Principle of Passing

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Principle of Passing (Arabic: قاعدة التجاوز) states that, when a person has finished performing one of the elements of the religious act and has moved on to another element, and then doubts whether or not they have performed that previous element correctly or not, they should assume that they did it correctly and continue with the act. This principle deals with the obligations of a person while they are still in the act. The principle is different from the Principle of Completion, which states that when a person has finished an entire act and then doubts about its correctness, they should assume the act is correct.Furthermore, the principle of completion is related to the soundness of an act, whereas the principle of passing deals with the very existence of an obligatory part of a compound act.

Many narrations are offered in support of this principle, such as the sahih narration of Zurara from Imam Jafar al-Sadiq. Zurara asked about a man who has started the iqamah of the ritual prayer, and then doubts whether he did the Adhan. The Imam said: "Leave it." He then asked about a man who doubts about both the Adhan and the iqamah, and has gone to do the first takbir of the prayer. The Imam said: "Leave it." He then asked about the man who has started praying and then doubts whether or not they did the takbir. The Imam said: "Leave it." He continued asking him about all the parts of the prayer, and the Imam said the same thing. He finally concluded by saying: "O Zurara! If you have finished one thing and moved on to another, then your doubt has absolutely no standing."[1]

This principle applies in all areas of religious worship, except Wudhu, where there is specific evidence saying that a person must not follow this principle with that act and that act alone.


  1. إرشاد العقول إلي مباحث الأصول, by محمد حسين الحاج العاملي; vol. 2, pg 438, #11
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