Does sleeping without leaning on anything invalidate wudu? Are there hadiths regarding the issue?

Details of the Question

Does sleeping without leaning on anything invalidate wudu? Are there hadiths regarding the issue?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Sleep invalidates wudu. For, feeling disappears when one sleeps. The evidence showing that deep sleep and a long sleep invalidate wudu is the following hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) narrated by Hz. Ali:

"The eye is the string that ties the anal sphincter. Therefore, a person who sleeps must make wudu." (1)

Another hadith regarding the issue is the one narrated by Muawiya:

"The eye is the string that ties the anal sphincter. When the eyes sleep, the string is loosened." (2)

Both hadiths show that sleep is likely to invalidate wudu.

Fiqh scholars have different views about sleep invalidating wudu; Nawawi mentions those views in Muslim's Explanation (1,73). We choose two views that are close to each other but are different in terms of explaining the depth of the sleep that can be regarded as evidence for passing wind. These two views are stated as follows: 

The first view is the view of Hanafis and Shafiis:

The sleep that invalidates wudu is the one in which the hips do not sit on the ground firmly, or sleeping on one side of the body or sleeping by leaning on something. For, sleeping on one’s side and similar states causes the joints to loosen. However, the wudu of a person who sleeps by placing his hips firmly on the back of an animal or on a similar ground like that is not invalidated.   

If a person leans on something and when the thing that he leans on is removed, he topples and if his hips are not on the ground, his wudu is invalidated according to Hanafis. For, with that kind of leaning, the state of loosening reaches the ultimate state. However, according to Shafiis, if his hips sit on the ground firmly, his wudu is not invalidated because he becomes sure that no wind will come out while sitting like that. Accordingly, the decree is the same in both madhhabs. Wudu is not invalidated if a person sleeps while standing (qiyam) bowing down (ruku’) and prostrating (sajdah) in prayer or outside prayer in these positions. For, the state of being able to control oneself continues in these positions; if this position ends, he will fall; therefore, a full loosening does not occur.

Their evidence about it are some hadiths. One of them is the following hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas:

"Wudu is not necessary for a person who sleeps while prostrating unless he lies on his side. If he lies on his side, his joints will loosen." (3) 

In another narration, the hadith is as follows:

"There is no need for a person who sleeps while sitting to make wudu. For, wudu becomes necessary for a person who sleeps on his side. For, the joints of a person who sleeps on his side loosen." (4)

The following is stated in one of the following narrations of Bayhaqi:

"Wudu does not become wajib for a personwhosleeps while standing, bowing down and prostrating unless he lies on his side."

One of the evidences regarding the issue is the following hadith reported by Anas:

"The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would sleep by sitting while waiting for the night (isha) prayer and perform the prayer without making wudu." (5)

This hadith is an evidence showing that a little sleep does not invalidate wudu.

Another evidence regarding the issue is the following hadith reported by Amr b. Shuayb from his father and reported by his father from his grandfather:

"There is no need for a person who sleeps while sitting to make wudu. However, it is necessary for a person who sleeps on his side to make wudu." (6)

Kamal b. al-Humam states the following about the hadiths above: If you think about the hadiths we have mentioned, you will see that they are not lower than the degree of hasan. (7)

The second view is the view of Malikis and Hanbalis.

A little and slight sleep does not invalidate wudu but deep sleep invalidates wudu. The expression Malikis use is as follows: A slight sleep does not invalidate wudu even if lasts a long time.

Deep sleep is the sleep in which a person does not notice sounds or when he does not notice the thing that falls from his hand or he does not notice the saliva coming out of his mouth, etc. If he notices them, this sleep is regarded as light sleep. Their evidence is the hadith narrated by Hz. Anas mentioned above:

"The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would wait for the night (isha) prayer. Their heads would droop and then they would perform the prayer without making wudu."

The following hadith reported by Ibn Abbas is also among their evidences:

"I slept next to my maternal aunt, Maymuna. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) got up to perform prayers. I stood on his left. He held my hand and took me to his right. When I was about to fall asleep, he held me from my earlobe."

Ibn Abbas added:

"He performed eleven rak’ahs like this." (8)

These two hadiths show clearly that a little sleep does not invalidate wudu.

Footnotes:

1. Ahmad b. Hanbal, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah narrated it. The meaning of the hadith is as follows: Being awake isthe string of the anus. That is, it prevents the things inside from coming out. For, as long as a person is awake, he notices the things that come out from him. Naylul-Awtar, I, 192.
2. Ahmad b. Hanbal and Daraqutni, Naylul-Awtar, I, 192.
3. Ahmed b. Hanbal narrated it, Naylul-Awtar, I, 193.
4. Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Daraqutni narrated it. Naylul-Awtar, I, 193.
5. Abu Dawud, Muslim and Tirmidhi narrated it. Naylul-Awtar, I, 193.
6. Ibn Adiyy narrated this hadith. Nasbur-Raya, 1,45. Bayhaqi narrated a similar hadith from Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman.
7. Fathul-Qadir, I, 33.
8. Muslim narrated it. Naylul-Awtar, I, 192.

(see İslam Fıkhı, Wahba az-Zuhayli, 1/194-195)

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