also narrated by al-Nasaa’i (169).
The apparent meaning of these ahaadeeth is undoubtedly that
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) touched
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) when he was praying, and if
touching a woman invalidates wudoo’ then his wudoo’ and prayer would have
been invalidated. The Shaafa’is responded to these ahaadeeth with a weak
argument, and said that perhaps it was from behind a barrier!
Al-Shawkaani said: This argument is far fetched and it goes
against the apparent meaning.
It was also narrated from her
(may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) kissed one of his wives, then he went out to pray and
he did not do wudoo’. Narrated by Abu Dawood (179) and classed as saheeh by
Ibn Jareer, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr and al-Zayla’i, and by al-Albaani in Saheeh
It was also classed as da’eef by many, including Sufyaan
al-Thawri, Yahya ibn Sa’eed al-Qattaan, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Daaraqutni,
al-Bayhaqi and al-Nawawi.
If this hadeeth is saheeh, then it is very clear evidence for
this opinion. If it is not saheeh, then there is no need for it as there are
the saheeh ahaadeeth quoted above, and the principle still stands that
purification remains valid, and there is no evidence that wudoo’ is
invalidated by touching a woman.
The third view is that it depends.
If the touching was done with desire, then it invalidates
wudoo’, and if it was not done with desire then it does not invalidate it.
This is the view of the Maalikis and Hanbalis. They tried to reconcile
between the texts, namely the verse “or you have been in contact with
[laamastum] women” which indicates that wudoo’ is invalidated by
touching a woman in their opinion, and the ahaadeeth which were quoted as
evidence by those who think that it does not invalidate wudoo’.
This argukent may be valid if the verse indicates that wudoo’
is invalidated by touching in general – which is their opinion, but the
correct view is that what is referred to in the verse is intercourse, as was
explained by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him), a
view which was favoured by Ibn Jareer. His tafseer takes precedence over the
tafseer of others, because of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he prayed for him and said: “O Allaah,
grant him understanding of the deen and teach him understanding (of the
Qur’aan).” Narrated by Ahmad; it is also narrated in al-Bukhaari. It was
classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Tahqeeq al-Tahhaawiyyah.
See also: Mahaasin al-Ta’weel by al-Qaasimi (5/172).
Intercourse is referred to by the word mass (touching)
in more than one verse. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“There is no sin on you, if you divorce women while yet
you have not touched (had sexual relation with) them, nor appointed unto
them their Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time
“And if you divorce them before you have touched (had a
sexual relation with) them, and you have appointed unto them the Mahr
(bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage),
then pay half of that (Mahr)”
“O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and
then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no ‘Iddah
[divorce prescribed period] have you to count in respect of them. So give
them a present, and set them free (i.e. divorce) in a handsome manner”
Moreover, upon deeper study the verse does indicate this view
(that what is meant by touching here is intercourse). The reason for that
That Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe!
When you intend to offer As-Salaah (the prayer), wash your faces and your
hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your
heads, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles”
This refers to purification with water from minor impurity.
Then He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But if you are ill or on a journey, or
any of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in
contact with [laamastum]women
(i.e. sexual intercourse), and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with
clean earth”. The word fatayammamu (perform Tayammum) is an
alternative. The words “or any of you
comes after answering the call of nature” refer to the cause for
minor impurity and the words “or you
have been in contact with [laamastum]women”
refer to the cause for major impurity.
If we interpret “touching” as referring to touching with the
hand, then the verse would mean that Allaah mentioned two reasons for doing
minor purification, and did not state any reason for doing major
purification, even though He says “If you are in a state of Janaaba (i.e.
after a sexual discharge), purify yourselves (bathe your whole body)”.
This is incompatible with the eloquence of the Qur’aan.
Based on this, the verse indicates that what is meant by “or
you have been in contact with [laamastum]
women” is: if you have had intercourse, so Allaah mentions the
two reasons that make it obligatory to purify oneself. End quote from
al-Sharh al-Mumti’ (1/240).
See also: al-Badaa’i’ wa’l-Sanaa’i’ (1/132);
al-Fiqh al-Maaliki (1/89) and al-Majmoo’ (2/21).
The most correct of these three views is the second one, that
touching a woman does not invalidate wudoo’ at all, whether it is with
desire or without desire.
This is the view favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah
(12/222), and among contemporary scholars by Shaykh Ibn Baaz (10/134),
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (1/286) and the scholars of the Standing Committee