Can you hold back wind whilst praying Salah?



Islamic Text

No, praying whilst holding back wind or urine is prohibitively disliked (Makruh Tahriman). Therefore, it is sinful to do so. This ruling is based on an explicit  Hadith. In which the Prophet ﷺ mentioned that a person should not pray when he is in a state of discomfort. Meaning fending off the call of nature.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏ “‏لاَ يَقُومُ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ وَبِهِ أَذًى‏”‏.

Abu Hurairah said, ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘No one of you should stand to pray when he feels some discomfort (because of needing to urinate or defecate).‘ (Ibn Maja 618, Hasan). 

In light of the Hadith above, Hanafis stated that praying whilst holding back wind or urine is Makruh Tahriman (prohibitively disliked). Meaning the prayer will be valid but sinful. Therefore, one must avoid praying in such a state.

However, the dislike in a Makruh act can drop if there is a need or a necessity present. For example, if relieving oneself and renewing Wudu  would mean that a person is going to miss the entire prayer time. In such a case, one is to hold back the need to relieve himself, and to just go ahead and pray.

As not doing so, will lead to something worse. Namely, missing the prayer from its time. Therefore, it is no longer disliked to pray in a state of discomfort. Thus, praying whilst holding back wind or urine will be permitted in such a case. One must try to avoid such a situation.

(قَوْلُهُ وَصَلَاتُهُ مَعَ مُدَافَعَةِ الْأَخْبَثَيْنِ إلَخْ) أَيْ الْبَوْلِ وَالْغَائِطِ. قَالَ فِي الْخَزَائِنِ: سَوَاءٌ كَانَ بَعْدَ شُرُوعِهِ أَوْ قَبْلَهُ، فَإِنْ شَغَلَهُ قَطَعَهَا إنْ لَمْ يَخَفْ فَوْتَ الْوَقْتِ، وَإِنْ أَتَمَّهَا أَثِمَ لِمَا رَوَاهُ أَبُو دَاوُد «لَا يَحِلُّ لِأَحَدٍ يُؤْمِنُ بِاَللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ وَهُوَ حَاقِنٌ حَتَّى يَتَخَفَّفَ»، أَيْ مُدَافِعُ الْبَوْلِ، وَمِثْلُهُ الْحَاقِبُ: أَيْ مُدَافِعُ الْغَائِطِ وَالْحَازِقُ: أَيْ مُدَافِعُهُمَا وَقِيلَ مُدَافِعُ الرِّيحِ اهـ. وَمَا ذَكَرَهُ مِنْ الْإِثْمِ صَرَّحَ بِهِ فِي شَرْحِ الْمُنْيَةِ وَقَالَ لِأَدَائِهَا مَعَ الْكَرَاهَةِ التَّحْرِيمِيَّةِ.
(رد المحتار على الدر المختار)

(His words, and his Salah while holding back the need to relieve himself) meaning urine and faeces. He said in al-Khazaain, this is irrespective of it occurring after beginning (the prayer) or before it. If it disturbs him, he breaks the Salah if he does not fear the prayer time elapsing. If he completes the prayer then he is sinful as narrated by Abu Dawood. “It is not permissible for one who believes in Allah and the last day to pray and he is Haaqin until he relieves himself.”

Meaning holding back urine, it is similar to al-Haaqib, which means holding back faeces. And al-Haaziq meaning holding them both back, another opinion says it is holding back wind. The sin that has been mentioned, was explicitly clarified in the commentary of al-Munyah, he said the prayer is valid but Makruh Tahreemi (prohibitively disliked). (Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).

ومدافعا لأحد الأخبثين أو الريح (مراقي الفلاح)

And (it is Makruh) to pray holding back one of the two filths (urine or faeces) or (holding back) wind.  (Imam Shurunbulali, Maraaqi al-Falah)

The Nusoos (texts) above, clarify that praying whilst holding back wind, urine or even the urge to defecate is sinful. As mentioned above, this is only the case if there is no need or necessity. Praying before the prayer time ends is a necessity. Therefore, it will not be sinful to pray in such a state in that case.

Sometimes the concern is not the prayer time elapsing, rather it is causing hardship for the person. For example, a person who suffers from flatulence.  Such that he is going to have to keep repeating Wudu. This may be considered a need (Haajah). Thus, holding back the urge to pass wind, in such a case, is not going to be Makruh. Rather he may hold it back and pray.

One must also remain conscious of Waswasah (the whispers of Shaytan). Sometimes a person does not need to relieve himself. But upon entering the prayer, he now feels the need. This is likely to be Waswasah and must be ignored. When one acts upon Waswasah, it snowballs and destroys one’s worship.

And Allah (Most High) knows best.

Answered by Shaykh Noor ud-deen (04.01.2021)

See also:

Can you carry a child whilst in Salah?