Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher
If someone says “assalamu `alaykum” to me while I am making wudu, am I obligated to respond by saying “wa `alaykum as salam” even though I am engaged in wudu? If it is obligatory for me to respond, then must I immediately respond, or may I delay responding until I complete my wudu? Is the answer to this question affected by the fact that I am making wudu in a room that contains a toilet as well?
It is recommended to give salams to people even when they are busy performing wudu, and it is obligatory for the person making wudu to respond to such salams, as per the Fatawa of Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari. This is also stated by Ibn Qasim in his Hashiya on the Tuhfa (Tuhfa + Hawashi, 9.227).
The fact that it is obligatory for someone making wudu to respond to salams tells us that performing wudu is not an excuse that excuses one from responding to someone’s salams, nor is it an excuse for delaying the response.
This applies only if the person making wudu is not in a place that contains a toilet. Otherwise, it seems that it is not obligatory for him to respond, rather it is offensive, as may be inferred from what the scholars say (cf. Tuhfa, 9.228).
السؤال: سلَّم عليَّ شخصٌ وأنا أتوضأ، هل يجبُ عليَّ أن أردَّ السلام؟ إن كان الردُّ واجباً فهل يجبُ الردُّ فوراً أو لي أن أؤخر الردَّ إلى الانتهاء من الوضوء؟ وهل يؤثر الحكم لو كنت أتوضأ في محل قضاء الحاجة؟
الجواب: السلام على المتوضئ مشروع، ويجبُ عليه ردُّ السلام كما في "فتاوى" شيخ الإسلام زكريا، انظر: "حاشية" ابن قاسم على "التحفة" (9/227). وإذا كان ردُّ السلام على المتوضئ واجباً وجب الردُّ فوراً؛ فليس الوضوء عذراً في عدم وجوب الردِّ ولا في تأخيره، هذا إن لم يكن في بيت الخلاء، وإلا فالظاهرُ أنه لا يجبُ عليه الردُّ، بل يُكْرَهُ كما يُعْلَمُ من كلامهم، والله أعلم. انظر: "التحفة" (9/228).
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