Nullifying Ablution by Touching a Member of the Opposite Sex
Does touching one’s husband without any emotional feeling breaks wudu of a wife? What about touching her brother, father, or son?
Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,
According to the Shafi’i School’s relied-upon opinion [al-azhar], skin to skin contact between marriageable members of the opposite sex nullifies ablution, while touching unmarriageable kin does not. The majority of the As-hab maintained this view, from amongst them are Sh. Abu Hamid, Mawardi, Jurjani, Baghawi, Rafi’i, Abu Abd Allah al-Zubayri, Sh. Nasr al-Maqdisi, and others.
Touching a pre-pubescent girl (who does not incite sexual attraction) does not nullify ablution. Yet, touching others (with or without attraction), even unintentionally, does break ablution. Ablution is not invalidated by touching hair, teeth, or fingernails.
Regarding unmarriageable relatives, from nursing [rada’] or marriage [musaharah] relationships, the Madhhab has been transmitted in two different ways:
1) Imam Shafi’i has two views [qawlayn], the relied-upon is that ablution does not break. This is related by Baghawi, Rafi’i, and others.
2) Ruyani related that it breaks.
Additionally, two alternate views are found in the School:
The first alternate view [muqabil al-azhar] maintains that skin to skin contact with unmarriageable kin, like one’s mother or father, nullifies one’s ablution. This was related by Harmalah from Imam Shafi’i. Only Furani from amongst the As-hab preferred the view.
In the second alternate view [muqabil al-azhar], only the ablution of the one touching [lamis] is nullified, not that of the one touched [malmus]. Ruyani and Shashi authenticated that the malmus’s ablution is not nullified. Harmalah transmitted it from Imam Shafi’i, even so, in most of Imam Shafi’is works and also in the qadim the other view [azhar] is maintained.
Mughni al-Muhtaj 1/145-46: Rawdat al-Talibin 1/185-86: Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 2/29-30.
And Allah knows best.
Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.