Question: If one has doubts about one’s purification (wudu or ghusl) during the prayer, does one have to restart the prayer?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
To answer this question properly, I will break this down into two sections.
Before and during the prayer
A. Doubts about breaking wudu
If one knows that one has wudu, and before or during the prayer starts to doubt whether or not one broke wudu, the prayer is perfectly valid. This is because the default assumption is that one has wudu, and one merely doubts whether or not one broke it, and certainty is given precedence over doubt.
B. Doubts about making wudu
If one knows that one broke one’s wudu, and before or during the prayer starts to doubt whether or not one made wudu after breaking it, the prayer is invalidated. One must go and make wudu, and start again. This is because one knows that one did not have wudu, and one merely thinks that one made wudu thereafter, and certainty is given precedence over doubt, as before.
After the prayer
Once one gives the salams, the default assumption is that the prayer is valid. So even if one knows that before the prayer one broke one’s wudu, and merely thinks that one made wudu thereafter, the prayer is still valid (Tuhfat al Muhtaj, Ibn Hajar al Haytami). This is assuming such thoughts only came to one’s mind after the prayer was finished and not before.
The reason for this is that the default assumption is that the prayer is valid, and the doubt is now regarding whether or not one actually had wudu, and certainty is given precedence over doubt, as mentioned above.
I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language