Wiping over a headband in Wudhu'
Fatwa No: 233515

  • Fatwa Date:4-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 3, 1435
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Question

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh When wiping the head while doing wudu, if someone is wearing hairbands can they wipe over them or should they take them of and then wipe their head?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His Slave and Messenger.

First of all, it should be noted that the scholars have had different opinions regarding the ruling of wiping over the entire head (in Wudhu' [ablution]). Imaam Maalik  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him is of the view that it is an obligation, while Imaam Ash-Shaafi’i and Abu Haneefah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them are of the view that it is not an obligation. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 139716.

Imaam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him although he is of the view that it is an obligation to wipe over the entire head, he was lenient regarding wiping over the head of a woman and held the view that it is sufficient for her to wipe over part of the head. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The apparent view of Imaam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him regarding a man is that it is an obligation for him to wipe over his entire head while it is sufficient for a woman to wipe over the front of her head. Al-Khallaal  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'The adopted view of Abu Abdillaah (i.e. Imaam Ahmad) is that if a woman wipes over the front of her head, then this is sufficient from her.' Besides, Muhanna  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'Ahmad said: 'I hope that there is leniency for a woman wiping over the head.' I said: 'Why is that?' He said: ' ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her used to wipe over the front of her head.'” [End of quote]

The evidence that it is not an obligation to wipe over the entire head is that it is authentically related that Ibn ‘Umar and ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them used to wipe over part of their heads and it was not related that other Companions objected to them doing so.

The ruling on this issue is based on those details. If the headband which you referred to in the question prevents  wiping over the entire head (i.e. it makes it possible to wipe over only part of the head), then it is an obligation to take it off and wipe underneath it according to the view of Maalik, but it is not an obligation to take if off according to Ahmad, Ash-Shaafi’i and Abu Haneefah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them.

Moreover, it is only a condition to wipe at least a quarter of the head according to Abu Haneefah. There is no doubt that wiping over the entire head is better in order to be on the safe side, to be free from liability and to avoid difference of opinion, and it is known that avoiding difference of opinion is desirable.

Finally, if the headband which you referred to in the question covers the entire head and it is not possible to wipe over part of the head while wearing it, then the Wudhu' will not be valid and it is an obligation to remove it.

Allaah Knows best.

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