The Ten Things that Invalidate wudu

INVALIDATEThe Ten Things that Invalidate wudu
After having done the wudu once, for how long can a person be considered to be in the state of ritual purity? Is a Muslim required to do a separate wudu for each of his prayers, or is one wudu sufficient for the whole day? Once a person has done wudu, he can consider himself in the state of ritual purity until one of the nawaqiztakes place. Nawaqiz (pl. of naqiz) means those things which end the effectiveness of wudu and make it null and void (batil).

The nawaqiz of wudu are ten. Six are related to the discharges which take place from the sexual organs, and four are related to the factors which cause temporary or permanent disability of the mind.

i. The Discharges:

(a) Common between man and women:
1. Urine (and semen).
2. Stool.
3. Farting.

(b) In women only:
4. Menstruation.
5. Irregular bleeding.
6. Post-natal bleeding.

ii. The Mental Disability Factors:

7. Sound sleep (in which one cannot hear anything).
8. Drunkenness (from alcohol or drugs, etc.).
9. Unconsciousness.
10. Insanity.

These nawaqiz have been deduced from the following ahadith of the Imams of Ahlu ‘l-bayt (may peace be upon them): Zurarah bin A’yun quotes from the fifth or sixth Imam as follows: “Nothing invalidates the wuduexcept what comes out of both sides [of the sexual organs] or sleep.”

In another hadith, Zurarah asked both the fifth and the sixth Imams, “What invalidates the wudu?” They answered, “Whatever comes out from both of your lower organs like stool, urine, semen or wind; or the sleep which prevents the functioning of the mind…”

The first six nawaqiz (i. e., the discharges from the sexual organs) can easily be deduced from these two narrations. Analyzing the last sentence of the second hadith (“or sleep which prevents the functioning of the mind”) proves that the sleep has been counted as one of the nawaqiz because it prevents the functioning of the mind. This gives a criterion in the hands of the mujtahids to extend the list to include the other three things, i.e., insanity, unconsciousness and drunkenness. The hadith has just mentioned sleeping because it is the most obvious and common factor that causes `disability’ of the mind, of course, temporarily.

It is needless to say that other than the ten things mentioned above, nothing invalidates the wudu. Some Muslims think that if a person touches his wife or his own private parts, his wudu becomes invalid. This is not correct. The Imams of Ahlu ‘1-bayt, who are the most reliable source for the sunnah of the Prophet and the best guides of the Qur’an, have clearly explained that nothing else affects the wudu in any way.