Some of the contemporary scholars, including Al-Albani, may Allaah have mercy upon him, hold the view that wiping over splints is impermissible because the relevant Hadeeth is weak. They say that Tayammum (dry ablution) must be used with a splint after Wudhoo’ (ablution), and the splint is not to be wiped with water. What is the preponderant opinion?
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, is His slave and Messenger.
The sound opinion is that wiping over splints is legitimate in case of necessity, whether one performs Wudhoo’ or Ghusl (bathing). As evidence, it is narrated that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said: "One of my forearms was broken and I asked the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who ordered me to wipe over the splint." [Ibn Maajah]
It was also narrated that Jabir said:
"We set out on a journey. One of our companions was hurt by a stone that injured his head. He then had a wet dream. He asked his fellow travelers, "Do you find concession for me to perform Tayammum?" They said, "We do not find any concession for you while you can use water." He took a bath and died. When we came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the incident was reported to him and he said, "They killed him, may Allaah kill them! Could they not ask when they did not know? The cure of ignorance is inquiry. It was enough for him to perform Tayammum and to pour some drops of water or to bind a bandage over the wound; then he should have wiped over it and wash the rest of his body." [Ahmad, Abu Daawood and others]
Wiping over splints is needed because removing the splint is difficult and harmful.
Wiping over splints for purification is obligatory when certain conditions are met. Obligation here means incurring sin for abandoning this, along with invalidation of purification (Wudhoo’ or Ghusl) and prayer. This is the opinion of the Maaliki, Shaafi‘i and Hanbali scholars. It is also the opinion of Abu Yoosuf and Muhammad from the Hanafi scholars. Abu Haneefah said: "One is guilty for abandoning wiping over the splint but still the Wudhoo’ is valid." It is narrated that he adopted the opinion of his two companions later. Some Shaafi‘i scholars said: "He washes the healthy organs and makes Tayammum (for the unhealthy ones) and does not wipe over the splint." Nevertheless, the adopted opinion in their school is the aforementioned opinion of the majority of scholars.
Allaah Knows best.
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