Q & A Wudu' and Purity

Q & A: “Wiping one’s hair with gel…”


Q. I was speaking to some brothers and they told me that i cant wipe over my head if i have gel on. When im at work i put gel on and it means washing my hair everytime i pray that will become impractical for me. Does this count as necessity or is there some kind of Islamic evidence to say i can just wipe over. jzk


            Firstly, there are different types of gel or hair styling products. Some are thick and do leave the hair strong and extra firm stiffening the locks into a hold while others have thinner substance that shape and hold the hair but have no lasting strong residue.

Secondly, the general condition for wudu’ in our school is that water must reach the skin when washing so if a barrier exists then until that barrier is removed, the wudu’ will not be valid:

“And his statement (the same applies if he applies any oil) like oil or lubricants and sesame oil different from grease or solid fat. His statement (al-dasuma [S. a type of fatty grease]) is the remains of the oil as mentioned by al-Shurunbulali. al-Maqdisi said: In al-Fatawa it mentions, ‘he applied oil to his feet and then performed wudu’ and [thereafter] poured [water] across his legs and water did not reach [the required area] due to the oil’. This is permitted due to the feet being washed…”[1]

قوله ” و كذا دهن” اى كزيت و شيرج  بخلاف نحو شحم و سمن جامد “قوله و دسومة” هى اثر الدهن قال فى الشرنبلالية قال المقدسى : و فى الفتاوى دهن رجليه ثم توضأ و امرّ على رجليه و لم يقبل الماء للدسومة جاز لوجود غسل الرجلين

“My father, may Allah Most High have mercy on him, said that if one applies oil to his feet and then pours water and it does not reach [the skin] due to the oily area, wudu’ is still permitted as mentioned in Khazanat al-Fatawa. In Majmu` al-Nawazil it has: washing requires pouring water over the parts without it sticking. If he oils those parts of the body required for wudu’ and then pours water over them and it does not stick to the skin, then it is permitted.”[2]

قال والدى رحمه الله تعالى اذا دهن رجليه و امرّ  الماء و لم يصل لمكان الدسومات , جاز الوضوء كما فى ” خزانة الفتاوى ” و فى “مجموع النوازل” : الغسل يقتضى جواز اسالة الماء على الاعضاء دون الازاق فلو دهن اعضاء الوضوء ثم سال عليها الملء و لم يلتزق عليها جاز .

Thirdly, you may need to check the kind of gel product you are using. If it is thin like gum, wax or oil then there usually is no strong barrier created around the hair and wiping over the head will be valid and no washing of the hair prior to wudu’ will be necessary. If however the product you are using is not thin like the aforementioned ones, then you may need to change your hair product because there will be no shar`i (legal) exemption as it is not a case for it and neither is it a case of necessity (darura) as no necessity exists to apply hair gel as one can do without it.

            Therefore, the general advice given to you by this brother does not hold. You may perform the wipe (mash) over the head with an appropriate hair gel.

And Allah knows best.

[1] Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, vol.1, p.154.

[2] al-Ghunaymi, Nihayat al-Murad, p.81.





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