The Ruling on Making Wudhu’ For Those With Irregular Vaginal Bleeding (Istihadhah), Incontinence, Excessive Flatulence, etc

Below is a detailed response to a question put to me from a brother, which I invested some time in due to what I felt to be the importance of the issue and what I felt to be a lack of detail available on the internet in English. I hope it will be of some benefit iA.



Salaam Respected Shiekh,

I have the following 2 medical problems which are causing me considerable inconvenience in my Ibaadah.  I hope you will be kind enough to comment from a Shariah viewpoint on what the official ruling is.

Problem 1 – Inability to keep Wudhu due to possible Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS).

I have a medical condition (suspected Irritable Bowel Syndrome) due to which my bowel is not properly regulated – this is made worse due to my stressful lifestyle and diet (both of which I am trying to change).  Although this can be painful, the bigger problem is a real inability to keep Wudhu due to possible flatulence/excess wind.  The problem is sometimes very bad but sometimes not as bad (meaning I can perform Salah normally sometimes).  The problem though is that the condition can arise at any time meaning until I have started salah it is not easy to know whether or not I will be able to keep Wudhu.  I have heard a fatwa issued by Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah which is repeated in Fiqh-us Sunnah that people with such irregular circumstances should make Wudhu once for each Salah.  This Wudhu however must be after the beginning of the prayer time of that Salah and one need not worry about wudhu thereafter till the next Salah’s time.  I would be grateful if you can comment on this and where the Islamic validity for such a position comes from.  Moreover I would be grateful if you can mention the position of the 4 schools of thought on this too?  

Connected to the above point is a question of combining Salah.  If the above fatwa of making wudhu once at beginning time is valid then if one is combining the salah then is one Wudhu sufficient for both salah?

Also, if one breaks wudhu during the wudhu (because sometimes things can be very bad) then does one have to keep starting from the beginning again or is it sufficient to make wudhu just once even though one may have broken it whilst making it?

Also, during Ghusl, it is generally accepted that one does not need to make a separate Wudhu after it as Ghusl incorporates the washing of the parts required within wudhu.  However unlike most people, it is perfectly possible for me to break wudhu during the ghusl process.  Does this mean that I have to fully perform Ghusl first and then a separate Wudhu too after it or is possible to assume Wudhu has been made with a complete Ghusl even if Wudhu was broken during it?

Final point on this is concerning Nafl Ibaadah.  Is it permissible (for someone with the above condition) to engage in any Nafl Ibaadah (eg reciting Quran/Nafl salah) once they have made wudhu at the beginning time of the respective Salah even though wudhu may have broken since the Salah was prayed.

Problem 2 – Very minor urine leakage due to weak muscle.

The second problem I have is that once I have passed urine I wait a while for all the drops to come out.  This is because I have a weak muscle in the pelvic area meaning everything does not come out straight away.  Once I feel I am clear from urine I wash down there.  However there can on a few occasions be tiny amounts of urine which may still come out thereafter.  I have heard that Ibn Umar used to sprinkle water on his underpants and tell himself that it was just water if he felt something wet.  Please can you kindly comment on this.  I can confirm that the number of occasions this happens is not many and the urine amount is tiny.  I have tried wiping the affected area with tissue after Istinja so it is dry and hence I can detect any drops – however this leaves me in a constant state of guessing whether or not I am feeling something wet down there or whether it is just the damp feeling after Istinja.  It makes concentration in salah very difficult.  Please also confirm what the Shar’ee position with regards to Najs on clothing is – I ask because in this situation it may be that my clothing has Najs on those few occasions when drops occur.  The hanafi school seems to tolerate Najs amounting to a 50p coin which I would be well within.

I would greatly appreciate your kind comment of these urgent matters.



Wa ‘alaykum’l-salām wa raḥmatullāhi wa barakātuh

Indeed all Praise is due to Allāh, and may His peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muḥammed, his family and his companions.

So to answer your question properly, we need to return back to the original sources to try and find evidences for your specific situation.

Actually, we don’t find much discussion on this matter at a primary evidence level and thus we have to use the principle of qiyās (analogy) to try and find a response to the challenges of Irritable Bowel Syndrome such as continual flatulence, irregular involuntary flatulence and indeed other forms of involuntary incontinence.

The scholars agreed that the way to answer this question is to use the aḥādīth on the issue of istiḥāḍah (prolonged irregular vaginal bleeding/abnormal uterine bleeding). In essence, this is almost a form of “incontinence” in that it is the irregular or continual flow of blood from “one of the two passages” which the female has no control over, over and above her normal menstruation. Understanding this issue will give us a basis on how to answer the rising challenge of intestinal problems which seem to have increased in modern times largely due to the proportional increase in stress due to modern day realities, as well as the large array of unsuitable and unhealthy artificial foods that we consume.

So the question put to the scholars is: does the blood of istiḥāḍah and anything else which comes out continuously and involuntarily, invalidate one’s wuḍū’? The opinions are as follows:

The Ḥanafi[i] and Ḥanbali[ii] school: it is wājib (obligatory) to make wuḍū’ for every prayer time.

The Shāfi‘ī[iii] school: one must make wuḍū’ for every individual obligatory prayer (and not the time of the prayer itself), regardless whether that prayer is one which is being prayed on time, or one which is being made up after it had been missed earlier. One is allowed to pray voluntary prayers (nawāfil) using the same wuḍū’ made for the obligatory prayer.

The Māliki[iv] school: it is not obligatory to make wuḍū’ for each prayer, but it is recommended to do so only.

(It should be noted that in this Māliki opinion therefore, it would be sufficient to do all the prayers with a single wuḍū’ and to ignore the incontinence/istiḥāḍah, without needing to have to repeat the wuḍū’ unless the person invalidates their wuḍū’ by some other means other than the incontinence such as via sleeping, sexual relations etc.)

The Ẓāhiri[v] school: it is obligatory to make wuḍū’ for every prayer, whether it be the farḍ or nafl prayer.

These are the well-known opinions from the earlier madh-habs. And it was based upon this response to irregular vaginal bleeding, that the ruling was issued for all other forms of incontinence.

From the later scholars, perhaps this fatwa from Ibn Taymiyyah sums up the issue and its application rather well. The text of the question and his answer is as follows[vi]:

وسئلَ ـ أيضًا ـ رحمَه الله ـ عن رجل كلما شرع في الصلاة يحدث له رياح كثيرة؛ حتى ‏[‏إنه‏]‏ في الصلاة يتوضأ أربع مرات أو أكثر، إلى حين يقضى الصلاة يزول عنه العارض، ثم لا يعود إليه إلا في أوقات الصلاة، وهو لا يعلم ما سبب ذلك‏؟‏‏:‏ هل هو من شدة حرصه على الطهارة‏؟‏ وقد يشق عليه كثرة الوضوء، وما يعلم هل حكمه حكم صاحب الأعذار أم لا لسبب أنه لا يعاوده إلا في وقت الصلاة‏؟‏ وما تطيب نفسه أن يصلي بوضوء واحد‏؟‏


Ibn Taymiyyah was asked:
“There is a man who when starting his Ṣalāh, will pass copious amounts of wind to the extent he will make wuḍū’ perhaps four times or even more; this might even continue until he completes the prayer and then the problem will stop, and indeed he will not pass wind thereafter until the time for the next prayer has arrived! He is not sure what the reason for that could possibly be, but is it perhaps because of his extraordinary concern for remaining ritually pure? The continual performing of wuḍū’ is becoming difficult for him and he doesn’t know if the ruling of someone with a valid excuse applies to him or not, because of the doubt surrounding the fact that he only seems to get the problem during prayer times. He doesn’t feel comfortable praying with just a single wuḍū’.”

فأجاب ـ رضي الله عنه‏:‏
نعم، حكمه حكم أهل الأعذار‏:‏ مثل الاستحاضة وسلس البول، والمذى، والجرح الذي لا يرقأ، ونحو ذلك‏.‏ فمن لم يمكنه حفظ الطهارة مقدار الصلاة، فإنه يتوضأ ويصلي ولا يضره ما خرج منه في الصلاة، ولا ينتقض وضوؤه بذلك باتفاق الأئمة، وأكثر ما عليه أن يتوضأ لكل صلاة‏.‏
وقد تنازع العلماء في المستحاضة ومن به سلس البول وأمثالهما، مثل من به ريح يخرج على غير الوجه المعتاد، وكل من به حدث نادر‏.‏ فمذهب مالك‏:‏ أن ذلك ينقض الوضوء بالحدث المعتاد ـ ولكن الجمهور ـ كأبي حنيفة؛ والشافعي؛ وأحمد بن حنبل ـ يقولون‏:‏ إنه يتوضأ لكل صلاة أو لوقت كل صلاة‏.‏ رواه أهل السنن وصحح ذلك غير واحد من الحفاظ؛ فلهذا كان أظهر قولي العلماء أن مثل هؤلاء يتوضؤون لكل صلاة أو لوقت كل صلاة‏.‏
وأما ما يخرج في الصلاة دائمًا فهذا لا ينقض الوضوء باتفاق العلماء‏.‏ وقد ثبت في الصحيح‏:‏ أن بعض أزواج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كانت تصلي والدم يقطر منها، فيوضع لها طست يقطر فيه الدم‏.‏ وثبت في الصحيح أن عمر بن الخطاب ـ رضي الله عنه ـ صلى وجرحه يثعب دما‏.‏ ومازال المسلمون على عهد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يصلون في جراحاتهم‏.‏
وقد تنازع العلماء في خروج النجاسة من غير السبيلين ـ كالجرح والفصاد والحجامة والرعَاف والقيء‏:‏ فمذهب مالك والشافعي‏:‏ لا ينقض‏.‏ ومذهب أبي حنيفة وأحمد‏:‏ ينقض‏.‏ لكن أحمد يقول‏:‏ إذا كان كثيرًا‏.‏
وتنازعوا في مس النساء ومس الذكر‏:‏ هل ينقض‏؟‏ فمذهب أبي حنيفة‏:‏ لا ينقض‏.‏ ومذهب الشافعي‏:‏ ينقض‏.‏ ومذهب مالك‏:‏ الفرق بين المس لشهوة وغيرها‏.‏ وقد اختلفت الرواية عنه هل يعتبر ذلك في مس الذكر‏؟‏ واختلف في ذلك عن أحمد، وعنه ـ كقول أبي حنيفة ـ‏:‏ أنه لا ينقض شيء من ذلك وروايتان كقول مالك والشافعي‏.‏
واختلف السلف في الوضوء مِن ما مست النار‏:‏ هل يجب أم لا‏؟‏ واختلفوا في القهقهة في الصلاة‏:‏ فمذهب أبي حنيفة تنقض‏.‏ ومن قال‏:‏ إن هذه الأمور لا تنقض‏:‏ فهل يستحب الوضوء منها‏؟‏ على قولين‏.‏ وهما قولان في مذهب أحمد وغيره‏.‏
والأظهر ـ في جميع هذه الأنواع ـ‏:‏ أنها لا تنقض الوضوء، ولكن يستحب الوضوء منها‏.‏ فمن صلى ولم يتوضأ منها صحت صلاته‏.‏ ومن توضأ منها فهو أفضل‏.‏ وأدلة ذلك مبسوطة في غير هذا الموضع، ولكن كلهم يأمر بإزالة النجاسة، ولكن إن كانت من الدم أكثر من ربع/ المحل فهذه تجب إزالتها عند عامة الأمة، ومع هذا إن كان الجرح لا يرقأ مثل ما أصاب عمر بن الخطاب ـ رضي الله عنه ـ فإنه يصلي باتفاقهم؛ سواء قيل‏:‏ إنه ينقض الوضوء، أو قيل‏:‏ لا ينقض، سواء كان كثيرًا أو قليلًا؛ لأن الله ـ تعالى ـ يقول‏:‏ ‏{‏لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا‏}‏ ‏[‏البقرة‏:‏ 286‏]‏، وقال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ‏}‏ ‏[‏التغابن‏:‏ 16‏]‏، وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ ‏(‏إذا أمرتكم بأمر فأتوا منه ما استطعتم‏)‏‏.‏
وكل ما عجز عنه العبد من واجبات الصلاة سقط عنه، فليس له أن يؤخر الصلاة عن وقتها، بل يصلي في الوقت بحسب الإمكان، لكن يجوز له ـ عند أكثر العلماء ـ أن يجمع بين الصلاتين لعذر، حتى أنه يجوز الجمع للمريض والمستحاضة وأصحاب الأعذار في أظهر قولي العلماء، كما استحب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم للمستحاضة أن تجمع بين الظهر والعصر بغسل واحد فهذا للمعذور، سواء أمكنه أن يجمع بين الصلاتين بطهارة واحدة من غير أن يخرج منه شيء في الصلاة، جاز له الجمع في أظهر قولي العلماء‏.‏
وكذلك يجمع المريض بطهارة واحدة إذا كانت الطهارة لكل صلاة تزيد في مرضه، ولابد من الصلاة في الوقت‏:‏ إما بطهارة إن أمكنه وإلا بالتيمم، فإنه يجوز لمن عدم الماء أو خاف الضرر باستعماله إما لمرض وإما لشدة البرد أن يتيمم وإن كان جنبًا، ولا قضاء عليه في أظهر قولي /العلماء‏.‏ وإذا تيمم في السفر لعدم الماء لم يعد باتفاق الأئمة‏.‏
وكذلك المريض إذا صلى قاعدًا أو صلى على جنب لم يُعِد باتفاق العلماء‏.‏
وكذلك العريان‏:‏ كالذي تنكسر به السفينة، أو يأخذ القطاع ثيابه‏:‏ فإنه يصلي عريانا ولا إعادة عليه باتفاق العلماء‏.‏
وكذلك من اشتبهت عليه القبلة وصلى ثم تبين له فيما بعد ، لا يعيد باتفاق العلماء ، وإن أخطأ مع اجتهاده لم يعد ـ أيضًا ـ عند جمهورهـم‏:‏ كمالك وأبي حنيفة وأحمد بن حنبل، والمشهور في مذهب الشافعي أنه يعيد‏.‏
وقد تنازع العلماء في التيمم لخشية البرد‏:‏ هل يعيد‏؟‏ وفيمن صلى في ثوب نجس لم يجد غيره‏:‏ هل يعيد‏؟‏ وفي مواضع أخر‏.‏
والصحيح في جميع هذا النوع‏:‏ أنه لا إعادة على أحد من هؤلاء، بل يصلي كل واحد على حسَب استطاعته ويسقط عنه ما عجز عنه، ولا إعادة عليه، ولم يأمر الله ـ تعالى ـ ولا رسوله أحدًا أن يصلي الفرض مرتين مطلقًا، بل من لم يفعل ما أمر به فعليه أن يصلي إذا ذُكِّر بوضوء باتفاق المسلمين‏:‏ كمن نسى الصلاة؛ فإن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏/ ‏(‏من نام عن صلاة أو نسيها فليصلها إذا ذكرها‏)‏‏.‏ وهذه المسائل مبسوطة في غير هذا الموضع‏.‏

والمقصود هنا بيان أن الله ـ تعالى ـ ما جعل على المسلمين من حرج في دينهم، بل هو ـ سبحانه ـ يريد بهم اليسر ولا يريد بهم العسر‏.‏ ومسألة هذا السائل أولى بالرخصة، ولهذا كانت متفقًا عليها بين العلماء وهذه المسائل مبسوطة في مواضع أخر‏.‏ والله أعلم‏


So he responded, may Allah be pleased with him:
Yes, his ruling is that of those who have a valid excuse, such as those suffering from irregular vaginal bleeding, or urinary incontinence, or continual discharge of prostatic fluid, or a wound which will not stop bleeding etc. The one who is unable to maintain his state of purity for the length of a prayer should make wuḍū’ and then pray and he is not affected by anything which may exit from him during the prayer, and indeed his wuḍū’ is not invalidated by that according to the consensus of the scholars – in actual fact the most being upon him is to make wuḍū’ for every prayer.

The scholars debated concerning the one who suffers from istiḥāḍah and the one with urinary incontinence and others like them such as those who excessively pass wind – more than what would be considered normal – and those with other rare conditions. The madh-hab of Mālik is that the state of wuḍū’ is only broken by an invalidator (such as going to the toilet, going to sleep etc) which is occurring at a normal rate and fashion (i.e. that one is in control of).

But the majority of scholars, such as Abu Ḥanīfah, al-Shāfi‘ī and Aḥmed b. Ḥanbal said that he is to make wuḍū’ for every prayer, or for the time of every prayer. This has been narrated by the Imams of the four Sunan (Abu Dāwūd, Ibn Mājah, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasā’ī) and a number of the Huffādh have authenticated these reports. Therefore the most apparently correct of the two opinions of the scholars is that one should make wuḍū’ for every prayer or for every prayer time.

As for that which might continuously exit during the prayer itself then this does not invalidate the wuḍū’ by the consensus of the scholars; it has been established in the Ṣaḥīḥ that some of the wives of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would pray and blood would be dripping from them, and so a pan would be given to them so that the blood would drip in it. It is also established in the Ṣaḥīḥ that ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) prayed whilst his wound was still pouring blood, indeed the Muslims from the time of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) always prayed whilst their wounds bled.

The scholars have also debated the excretion of that which is impure from other than the front and back passages, such as when wounded, or during a phlebotomy, or during ḥijāmah, or during a nosebleed or whilst one is vomiting. The madh-hab of Mālik and Shāfi‘ī is that these do not invalidate wuḍū’ whereas the madh-hab of Abu Ḥanīfah and Aḥmed is that they do invalidate the wuḍū’ except that Aḥmed added: only if it is of a large quantity.

They also debated the touching of women or touching the penis: does this break wuḍū’? The madh-hab of Abu Ḥanīfah is that it doesn’t, whereas the madh-hab of al-Shāfi‘ī is that it does. The madh-hab of Mālik is that there is a difference between touching with and without desire; there is a difference of opinion reported from him whether the same applied to the touching of the penis. They also differed in their reporting from Aḥmed as well, but one of the positions related from his is the same as Abu Ḥanīfah i.e. that none of the above invalidate the wuḍū’, whereas the other two narrations from him are the same as the positions of Mālik and al-Shāfi‘ī.

The Salaf differed on whether one needs to make wuḍū’ after eating something which has been cooked by fire – is it obligatory or not? They also differed on whether laughing out loud during the prayer – the madh-hab of Abu Ḥanīfah is that it does invalidate it, whereas others said such matters do not invalidate it. So is it recommended to make wuḍū’ from such matters? Some said yes and some said no, and both positions are related in the madh-hab of Aḥmed and others.

What seems apparent from all of these types of actions is that they do not break the wuḍū’ but it should be considered recommended (mustaḥab) to perform it. If anyone doesn’t make wuḍū’, his prayer will still be valid.

Whoever does perform wuḍū’ after the above incidents/actions, then this will be better – the evidences for this (recommendation) are spread all over this work but it should be noted that all of the scholars insisted that any najāsah (physical impurity) also be removed (from oneself). If for example some blood comes to be of an amount greater than a quarter of the area in question then this obligates its removal according to the majority of the Ummah, yet despite this we know that if a wound doesn’t stop bleeding such as what afflicted ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) then he is to continue praying as per the consensus of the scholars. This is regardless of whether one feels that it (the invalidator i.e. the urine or wind passed in a state of incontinence) breaks the wuḍū’, or it is said that it doesn’t break the wuḍū’, regardless of whether it is a large amount (of najāsah) or a small amount. This is because Allah, Most High, says, “Allah doesn’t burden a soul more than it can bear.” (al-Baqarah, 286), and He, Most High, says, “Have as much taqwa of Allah as you possibly can…” (al-Taghābun, 16), and the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “If I order you to do something, then do as much of it as you can.”

So whatever the slave is not able to do from the obligatory acts of the prayer, these are pardoned from him. He is not to delay the prayer from its rightful time rather he should pray it within its time however he can – but it should also be noted that it is permissible according to the majority of the scholars to combine between two prayers for a valid reason, to the extent that it is permissible to combine for the sick person, the one suffering from istiḥāḍah and others with similar excuses as per the most obvious and correct position from the scholars. This is like when the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) recommended for the woman suffering from istiḥāḍah to combine between Ẓuhr and ‘Asr with her washing herself just once, because this is for the excused one. This is also regardless of whether one combines between two prayers using just one act of purification and yet then still nothing bleeds from her during the prayer – it is still permissible for her to combine according to the correct position of the scholars.

Likewise, the sick person can combine as well using only one wuḍū’ if the making of that wuḍū’ for every single prayer will make his condition worse.  It is a must that prayer is performed within its correct time, either by normal ablution or by tayammum – this is permissible if there is no water available or if one fears harm in the use of water whether for the reason that it will make his condition worse, or because of extreme cold. He can make tayammum even if he is in a state of sexual impurity and there will be no qaḍā’ (making up) upon him as per the more correct of the two positions of the scholars. And if he makes tayammum whilst he is travelling and there is no water available, then we have a consensus of the scholars that there is no repetition needed from him later.

Likewise, the sick person who prays sitting down or lying on his side – he does not repeat anything later by the consensus of the scholars.

And likewise the one who finds himself naked such as one who is shipwrecked or one who is robbed of his clothes; such a person should pray naked and there is no repeating (of the prayer) for him as per the consensus of the scholars.

Likewise the one who is not able to determine the direction of the Qiblah (for some reason out of his control), and then prays and then discovers that it was incorrect, he doesn’t need to repeat his prayer according to the consensus of the scholars. As for the one who estimates the direction and makes a mistake (and there was more that he could have done to determine the Qiblah) then even he doesn’t need to repeat the prayer according to the majority of the scholars namely Mālik, Abu Ḥanīfah, and Aḥmed b. Ḥanbal. The popular position of the Shāfi‘ī madh-hab is that he should repeat his prayer.

The scholars debated the permissibility of making tayammum simply for the reason that it was too cold (to use water) – does he need to repeat his prayer? Also the one who prays in najas (ritually impure and filthy) clothes because he hasn’t got access to anything else – does he repeat the prayer later too? And there are many other similar situations to this.

The correct position in all of the above is that there is no repeating or making up upon any of these people, rather they should all pray according to their ability and anything which was obligated upon them which they weren’t able to perform, they are pardoned for and there is no repeating required. Neither Allah, Most High, nor His Messenger ever ordered a person to pray an obligatory prayer twice… and we have explained these issues across our works.

The key point to remember in conclusion is that Allah, Most High, has not placed difficulty upon the Muslims in their religion, rather He – may He be blessed and exalted – wishes only ease for them and not hardship for them. And the issue which the questioner puts forward is most deserving of a concession and thus one sees a consensus of the scholars concerning it.

And Allah knows best.”
The purpose of the translation of that entire fatwa of Ibn Taymiyyah was to give the reader a complete overview and appreciation of the subject matter at hand and how the scholars in approach the issue of sickness in general, or inability or those with valid excuses.

It should be noted that despite all of what has been said from the positions of the Imams and the discussion of their evidences, we hold that the correct position is that of the madh-hab of Imām Mālik i.e. that one’s wuḍū’ is not broken by such involuntary acts such as excessive flatulence for the one suffering from IBS, or the one who continually or erratically leaks urine etc because of incontinence or other conditions.

To understand this, we need to look at the evidences on the matter in a bit more detail.[vii] The position of the fuqahā’ on this issue is well known, based upon the ḥadīth narrated in Ṣaḥīḥ’l-Bukhāri (306):

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ ، قَالَأَخْبَرَنَا مَالِكٌ ، عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ عُرْوَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ : قَالَتْ فَاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ أَبِي حُبَيْشٍ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، إِنِّي لَا أَطْهُرُ أَفَأَدَعُ الصَّلَاةَ ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” إِنَّمَا ذَلِكِ عِرْقٌ وَلَيْسَ بِالْحَيْضَةِ ، فَإِذَا أَقْبَلَتِ الْحَيْضَةُ فَاتْرُكِي الصَّلَاةَ فَإِذَا ذَهَبَ قَدْرُهَا فَاغْسِلِي عَنْكِ الدَّمَ وَصَلِّي

It was narrated to us by ‘Abdullāh b. Yūsuf who said, “(Imām) Mālik informed us on the authority of Hishām b. ‘Urwah on the authority of his father (‘Urwah b. Zubayr) on the authority of ‘Ā’ishah (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhā) that she said,

“Fāṭimah bint Abi Ḥubaysh said to the Messenger of Allah (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “Yā Rasūlallāh, I am a woman who never becomes pure. Should I leave off the prayer?” The Messenger of Allah (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “This is only bleeding from a vein, not menstrual blood. When you have your menses, stop praying, but when it is complete then wash the blood away and begin praying again.”

This ḥadīth has been narrated with almost one hundred different chains across all the books of ḥadīth, the majority on the authority of ‘Urwah b. Zubayr on the authority of his aunt ‘Ā’ishah, may Allāh be pleased with all of them.

Indeed in another version of this ḥadīth (no. 228) in Ṣaḥīḥ’l-Bukhāri, we have:

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ ، قَالَحَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ ، حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ عُرْوَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ، قَالَتْ : جَاءَتْ فَاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ أَبِي حُبَيْشٍ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَقَالَتْ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، إِنِّي امْرَأَةٌ أُسْتَحَاضُ فَلَا أَطْهُرُ ، أَفَأَدَعُ الصَّلَاةَ ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” لَا ، إِنَّمَا ذَلِكِ عِرْقٌ وَلَيْسَ بِحَيْضٍ ، فَإِذَا أَقْبَلَتْ حَيْضَتُكِ فَدَعِي الصَّلَاةَ ، وَإِذَا أَدْبَرَتْ فَاغْسِلِي عَنْكِ الدَّمَ ثُمَّ صَلِّي ” ، قَالَ : وَقَالَ أَبِي : ثُمَّ تَوَضَّئِي لِكُلِّ صَلَاةٍ حَتَّى يَجِيءَ ذَلِكَ الْوَقْتُ

It was narrated to us by Muḥammed (b. Sallām b. al-Faraj) who said, “Abu Mu‘āwiyah narrated to us on the authority of Hishām b. ‘Urwah on the authority of his father (‘Urwah b. Zubayr) on the authority of ‘Ā’ishah (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhā) that she said,

“Fāṭimah bint Abi Ḥubaysh came to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said, “Yā Rasūlallāh, I am a woman who suffers from istiḥāḍah and I never become pure. Should I leave off the prayer?” The Messenger of Allah (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “No, that’s bleeding from a vein, not menstrual blood. When you have your menses, stop praying, but when it is complete then wash the blood away and begin praying again.” Hishām then said, “My father (‘Urwah) said, “Then make wuḍū’ for every prayer until your menses starts again.”

The main reason that the scholars differed over whether the blood of istiḥāḍah invalidates one’s wuḍū’ or not is because of the above statement of Hishām, the son of ‘Urwah b. Zubayr who was the nephew of ‘Ā’ishah, may Allah be pleased with all of them.

Is this extra statement by Hishām i.e. “My father said, “Then make wuḍū’ for every prayer until your menses starts again”” something which was said by the Prophet himself (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and thus marfū‘, or was it just a statement of ‘Urwah himself and thus mawqūf? And is this narration continuous to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and thus muttaṣilah or is it missing key narrators and thus mu‘allaqah? And if we assume that this ḥadīth is indeed marfū‘, then is such a Prophetic statement to be considered preserved (maḥfūẓ) or odd and contradictory to other more authentic narrations (shādh)?

To investigate this further, we see that this ḥadīth in its main is reported by Hishām b. ‘Urwah, from his father, from ‘Ā’ishah. As from Hishām himself, many narrators reported this ḥadīth with only small differences in the text itself, with some narrations mentioning the above extra statement, and some of them not.

For example, one path for the isnād using the authority of Abu Mu‘āwiyah from Hishām, does have the extra statement about making wuḍū’ for every Ṣalāh. But then they differed from Abu Mu‘āwiyah, with some narrators reporting the ḥadīth without any mention of the extra statement, and some of them narrating the ḥadīth with the extra statement being stated clearly as being marfū‘ i.e. as if it was a statement of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) himself and then finally some of them reporting the ḥadīth with the extra statement being confirmed as an increase from ‘Urwah only i.e. mawqūf.

Others who narrated the extra statement include Abu Ḥamzah al-Sukari, and they differed in narrating from him as well – some reported the extra as marfū‘ and some reported it as mursal i.e. just a statement of ‘Urwah.

Other major ḥadīth scholars have also narrated the extra statement such as Ḥammād b. Zayd and Ḥammād b. Salamah on the authority of Hishām except that they mention the making of wuḍū’ but didn’t mention that it had to be for every Ṣalāh, rather they narrated, “…so wash the blood from yourself, make wuḍū’ and pray.” So just as making ghusl from the condition only once is considered sufficient and it is not required each time for every Ṣalāh, the same goes for wuḍū’ as well, as per the wording collected by the two above Muḥaddithīn. Interestingly, ‘Affān who is one of the most accurate and best narrators from Ḥammād b. Salamah, has also narrated this ḥadīth from Ḥammād and not mentioned the extra statement of making wuḍū’ for every prayer either.

Others who narrated the extra statement include Abu ‘Awānah (al-Waḍḍāḥ b. ‘Abdillāh al-Yashkari) and Abu Ḥanīfah.

These are in total the main scholars who narrated this extra increment, but they were opposed by a large number of narrators who didn’t report the extra statement, some of who are considered more qualified in ḥadīth than the above, such as: Mālik, Wakī‘, Yaḥyā b. Sa‘īd al-Qaṭṭān, Zuhayr, Sufyān b. ‘Uyaynah, Abu Usāmah, Layth b. Sa‘d, ‘Amr b. al-Ḥārith, ‘Abdah, Muḥammad b. Kināsah, Ma‘mar, Ja‘far b. ‘Awn, al-Darāwardi, ‘Abdullāh b. Namīr and Sa‘īd b. ‘Abd’l-Raḥmān.

It is no surprise to find then that Imām Muslim, al-Nasā’ī, al-Bayhaqi, and Abu Dāwūd all ruled that this extra increment of making wuḍū’ for every Ṣalāh is ḍa‘īf (weak), as Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbali also opined in his commentary to Ṣaḥīḥ’l-Bukhāri[viii]:

“The correct position is that the wording of (making) wuḍū’ (for every prayer) is an extra addition in the ḥadīth from only ‘Urwah himself; indeed Mālik narrated from Hishām on the authority of his father that he himself said, “The one who suffers from istiḥāḍah does nothing other than make ghusl once and then she performs the wuḍū’ for every prayer thereafter.”

Imām al-Zayla‘ī the great Ḥanafi Muḥaddith said[ix],

“This extra wording i.e. “perform the wuḍū’ for every Ṣalāh” is mu‘allaqah according to Bukhāri (i.e. not a statement of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)…and Ibn al-Qaṭṭān also ruled that this narration was mu‘allaqah in his book.”

One can see some of the other versions of this ḥadīth to understand the above described situation. In the versions narrated by Imām Aḥmed, Ibn Mājah, Abu Dāwūd, Ibn Abi Shaybah and numerous other Muḥaddithīn, you will find similar wording to the above agreed upon narrations from Bukhāri but with usually a significant difference i.e. the statement of ‘Urwah (“Then make wuḍū’ for every prayer until your menses starts again.”) is included in the narration to make it look as if it is the statement of the Prophet himself (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)

For example, in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah (1303), we have:

حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا الْأَعْمَشُ ، عَنْ حَبِيبِ بْنِ أَبِي ثَابِتٍ ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ، قَالَتْ : جَاءَتْ فَاطِمَةُ ابْنَةُ أَبِي حُبَيْشٍ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَتْ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ , إِنِّي امْرَأَةٌ أُسْتَحَاضُ فَلَا أَطْهُرُ أَفَادَعُ الصَّلَاةَ ؟ قَالَلَا ، إِنَّمَا ذَلِكَ عِرْقٌ وَلَيْسَتْ بِالْحَيْضَةِ اجْتَنِبِي الصَّلَاةَ أَيَّامَ حَيْضَتِكِ ثُمَّ اغْتَسِلِي وَتَوَضَّئِي لِكُلِّ صَلَاةٍ ثُمَّ صَلِّي وَإِنْ قَطَرَ الدَّمُ عَلَى الْحَصِيرِ

It was narrated to us by Wakī‘ who said, “Al-A‘mash narrated to us on the authority of Ḥabīb b. Abi Thābit, on the authority of ‘Urwah, on the authority of ‘Ā’ishah, who said:

“Fāṭimah bint Abi Hubaysh came to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said, “Yā Rasūlallāh, I am a woman who suffers from istiḥāḍah and I never become pure. Should I leave off the prayer?” The Messenger of Allah (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “No, that’s bleeding from a vein, not menstrual blood. Avoid the prayer during the days of your menses, then take a bath and make wuḍū’ for every prayer and then pray, even if the blood is so much that it drips on to the mat below.”

As you can see, this narration and indeed many other narrations show the extra addition of the making of wuḍū’ for every prayer look like a Prophetic command.

It should be also said that the weakness in some of these versions that have the extra increment is quite clearly to be seen from the chains themselves. For example the version narrated by Imām Aḥmed (474) is ḍa‘īf because of the ‘an’anah of Ḥabīb b. Abi Thābit. In the narration of al-Dārimi (793), a number of scholars ruled the chain ḍa‘īf jiddan (very weak). In the narration of Imām al-Ṭabarāni in his Mu‘jam’l-Awsaṭ (1620), he said, “This ḥadīth has not been narrated on the authority of Abi Ayyūb al-Afrīqī who is otherwise known as ‘Abdullāh b. ‘Alī, other than Abu Yūsuf.” Hence, this chain is also weak.

As a result of the above brief study we find that the scholars differed in their conclusions with respect to the narrations relating to making wuḍū’ for every prayer for the one suffering from istiḥāḍah – indeed some as we have already mentioned considered all the ḥadīth on this matter to be weak.

Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbali said[x],

“The aḥādīth of performing wuḍū’ for every Ṣalāh have been narrated from many different paths, all of them doubtful and full of hidden faults.”

This is why the Mālikiyyah opined that there is no obligation to repeat the wuḍū’ for every prayer for the one suffering from istiḥāḍah.

Ibn ‘Abd’l-Barr said[xi],

“To make wuḍū’ (for every prayer) is only considered to be recommended by Mālik, not obligatory. They based their position on the fact that there is no mention of wuḍū’ by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he said, “Once the period of menses has passed, take a bath and then pray” and he did not mention wuḍū’. And from amongst those who said that wuḍū’ is not obligatory for the one suffering from istiḥāḍah were Rabī‘ah, ‘Ikrimah, Mālik, Ayyūb and a group of the scholars.”

Our conclusion is the same: not only is the extra wording ḍa‘īf for this issue of istiḥāḍah, but if this is the case then it also suggests that none of this type of impurity such as the blood of istiḥāḍah, urinary incontinence and the like are all not considered to be a ḥadath i.e. something which breaks the wuḍū’. This is namely for the following reasons:

a)     Someone who is suffering from a continual condition which breaks the wuḍū’, then even if they were to perform ablution, it will never lift his impurity or his condition causing impurity. If we agree on this then the purification is only being done out of recommendation, and not obligation.

b)     If indeed the blood of istiḥāḍah doesn’t break one’s state of purity after making wuḍū’ before you pray in that prayer time, then neither will that same blood break your state of impurity after the prayer, or after the time period for that prayer has expired. Thus, we have considered any kind of command to make wuḍū’ for every Ṣalāh as something recommended only.

c)      If the blood which flows from a vein does not invalidate wuḍū’, then any blood flow from a vein in the hand or in the foot will also not invalidate the wuḍū’ according to the most correct position. Therefore we should apply the same for the blood of istiḥāḍah for it is also blood from a vein as the ḥadīth in the Ṣaḥiḥayn confirm. It’s not right to say that just because it is bleeding from a vein in the genital area, it has a different ruling to other wounds suffering from bleeding. No, indeed reflect on the fact that sperm exists from the genitalia and yet is still considered to be clean.

d)     Allah jalla wa ‘ala is the Wise. He doesn’t take people to account except for what they have wilfully done. So if one is suffering from bleeding which was not wanted or intended by him, his acts of worship are still valid.

Let us quote what Ibn al-Mundhir states in al-Awsaṭ:[xii]

“Common sense in this issue dictates that what Rabī‘ah has said is correct – that it is not obligatory to repeat the wuḍū’ each time – except for the fact that it is an opinion which I have seen no support from anyone before him. The reason I mentioned “common sense” is because if there is no difference between the appearance of the blood of istiḥāḍah before, during or after wuḍū’, and if indeed the blood of istiḥāḍah obligates wuḍū’ after it, then surely a little or a lot of the blood would necessitate wuḍū’ – and if that’s the case then when the one suffering from istiḥāḍah starts her wuḍū’ and then some blood comes out after she has already washed some body-parts, her wuḍū’ is invalidated, because the blood which necessitates purification (according to the opinion that the one with istiḥāḍah is obligated to make wuḍū’ for each Ṣalāh) is present and invalidating.

But if that which comes out during wuḍū’ or that which comes out before she starts the Ṣalāh, or indeed during the Ṣalāh, does not break the wuḍū’, then this necessitates that whatever comes out after she has finished the Ṣalāh likewise does not break the wuḍū’, unless she breaks her wuḍū’ with something else other than the blood of istiḥāḍah. This is clearly what makes the most sense.”

This is the evidence of the Mālikiyyah for not obligating wuḍū’ for every prayer for the one suffering from istiḥāḍah and thus by extension for all those suffering from incontinence and other similar conditions, including excess uncontrollable flatulence as a result of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

In conclusion, we feel that this is the strongest and the most correct opinion on the matter. The narrations from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on this issue have not been established, Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbali declared all the ḥadīth on the subject to be weak, it is the opinion of not only Imām Mālik but other major Imāms of the Salaf including Rabī‘ah, ‘Ikrimah, Abu Ayyūb as well as some of the contemporary scholars today, and crucially this agrees with the objectives of Sharī‘ah and the mercy of Allah jalla wa ‘ala in not wanting difficulty for the Muslims and bringing ease whenever possible. The one who is ill or suffering from such conditions is already in difficulty as it is – how then can we obligate upon them wuḍū’ for every single prayer and make their lives even more difficult and miserable? To recommend wuḍū’ is good and a virtuous action, but obligate?

Therefore it is sufficient for you in your condition to make wuḍū’ and then pray all your prayers and perform all other deeds that require purification, without having to repeat your wuḍū’ at any time unless you break your wuḍū’ by something other than your medical condition.

You also ask about the combining of the prayer due to your condition. We find from the books of fiqh that it is allowed to combine the prayers for the one who is ill, or is in a state of istiḥāḍah or becoming weak from breast-feeding or suffering from incontinence etc. This is the position of the Mālikiyyah, the Ḥanābilah and some of the Fuqahā’ of the Shāfi‘ī madh-hab as well such as Qāḍī Ḥusayn, Ibn al-Muqri, al-Mutawallī and Abu Sulaymān al-Khaṭṭābi. Imām al-Nawawi said, “This is a very strong position.” We also quoted Ibn Taymiyyah’s support of this position above.

As for the Ḥanafi and Shāfi‘ī madh-habs then they did not consider it permissible for the sick person to combine their prayers because nothing has been narrated to this regard from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They stated that the timings of the prayer and the command to observe them are clear and well established, and cannot just be ignored due to something which is not definite and based upon doubt (such as the above argument). They also stated that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also suffered from illness yet we have not seen any evidence of his combining for that reason ever narrated.

Our position is that of the majority i.e. that it is allowed to combine due to a legitimate excuse or difficulty as stated by Ibn ‘Abbās (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) combined the prayers when there was no fear (of war etc) nor any rain, rather it was to lift difficulty from his Ummah i.e. give them an option of respite during difficult times.

In your next question, you ask about the problem of potential urine drops still being present after you completed the act of istinjā’.

This is a well-known matter in the books of fiqh, and it is sufficient to state that the juristic maxim, “Certainty is not removed by doubt” comes into play here. Once you have dried yourself and then washed yourself, then you are now clean. This is what is certain. After this, everything else is just doubt. Any wetness is of course more likely to be the water you have just used, and the amount of urine that might exit after some time cannot possibly be considered with respect to the water used.

Indeed, even in the absence of water to cleanse yourself with (which is allowed of course, and is called “dry istinjā’” or “istijmār” using tissue paper only or clods of earth etc), Allah jalla wa ‘ala has not put such a hardship upon mankind that they would need to remain seated after urination for 20 minutes each time waiting for every single tiny drop of urine etc to exit. Life could not function with such a reality and that is why the scholars have unanimously agreed that one cleans the area the recommended number of three times and then that is sufficient and he/she continues with the rest of their wuḍū’ and ignores anything else they may feel or indeed the Shayṭān whispering his deviant thoughts and doubts.

Of course, if drops of urine do indeed come out shortly after one has performed istinjā’ and one is not suffering from some medical condition, then they are obligated to repeat their istinjā’ and clean and wash the area that has been soiled.

Ibn Taymiyyah was asked[xiii] about someone who feels drips during his prayer after making istinjā’, to which he replied:

“Simply feeling that there is a drip does not invalidate the wuḍū’ – it is not possible to leave an obligatory prayer simply based upon uncertainty. As for if there is definitely urine which comes out externally then his wuḍū’ has become invalid and he needs to do istinjā’. As for the one who has some form of urinary incontinence then his prayer is not invalidated by this as long as he fulfils the usual conditions that are to be followed.”

If indeed you do have a weak pelvic muscle which is causing real leakage of significant amounts of urine, one should make his istinjā’ and then cover the private parts with a separate cloth or pad to minimise any impurity going to the clothes, and then even if it does get onto the clothes because of its continuous and uncontrollable nature then this is considered to be pardoned if the quantity is not significant. The word “significant” was never defined by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and thus the madh-habs put forward their own criteria, some mentioning the approximate area of a 50p piece, whereas some even said as large as a quarter of the total area in question. In reality, none of these definitions are binding due to their lack of evidence – we opine that “significant” would be the amounts that the society at present would consider “significant” i.e. what amount of apparent impurity/filth on your clothes would it take for someone to be shocked if they looked at it? That is the criteria to use for someone who is suffering from incontinence and it is easy for them to change clothes for the prayer, but as we have already said, even if the amount is large as the evidences above from the wives of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) illustrate, then he continues because of the legal excuse that he has.

We hope that all of the above discussion of the evidences and explanation of the matters and principles at hand have answered your questions but in summary, we can state:

–          You do not need to repeat your wuḍū’ for every prayer

–          With a single wuḍū’ you can perform all obligatory and “nafl” acts of worship

–          Passing wind etc due to your medical problem in the midst of making wuḍū’ or ghusl will not affect what you are doing and you should continue as normal

–          You can combine between the prayers when your condition causes you difficulty to pray in the prescribed times

–          You should ignore any wetness felt after making istinjā’

And Allah knows best.


Abu Eesa Niamatullah (Member, al-Qalam Sharī‘ah Panel)

[i] Al-Ikhtiyār li-ta‘līl’l-Mukhtār 3/508, Ḥāshiyah Ibn ‘Ābidīn 1/504, al-Baḥr’l-Rā’iq 1/226, Marāqiy’l-Falāḥ p.60, Sharḥ Fatḥ’l-Qadīr 1/181, Tabyīn’l-Haqā’iq 1/64 and Badā’i‘ al-Ṣanā’i‘ 1/28.

[ii] Al-Mughni 1/421, Sharḥ Muntahā’l-Irādāt 1/120, Kashshāf’l-Qinā‘ 1/215, al-Inṣāf 1/377, al-Furū‘ 1/279 and Sharḥ al-Zarkashi 1/437.

[iii] Al-Majmū‘ 1/363, 1/543, Mughniy’l-Muḥtāj 1/111 and Rawḍat’l-Ṭālibīn 1/125 and 1/147.

[iv] The author of Mawāhib’l-Jalīl (1/291) said:

The path chosen by the ‘Irāqi Mālikiyyah from amongst us is that anything which exits the body involuntarily (i.e. in a continuous, incontinent fashion) does not invalidate one’s wuḍū’ at all. One is only recommended to make wuḍū’ as a result (not obligated).

As for what is well known from the Moroccan Māliki school, then incontinence is of four types:

  1. If one is constantly in a state of incontinence, wuḍū’ is neither obligatory nor recommended for there is no benefit to it, thus his wuḍū’ is not broken by his (urinary) incontinence
  2. If one is in a state of incontinence for longer than he is not in a state of incontinence, then it is recommended for him to make wuḍū’ unless that becomes difficult for him due to cold or some other harm. In such a case, it doesn’t become recommended to do so.
  3. If the length of time that he is incontinent and he isn’t, is the same. Here, with respect to the obligation and recommendation of the wuḍū’, there are two opinions (i.e. that it is obligatory, and the second that it isn’t obligatory but just recommended)
  4. If the time that he is free from the incontinence is greater than when he is incontinent, then the popular opinion is that it is obligatory for him to perform wuḍū’ in contrast to our companions from the ‘Irāqiyyīn, for it is but recommended according to them.

For further discussion of the dominant Māliki position, see Ḥāshiyat’l-Dusūqi 1/116, Fatḥ’l-Barr fī Tartīb’l-Tamhīd 3/508, al-Istidhkār 3/225, and al-Qawānīn’l-Fiqhiyyah li Ibn Juzayy, p.29.

[v] Al-Muhallah, point 168

[vi] Majmū‘ al-Fatāwah 21/222-225

[vii] Taken from the study of Shaykh Dubyān Muḥammed al-Dubyān in his book al-Ḥayḍ wal-Nifās Riwāyah wa’l-Dirāyah

[viii] 2/72

[ix] Nasb’l-Rāyah 1/201

[x] Sharḥ’l-Bukhāri by Ibn Rajab 2/73

[xi] ibid

[xii] Al-Awsaṭ 1/164

[xiii] Majmū’ al- Fatāwa 21/219


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