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Wudu (Partial Ablutions)
By Mohammad Yusuf Islahi

While performing the Wudu, it is important to make best use of the water available and not to use more water than is necessary.

Merit and Importance of Wudu

Wudu is the foremost pre-requisite of the prayer in Islam. In view of its great merit and vital importance, it has been enjoined by the Qur’an itself:

“0 Believers, when you rise to offer Salat you must wash your faces and hands and arms up to the elbows and wipe your heads with wet hands and wash your feet up to the ankles.” (Surah 5: Verse 6)

The Prophet (Pbuh) is reported to have said: “On the Day of Resurrection, I shall be able to spot my people by their faces and hands and feet, which will be shining on account of Wudu”.

He is also reported to have said : “He who performs Wudu well has all his minor sins washed away and all his limbs shed their sins and he has his ranks exalted in the Hereafter”. (Bukhari and Muslim).

Wudu: The Prescribed Way

1. The intention should be to please Allah and seek His approval for all one’s actions and deeds. One should start Wudu with Bismillah and pray : Allahummaghfirli zanbi wa wass’i li fi dari wa barik-lifi rizqi.

“0 Allah ! forgive me my sins and grant me spaciousness in my abode and bless for me my provisions”.

Hazrath Abu Musa Ash’ari (RA) says: “I brought ablution water for the holy Prophet. When he started performing Wudu, I heard him say: ‘0 Allah! forgive me my sins and grant me spaciousness in my abode and bless for me my provisions.’

“I asked, ‘0 Messenger of Allah ! were you praying for this and this?’ He replied, ‘Yes ; did I leave out anything of this or of the next world” ?

2. Wash both hands thoroug-hly up to the wrists thrice.

3. Put water in the mouth with the right hand thrice and brush the teeth. If the tooth-stick is not available, clean the teeth with the forefinger and take water to the throat and gargle, unless fasting.

4. Sniff fresh water thrice, unless fasting, and blow out the nose with the left hand and clean it thoroughly.

5. Then taking water in the cup of the palms, wash the face thrice so that no portion of it remains dry. If one has a thick beard, it has to be combed with wet fingers so that water reaches to the roots of the hair. While washing the face, one should recite the following supplication after Bismillah and the Kalimah-e-Shahadat:

Allahumma bayyid wajhi yauma tabyadd-u wuju-hun-wa taswadd-u wujuh.
“0 Allah! brighten my face on the Day when some faces will be bright and others dark and gloomy”.

6. Wash both the hands, first the right and then the left, well up to the elbows thrice. One should move the ring (or the bangles) to and fro so that no part of the skin remain dry, the spaces between fingers have also to be made wet and cleaned.

7. Wipe the head and the ears with wet hands in the following manner: Join the middle, ring and little fingers of the one hand with corresponding fingers of the other hand, tip to tip, and wipe at least one-fourth of the head by moving them jointly from the hair of the forehead towards the rear of the head and then back from the rear of the head towards the front: then wipe the inside of the ears with the forefinger and the outside with the thumb, and the back of the neck with the back of the fingers. The wisdom underlying this procedure is that no part or side of the hands or fingers is used twice for wiping the head, ears and neck.

8. Then wash both the feet, first the right and then the left, thrice up to the ankles with the left hand, using the little finger for cleaning the spaces between toes, starting from the little toe of the right foot and finishing with the little toe of the left foot. One has to perform the whole Wudu continuously in the given sequence without a pause.

Injunctions concerning Wudu

1. It is imperative (Fard) to perform Wudu for the following :

(1) To perform any kind of Prayer, prescribed or optional;

(2) To perform the funeral Prayer;

(3) To perform Sajdah-Talawat.

2. Wudu is Wajib (obligatory) for the following :

(1) To perform circumambu-lation of the Ka’bah.

(2) To touch and handle the Qur’an.

3. Performing Wudu is Sunnat:

(1) Before going to bed.

(2) Before having a bath.

Fard Parts in Wudu

(1) To wash the whole face once from the hair of the forehead to the chin and below, and from ear to ear.

(2) To wash the hands up to the elbows once.

(3) To wipe one-fourth of the head.

(4) To wash the feet up to the ankles once.

Sunnat Parts in Wudu

The following Sunnat parts in Wudu must be given due attention, however, if any of these is missed or violated, Wudu is deemed to have been performed. Violating them intentionally, is sinful.

(1) To have the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure and salvation in the Hereafter.

(2) To start Wudu with Bismillah.

(3) To wash hands up to the wrists before washing the face.

(4) To clean the mouth thrice with water.

(5) To brush the teeth.

(6) To sniff water thrice.

(7) To brush the beard thrice with wet fingers.

(8) To clean the spaces between fingers and toes.

(9) To wipe the whole of head.

(10) To wipe both the ears.

(11) To follow the prescribed sequence in Wudu.

(12) To wash the right limb first and then the left limb.

(13) To wash one limb immediately after the other before the first limb gets dry.

(14) To wash each limb thrice.

Mustahabb (Commendable) Parts in Wudu

(1) To perform Wudu at a raised ground so that the used water flows away and one is safe from the spatter and splash.

(2) To face the Qiblah while performing Wudu.

(3) To perform Wudu all by oneself without anybody else’s help in pouring water or washing the limbs, except in cases of necessity and helplessness.

(4) To use the right hand for putting water in the mouth and the nose.

(5) To clean the nose with the left hand.

(6) To pour water with the right hand and wash the feet with the left hand.

(7) To wash all the limbs thoroughly so that no part remains dry and all dirt etc., is washed away.

Things which must be avoided during Wudu

(1) To ignore or violate the commendable things in Wudu.

(2) To use more water than necessary.

(3) To use less water with the result that limbs are not properly washed.

(4) To talk irrelevant things.

(5) To splash the face and other limbs causing water to be spattered in all directions.

(6) To wash the limbs more than thrice.

(7) To splash water from the hands after Wudu.

(8) To wash other limbs besides those which have to be washed, without a reason.

(Source: Everyday Fiqh: By Mohammad Yusuf Islahi. Hanafi Viewpoint)
(To be continued)

Gushing Non-Stop!

The mosque is a place for worship where Muslims gather five times a day to perform congregational prayers. The very people who waste water when they come to the mosque may have heard the Imam on Friday stressing the need for conserving water and using it carefully. Despite what they heard, taps are left running at full force by those performing ablutions. Water pours from the tap while sleeves are being rolled up or shoes being removed — well before any water is applied to any part of the body. In large mosques as many as 30 taps may be seen gushing non-stop for as long as half an hour. On average, no less than five cubic meters of water a day is wasted at these mosques. At mosques in markets and shopping centres, the loss may reach 20 cubic meters or 20 tons. This is a very conservative estimate since no one knows for sure or has ever tried to determine how much water is wasted in one mosque, let alone the thousands of mosques found all over the country.