Ablution & what invalidates it: Certain misgivings.

Q5 :By how many ways is ablution invalidated? Does touching a non-Muslim or touching a woman intentionally invalidate ablution?

A5 : Everything that is discharged through one's private parts, whether wind, fluid or solid, invalidates ablution. It is well known that a discharge of semen requires a full bath or grand ablution. But everything else that is discharged through either private parts requires a fresh ablution, i.e. wudhu before one can offer prayers. Sound sleep is also a cause to invalidate ablution. Some scholars are of the opinion that a mere sleep is sufficient cause to require a new ablution, while the majority of scholars suggest that if a person sleeps while seated in a position which makes any release of wind impossible, his ablution is not invalidated. Loss of consciousness is another reason for fresh ablution before prayer. It does not matter whether this is caused by drunkenness, medicine, or by natural causes. Similarly, a temporary loss of mental powers through madness is also a cause which invalidates ablution. Finally, touching one's genital organ with one's hand [skin to skin] invalidates ablution. There are Hadiths to support what we have said regarding each of these causes. Limitation of space prevents me from quoting them in detail. They are readily available in any book of Fiqh or Hadith. There are certain actions which some people think to be reasons for having a fresh ablution. It is appropriate to mention them briefly, emphasizing that they do not invalidate ablution. The first is touching a woman, skin to skin. Some scholars find this as enough reason to invalidate ablution, the majority are of the opinion that such touching is not the type referred to in the Qur'an as requiring ablution. They consider the Qur'anic statement to mean sexual contact. Secondly, bleeding from any part of the body with the exception of menstruation. It does not matter whether it is extensive or little bleeding or whether it is through an injury or through one's nose. Nor does vomiting or eating camel meat invalidate ablution. The same can be said of loud laughter during prayer and giving a dead person a final wash. There is no evidence to support that these are the actions which invalidate ablution. If someone doubts whether his ablution has been invalidated or not, scholars tell him that it has not been invalidated unless he is certain that it has been. In other words, he must be sure that he has done any of the invalidating actions mentioned above to require a new ablution before he prays.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )