Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
If a Hanafi man, is married to a Shafi’i woman, and they intend to perform Hajj together, with the man as Mahram for his wife; what is the ruling on the woman’s Wudu if she cannot avoid physical contact with her husband, during the performance of the Hajj?
Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum, I pray you’re well insha’Allah.
It is permissible, and perhaps even necessary, for a Shafi’i to utilise the Hanafi dispensation, that skin to skin contact with marriageable members of the opposite sex, for the purpose of keeping one’s wudu during the pilgrimage.
Wudu during pilgrimage
In the Shafi’i school, being in a state of wudu is actually only a condition for the Tawaf and any prayers performed during the pilgrimage. It is not a condition to be in a state of wudu for the rest of the Hajj and Umrah rites, though of course, it is highly recommended to be in a state of purification throughout the whole pilgrimage.
Combining opinions in acts (talfiq)
In the Shafi’i school there are two valid positions in regards combining different opinions in one or more acts. The summary of these opinions are:
1. That one cannot combine two different opinions in any act, whether one, two, or more acts.
An example of combining opinions in one single act, is combining an opposing Hanafi opinion and a Shafi’i opinion when making wudu. Examples of combining opinions in two acts, is making wudu as a Shafi’i and then taking the Hanafi opinion that touching one’s spouse’s skin does not break the wudu, or, making wudu as a Hanafi (such that it is not valid in the Shafi’i school) and then praying as a Shafi’i. According to this opinion, all of these are invalid. This is the opinion of Imam Ibn Hajr.
2. That one cannot combine two different opinions in any one single act (such as in wudu, same as above), but it is permissible to combine two different opinions in 2 or more acts.
For example, one could make wudu as a Hanafi, and then pray as a Shafi’i, or, make wudu as a Shafi’i and take the Hanafi opinion that spousal skin contact does not break the wudu. According to this opinion these acts would all be valid and free of blame. This is the opinion of Imam Ibn Ziyad.
As we can see, there is agreement that combining two opposing opinions in one single act is not permissible by agreement, as this means the act is not valid in any of the schools. The difference of opinion is on combining opinions in two or more acts.
If an act (or acts) are valid in different schools, then obviously, there is no dilemma.
In regards the question then, your wife could either:
a. Make wudu as a Hanafi and follow all the Hanafi rulings pertaining to the pilgrimage rites. This will be in line with Ibn Hajr’s opinion.
b. Make wudu as a Hanafi, and continue to adhere to the Shafi’i rulings pertaining to the pilgrimage rites. This will be in line with Ibn Ziyad opinion.
As mentioned, both positions are valid. Again, bear in mind that in our school, it is only Tawafs that strictly require wudu.
Wudu according to the Hanafi school
If your wife does choose to make wudu according to the Hanafi school, then I would suggest consulting a reliable Hanafi scholar to find out the rulings relating to wudu in their school. For example, the minimum wipe of the head in these two schools differ.[Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Bughyat al Mustarshidin]
I pray you both have a valid, accepted, and blessed pilgrimage insha’Allah. Please keep us in your du’as during your Hajj, especially at the Ka’aba and if visiting the beloved Prophet ﷺ in Medina.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.