Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalaamu ‘alaykum
Could you please explain the proof for the Hanafi ruling for the fact that bleeding breaks one’s wudu?
What do scholars say of the narrations where companions praying while having bleeding wounds?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The legal cause for the nullification of the ablution (wudu) is the exiting of filth. Thus flowing blood nullifies wudu. [see: Could You Please List All the Nullifiers of Ablution According to the Hanafi school?]
The jurists understood that flowing blood was filthy from the explicit mention in the words of Allah Most High in 6.145.
`A’isha said, “Fatima bint Abi Hubaysh came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, I am a woman with persistent bleeding from the uterus so that I do not become clean. Shall I stop doing the prayer?’ The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “No, that is from a blood vessel. It is not menstruation. When your period approaches, then stop doing the prayer, and when it finishes, wash the blood from yourself and then pray.’” [Bukhari]
Here, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) apprised us of the legal cause for wudu which is the exiting of blood from a vessel [= flowing blood]. [Mulla `Ali al-Qari, Fath Bab al-Inaya bi Sharh Kitab al-Nuqaya]
It is also reported that the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Wudu is from every flowing blood.” [Ibn `Adi, al-Kamil] This tradition is well authenticated (hasan) as established by Tahanawi in his I`la’ al-Sunan.
We also know that this was the position of the ten Companions promised Paradise as well as Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, and other eminent, senior Companions (may Allah be pleased with all of them) of the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]
Bleeding Wounds and the Companions (sahaba)
As for the traditions (hadiths) regarding the Companions praying whilst their wounds bled, these are considered to be single occurrences, and not sufficient to establish a ruling in and of themselves.
For instance, in the case of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) when he was stabbed, it isn’t entirely clear whether or not he performed his wudu again before continuing praying. [Kasani, Badai` al-Sanai` fi Tartib al-Shara`i]
However, it could also be the case that he became excused (ma`dhur), thus actual blood flow wouldn’t have affected his wudu. [Lacknawi, al-Si`aya fi Kashf ma fi Sharh al-Wiqaya]
In the case of the Companion who was struck by an arrow whilst praying, it could have been (a) his position on the issue, or (b) that he wasn’t aware of the ruling. And the reason he continued praying was due to the fact that he was so engrossed in the pleasure of intimate discourse with his Lord. So this tradition cannot be used as evidence against the nullification of wudu. [Saharanfuri, Badhl al-Majhud fi Hall Abi Dawud]
Moreover, what is apparent from this tradition is that he was visibly bleeding as the Companion who was with him saw the blood, despite the incident occurring during the night; and he was also struck three times, and, again, what is apparent is that this was in three different places. [ibid.]
Imam Badr al-Din al-`Ayni comments in his `Umdat al-Qari, “as for using this tradition [= the tradition regarding the Companion who was struck by an arrow and continued praying] as evidence, it is very problematic because blood, if it flows, will affect the body of the person and perhaps even his clothing; and whoever is affected by blood, even if only a small amount, his prayer is not valid according to them [= those who affirm that wudu is not nullified by blood].”
`Ayni continues, “If they said that blood flowed from the wound by way of spurting, such that it did not affect the body, then we’d say that this is very strange, but this is far-fetched.” He then goes on to discuss Bukhari’s other inclusions on this topic concluding by saying, “Realise that everything mentioned in this chapter is not proof against the Hanafis; if it is a saying from one of the Companions, then each has a sound interpretation [= in a way that supports our position.]”
There is much more that can be said, but we’ll suffice with this. It just goes to show the depth and precision of Islamic Scholarship— it isn’t simply a case of, “well, there’s a hadith.” Praise to be Allah for centuries of scholars of taqwa and sincerity who explained the religion to us with such clarity.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.