Question # 424: As salaam alaikum. I had a boil on my butt from which drops of puss always leaked and soiled my garments. I had to change garments many times a day as I had read that puss made garments unfit for prayer. Then one day I taped some cotton to the boil and the problem of puss coming on the clothes got solved and I would change the cotton regularly. Now, what happened is that the sticky substance from the tape, i.e the adhesive got stuck to my skin. Very small, grain like amount, less than a centimeter. No amount of soap, rubbing or washing could pull it off. It just stuck. I had to perform ghusl e janabat once in this condition, and even then the adhesive stuck to the skin. My question is: a) does puss from boils really make clothes unfit for salah? b) as the adhesive was still stuck in my skin’s surface, I assume water must not have passed over that half centimeter area, so was my ghusl valid? Were the prayers offered after the ghusl valid?

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: Although some of the scholars say that if water (pus) coming out from wounds is in small amount, it does not invalidate wudu, and if it is in large amount, it does invalidate wudu’; majority of the scholars say that anything that comes out from anywhere other than the front and back passage does not invalidate wudu’. Hence, there is nothing wrong in prayer in garments with a small or insignificant amount of blood or pus; however, if the amount is large, then one has to wash it or change the garment. All the major Schools of Jurisprudence are of the view that little blood and pus are pardoned. As for the adhesive stuck on the skin, the fuqaha’ have stated that it is essential to remove everything that may prevent the water from reaching the parts of the body that must be washed in order for ghusl or wudu’ to be valid; however, if it is not possible to remove that adhesive except with hardship, as mentioned, then it is sufficient for you to remove whatever possible without causing any harm to yourself, since Allah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear, and whatever remains after that does not affect the validity of Ghusl, especially if it is an insignificant amount.  Nonetheless, many scholars are not strict with regards to an insignificant barrier (between water and skin). Finally, the dear questioner should be aware of following the devilish whispering in this regard.

Long Answer: Some of the scholars said that if water (pus) from wounds is a small amount, it does not invalidate wudu, but if it is a large amount then it does invalidate wudu’. A group of scholars – including al-Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad, according to one report narrated from him, and the seven fuqaha’ – said that anything that comes out from anywhere other than the front and back passage does not invalidate wudu’, whether it is a small amount or a large amount, apart from urine and feces… It is the view favored by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. Some scholars are of the view that blood that comes out of a person’s body from anywhere other than the front and back passages is taahir (pure) and not najis (impure). Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The view of those who say that human blood is taahir is a very strong view, because the texts and analogy indicate that. (ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘)

They quoted the following as evidence for that:

  • The basic principle is that it does not break wudu’; whoever claims that something breaks wudu’ has to produce evidence.
  • The fact that he is taahir (pure) is indicated by the shar’i evidence, and whatever is indicated by shar’i evidence cannot be changed except by further shar’i

We do not go beyond that which is indicated by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم), because we worship Allah according to His shari’ah and not according to our whims and desires. We have no right to oblige the slaves of Allah to do wudu’ when it is not required, or to excuse them from doing wudu’ when it is required. (See al-Sharh al-Mumti’ by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)

With regard to what gets onto your garment of blood or pus, if it is a small amount, there is nothing wrong with you praying in that garment. If it is a large amount, then you have to wash it or change your garment, according to the majority of fuqaha’.

It says in al-Mughni: “If he prays and there is some impurity on his garment, even if it is a little, he should repeat his prayer, unless it is a small amount of blood or pus, that one would not think of as anything significant.

Most of the scholars think that a small amount of blood or pus is pardoned, because of the report narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) who said: “One of us would have a garment that she wore whilst menstruating or when she became junub, then she would see a drop of blood on it, so she would put some saliva on her fingernail and scratch it. According to another version: One of us would have only one garment that she would wear when menstruating, and if any of her blood got on it, she would wet it with her saliva then scratch it with her fingernail.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood)

This indicates that it is pardoned, because saliva is not a means of purification and by doing so the impurity would be transferred to the nail. The report indicates that this was something they did frequently. Something like this could not have been hidden from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and could not have happened except on his instructions.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: A little blood and what may accompany it of pus or matter, and the like, which one would not regard as anything significant, is pardoned.” (Sharh al-‘Umdah)

The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked: “If there is a small amount of impurity, like a drop of blood the size of a grain of pearl millet, do I have to do anything about it?” They replied: Impurity other than blood, pus or matter is not pardoned, whether it is a large amount or small. As for blood, pus and matter, a small amount of it is pardoned if it came out of anyone other than the front passage, because avoiding small amounts of it is very difficult, and Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an:

  • “and [Allah] has not laid upon you in religion any hardship” (Soorah Al-Hajj, 22:78)
  • “Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:185)” (Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Ghadyaan, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Qa ‘ood)

Opinion of the major School of Jurisprudence

The Hanafi School of jurisprudence stated that the size of the Dirham from a major impurity is forgiven and it is not obligatory to wash it. The prayer with the existence of such impurity is sufficient (i.e. valid).

The Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia reads: “The Maaliki School distinguished between blood – and the pus – and all other impurities, so they are of the view that the size of a Dirham of blood is pardoned, as well as the pus. What is meant by the Dirham is the Dirham of a mule, which is the black circle in the mule’s front leg.

The Shafi’i School of jurisprudence is of the view that little blood and pus are pardoned, as well as what is difficult to avoid and which is widespread, such as the blood of sores, abscesses, fleas, and what is hard to see with bare eyes, and bloodless creatures, and so forth. The criteria in what is little and what is much is the custom.”

The Shafi‘i scholar Shaykh Sulayman ibn Mansoor Al-Jamal  said: “Blood which comes out from pimples or wounds is pardoned, even if it is a large amount, because it is a widespread condition among people. Nevertheless, if one was the reason behind the coming out of blood, a large amount is not customarily pardoned.”

Issue of adhesive stuck on the skin

The fuqaha’ have stated that it is essential to remove everything that may prevent the water from reaching the parts of the body that must be washed in order for ghusl or wudu’ to be valid, because washing the parts of the body cannot be achieved otherwise.

Al-Nawawi said: If there is wax, dough, henna and the like on one of his limbs, which prevents water from reaching any part of it, then his taharah is not valid, whether the amount is large or small. If there are traces of henna and its color left on the hand, without there being any solid material left, or elsewhere, or traces of liquid grease whereby water flows over the limb but does not stay there, his taharah is valid. (al-Mughni)

Secondly, with regard to the ruling on the prayers offered when this [adhesive] was still on you, it depends. If the [adhesive] was thick and prevented water from reaching the skin, then you should regard the prayer as invalid and you have to repeat them. But if it was a small amount and did not prevent the water from reaching the skin, then the prayer is valid. You can determine that because you can see it, but if you are uncertain, then to be on the safe side you may repeat the prayers.

If it is not possible to remove that [adhesive] except with hardship, as mentioned, then it is sufficient for you to remove what does not harm you by removing it, since Allah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear, and whatever remains after that does not affect the validity of Ghusl, especially if it is an insignificant amount. Many scholars of Fiqh are not strict with regards to an insignificant barrier (between water and skin).

It is stated in Ar-Rawdh Al-Murbi’ (a Hanbali book of Fiqh) with its commentary that: “A small amount of dirt under the fingernail is harmless, and (so is) what is similar to that such as something inside the nose that prevents the water from reaching the skin. Ghusl is valid in this case; and this is the view chosen by “Al-Muwaffaq” (Ibn Qudamah) and others, and this is considered the correct and preponderant opinion by Al-Mardawi, the author of Al-Insaaf. The Shaykh (Ibn Taymiyyah) said: ‘A small amount of dirt in any part of the body and what is inside the cracks of the feet is excused, and the same ruling applies to any small amount of a thing clinging to the body that prevents water from reaching the skin, like blood, dough or the like.’ This is the view chosen by him (Ibn Taymiyyah).”

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: “Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah is of the view that the legal reasoning is based on hardship; whenever it is difficult to avoid impurity, then a small quantity thereof is excused. It is the same thing regarding painters, small paint is excused if it is on their body and prevents water from reaching the skin, because religion is easy, and such matters happen very often to the person, while sometimes he does not feel it or he feels it but it is difficult for him to avoid it.”

A well-established Fiqh principle is that “Difficulty brings about ease and the more constricted a matter becomes, the wider it should be.” This rule is implied in the verse… [from Soorah al-Hajj, 22:78 mentioned above.]

[Consequently,] even if the remnants of the [adhesive] is much, it still does not affect the validity of purification.

Finally, the dear questioner should be aware of following the devilish whispering in this regard.

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
  • Various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on similar topics)

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