Is the wudu (ablution) of women invalidated because of the natural leakage? Is it appropriate for a woman to imitate another madhhab (sect)?

Details of the Question
Is the wudu (ablution) of women invalidated because of the natural leakage? Is it appropriate for a woman to imitate another madhhab (sect)?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- According to the phrase used in the question, the issue is the natural leakage, which is referred to as “rutubatul-farj” (normal wetness of the vagina) in fiqh books, not the blood or leakage of menstruation or puerperum. From this point of view, it will be better to express that leakage as “normal wetness”. With that explanation, we want to agree on the same diagnosis.

- The answer to the question, according to the views of Hanafi and Shafii scholars, is as follows:

The view of Hanafi scholars:

- The normal wetness that women see in their vaginas should be considered to be the same as the leakage coming from the mouths and noses of people and the sweat coming out of their bodies. (See Raddu’l-Mukhtar, 1/166). Therefore, the wetness in question is clean, and it does not invalidate wudu.

However, according to Hanafi scholars, anything that comes out of the front and back canals invalidates wudu (See Raddu’l-Mukhtar,1/134; Maydani, al-Lubab, 1/17).

The following statement is present in the catechism of the Directorate of Religious Affairs of Turkey: “Any liquid or thing that comes out of urinary canal and anal canal invalidates wudu (ibid, 1/199).

The view of Shafii scholars:

- Imam Nawawi states in his works that the wetness coming out of the woman’s vagina is not dirty/is clean according to the soundest view (al-Majmu, 2/570; al-Minhaj-a’s-siraju’l-wahhaj, p.23).

Ibn Hajar explains it as follows: The wetness mentioned by Nawawi is something between the mazi and sweat; it comes out of the vagina (from the inner front surface) and it is not compulsory to wash it. The leakage that comes from the deep part of the vagina (from the inner part where the womb is) during the birth together with the baby or before it is dirty (See Tuhfat’ul-Muhtaj/Shirwani, 1/3o1; see also Raddu’l-Mukhtar, 1/313).

Some scholars dealt with the issue in three dimensions. Accordingly, the leakage/wetness that comes from the vagina of the woman comes from the place where it is necessary to wash after urination (the place that opens when the woman sits) is clean. If the wetness comes from the deepest part of the vagina, it is definitely dirty. If the leakage comes from the part of the vagina that is not necessary to wash but still from the inner front part, there are two views about it. According to the soundest view, it is clean. According to another view, it is dirty (See Ianatu’t-talibin, 1/104, Tuhfat’ul-Muhtaj/Shirwani, 1/3o1).

Imam Nawawi stated the following regarding the issue: “When urine, feces, wind, worms, discharge, blood, stone or any other substance come out of the urinary or anal canal of a man or woman, the wudu is invalidated. For instance, it does not matter whether the wind comes out of the front or back part of a man or woman; the wudu is invalidated. There is no disagreement about it in Shafii madhhab (see Nawawi, Majmu, 2/4).

- According to what we understand from those explanations above, the leakage – in the form of wetness – coming out of the inner-front part of the vagina is regarded to be clean. However, it does not seem easy to say that it does not invalidate wudu. We have not been able to find any other statement except this statement we have quoted from “Raddu’l Mukhtar” above: “The normal wetness that women see in their vaginas should be considered to be the same as the leakage coming from the mouths and noses of people and the sweat coming out of their bodies” in the source books that will make us say the wudu will not be invalidated. It is necessary to act in accordance with the general ijtihad of scholars. However, especially those who are anxious and apprehensive and those who cannot manage to cope with it can act in accordance with the fatwa mentioned above.

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