Am I a Disbeliever for Having Prayed Without Wudu or Ghusl (Ritual Bath)?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaikum

I was in major ritual impurityat the Blue Mosque. The time for prayer came and I felt helpless at my condition of not being clean and went and prayed anyway knowing full well that my prayer will not be accepted.

There may have been a few other cases where I may have prayed without Ghusl or Wudu probably because I was embarrassed not to be praying when someone asked me to.

Am I a disbeliever because of this?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

No, the scenario described, namely, praying without ritual purification out of a sense of embarrassment or shyness, or even ecstasy, does not excommunicate a person from the fold of Islam. This stands as long as the person does not do the aforementioned (a) whilst deeming it permissible (istihlal), or (b) out of a sense of disdain (istikhfaf).

However, this does not negate the fact that praying in such a manner is a gross offence in the Sacred Law which requires sincere repentance from the doer. Nevertheless, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who never sinned.” [Ibn Majah] True repentance wipes out the sin and its traces, and leaves the person with a clean slate as if he did no wrong: a mighty blessing which deserves thanks.

I’d advise that you make a firm resolve from this day forward to pray every prayer as it is due, and at the same time, to make up every single prayer [and other duties for that matter] that you did not pray in the past. With that, commit to learning your religion soundly, from sound sources, and seek out some righteous company. Gatherings of knowledge and remembrance often have plenty of such folk. Ask Allah Most High to forgive your past out of His Grace, and then strive to live a life pleasing to Him.

[Lacknawi, Naf` al-Mufti wa al-Sa’il (170); Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.55)]

Please also see: Does Neglecting the Prayer Entail Disbelief? and: A Reader on Missed Prayers

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

Wassalam
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.