Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What is the Shafi‘i position regarding assisting a person who can’t make wudu on their own?

Answer: Wa alaykum salam

Imam al-Nawawi stated in his Majmu and in his commentary on Sahih Muslim that there are three ways in which a person could seek assistance when performing wudu.

  1. He seeks the assistance of someone to bring him water for his wudu and then performs wudu by himself. This is permissible.
  2. He seeks the assistance of another to wash his limbs of wudu. This is considered reprehensible, unless the person happens to have an excuse such as incapability due to sickness and it’s like.
  3. He seeks assistance from someone to pour water for him while making wudu. This is considered khilaf al-awla or contrary to that which is preferable.

In addition it has been transmitted from the Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) that Usamah, al-Mugirah, al-Rubayyi bint Mu’awwidh, and Hudhayfah all poured water for him on different occasions. Our scholars reasoned that he (blessings and peace be upon him) did this, establishing its permissibility but not necessarily its preference.

Thus, in short, it will be permissible for the one who cannot perform wudu by himself, to seek the aid of another. Please see references below:

قال النووي في المجموع: فإن استعان بغيره في إحضار الماء لوضوئه فلا بأس به ولا يقال إنه خلاف الأولى ، لأنه ثبت ذلك في الصحيح عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في مواطن كثيرة ، وإن استعان بغيره فغسل له أعضاءه صح وضوءه لكنه يكره إلا لعذر ، وإن استعان به في صب الماء عليه فإن كان لعذر فلا بأس وإلا فوجهان حكاهما المتولي وغيره : ( أحدهما ) يكره ( والثاني ) لا يكره لكنه خلاف الأولى وهذا أصح ، وبه قطع البغوي وغيره وهو مقتضى كلام المصنف والأكثرين .

قال النووي في شرح مسلم: قال أصحابنا الاستعانة فيه ثلاثة أقسام: أحدها أن يستعين في إحضار الماء من البئر والبيت ونحوهما وتقديمه إليه وهذا جائز ولا يقال أنه خلاف الأولى، والثاني أن يستعين بمن يغسل الأعضاء فهذا مكروه كراهة تنزيه إلا أن يكون معذورا بمرض أو غيره. والثالث أن يستعين بمن يصب عليه فإن كان لعذر فلا بأس وإلا فهو خلاف الأولى وهل يسمى مكروها؟ فيه وجهان لأصحابنا أصحهما ليس بمكروه لأنه لم يثبت فيه نهى، وأما استعانة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بأسامة والمغيرة بن شعبة في غزوة تبوك، وبالربيع بنت معوذ فلبيان الجواز ويكون أفضل في حقه حينئذ. انتهى.

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

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