Question # 527: I am 66 years old & suffering from severe incontinence. I shall be very soon, In Sha Allah, getting the prostate gland removed but my doctor and a few other doctors too, whom I consulted, are of the opinion that incontinence may not improve and I shall have to live with it. I’m a businessman and tour quite a bit and during Salah it’s next to impossible. I would like to be guided, as per Shariya, what should I do in the current scenario. An early reply shall be highly appreciated. Jazakum Allahu Khayran. Wa Salaam.
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: The issue of urinary incontinence should be addressed in the following manner:
- One must protect the private part with a covering (be it a napkin, piece of cloth, a pad of cotton, dressing, or diaper) to avoid spreading impurity (najaasah), and he does not have to change it or wash the place for every prayer, so long as he has the protection on and tied properly, but he must perform wudu’ after the time for each prayer begins. It does not matter if anything comes out after performing wudu’, even if that happens during salah.
- If it is too difficult to tie the protection properly, one may follow the Maaliki Madhhab, which says that that is not obligatory.
- Also, one has the concession to pray Dhuhr and ‘Asr together and pray Maghrib and Isha’ together at the time of the earlier or later prayer.
Long Answer: In the case of urinary incontinence, there are two scenarios:
The first is where there is a time during which the urine ceases, and this time is sufficient for doing wudu’ and praying. In that case, one must wait until this time, then wash himself, do wudu’ and pray. It is not permissible for him to pray before it stops because by doing that, he is praying in an imperfect state of purity when there is no necessity for doing that.
The second scenario is when there is no time during which the urine ceases; rather, it is expected that it will occur at any time. The scholars regarded that the one who suffers from urine incontinence comes under the same rulings as the woman who suffers from istihaadah (irregular non-menstrual bleeding). In this case, he should protect himself from the urine by using a napkin or piece of cloth so that the impurity (najaasah) will not spread and do wudu’ for prayer after the time for the prayer has begun and pray. It will not matter if anything comes out after doing wudu’, even if that happens whilst praying. [He can] pray as much as he [wills] of obligatory and naafil prayers with that wudu’, until the time for the next prayer begins.
That is because of the report narrated in al-Saheehayn from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنهما), who said: Faatimah bint Abi Hubaysh came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I am a woman who suffers from constant non-menstrual bleeding (istihaadah), and I never become pure. Should I give up prayer?” The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “No, rather that is from a vein, and it is not menstruation. When your regular time of menstruation comes, then stop praying, and when that time is over, then wash the blood off yourself and pray, then do wudu’ for every prayer until that time comes.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari; this version was narrated by him; and Muslim)
Ibn Qudaamah said, “If the woman experiencing istihaadah knows that the blood flow usually ceases for a period of time sufficient to perform ablution and prayer, then she should not perform the prayer during the blood flow, and she should wait until it stops. If she fears missing the prayer, then she should perform ablution and pray (regardless of the blood flow).” (Al-Mughni)
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said: “The sick person who is suffering from urinary incontinence and cannot be cured with treatment has to do wudu’ for each prayer after the time for prayer begins. He should wash off whatever has gotten onto his body and set aside clean clothes for prayer if that is not too difficult for him. If he cannot do that, then he is excused because Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an: “and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship” (Soorah al-Hajj, 22:78) and “Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you” (Soorah al-Baqarah 2:185) …”
An-Nawawi said in Al-Majmoo’: “Our companions (i.e., the scholars of the Shaafi’i School) said that the ruling on urinary incontinence and madhiy incontinence is the same as the ruling on istihaadah (bleeding outside the monthly cycle of the woman) in terms of the necessity of washing the impurity, stuffing the head of the penis, placing a pad, and performing wudu’ for every obligatory prayer.”
The Maaliki book Sharh Ad-Dardeer combined with Sharh Mukhtasar Khaleel reads, “The state of purity is invalidated by incontinence that stops most of the day and occurs in a short part of it, but if the incontinence lasts half or more than half of the day or all of it, it does not invalidate it.” Ad-Dardeer from the Maliki School said in As-Sharh Al-Kabeer: “Not for those who have incontinence, abscess, and the like because their excuse is continuous. Yes, it is desirable for them to place a pad to avoid that (impurity).”
He does not have to change the protection [be it a napkin, piece of cloth, a pad of cotton, dressing, or diaper] if he has put it on properly so that it does not leak.
[However, the above] ruling applies only when the impurity is ongoing. But if the person who has incontinence does wudu’, then nothing comes out of him until the time for the next prayer begins, he does not have to do wudu’, and his first wudu’ is still valid. If it is too difficult for him to do wudu’ for every prayer, then it is permissible for him to [pray] Dhuhr and ‘Asr together and [pray] Maghrib and Isha’ together at the time of the earlier or later prayer.
It says in Sharh Muntaha al-Iraadaat ([Hanbali Madhhab]): “In the case of anyone who experiences prolonged impurity, such as a woman who suffers istihaadah (non-menstrual bleeding), or one who is affected by urinary incontinence, or continuous emission of madhiy (prostatic fluid) or wind, they should wash the site that is contaminated by impurity, in order to remove it, and wrap it, i.e., take measures to prevent the impurity coming out [and spreading], as much as possible, such as using a pad of cotton and tying it with a clean cloth… They do not have to wash the area and wrap it for every prayer, so long as there is no negligence, because when such things happen all the time, it is not possible to avoid them. The one who is constantly emitting that which invalidates wudu’ should do wudu’ when the time for each prayer comes if something is emitted [between the prayers].” Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa: “The one who is sick and the woman who is suffering from istihaadah may put prayers together.”
Some of the scholars are of the view that using a dressing or diaper is not obligatory. This is the view of the Maalikis. You can follow this view if it is too difficult for you to use a [protection].
Al-Hattaab al-Maaliki said: It is recommended in al-Mudawwanah to wrap it with a cloth. Sanad said: It is not obligatory because praying wearing that cloth, which is contaminated with impurity, is the same as praying in his (contaminated) garment (which is contaminated).
Sanad said: Is it mustahabb to change the cloth? Al-Ibyaani said: It is mustahabb for him to do that when he wants to pray and then wash it. According to the view of Sahnun, it is not mustahabb, and washing the private part is easier for him than that. (Mawaahib al-Jaleel).
(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by:
- Islamqa.info; and
- Islamweb.net, a website belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.