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Friday, June 08, 2007

Wudu (Ablution) made easy

O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salât (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles. (5:6).

Abu Hurairah (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Allah does not accept the prayer without ablution.." (Muslim

Following the prescribed sequence

Allah mentioned the obligations in a specific order. Al-Ma'idah 6 explains what is obligatory and it falls under the generality of the Prophet's (saw) statement, "Begin with what Allah began with." The Prophet (saw) used to follow that sequence as one of ablution's principles. There is no such report that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, ever departed from that sequence. Ablution is part of worship, and in matters of worship there is no room for anything except doing what has been commanded.


Repeating each washing three times (ie each limb)

This is a sunnah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace. 'Uthman (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) would repeat each washing three times. (Related by Ahmad, Muslim and at-Tirmizhi.)

Beginning each action with the right side

Said 'Aishah (ra), "The Messenger of Allah (saw) loved to begin with his right side while putting on his shoes, straightening his hair and cleaning (or purifying) himself." (Related by al-Bukhari and Musilm.) Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said, "When you clothe or wash yourself, begin with your right side." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, and an-Nasa'i.)

Rubbing the limbs with water

This means to rub the hands over the bodily parts with water. 'Abdullah ibn Zaid (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) was brought a pot of water which he used to perform ablution, and then rubbed his arms. (Related by Ibn Khuzaimah.) He also related that the Messenger of Allah (saw) performed ablution, then rubbed his limbs. (Related by Abu Dawud at-Tayalisi, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Abu Ya'la.)

Running water through one's fingers and toes

Ibn 'Abbas (ra) said that when the Messenger of Allah (saw) performed ablution, he would run his fingers through his fingers and toes. (Related by "the five," except Ahmad.) It is also related that it is preferable to remove jewelry, for example, rings, bracelets, and so on, while performing ablution. Even though these reports are not accepted as fully authentic, one must follow them, for they fall under the general category of completing and perfecting the ablution.

Close sequence

Each bodily part must be washed right after the other in the prescribed sequence (without separating the washing of the different parts of acts not related to the abution). This is the customary practice of the early and later generations of Muslims.

Economizing the use of water, even if one is in front of the sea

Abdullah ibn 'Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah passed by Sa'd while he was performing ablution and said, "What is this extravagance, Sa'd?" He said, "Is there extravagance in the use of water?" He said, "Yes, even if you are at a flowing river." (Related by Ahmad and Ibn Majah with a weak chain.)

Extravagance is to use water without any benefit, like washing the parts more than three times. Ibn Shu'aib's hadith, quoted earlier, illustrates the point in question. 'Abdullah ibn Mughaffal narrated that he heard the Prophet say, "There will be people from my nation who will transgress in making supplications and in purifying themselves." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i.)

Says al-Bukhari, "The scholars do not like one to use water beyond what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used for ablution.

Sequence of Wudhu

1, Intention

This is the desire to do the action and to please Allah by following His command. It is purely an act of the heart, for the tongue (verbal pronouncement, and so on) has nothing to do with it.

2, Mentioning the name of Allah at the beginning

Saying: 'Bismillah'.
3, Washing the hands three times at the beginning

This is based on the hadith of Aus ibn Aus al-Thaqafi (ra) who said, "I saw the Messenager of Allah (saw) make ablution, and he washed his hands three times." (Related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.) The right hand should be washed first 3x, then the left hand. Care should be taken that the hands (including inbetween the fingers) are washed thoroughly upto and including the wrists, leaving no dry spots.

4, Rinsing the mouth three times

Laqit ibn Sabrah (ra) reported that the Prophet said, "When one performs ablution, he should rinse his mouth." (Related by Abu Dawud and al-Baihaqi.)

5, Dental Hygiene (Optional)

Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Were it not to be a hardship on my community, I would have ordered them to use a miswak for every ablution." (Related by Malik, ash-Shaf'i, al-Baihaqi and al-Hakim.)

6, Sniffing up and blowing out water three times
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "When one of you performs ablution, he should sniff water up his nostrils and then blow it out." (Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud.)

The sunnah is to put the water into the nostrils with the right hand and blow it out with the left. 'Ali (ra) once called for water for ablution, rinsed his mouth, sniffed up water into his nostrils and blew it out with his left hand. He did that three times and then said, "That is how the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would purify himself." (Related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.)

6, Washing the face
This involves "pouring" or "running" water from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and from one ear to the other.

7, Running one's fingers through his beard

'Aishah (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) would run his fingers through his beard. (Related by Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi)

Anas (ra) said that when the Messenger of Allah (saw) performed ablution, he would take a handful of water and put it under his jaws and pass it through his beard. He said, "This is what my Lord, Allah, ordered me to do." (Related by Abu Dawud, al-Baihaqi and al-Hakim.)

8, Washing the arms to the elbow

From the wrist upto, and including the elbow must be washed, for the Prophet, upon whom be peace, did so. Starting by washing the right arm 3x, then the left arm 3x.

9, Wiping the head

This means to wipe one's head with his hand. It is not sufficient just to place the hand on the head or to touch the head with a wet finger.

Abdullah ibn Zaid (ra) reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, wiped his entire head with his hands. He started with the front of his head, then moved to the back, and then returned his hands to the front. (Related by "the group.").

10, Wiping the ears
The sunnah is to wipe the interior of the ears with the index fingers and the exterior portions with the thumbs. The water used to wipe the head is also used for the ears, as the ears are part of the head. Al-Miqdam ibn Ma'd Yakrih (ra) reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, wiped his head and his ears, the interior and exterior, while making ablution. He also put his finger inside his ear. (Related by Abu Dawud and at-Tahawi.)

While describing the ablution of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, Ibn 'Umar said, "He wiped his head and ears with one wipe." (Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.) In one narration it states, "He wiped the inner portion of his ears with his index finger, and the outer portion with his thumb."

11, Washing the feet and the heels

The right foot should be washed first 3x, then the left foot. Care should be taken that the feet (including inbetween the toes) are washed thoroughly, upto and including the ankles leaving no dry spots

Ibn 'Umar (ra) said, "The Prophet (saw) lagged behind us in one of our travels. He caught up with us after we had delayed the afternoon prayer. We started to make ablution and were wiping over our feet, when the Prophet said, 'Woe to the heels, save them from the Hell-fire,' repeating it two or three times." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

12, Supplication after ablution

'Umar reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "If one completes (and perfects) the ablution and then says, 'I testify that there is no god except Allah, the One Who has no partner, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger," the eight gates of paradise will be opened for him and he may enter any of them that he wishes." (Related by Muslim.)

12, Praying two rak'ah after ablution
Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said to Bilal, "O Bilal, tell me what good deed you have done in Islam that I hear the sound of your footsteps in Paradise?" Bilal said, "That after I purify myself during the day or night, I pray with that purification as much as Allah has destined for me." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) 'Uqbah ibn 'Aamr related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, "If one performs and perfects his ablution and prays two rak'ah with his heart and face (completely on his prayer), Paradise becomes his." (Related by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and Ibn Khuzaimah in his Sahih.) Khumran, the client of 'Uthman, added, "I saw 'Uthman call for water for ablution, pour it from the pot onto his right hand and wash it three times. He then put his right hand into the container, rinsed his mouth and nose and blew the water out. Then he washed his face three times, followed by his arms up to the elbows. Then he washed his feet three times and said 'I saw the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, make ablution like this.' And then he would say, 'Whoever makes ablution like this and then prays two rak'ah without having any other concern on his mind, all his past sins will be forgiven." (Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.)


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