Question # 286: Does using foul language break wudu?

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).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Swearing does not invalidate wudu’; however, it is mustahabb (recommended) for the one who commits a sin (use foul language) to do wudu’, because wudu’ expiates sins. The things that invalidate wudu’ include:

  • Any discharge from the front or back passage (urine, stools, wind, etc.);
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Touching the private parts with hand without any barriers; and
  • Eating camel’s meat.

As for bleeding (from other than sexual organs), pus and vomit, the most preponderant opinion of the Fuqaha (Islamic jurisprudents) is that these do not break wudu’. Lastly, it is mustahabb for the one who washes the deceased to do ghusl; but it is not obligatory.

Long Answer: Swearing is not one of the things that invalidate wudu’. But it is mustahabb for the one who commits a sin to do wudu’, because wudu’ expiates for sins, as is proven from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). It was mentioned by al-Shiraazi in al-Muhadhdhab and Ibn Hazm said in al-Muhalla, narrating from ‘Aa’ishah, Ibn Mas’ood and others among the Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم), that it is enjoined to do wudu’ after speaking bad words.

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’: “The correct view is that it is mustahabb to do wudu’ after saying bad words, such as backbiting, malicious gossip, lying, slander, false speech, immoral speech and the like. The purpose of that is expiation for sins, as is proven in the ahadith, but that is not obligatory.”

Ibn al-Mundhir said in his books al-Ishraaf and al-Ijmaa’: “The scholars are unanimously agreed that it is not obligatory to do wudu’ after saying bad words such as backbiting, slander, false speech and the like… al-Shafi’i, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Bayhaqi and our companions quoted as evidence the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه), according to which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever says in his oath ‘By al-Laat and al-‘Uzza,’ let him say ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allah,’ and whoever says to another, ‘Come and gamble with me,’ let him give charity.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)” i.e., he did not tell him to do wudu’.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Ikhtiyaaraat: “It is mustahabb to do wudu’ immediately after committing the sin.”

It is a good place to mention the things that break wudu’ are:

  • Any discharge from the front or back passage (urine, stools, wind, etc.) Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “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 women (i.e. sexual intercourse), and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands” (Soorah al-Ma’idah, 5:6) Also, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “One should not leave (his prayer) unless he hears its (passing wind) sound or smells its scent” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Flowing of blood, pus and vomit do not invalidate wudu’, according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions. This is the view of Malik and al-Shafi’i and it was narrated from a number of the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). The Hanafis and Hanbalis are of the view that it does invalidate wudu’, and they discussed that at length. The Hanbalis stipulate that the blood that comes out should be a large amount, and what is regarded as a lot or a little depends on each person’s estimation. Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Our view is that wudu’ is not invalidated if something comes out of something other than the front and back passages, such as blood from cupping, vomit and blood from a nosebleed, whether it is a little or a lot. This was the view of Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn Abi Awfa, Jaabir, Abu Hurayrah, ‘Aa’ishah, Ibn al-Musayyab, Saalim ibn ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar, al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad, Tawoos, ‘Ata’, Mak-hool, Rabee’ah, Maalik, Abu Thawr and Dawood.
  • Loss of consciousness regardless whether it was due to insanity, fainting, drunkenness or deep sleep. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The eye is the drawstring of the anus, so whoever sleeps should make Wudu“. If the sleep is not deep (the deepness would be estimated according to the customs of a people) such as sleeping while standing or sitting the Wudu will not be null. Anas (رضي الله عنه) reported that, “the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) were waiting for the night prayer until their heads would nod, then they get up and perform Salah without making Wudu” (Reported by Muslim)
  • Touching the private parts with hand without any barriers, because of the hadith of Basrah bint Safwaan, who heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) say: “Whoever touches his penis, let him do wudu’.” (narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Taharah. al-Albani said in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, it is sahih). [Imam Bukhari said: ‘This is the most sound Hadith in this subject’] However, it should be noted that touching a woman’s body does not break one’s wudu’, whether that is done with feelings of desire or otherwise, unless anything is emitted as a result of that touching.
  • Eating camel’s meat; Jabir Bin Samurah said: “A man asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), ‘should I make Wudu after eating mutton?’ He replied, ‘If you wish’ He then asked, ‘Should I make Eating camel meat, because of the hadith of Jaabir ibn Samurah, who said that a man asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), “Should we do wudu’ after eating camel meat?” He said, “Yes.” (Narrated by Muslim, al-Hayd). [This matter is one of the matters of Ijtihad that is open and we can dispute over. The view of the majority is that eating camel meat does not invalidate the wudu while the scholars of the Hanbali Madhhab and al-Shafi’i [according to his old view], conclude that eating camel meat invalidates the wudu and that is a view that Ibn Khuzayma and Ibn al-Munthir adopted from the Shafi’i scholars and a view that al-Bayhaqi found more correct and al-Nawawi considered it a strong view in his book al-Majmo’ because of the hadith of the Prophet: “Make wudu after you eat camel meat and do not make wudu when you eat sheep meat”, and that is the safest view to adopt and to abstain from the dispute. (AMJA online Jurisprudence Section)]
  • The correct scholarly view is that doing ghusl after washing the deceased is mustahabb, but it is not obligatory. This is the view of Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar, ‘Aa’ishah, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibraaheem al-Nakha’i, al-Shafi’i, Ahmad, Ishaaq, Abu Thawr, Ibn al-Mundhir and others, and it is also the view regarded as most correct by Ibn Qudaamah. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi; al-Mughni) Shaykh al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is mustahabb for the one who washes the deceased to do ghusl, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever washes the dead, let him do ghusl, and whoever carries him, let him do wudu’.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi. Some of its isnaads are hasan, and some are sahih according to the conditions of Muslim)

(Most part of the above reply is based on various answers provided by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic, unless stated otherwise)

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.

Wassalaam