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|How Does One Pray When Dealing With Health Issues?
I have some health problems which reduce my mobility to the extent that salah (prayer) is not practical. Where can I find alternatives? I would like to pray but I do not wish to cause offense. One of my many health problems includes chronic sepsis, a serious condition that is not expected to heal. This means that I bleed from open wounds in my abdomen and pelvis. I have had this condition for over 10 years, and there is no sign of the bleeding slowing. I am concerned that this will compromise wudhu immediately. Also, I have lost my intestines through disease and therefore require a stoma (my intestine exits through the front of my stomach). Would this also compromise wudhu, and is there a practice that would not cause offense?
Praise be to Allah.
Islam is a religion of mercy and compassion. It recognizes the plight of people, taking into consideration their abilities and weaknesses. One of the most important principles in Islamic law is “the Removal of Harm.” A Qur’anic verse states, “And He (Allah) did not make any hardship for you in religion.” In a hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Islam is ease.”
In light of these major principles, your situation is considered seriously. While some scholars consider blood as impure, the stronger opinion is that it is not and that one can pray with it on their clothes, especially in the case of illness. In fact, if blood flow is due to illness then the opinion that it is impure is null since the person has no control over its flow. It is permissible based on the Maliki opinion that one who works around blood, such as a butcher, is exempt from this since keeping his clothes free of blood is impossible. The same applies to you, since it is not possible for you to keep it from yourself or your clothes.
As for your intestinal bag, it is out of your control. If you are able to keep it from spilling on yourself, or your clothes, then that is best. If not, then you can pray, but it is better to keep some clean garments that you pray with, if possible. This is based on the opinion that when one does not have control over something, he is not obligated by it. The axiom states, “There is no obligation in shari`ah in the face of real weakness.”
If making wudhu will contribute to your illness, then you are exempted from it, according to the scholars of the Maliki rite, and should simply make dry ablution. If you cannot do either, as noted by al-Dasuqi (a well-respected scholar), then your intention for purity is enough and you can pray without it based on the Prophet’s statement “Actions are by intentions” and the axiom “Goals are based on intent.”
As for the prayer itself, it is not advisable for you to attend the masjid in such a state. Thus, you are permitted to pray at home, and if you are unable to stand, then you can pray sitting and if you cannot sit and pray, then you can pray lying down as best you can.
Finally, I would like to remind you that being sick has a number of blessings:
- Your sins are forgiven.
- Your stations are raised with Allah (subhana wa ta’ala – glory be unto Him).
We are here as your brothers and sisters in faith. We pray that Allah (swt) will cure you, and we ask that you remember us in your prayers.
And Allah knows best.
By: Suhaib Webb
Question Date: 2011-07-11
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