Khutbah: Wudu (Ablution) Fiqh, Rules, Purification & Blessings

Transcribed by  Ayaz Siddiqui

One of the unique actions of worship that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with that He did not bless nations before us is the action of wudu. The action of performing ablution was the very first ritual that our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ever performed as a Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and as a Muslim. How so? Allah revealed the following verses from Surah Al-Mudatthir early on in the Seerah:

[1-7] O you who lies wrapped up, arise and warn and proclaim the greatness of your Lord. And keep your garments pure, and avoid filth, and do not favor (others) expecting to get more, and be patient for the sake of your Lord

On the second day after this revelation, right after the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) understood he was a Prophet, we learned that Jibreel came down and taught him about the five prayers [1], taught him about wudu [2], and the timings to pray [3]. Although it is true that the five prayers were ordained for the rest of the Muslims at Al-Isra Wal Miraj (The Night Ascension), for the Prophet and for the early Muslims the prayer, and therefore the wudu, were legislated from the very beginning of Islam. That is why we have the commandments to pray in the early Makkan Surahs. Even before prayer became obligatory for the rest of the Muslims, they were still commanded to pray generically. As for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), He was told to pray exactly when we are praying the five daily prayers and Jibreel taught him how to do wudu. Jibreel demonstrated for Him how wudu is done and then our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) followed him in that procedure [4].

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to be a brief reminder for us of the blessings that Allah has given us thru this simple ritual as well as some basics of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) related to Wudu. Why should we be so concerned about it? It is hoped by the end of the article that the act of Wudu will be one of the highlights of your day to stand in front of that sink and do wudu. It will be part of your daily routine to wash and cleanse yourself for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Realize, my dear brothers and sisters, there are dozens of Hadith regarding wudu. This simple article cannot to justice to this topic by discussing all of the Hadith, however it will be as comprehensive as possible.

In the first Hadith to be discussed, the well-known Hadith of Jibreel, wudu has been mentioned as one of the pillars of Islam. When Jibreel came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and asked him “What is Islam?”, He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded by mentioning the five pillars. What may not be as well-known is that there are other narrations of this same Hadith with different wording. In one of these narrations found in Ibn Khuzaymah, narrated by Abdullah ibn Omar, when Jibreel said what is Islam, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) gave a longer list of not just the five pillars, but also included in that list is that Ghusl should be performed in the state of Janabah (impurity) and that this is a part of Islam, and that you perfect your wudu [5]. So in this Hadith, doing wudu is listed as one of the pillars of being a Muslim. Jibreel then asked him at the end of this, ‘if I do all of these things then will I be a Muslim’ and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said ‘Yes, if you do these things you will be a Muslim’. The reason why we are discussing this Hadith is that Wudu is included in this list of the pillars of Islam.

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The concept of doing wudu was told to us in the famous Hadith of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that we memorize as children where He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Cleanliness is half of faith…” [6]. This translation is correct however, in the language of the Shariah, taghoor primarily applies to doing wudu. Therefore, if this hadith were to be translated that doing wudu is half of eeman, it would actually be more accurate. In Islam, the concept of Taharah is doing wudu and ghusl. Therefore to translate this hadith as doing wudu, and also doing ghusl, is half of eeman, is actually a more appropriate translation. In fact, the other half of eeman would then be the prayer. To underscore this point, in one version of this hadith what is mentioned is perfecting the wudu is half of faith [7]. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) actually said the phrase perfecting wudu is half of faith. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, those of us who do not have wudu, or do wudu, or perfect wudu have not fulfilled even the bare minimum of even half of Islam.

Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to do wudu throughout the day. Were it not for the fact that I know my ummah would have found it difficult, I would have commanded them to do wudu every time they prayed. We know that if we previously made wudu and we haven’t broken it, then we don’t have to make wudu again for the upcoming salat. However, what did our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say? He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “were it not for the fact that it would be too difficult, I would have commanded my ummah to do wudu every time they stand up to pray”. This shows us He is encouraging us by indicating that even if you have wudu, go ahead and do it again because Allah will bless you with that.

In another beautiful Hadith, our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told us that doing wudu cleanses us from our daily sins. Abu Umamah narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever stands up to perform his Wudu, intending to offer Salah, then cleans his hands, the sins of his two hands fall out with the first drop of water. Then, when he rinses his mouth, and draws water into his nose and expels it, the sins of his tongue and two lips fallout with the first drop of water. Then, as he cleans his face the sins of his hearing and seeing fallout with the first drop (of water). Then, when he cleans his two arms including the elbows and his two feet including the ankles, he becomes free of all his offenses and sins, just as he was the day his mother gave him birth.” He (then) said: “When he stands for Salah Allah elevates his position and if he (merely) sits (without standing for Salah) even then his sitting is free of sins.” (Musnad Ahmad)

In other words, one wudu, if you do it properly, will cause all of these sins to be forgiven. Then when he stands up to pray Allah will raise his rank even more. Our scholars point out that these traditions should be understood as purifying what is called the minor sins. As for the major sins such as drinking, fornication, drugs, or murder, these major sins need to be repented from and cannot be wiped away by simply by performing wudu and then the good deeds only add to the excellence of repentance. Wudu will cleanse the minor sins, such as the white lies we may say or the glances we make towards the opposite gender. This is proven in another hadith that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadhan to Ramadhan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between them provided one shuns the major sins.” (Muslim)[8]

This Hadith not only shows us that wudu will not cleanse one of their major sins, but also the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions the five prayers here, and as we know Wudu is a pre-requisite to the five prayers. Therefore, we can say that doing wudu regularly will cleanse one of all of their sins, provided that the major sins are avoided as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions. Performing wudu only increases the perfection of repentance in this regard.

In another beautiful and profound Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Adhere to righteousness even though you will not be able to do all acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is Salat (prayer) and that no one maintains his ablution except a believer.” (Majah) [9]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is telling us that we won’t be perfect, but even then we should adhere to righteousness. We should do what we can to avoid sins, we should perform the obligatory actions that Allah has told us to do, and go above and beyond the obligatory actions into the supergatory actions as well. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then mentions that the best of deeds is the prayer, but then what is the key to the prayer? It is the wudu, and so the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions that nobody will maintain or protect their wudu except a true believer. What does it mean to protect one’s wudu? It means that a Mu’min (true believer), which is a higher level that just a Muslim, will always want to be in a state of wudu. Whenever he or she breaks their wudu, they immediately want to perform wudu again to always be in the state of spiritual purity. He or she makes wudu not necessarily because they need to pray right then and there, rather they perform wudu to be in the state of purity out of love for being in the state of purity. That is why the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to protect our wudu so that we are that we may obtain this higher level of faith.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also told us that on the Day of Judgment that the wudu will beautify the one who has perfected it. In a famous hadith in Sahih Muslim, Abu Hazim reported:

“I was (standing) behind Abu Huraira and he was performing the ablution for prayer. He extended the (washing) of his hand that it went up to his armpit. I said to him: ‘O Abu Huraira, what is this ablution?’ He said: ‘O of the tribe of Faruukh, you are here; if I knew that you were here, I would have never performed ablution like this; I have heard my Friend ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say. In a believer adornment would reach the places where ablution reaches.’” [10]

The beauty of the believer on the Day of Judgment will be shown and demonstrated wherever the wudu was perfected. How will the believer be beautified on that day? There will be light coming from those limbs that were washed during Wudu. The light from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will be coming from the body and the limbs of the one who did wudu.

In another hadith our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to do wudu perfectly as that will allow all of the doors of Jannah to be opened to us. This means that Jannah is waiting, and just as soon as we die, we can go to Jannah. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever performs Wudu, making Wudu well, then says: (Ashhadu an la ilaha illallah, wahdahu la sharika lahu, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan-abduhu wa rasuluhu, Allahummajalni minat tawwabin, waj’alni minal mutatahhirin) ‘I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone, there are no partners for Him. And I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. (Allahummaj-‘alni minat-tawwabina, waj-‘alni minal-mutatahhirin) ‘O Allah! Make me among the repentant, and make me among those who purify themselves.’ Then eight gates of Paradise are opened for him, that may enter by whichever of them wishes.” [11]

What does this Hadith mean? It is saying whoever perfects his wudu, and it important to perfect it, and then says the dhikr that is supposed to be said, our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said all eight doors of Jannah will be flung open for him just after one wudu and after saying one dhikr in a proper manner. This shows us how beloved wudu is such that Jannah opens up its gates waiting for the one who has done wudu.

Perhaps the single most important blessing that we should truly appreciate and want to achieve for performing wudu is the blessing of being recognized on the Day of Judgment by our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The only way our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize His nation will be thru the effects of wudu. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in a beautiful hadith narrated by more than 12 sahabah and in all of the books of Hadith, and it is a Hadith that we should keep in our minds every time we stand up for wudu so that we perfect it, said in one narration reported by Abu Hurayrah:

“On the Day of Resurrection, my followers (or Ummah) will be summoned `Al-Ghurr Al-Muhajjalun’ from the traces of Wudu’. Whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so.”[12]

In this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used two words that are used to describe horses, Al-Ghurr and Al-Muhajjalun. Ghurra is a horse that has a white streak on its forehead. It is human nature that when we see a horse with a white streak on its forehead, we feel that this horse is valuable and it is beautiful. Muhajjal means a horse that has white streaks that are going down to its limbs. To this day, the most prized horses are Arabian horses, and for the Arabs the most prized Arabian horses were those that were ghurr and muhajjal. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by describing his nation with these two adjectives is saying that their faces will be shining bright and their limbs will be shining bright from the effects of Wudu. Abu Hurayrah, when narrating this Hadith to his students, would encourage them that whoever amongst them can prolong their wudu or make their wudu such that they would be more beautiful or shine more on the Day of Judgment, should do so.

This Hadith is what Abu Hurayrah himself acted on which was discussed previously, as narrated by Abu Hazim. Abu Hurayrah is telling Abu Hazim that if he had known he was there, he wouldn’t have done wudu in this manner so that Abu Hazim doesn’t think this is Sunnah. Abu Hurayrah is doing this because he heard the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say that his ummah would come on the Day of Judgment ghurr and muhajjall so he wants to beautify himself more thru his wudu. This is Abu Hurayrah’s opinion, and no doubt the Sunnah is to stick with the Sunnah and make wudu to the elbows but the point here is to look at the love of Abu Hurayrah and his desire to be recognized by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He wants to be known and to stand out on the day of judgment by perfecting his wudu.

In a very beautiful and similar Hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurayrah reports:

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) went to the (Baqi`) cemetery and said, “May you be secured from punishment, O dwellers of abode of the believers! We, if Allah wills, will follow you. I wish we see my brothers.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.” They said; “O Messenger of Allah! How will you recognize those of your Ummah who are not born yet?” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Say, if a man has white-footed horses with white foreheads among horses which are pure black, will he not recognize his own horses?” They said; “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah!” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “They (my followers) will come with bright faces and white limbs because of Wudu’; and I will arrive at the Hawd (Al-Kauthar) ahead of them.”[13]

In this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is again describing his nation as coming ghurr and muhajjal due to the effects of wudu. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is saying here that He will be able to recognize His nation easily because of the effects of wudu on their faces and limbs, similar to how it is easy to recognize a horse that is ghurr and muhajjal from a group of pure black horses. It is important to note that generally only one horse out of maybe 500 or a thousand horses is ghurr and muhajjal and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is saying his nation will be amongst non-Muslims and he will still be able to recognize them. SubhanAllah, all of mankind will be the color of their skins and their won’t be any light emanating from them, but the Muslims will be the only nation that there will be a divine light emanating from their faces and limbs due to their wudu. Therefore, anyone who did wudu shall be recognized by our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), no matter what era they lived in, no matter what timeframe, no matter what geographic location, wherever and whenever a person a person lived, if he or she made wudu they will be recognized by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) amongst millions of people.

That will be our ticket, God-willing, to drink from the fountain of al-Kawthar. Why? Who does that fountain belong to? It belongs to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Who can drink from it? Only those whom the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) owner allows will be allowed to drink from it How will we who are living today get permission to drink from the fountain of al-Kawthar when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has not seen us? The only method of recognition the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioned is thru the perfection of wudu and its effects. Also, my dear brothers and sisters, we all want the intercession of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). It is part of our eeman to believe that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will intercede on the Day of Judgment. How will he recognize his ummah or us when we don’t have the tell-tale characteristics of what it means to be a Muslim? It is thru wudu that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize his ummah who will be shining bright, their faces will be bright, and their limbs will be shining bright from the effects of wudu.

In yet another beautiful and very profound Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) discusses a dream that he had with the companions. In Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Muadh ibn Jabal the following story:

“One morning, the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was prevented from coming to us for Salat As-Subh, until we were just about to look for the eye of the sun (meaning sunrise). Then he came out quickly, had the Salat prepared for. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) performed the Salat, and he performed his Salat in a relatively quick manner. When he said the Salam, he called aloud with his voice saying to us: ‘Stay in your rows as you are.’ Then he turned coming near to us, then he said: ‘I am going to narrate to you what kept me from you this morning: I got up during the night, I performed Wudu and prayed as much as I was able to, and I dozed off during my Salat, and fell deep asleep. Then I saw my Lord, Blessed and Most High, in the best of appearances. He said: ‘O Muhammad!’ I said: ‘My Lord here I am my Lord!’ [14] He said: ‘What is it that the most exalted group (Angels) busy themselves with?’ [15] I said: ‘I do not know Lord.’ And He said it three times.” He said: “So I saw Him place His Palm between my shoulders, and I sensed the coolness of His Fingertips between my breast. Then everything was disclosed for me, and I became aware. So He said: ‘O Muhammad!’ I said: ‘Here I am my Lord!’ He said: ‘What is it that the most exalted group (Angels) busy themselves with?’ I said: ‘In the acts that atone.’ He said: ‘And what are they?’ I said: ‘The footsteps to the congregation, the gatherings in the Masajid after the Salat, Isbagh Al-Wudu during difficulties.’ He said: ‘Then what else?’ I said: ‘Feeding others, being lenient in speech, and Salat during the night while the people are sleeping.’ He said: ‘Ask.’ I said: ‘O Allah! I ask of you the doing of the good deeds, avoiding the evil deeds, loving the poor, and that You forgive me, and have mercy upon me. And when You have willed Fitnah in the people, then take me without the Fitnah. And I ask You for Your love, the love of whomever You love, and the of the deeds that bring one nearer to Your love.'” The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Indeed it is true, so study it and learn it.” [16]

In the first part of this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that He had a dream in which he saw Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Now, the scholars of Ahlul-Sunnah say it is not allowed for any human to see Allah in a wakeful state in this world. However, it is possible for the Prophets to see a dream and in that dream, they may speak to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly. How this occurs is beyond our knowledge, but they are not seeing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in a wakeful state and a dream is a different state than a wakeful state. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then asks the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) what the Angels are debating. The point of the Hadith and the phrasing of the Hadith indicates that they are debating which deeds are the most beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

What do the Angels debate? They don’t debate over useless sports or politics. They are debating over which deed is the most beloved to Allah, what deed will bring a person closest to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responds that He does not know what they are debating. This shows the humility of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and teaches us an important lesson in that we shouldn’t hesitate in saying ‘I don’t know’ if we are unaware of a matter. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then opens up to him the doors of the unseen thru a method of direct revelation (meaning without an Angel as an intermediary) and, at that point, he says he knew everything. So, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) asks Him ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) again what the Angels are debating. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said they are debating about the things that cleanse a person of their sins the most. They are debating which of these deeds is the first, which is second, and which is third in terms of most beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and which cleanse the sins the most. All three of these are at the top of the list.

One of these is perfecting the wudu when it is difficult to do so. What does it mean to perfect wudu when difficult? This can apply especially in the winter months, or when there is no water, or when the wind is blowing while making wudu outside. The houses of the companions and the house of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) were not fully blocked from the wind. There were cracks and crevices so their houses were not completely sealed off the way our houses are sealed off. They did not have hot water like we have hot water. Can you imagine doing wudu in the freezing cold when the water is freezing cold and doing it perfect? This is what the Hadith is indicating by perfecting wudu at times of difficulty. Another deed that is beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is walking on your feet to the masjid and in another version walking during the darkness to the masjid, both versions are correct. This applies to going to the masjid for Fajr and Isha in particular and praying it in the masjid. The third deed mentioned is waiting from one salah to the next salah, i.e. you are always eager for when the next salah is coming up. These are the three things the angels are arguing about that will bring people close to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the Angels mention wudu as one of them.

One additional hadith that truly demonstrates what wudu will do to a person and what benefit it will have is a Hadith, which we are all familiar with. It is the story of Bilal whose footsteps the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) heard in Paradise. Abu Buraidah narrates in Tirmidhi:

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) awoke in the morning and called for Bilal, then said: ‘O Bilal! By what have you preceded me to Paradise? I have not entered Paradise at all, except that I heard your footsteps before me. I entered Paradise last night, and I heard your footsteps before me, and I came upon a square palace having balconies made of gold. So I said: ‘Whose palace is this?’ They said: ‘A man among the Arabs.’ So I said: ‘I am an Arab, whose palace is this?’ They said: ‘A man among the Quraish.’ So I said: ‘I am from the Quraish, whose palace is this?’ They said: ‘A man from the Ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).’ So I said: ‘I am Muhammad, whose palace is this?’ They said: ”Umar bin Al-Khattab’s.’ So Bilal said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I have never called the Adhan except that I prayed two Rak’ah, and I never committed Hadath except that I performed Wudu upon that, and I considered that I owed Allah two Rak’ah.’ So the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa salam) said: ‘For those two.’ [17]

This Hadith shows Bilal’s desire to always be in a state of Wudu. This Hadith does not mean that Bilal is higher that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or that Bilal will enter Jannah before the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). We learn in other hadith that the first person to enter Jannah after Adam was expelled from it will be our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) [18]. It simply means Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is showing that Bilal is doing something very beloved and great to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Bilal responds to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by saying that there are two things he does. The first of which is that he prays to rakah after performing the adhan, and the second is that he never breaks his wudu except that he renews it immediately. Regarding the two rakah after the adhan, how many times does Bilal give the adhan? Five times a day because he is the Muadhin, and every single time he will pray two rakah. It is a Sunnah to pray two rakh between the adhan and the iqamah. The second thing he says is that he is always in a state of wudu. Praise by to Allah, Bilal is linking his place in Jannah to being in a state of wudu. Obviously, Bilal endured punishment and torture due to being a Muslim and was steadfast, but when Bilal himself was asked what he thinks and what he expects Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to reward him for, it is for the extra prayers he performed and for always being in a state of wudu.

My dear brothers and sisters, to summarize, there are many benefits of wudu. Of the ones we discussed are:

  1. Wudu is half of Eeman. Half of your faith is dependant upon wudu.
  2. Wudu cleanses sins. So much so that it is possible for a person to be completely purified of their minor sins simply by perfecting wudu.
  3. Wudu will come as a bright decoration on the Day of Judgment for the believer. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will decorate you and make you look beautiful and handsome on the Day of Judgment.
  4. Your faces and limbs will come Ghurran Muhajileen from the effects of wudu.
  5. It is of the noblest deeds that even the Angels are arguing about and are putting it first on the list.
  6. It is of one’s eeman to protect one’s wudu throughout the day and night and you raise your rank in Islam simply by guarding your wudu.
  7. It is the only means of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) recognizing us. When the Sahabah asked him how will you know your ummah, the one thing he said was that He will recognize them from the effects od wudu.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, if these are some of the effects and blessings of wudu, then how can we ever trivialize this deed when Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has placed so many blessings in it. When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has linked our eeman, our love for Him, and our recognizing of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) thru it, how can we possibly trivialize this deed? How can we perform wudu in two seconds splashing water on ourselves and everywhere around us when we stand in front of that sink? My dear brothers and sisters, a little bit of knowledge will affect us for an entire lifetime and we have only narrated a few Hadith. It is impossible after knowing these Hadith to stand in front of the sink and trivialize the wudu when you recognize how much is at stake here. If this is how much we benefit from simply talking about the blessings of one deed, imagine how much more we will benefit when we learn about the blessings of each and every deed that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has told us to do.

It is also important to discuss some of the basic legal laws pertaining to wudu. There is no doubt that the fiqh aspects of wudu require a much lengthier discussion. Yet at the same time it is important to very briefly summarize some of the things everyone should be aware of.

Wudu, my dear brothers and sisters, is needed primarily for two things. The first area where wudu is required is for any salah whether it is fard, nafl, Sunnah or any type of salah. The second area where wudu is required is when you are touching the mushaf. Not a book of tafseer, or a book on Islam, the actual Quran itself. Wudu is not needed to recite the Quran, only when you are touching it. You may recite the Quran from memory or you may recite from the Quran without actually touching the mushaf. However, if you want to touch a mushaf, you should have wudu. Wudu is not needed for sajdah that is done for tilawa. If you hear somebody reciting the Quran, you can fall into sajda without wudu. wudu is also not needed for sajda of thankfulness. if some good news comes to you, you can fall into sajda as you are. wudu is not needed because it is not a salat, it is only a sajda.

Wudu is not needed for when you are making duaa or dhikr. You don’t need to have wudu for any duaa and any dhikr, you may make them in any state that you are.

Wudu has seven pillars that you must do. They are very simple and you can memorize them easily. They are:

  1. Intention – Intention if a pillar of all good deeds. You must have the intention to do wudu.
  2. Washing the face
  3. Washing the hands up to the elbows
  4. Wiping the head
  5. Washing the feet up until the ankles
  6. Following the order above. We don’t mess this order up because the Quran mentions this order.
  7. The wudu is performed in a small amount of time. You don’t delay it half an hour between washing various parts of the body to take a phone call or watch TV for example. It must be done in a small amount of time.

The sunnah is to perfect wudu beyond this and that is to begin with mentioning Allah’s name by starting with the basmala (bismillah ir rahmanir raheem). Perfecting the wudu also includes washing the hands in the beginning, to gargling water in the mouth, and to blowing water from the nose. These acts are from the sunnah and not of the necessary things of wudu. It is also only necessary to wash each part once, but if you wash each part three times [19], other than the wiping of the head, which is done once, than this is a sunnah as well. You may also wash each part twice [20] or once [21], but once is the bare minimum. Finally, it is sunnah to say the dhikr at the end of wudu as we said earlier.

The wudu is broken by anything that is expelled from the private organs such as a fluid, gas, or solid. It is also broken by a heavy deep sleep, not if you just doze off. If your sitting in your office chair and go to sleep, it is not broken. Only a heavy deep sleep such that you lose your consciousness is what breaks wudu. It is also not broken by vomiting or bleeding according to the strongest position of the scholars. If you do vomit or bleed, that does not break the wudu even though it is better to do wudu to cleanse yourself. The wudu is not broken if you touch somebody of the opposite gender. It is authentically reported by Aisha that sometimes the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would kiss her and then he would go and pray without doing wudu [22]. Aisha is telling us merely to touching a women does not break the wudu, even though you are not supposed to touch a non-mahram women and it is my position that it is makruh to shake hands with non-mahrams of the opposite gender. It should be avoided, but suppose you do shake hands with someone who is not your mahram in an office setting it does not break you wudu, even though it is makruh to do so. Lastly, there is a big controversy over touching ones private organ and whether or not the wudu is broken. The evidences are ambiguous in this regard and in my humble opinion it is safer to do wudu, but it does not break the wudu if you touch your own organ.

Realize, my brothers and sisters, that there is a general rule in fiqh that certainty is not lifted up because of doubt. The meaning of this is if you are unsure if you have wudu or not, you try to determine what you are certain of. For example, if you positively remember making wudu at 2 o’clock, and it now 3 o’clock and your unsure if you’ve broken wudu or not. If you are sure you did wudu, then you base your state on what you’re sure about which is that you did wudu at 2 o’clock and you disregard being unsure because religion is based upon certainty. The opposite also applies in that if you’re certain you went to the restroom at 3 o’clock, but now its 4 o’clock and your unsure if you made wudu although you remember going to the bathroom. In this case you base it on certainty and certainty is you broke your wudu. So whatever you are certain about, you base your religion and your state on that and you discard what your uncertain of.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, I conclude by reminding you of one more hadith that we did not discuss in the previously and it demonstrates the importance of perfecting the wudu. This Hadith is perhaps the most common Hadith about wudu. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saw a man who was doing wudu and when he finished, the back of his foot was still dry. In those days they would do wudu sitting down and the back of the foot would be put on the sand while the top of the foot is washed, similar to how we was our feet today. This man finishes doing wudu and stands up, while the back of his foot had not been washed. Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) says to this man “Woe to the heels because of hell-fire” [23]. This Hadith demonstrates that being careless in wudu might bring about punishment from Allah. It demonstrates that perfecting wudu guarantees Jannah because if you can enter Hellfire for not doing wudu properly, then you will enter Paradise for doing properly.

My dear brothers and sisters, heaven and hell are linked to our rituals and worship. Wudu is the key to salat and salat is the key to Jannah. The one who perfects his wudu will automatically be creating a way directly Jannah. As for the one who does not perfect his wudu, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) threatened a similar person during his time for being careless with wudu so similarly you may be punished. What will become of the person who does wudu once a year, once a month, or once a week? What will the status of the one who is not addicted to the purity of wudu? How do you think that person will ever be saved from the Fire? How do you think the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize such a person?

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, we thank Allah for having blessed us with such a ritual that our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) can recognize us with. We thank Allah that such a simple routine which is in fact good for us, its healthy for us, its hygienic for us, we thank Allah that so many blessings are linked to such a simple ritual that takes barely two minutes every time we do it. what a beautiful religion that Allah has given us as Allah says in the Quran Allah wants to purify you and Allah wants to cleanse you and this is of the goals of the Shariah. may Allah make us of those who understand those goals.

 

 

 

 

[1] Narrated by Ibn Shihab, Once `Umar bin `Abdul `Aziz delayed the `Asr prayer a little. `Urwa said to him, “Gabriel descended and led the prayer in front of the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam)ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ” On that `Umar said, “O `Urwa! Be sure of what you say.” “Urwa, “I heard Bashir bin Abi Masud narrating from Ibn Masud who heard Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying, ‘Gabriel descended and led me in prayer; and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, counting with his fingers five prayers.” (Bukhari, 59:32)

[2] The Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam)ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “Jibreel came to me at the beginning of what he revealed to me and taught me how to do wudu and the prayer…” (Ahmad, al-Hakam) (Kishk, pg.55)

[3] Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas, The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Gabriel (ﷺ) led me in prayer at the House (i.e. the Ka’bah). He prayed the noon prayer with me when the sun had passed the meridian to the extent of the thong of a sandal; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when the shadow of everything was as long as itself; he prayed the sunset prayer with me when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when the twilight had ended; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when food and drink become forbidden to one who is keeping the fast. On the following day he prayed the noon prayer with me when his shadow was as long as himself; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when his shadow was twice as long as himself; he prayed the sunset prayer at the time when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when about the third of the night had passed; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when there was a fair amount of light. Then turning to me he said: Muhammad, this is the time observed by the prophets before you, and the time is anywhere between two times. (Dawud, 2:3)

[4] Jibreel took the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) behind Mount Safaa. There, he caused, by the permission of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), a spring of Zamzam to appear. Jibreel then demonstrated the wudu and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) followed him in that procedure. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) later brought Khadija (ra) to the same spring and taught her to make wudu and they together performed prayer. (Jangda, Episode 31)

[5] Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrates in the episode when Jibreel came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to ask him some questions regarding Islam. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) answered, ‘Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and to establish Salaah, to pay Zakaah, to perform the Hajj and Umrah, to take a complete bath from major impurities, to complete the wudu and to fast in the month of Ramadhaan.’ Jibreel then asked, ‘if I do these acts, am I then a Muslim?’ He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied, ‘Yes’. (Ibn Khuzaymah)

[6] The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa salaam) said: Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one’s faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur’an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves. (Muslims, 2:1)

[7] Sunan an-Nasa’i 2437

[8] (Muslim, 2:19)

[9] (Majah, 1:1:277)

[10] (Muslim, 2:53)

[11] In the version narrated in Sahih Muslim (2:20), the additional duaa “O Allah! Make me of the repentant…” is not narrated. The version narrated in Jami’ at-Thirmidhi (1:55) contains this additional duaa.

[12] (Bukhari, 4:2)

[13] (Muslim, 2:52)

[14] At IlmSummit 2014, Shaykh Yasir comments on this Hadith and mentions that it is an etiquette to respond to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) by saying ‘Labbayk’ (Here I am). This is why when we are called for Hajj, we say Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk (Here I am, O Allah, Here I am)

[15] This shows us that the Angels are of different ranks and the higher the rank, the better. (Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, IlmSummit 2014)

[16] (Tirmidhi, 1:44:3245)

[17] (Tirmidhi, 1:46:3689)

[18] (Muslim, 1:392), (Muslim, 1:394)

[19] (Bukhari, 4:25)

[20] (Bukhari, 4:24)

[21] (Bukhari, 4:23)

[22] (Dawud, 1:179)

[23} (Muslim, 2:40)

10 / View Comments

10 responses to “Khutbah: Wudu (Ablution) Fiqh, Rules, Purification & Blessings”

  1. chicagomc says:

    Assalamu alaykum

    Thank you for this thorough article.

    Can you help me find the right reference #s? The following reference #s don’t seem to be correct:

    [1] Narrated by Ibn Shihab, Once `Umar bin `Abdul `Aziz delayed the `Asr prayer a little. `Urwa said to him, “Gabriel descended and led the prayer in front of the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam)[saw] ” On that `Umar said, “O `Urwa! Be sure of what you say.” “Urwa, “I heard Bashir bin Abi Masud narrating from Ibn Masud who heard Allah’s Messenger [saw] saying, ‘Gabriel descended and led me in prayer; and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, counting with his fingers five prayers.” (Bukhari, 59:32) > This is not in Bukhari 59

  2. Ahmad says:

    What is Shaykh Yasir’s opinion on masah on regular socks? Jazakallah khair to anyone who knows.

  3. Amatullah says:

    Did anyone notice that the hadith of Bilal R.A preceding Muhammad SallallahuAlaihiWasallam in paradise states that palace with golden balconies belongs to ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab’ R.A? I think its Bilal R.A.

    • Ayaz says:

      As salaamu alaykum,
      Thank you for your comment! That is a great question, mA!

      The Hadith that I referenced in this transcription can be found at: http://sunnah.com/urn/635670

      To confirm, the Hadith linked above does indicate that the palace with gold balconies is for Umar (radiAllahu anhu). A similar Hadith that shows that Umar (radiAllahu anhu) will have a palace in paradise and also indicates that the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam) heard Bilal’s (radiAllahu anhu) footsteps is located at: http://sunnah.com/bukhari/62/29

      Another Hadith that mentions that the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam) heard the footsteps of Bilal (radiAllahu anhu) in paradise is found in Sahih Bukhari: http://sunnah.com/bukhari/19/30

      Now, none of what I have referenced above is to downplay the reward awaiting Bilal (radiAllahu anhu) in paradise, the fact that the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam) mentioned that he heard the footsteps of Bilal (radiAllahu anhu) shows his high status.

      I hope this helps!

  4. Umar says:

    Jazakallahu khairan

  5. […] Qadhi, in his khutbah on wudu mentioned that when wudu is made perfectly, the beauty of the believer on the Day of Judgment will […]

  6. Mjd says:

    During wodhu do we have to clean mouth and nose separately by taking water separately for each? Or just take some water and pour some in mouth to gargle and to some in nose using same water?

  7. Amr says:

    How explain to much but hou did’nt explain how to make wudu.that’s youre mistakes.

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