Article: Sleep invalidating the ritual ablution

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4 years 6 months ago - 4 years 6 months ago #303 by Imam Rassi Society
Introduction
The state of ritual purity is something that is held to be utmost importance, as the ritual prayer and other acts of worship are invalidated without it. There are two types of ritual impurities that exist in Islam: the minor and the major. There are various things that are said to remove this state. There is consensus amongst the Muslims regarding those things that remove the state of major and minor ritual impurity that are mentioned explicitly in the Qur’aan. However, concerning those other things that are not mentioned in the Qur’aan but elaborated upon by the narrated statements and actions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, there is disagreement either regarding the generalities or details.

In this particular issue, Imam al-Qaasim ar-Rassi, upon him be peace, was asked about the prayer and the removal of ritual purity from one who falls asleep in it. The imam replied that sleep—light or heavy—invalidates the ritual purity, and subsequently, the prayer.

The jurists recognize that it is not sleep itself that removes the state of ritual purity. Rather, the state of unconsciousness that sleep induces allows one to break wind, which is an agreed upon invalidator of ritual purity. Despite this, there exists disagreement concerning the ruling of sleep invalidating ritual purity. We will divide this issue into two sub-topics: the various opinions concerning the removal of ritual purity from the one who sleeps and additional proofs that sleep removes ritual purity and invalidates the prayer.

The Disagreements Concerning the Removal of Ritual Purity from One who Sleeps
Imam an-Nawawi, in his commentary upon Sahiih Muslim, mentioned that there are eight different opinions regarding the removal of ritual purity and invalidation of ritual prayer from the one who falls asleep. We will take a look at these views and assess their authenticity.

- The first view is that sleep does not remove the state of ritual purity absolutely. Those jurists who hold to this view use as their proof the report on the authority of Anas bin Maalik in which he said:

Verily, I saw the Companions of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, wake for the prayer, insomuch that I could hear them snoring. Then, they stood up and prayed without performing the ritual ablution.

This report was related by Imam ad-Daarqutni in his Sunan and al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan al-Kubra. The proponents of this view say that this report proves that sleep does not invalidate the ritual purity because the Companions were said to sleep until some of them snored, yet they did not renew their ritual ablution before praying.

- The second view is that sleep removes ritual purity absolutely—whether it be light or heavy. Those jurists who subscribe to this view use two reports as their proof. The first of these reports was narrated by Imam at-Tirmidhi, who authenticated it, as well as Musnad Ahmed and Sunan an-Nisaa’i on the authority of Šafwaan bin ‘Assaal in which he said:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, commanded us that when we travel, we should not take our leather socks off for three days or nights unless we were in the state of major ritual impurity—not for defecation, urination, or sleep.

The second of these reports is narrated on the authority of Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Ťaalib, upon him be peace. The hadiith is reported in books such as Sunan Abi Dawuud, Sunan Ibn Maaja, Musnad Ahmed, and Sunan ad-Daaraqutni, as follows:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, said: ((The eye [of drowsiness] is the support (wakā) of the anus; so whoever sleeps should perform the ablution)).

These two narrations serve as a proof because the first report mentions that the traveller who slept had to perform the ablution and was allowed to wipe over the leather socks—as opposed to one who entered the state of major ritual impurity who had to perform the complete ritual bath without the leather socks, and the second hadith explicitly commands the one who sleeps to perform the ritual ablution—without specifying light or deep sleep. Therefore, according to the second view, these two reports support the ruling that sleep invalidates ritual purity, and it is considered general and absolute.

- The third view is that heavy sleep invalidates ritual purity in all cases, but light sleep does not. The proponents of this view base their ruling upon the aforementioned narration of Anas, except that they say that the Companions’ sleep was light; therefore, they didn’t have to renew their ritual ablution.

- The fourth view is that falling asleep in the prayer while performing one of the postures (like the prostration, bowing, sitting, or standing) does not invalidate ones ritual purity. The jurists who hold to this view rely upon a narration in which the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, is reported to have said:

((If the slave falls asleep during the prostration, Allah, the Mighty and Powerful, shows him to His angels and says: “Look at my slave! His spirit is with Me, and His body is in the state of obedience)).

They say that this report is explicit in its denotation because the sleep during the prostration is shown to be excused; therefore, sleep during the other postures is also excused. If it is excused during the prayer, then it shows that it does not invalidate ritual purity.

- The fifth view is that falling asleep doesn’t invalidate the prayer if it is in the state of bowing or prostration. The proponents of this view use the same proof that those who hold to the fourth view uses [i.e. ((If the slave falls...))], except that the former restricts the denotation to just the bowing and prostration. Although the report mentioned prostration explicitly, they use analogy and include bowing.

- The sixth view is that sleep doesn’t invalidate the prayer only if it’s in the state of prostration. The jurists who hold to this view cite the same narration as the two previous views [i.e. ((If the slave falls...))]; however, they restrict it to the prostration due to the explicit mention of the prostration in the report.

- The seventh view is that sleep does not invalidate the prayer, but it does invalidate the state of ritual purity outside of the prayer. They rely upon the aforementioned narration [i.e. ((If the slave falls...))] and restrict it to the prayer, not outside of it.

- The eighth view is that if one sits upon the ground while one is sleep, it does not invalidate ones ritual purity. This principle applies whether the sleep is long or short, or whether one is in the prayer or not. These jurists rely upon the aforementioned narrations of ‘Ali and Anas.

We reject the first view because although the report on the authority of Anas mentions that the Companions awoke from their sleep without performing the ritual ablution, we understand this to mean that they did not fall into a sleep that invalidated their ritual purity. This is because they slept in a way that ensured that they maintained their ritual ablution. According to ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak, who was a sub-narrator of this report, the reason why the Companions did not renew their ritual ablution is because they fell asleep sitting down. In so doing, they were able to prevent that which mandated the renewal of ritual ablution.

We also reject the first view because its judgment of absolute denial of the removal of ritual purity from the one who falls asleep is contrary to all of the narrations that support the view that sleep does remove the state of ritual purity. These hadiths and reports are explicit in their denotation that sleep removes ritual purity; for example, the hadith on the authority of ‘Ali, upon him be peace: ((...whoever sleeps should perform the ablution)).

We reject the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh opinions because the hadith that is used as the basis of the ruling, is inauthentic. We say that it is inauthentic from two perspectives: first, because of its chain of narrators and two, because it apparently contradicts the Qur’aan.

Regarding its chain of narrators, it contains Dawuud bin az-Zirbiqaani, who is declared “weak” and “rejected” by the scholars of hadith criticism. Other narrators of this hadith, such as Hajjaaj bin Nušayr and al-Mubaarak bin Fađaala were criticised by some as “weak.”

Regarding its contradicting the Qur’aan, we say that the import of this narration is in contradistinction to the apparent meaning of the verse: {O ye who believe, approach not the prayer while ye are intoxicated until ye know what ye are saying...} (Q. 4:43). This verse commands the believers to refrain from praying if they are “intoxicated” in a state where they do not know what they are saying. We say that this state of intoxication can easily analogously apply to sleep because similar to intoxication, sleep is a state where one does not know what one is saying. Therefore, the slave who is asleep during the prayer cannot be seen to be in a praiseworthy state, and subsequently, ritually pure. We will dwell upon a deeper significance of this verse in the next section, insha-Allah.

We reconcile the second, third, and seventh views by applying the principle that it is not the sleep itself that invalidates the ritual purity, rather it is what purity invalidator could occur while one is asleep. If this occurrence can be prevented then one’s sleep does not affect one’s ritual purity. Although Imam ar-Rassi, upon him be peace, declared that both heavy and light sleep invalidates the ritual purity and prayer, it is understood that the losing of consciousness and removal of intellect is what is meant by sleep. Therefore, if sleep is long or short—even if one snores or nods the head—the ritual purity and prayer is invalidated.

Proofs from the Qur’aan that Sleep Removes Ritual Purity and Invalidates the Prayer
In addition to the proofs that we mentioned above, we say that other evidences prove that sleep invalidates the ritual purity and prayer. These proofs can be found in the Book of Allah based upon their exegeses by early authorities.

The first of these proofs is the verse: {O ye who believe, when ye stand for the prayer, wash thy faces, arms...} (Q. 5:6). We say that this verse is a proof that the ritual purity is invalidated by sleep because some of the early exegetes interpreted {when ye stand for the prayer} to mean “rise from sleep.” Imam at-Tabari narrated in his Tafsiir:
• Al-Qaasim related on the authority of al-Hussein—Maalik bin Anas—Zayd bin Aslam: “The meaning of {O ye who believe, when ye stand for the prayer} is “when you stand from your sleep.”
• Yunus related similarly on the authority of Ibn Wahb—Maalik bin Anas—Zayd bin Aslam.
• Muhammad bin al-Hussein related on the authority of Ahmed bin Mufađđal—Asbaaŧ—as-Suddi said regarding {O ye who believe, when ye stand for the prayer, wash thy faces...} “When you stand for the prayer from sleep.”
All of these reports correspond to a narration in the Muwaŧŧa of Imam Maalik where he narrated on the authority of Zayd bin Aslam:

The exegesis of the verse {O ye who believe, when ye stand for the prayer, wash thy faces, wash thy arms to the elbows, wipe thy heads, and wash thy feet to the ankles} (Q. 5:6) is that “when one stands from bed, which means sleep.”

This narration proves that, according to the exegesis of some of the salaf, this verse shows that the ritual ablution is to be performed after sleep because sleep is an invalidator of the ritual purity.
The second proof is the aforementioned verse {O ye who believe, approach not the prayer while ye are intoxicated until ye know what ye are saying...} (Q. 4:43). We say that this verse proves that sleep invalidates the ritual purity and prayer because of its exegesis by some of the early salaf. Imam at-Tabari narrated in his Tafsiir:
• Ibn Wakii’ related on the authority of his father—Salma bin Nabiiŧ—ađ-Ðahaak said regarding {...approach not the prayer while ye are intoxicated...}: “This does not refer to approaching it in the state of intoxication from intoxicating drinks; rather, it only means intoxication from sleep.”
• Ahmed bin Haazim al-Ghafaari related on the authority of Abu Nu’aym—Salma—ađ-Ðahaak said regarding {...approach not the prayer while ye are intoxicated...}: “It does not mean intoxication of wine; but, it means intoxication from sleep.”

Similarly is narrated in the Twelver Shi’ite hadiith text, Bihaar al-Anwaar:
• Al-‘Ayaashi narrated on the authority of Zaraara that Abu Ja’far [Imam Muhammad bin Ali al-Baaqir] upon him be peace, said:

One does not establish the prayer while one is lazy, drowsy, or heavy. It is because it is from the acts of the hypocrite. Verily, Allah prohibits the believer from establishing the prayer while intoxicated, meaning sleep.


Therefore, this verse’s exegesis by early authorities clearly states that the believer is prohibited from approaching the prayer while asleep. This prohibition can only mean that the ritual purity and prayer is invalidated by sleep. This is further elucidated by the following phrase {...until ye know what ye are saying}. This indicates that one being conscious of what one is saying in the prayer is a condition of the prayers validity. If someone is sleep during the prayer, obviously, they are not mindful of what they are saying. Their intellect is removed and therefore, their ritual purity is invalidated, and their prayer is void.

Imam al-Qaasim ar-Rassi, upon him be peace, connected this verse to the state of sleep in one of his texts Kitaab at-Ťahaara. He said in rhyming prose when asked if sleep or intoxication invalidates the ritual ablution:

One performs the ritual ablution and purifies based upon what Allah stated:
{O ye who believe, approach not the prayer while ye are intoxicated}.
If one prays the prayer while intoxicated and is not aware of what they said,
It is obligatory for that one to return and repeat the prayer that they prayed.
Similarly, one must renew his ritual ablution and repeat his purification,
Because one doesn’t know what was established or annulled in one’s intoxication.
Similarly, when one is asleep or in a hallucinogenic daze,
If there is a religious obligation, one applies it in these ways.
This is because one who prays and purifies without the mind
Is like the one who lost their intellect due to drinking wine.
The states of both of these is like the state of inebriation
By that which has overtaken them by sleep and hallucination.


In this poem, the imam demonstrated that the state of intoxication and sate of sleep are not dissimilar. Consequently, both states lead to one not knowing what one is saying or doing. That being the case, the ritual purity and prayer are invalidated.

And Allah knows best!

Last edit: 4 years 6 months ago by Imam Rassi Society.

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