Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Al-Wudhu’ (Ablution)


 (The Shafi’ie School)

By Sayyid Sābiq

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.

Ablution means to wash one’s face, hands, arms, head and feet with water. 

1- Part of Islamic Law

This is proven from the three major sources of Islamic law: 

1- Allāh Says in the Qur`an: “O you, who believe, when you rise for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles” (Al-Maidah,5: 6). 

2- The Sunnah. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Allāh does not accept the prayer of one who nullified his ablution until he performs it again.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud And At-Tirmidzi.) 

3- The Consensus. Undoubtedly there is a consensus of scholarly opinion that ablution is part of Islamic law. It is a recognized fact of the religion. 

2 - The Virtues of Perfect Wudhu'
 1 - It is reported by way of `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu`anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “There is not one of you that make wudhu', and performs the rites of wudhu', when he has completed his wudhu', then recites: Ash-hadu an lā ilāha illallāhu wahdahu la sharīka lahu, Wa anna muhammadan `abduhu wa rasūluh,  ( I bear witness that there is no ilāh except Allāh alone, no partner has he, and that Muhammad is His bondservant, and Messenger.)”;  Except that the eight gates of Heaven would open up for him, that he may enter from whichever he would please”.

This hadith is no.162 in his Sahīh Abu Dawud, and no.96 in ‘Al-Irwā’ . It is also recorded by Muslim, An-Nasā’ie and Ahmad. Al-Albāni said it was sound in his ‘Sahīh Al-Jāmi’ As-Saghīr wa Ziyādatih’.

2 - In another narration it was reported by way of Abu Sa`id (radiyallāhu`anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:  “Whoever performs wudhu' then after completion it says: Subhānaka allāhumma wa bihamdika, ash-hadu an lā ilāha illa anta, Astaghfiruka wa atūbu ilayk,  (Glorified are You O' my ilāh and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no ilah except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You.)” It would be written on vellum then sealed; thereafter, it would not be broken till The Day of Resurrection".

This recorded by An-Nasā’ie, and Al-Hakim Al-Albāni said it was sound in ‘Sahih Al-Jāmi as-Saghīr wa Ziyādatih.

3 - `Uqbah Ibn `Amr (radhiyallāhu`anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “If one performs and perfects his wudhu’ and perform Solāh two raka’at (Nawafil al-Wudhu’) with his heart and face (completely on his solāh); Paradise becomes his.”  This is recorded by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Mājah and Ibn Khuzaimah.

4- `Abdullah Ibn As-Sunnabiji (radiyallāhu`anhu) stated that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “When a slave makes ablution and rinses his mouth, his wrong deeds fall from it. As he rinses his nose, his wrong deeds fall from it. When he washes his face, his wrong deeds fall from it until they fall from beneath his eyelashes. When he washes his hands, his wrong deeds fall from them until they fall from beneath his fingernails. When he wipes his head, his wrong deeds fall from it until they fall from his ears. When he washes his feet, his wrong deeds fall from them until they fall from beneath his toenails. Then his walking to the mosque and his prayer give him extra reward.” (Recorded by Mālik, An-Nasā`ie, Ibn Mājah and Al-Hakim) 

5 - Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “If good characteristics exist in a person, Allāh makes all of his acts good. If a person purifies himself for prayer, he expiates all of his sins and his prayer is considered an extra reward for him.” (Recorded by Abu Ya’la, Al-Bazzār and At-Tabarāni in ‘Al-Awsat’). 

6 - Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Shall I inform you (of an act) by which Allāh erases sins and raises degrees?” They said, “Certainly, O Messenger of Allāh.” He said, “Perfecting the ablution under difficult circumstances, taking many steps to the mosque, and waiting for the (next) prayer after the (last) prayer has been performed. That is ribat.” (Recorded by Mālik, Muslim, At-Tirmidzi and An-Nasā`ie). 

7 - Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) also reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), passed by a grave site and said, “Peace be upon you, O home of believing people. Allāh willing, we shall meet you soon, although I wish I could see my brothers.” They asked, “Are we not your brothers, O Messenger of Allāh?” He said, “You are my companions. My brothers are the ones who will come after (us).” They said, “How will you know the people of our nation who will come after you, O Messenger of Allāh?” He said, “If a man has a group of horses with white forelocks amidst a group of horses with black forelocks, will he recognize his horses?” They said, “Certainly, O Messenger of Allāh.” He said, “They (my brothers) will come with white streaks from their ablutions, and I will receive them at my cistern. But there will be some who will be driven away from my cistern as a stray camel is driven away. I will call them to come. It will be said, ‘They changed matters after you,’ then I will say, ‘Be off, be off’.” (Recorded by Muslim). 

3 - The Obligatory Parts Of The Ablution

Ablution has certain components which, if not fulfilled according to the correct Islamic procedures, make one’s ablution void. 

3.1- Intention 

This is the desire to do the action and to please Allāh 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. To pronounce it is not part of the Islamic law. That the intention is obligatory is shown in the following: `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said, “Every action is based on the intention (behind it), and everyone shall have what he intended...” (Recorded by “the group.”) 

3.2- Washing the Face 

This involves “pouring” or “running” water from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the jaws, and from one ear to the other. 

3.3- Washing the Arms To The Elbow 

The elbows must be washed, for the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), did so. 

3.4 - 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. The apparent meaning of the Qur`anic words, “...and wipe over your heads...” does not imply that all of the head needs to be wiped. It has been recorded that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to wipe his head three different ways: 

1- Wiping all of his head. `Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), 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. (Recorded by “the group”). 

2- Wiping over the turban only. `Amru Ibn Umayyah said: “I saw the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) wipe over his turban and shoes.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Ibn Mājah). Bilal bin Rabab (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Wipe over your shoes and head covering.” (Recorded by Ahmad). `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) once said, “May Allāh not purify the one who does not consider wiping over the turban to be purifying.” Many hadith have been related on this topic by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others. Most of the scholars agree with them. 

3.5 - Wiping Over the Front Portion of the Scalp and the Turban

Al-Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) made ablution and wiped over the front portion of his scalp, his turban and his socks. (Recorded by Muslim). There is, however, no strong hadith that he wiped over part of his head, even though Al-Maidah: apparently implies it. It is also not sufficient just to wipe over locks of hair that proceed from the head or along the sides of the head. 

3.6 - Washing the Feet and the Heels 

This has been confirmed in mutawatir (continuous) reports from the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) concerning his actions and statements. Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) 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 Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Woe to the heels, save them from the Hell-fire,’ repeating it two or three times.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim). 

Needless to say, the preceding obligations are the ones that Allāh has mentioned in (Al-Māidah, 5: 6). 

4 - Following the Prescribed Sequence 

Allāh mentioned the obligations in a specific order. He also differentiated the legs from the hands--though both of them have to be washed--from the head, which only needs to be wiped. The polytheists of Arabia would not differentiate items unless there was some benefit in doing so. The way Allāh structured the ablution made it easier for them to comprehend it. Al-Māidah 5: 6 explains what is obligatory and it falls under the generality of the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) statement, “Begin with what Allāh began with.” The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to follow that sequence as one of ablution’s principles. There is no such report that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) 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. 

5 -Acts Related With the Ablution Which Are Not Obligatory

This section deals with those acts connected with the ablution, but which are not obligatory, as the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) did not rigorously stick to them or censure anyone for not doing them. They are as follows: 

5.1- Mentioning the Name of Allāh at the Beginning 

There are some weak hadith that mention this act, and all of the chains of this hadith point to the fact that there is some basis for this act. In any case, it is a good act in and of itself and, in general, it is part of the Islamic law. 

5.2 - Dental Hygiene 

This involves using a stick or similar object to clean one’s teeth. The best type to use is that of the arak tree found in the Hejaz. Such a practice strengthens the gums, prevents tooth disease, helps digestion and facilitates the flow of urine. This sunnah is fulfilled by using any object which removes yellow stains on the teeth and cleans the mouth, such as a toothbrush, and so on. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Were it not to be a hardship on my community, I would have ordered them to use a toothbrush for every ablution.” (Recorded by Mālik, Ash-Shaf’i`ie, Al-Baihaqi and Al-Hakim). `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “The toothbrush purifies the mouth and is pleasing to the Lord.” (Recorded by Ahmad, An-Nasā`ie and At-Tirmidzi). 

Using a toothbrush is liked at any time, but there is five times in which it is especially liked: 

1- Ablution,
2- Solāh,
3- Reading the Qur`an,
4- Rising from sleep, and
5- When the taste in one’s mouth has changed. Fasting and non-fasting people may use it at the beginning, the end, or at any other time during the day. `Amr Ibn Rabi`ah said, “I have seen the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) on countless occasions using a toothbrush while fasting.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi.) 

When one uses a toothbrush, it is Sunnah to clean it afterwards. ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) said: “When the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used his toothbrush, he would give it to me. I would wash it, use it, wash it again and give it back to him.” (Recorded by Abu Dawud and Al-Baihaqi). 

It is part of the Sunnah that one who has no teeth may use his fingers to clean his mouth. Asked `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha): “O Messenger of Allāh, how should a toothless person cleanse his mouth?” “By putting his fingers into his mouth,” he replied. (Recorded by at-Tabarāni). 

5.3 - Washing the Hands Three Times at the Beginning 

This is based on the hadith of Aus Ibn Aus Al-Thaqafi who said: “I saw the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) make ablution, and he washed his hands three times.” (Recorded by Ahmad and An-Nasā`ie). Abu Hurairah  (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When one of you rises from his sleep, he should not put his hand into a pot until he has washed it three times, for he does not know where his hand was (while he slept).” (Recorded by “the group”, Al-Bukhari did not mention the number of times.) 

5.4 - Rinsing the Mouth Three Times 

Laqit Ibn Sabrah reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When one performs ablution, he should rinse his mouth.” (Recorded by Abu Dawud and Al-Baihaqi). 

5.5 - Sniffing Up and Blowing Out Water Three Times 

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When one of you performs ablution, he should sniff water up his nostrils and then blow it out.” (Recorded 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 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 Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) would purify himself.” (Recorded by Ahmad and An-Nasā`ie). 

This Sunnah is fulfilled by putting water into the mouth and nostrils in any way. The practice of the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) was to do both acts at the same time. `Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) would rinse his mouth and nose with just one hand (at one time, together). He did that three times.” In one narration it says, “He would rinse his mouth and nose with three scoops of water.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) It is also Sunnah to be plentiful (with water) while performing this Sunnah, except if one is fasting. Laqit asked the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), “Inform me about your ablution.” He replied, “Complete and perfect the ablution and (put water) between your fingers. Use lots of water while sniffing it up your nostrils, unless you are fasting.” (Recorded by “the five.” At-Tirmidzi said it is sahih.) 

5.6 - Running One’s Fingers through His Beard 

`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) would run his fingers through his beard. (Recorded by Ibn Mājah and At-Tirmidzi, who classified it as sahih.) 

Anas (radiyallāhu`anhu) said that when the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) 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, Allāh, ordered me to do.” (Recorded by Abu Dawud, Al-Baihaqi and al-Hakim) 

5.7- Running Water through One’s Fingers and Toes 

Ibn`Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) said that when the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) performed ablution, he would run his fingers through his fingers and toes. (Recorded by “the five,” except Ahmad) It is also recorded 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.

5.8 - Repeating Each Washing Three Times 

This is a Sunnah that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) almost always followed. If he acted otherwise, it was just to show that the other acts are permissible. `Amr Ibn Shu’aib related on the authority of his father from his grandfather who said: “A bedouin came to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and asked him about the ablution. He showed him how to wash each part three times and said, ‘This is the ablution. Whoever does more than that has done wrong, transgressed and committed evil.’?” (Recorded by Ahmad, An-Nasā`ie and Ibn Mājah). `Uthman also reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) would repeat each washing three times. (Recorded by Ahmad, Muslim and At-Tirmidzi). It is also proven that he performed each washing only once or twice. According to most of the reports, he wiped his head only once. 

5.9 - Beginning Each Action with the Right Side 

`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) said: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) loved to begin with his right side while putting on his shoes, straightening his hair and cleaning (or purifying) himself.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “When you clothe or wash yourself, begin with your right side.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, and An-Nasā`ie). 

5.10 - Rubbing the Limbs with Water 

This means to rub the hands over the bodily parts with water. `Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was brought a pot of water which he used to perform ablution, and then rubbed his arms. (Recorded by Ibn Khuzaimah). He also related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) performed ablution, and then rubbed his limbs. (Recorded by Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Abu Ya’la) 

5.11 - 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 ablution). This is the customary practice of the early and later generations of Muslims. 

5.12 - 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 reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) wiped his head and his ears, the interior and exterior, while making ablution. He also put his finger inside his ear. (Recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tahawi). 

While describing the ablution of the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “He wiped his head and ears with one wipe.” (Recorded 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.” 

5.13 - Elongating the Streaks of Light 

This refers to washing the complete forehead, a practice which is more than what is obligatory in washing the face, and will increase the streak of light (on the Day of Judgement). It also refers to washing above the elbows and ankles. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “My nation will come with bright streaks of light from the traces of ablution.” Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) then said, “If one can lengthen his streak of light, he should do so.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Abu Zar`ah related that when Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) made ablution, he washed his arms above his elbows and his feet up to his calves. He was asked, “Why do you do this?” He said, “This is the extent of the embellishment.” (Recorded by Ahmad.) According to Al-Bukhari and Muslim, its chain is sahih. 

5.14 - Economizing the Use of Water, Even If One Is In Front Of the Sea 

Anas (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to perform ghusul (the complete bathing) with a sa`a of water (1.616 cm) 3 to 5 madd (each 4 madd equals one sa’a). He also used to make ablution with one madd (404 cm) of water.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Musim.) `Ubaidullah Ibn Abu Yazid narrated that a man asked Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu), “How much water is sufficient for ghusul?” He answered, “One madd.” “And how much is sufficient for ghusul?” He said, “One sa`a.” The man said, “That is not sufficient for me.” “Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “No? It was sufficient for one better than you, the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam).” (Recorded by Ahmad, Al-Bazzār and At-Tabarāni in ‘Al-Kabīr’. Its narrators are trustworthy.) `Abdullah Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) passed by Sa`ad while he was performing ablution and said, “What is this extravagance, Sa`ad?” He said, “Is there extravagance in the use of water?” He said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.” (Recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Mājah 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 (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “There will be people from my nation who will transgress in making supplications and in purifying themselves.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and An-Nasā`ie.) 

Al-Bukhari says, “The scholars do not like one to use water beyond what the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) used for ablution. 

5.15 - Supplication While Performing Ablution 

There is nothing confirmed from the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) regarding supplications during ablution save the hadith of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (radiyallāhu`anhu) who said, “I came to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) with water. While he was performing ablution, I heard him supplicate, ‘O Allāh, forgive my sins. Make my residence spacious for me and bless me in my provisions.’ I said, ‘O Prophet of Allāh, I heard you supplicating such and such.’ He said, ‘Did I leave anything out?” (Recorded by An-Nasā`ie and Ibn As-Sunni with a sahih chain). An-Nawawi includes this event under the chapter, ‘What is to be said after one completes the ablution’, and Ibn As-Sunni has it under, ‘What is to be said when one is in the state of ablution’. 

An-Nawawi holds that both meanings may be implied from the hadith. 

5.16 - Supplication after Ablution 

‘Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “If one completes (and perfects) the ablution and then says: ‘I testify that there is no god except Allāh, 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.” (Recorded by Muslim). 

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever makes ablution and says: ‘Glory be to Thee, O Allāh, and the praise be to Thee. I bear witness that there is no god except You. I beg Your forgiveness and I repent unto you,’ will have it written for him, and placed on a tablet which will not be broken until the Day of Resurrection. This hadith is related by at-Tabarāni in ‘Al-Awsat’. Its narrators are of the sahih. An-Nasā`ie has it with the wording. “It will be stamped with a seal, placed below the throne, and it will not be broken until the Day of Resurrection.” The correct statement is that it is mauqūf. 

As for the supplication, “Allāh, cause me to be from among the repentant, and cause me to be from among the pure,” it has been narrated by At-Tirmidzi who said, “Its chain is muzhtarib and there is nothing authentic concerning this (supplication).” 

5.17- Nawafil Solāh Two Raka`ah after Ablution 

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) 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 Allāh has destined for me.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim). `Uqbah Ibn `Amr related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “If one performs and perfects his ablution and prays two raka`ah with his heart and face (completely on his prayer), Paradise becomes his.” (Recorded by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Mājah 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 Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) make ablution like this.’ And then he would say, ‘Whoever makes ablution like this and then prays two raka`ah without having any other concern on his mind, all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.) 

Other practices (protecting the eyes and wrinkles, removing any rings, wiping the neck, and so on) have not been mentioned here as their narrations are still questionable. But, one may follow them as part of general cleanliness. 

6. Acts That Nullify Ablution

6.1 - Passing Urine, Feces or Gas

The Ablution is nullified by urinating, defecating and releasing gas from the anus. Such an act obligates a new purification.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: "Allah does not accept the prayer of a person who has released gas until he makes a new ablution.” A person from Hadhramaut asked Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu), "What does ‘releasing gas’ mean?" He answered, "Wind with or without sound." (This narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) also quoted the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) as saying, "If one of you finds a disturbance in his abdomen and is not certain if he has released any gas or not, he should not leave the Prayer unless he hears its sound or smells its scent." (This narrated by Muslim)

Hearing the escaping gas or smelling it is not a condition for nullifying ablution, but the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) stressed that one should be certain of the action.

6.2 - Sexual Discharge from the Penis or Vagina

As for madhi, which is prostatic fluid in men, and sexual vaginal discharge in women, the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, "Make ablution" (i.e. one should renew his ablution upon noticing such discharge). Concerning semen or mani, said Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu), "It requires ghusl (bathing) and for madhi and wadi (a thick white secretion discharged (by some people) after urination), wash your sex organs and make wudu’ (ablution)." This narrated by Al-Baihaqi in his Sunan.

6.3 - Deep Sleep That Makes a Person Completely Unaware Of His Surroundings

If a person does not keep his buttocks firmly seated on the floor while sleeping, he must make a new ablution. If one's buttocks are kept firmly on the floor during one’s sleep, no new ablution is necessary. This is implied by the Hadith of Anas (radiyallāhu`anhu) who said, "The Companions of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) were waiting for the late night Prayer until their heads began nodding up and down (from drowsiness and sleep). They would then pray without performing ablution." (This narrated by Ash-Shafi`ie, Muslim, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi). The wording that At-Tirmidzi recorded from the chain of Shu`bah is: "I have seen the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) sleeping to the extent that one could hear some of them snoring. But, they would stand for Prayer without a new ablution." Ibn Al-Mubarak (rahimahullāh) said: “In our opinion, this happened when they were sitting.”

6.4 - Loss of Consciousness

This nullifies the ablution regardless of whether it is due to insanity, fainting, drunkenness, or some medicine. It also does not matter if one is unconscious for a short or long period of time, or if one is sitting, or falls to the ground, and so on. The aspect of unawareness here is greater than that of sleeping. The scholars have unanimous view on this point.

6.5 - Touching the Sexual Organ with the Bare Hand

Busrah bint Safwan (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever touches his sexual organ cannot perform Solāh until he performs wudhu’.” (This narrated by Al-Bukhari) In the narration of Ahmad and An-Nasā`ie, Busrah heard the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saying: “Ablution is to be made by a person who touches his sexual organ.” This is general and encompasses touching one's own sexual organs or touching somebody else's. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) as saying: “Whoever touches his sexual organ without any covering (between them) must perform ablution.” (This narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim, who classified it as sahih (authentic), as did Ibn `Abdul-Barr).

Ibn As-Sakin said, “That Hadith is from the best of what has been related on this topic.” Ash-Shāf'i`ie (rahimahullāh) related: “Any man who touches his penis must perform ablution. Any woman who touches her vagina must perform ablution.” Commenting on its authenticity, Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) quotes Al-Hazimi as saying, “That chain is sahih.”

However, inconsistent with others, the Hanafi scholars are of the opinion, based on the following Hadith, that touching the sexual organ does not nullify the ablution: A man asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) if touching the penis necessitates performing ablution. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “No, it is just a part of you.” (This narrated by “the five” (five scholars of Hadith). Ibn Hibban classified it as sahih, and Ibn Al-Madini said, "It is better than the Hadith of Busrah.”)

7. Acts That Do Not Nullify Ablution

7.1 - Touching a Woman

`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha`) reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) kissed her while he was fasting and said: “Kissing does not nullify the ablution, nor does it break the fast.” (This narrated by Ishaq Ibn Rahawaih and Al-Bazzār with a good chain of transmission.)

`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) also said: “One night, I missed Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) in my bed, and so went to look for him. I put my hand on the bottom of his feet while he was praying and saying, ‘O Allah, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your anger, in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, in You from You. I cannot praise you as You have praised Yourself’. (This narrated by Muslim and At-Tirmidzi, who classified it as sahih), and `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha`) also reported: “The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) kissed some of his wives and went to Prayer, without performing ablution." (Reported by Ahmad and "the four'' and its narrators are trustworthy.) `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha`) also said: “I would sleep in front of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) with my feet in the direction of the qiblah (to him). When he prostrated, he would touch me, and I would move my feet.” In another narration it says, “When he wanted to prostrate, he would touch my legs.”

7.2 - Bleeding

This involves bleeding due to a wound, cupping or a nosebleed, and regardless of the quantity of blood.

Al-Hassan (radiyallāhu`anhu) says: "The Muslims used to pray even while wounded." (This narrated by Al-Bukhari) Al-Hassan (radiyallāhu`anhu) also reported: “Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) squeezed a pimple until it bled, but he did not renew his ablution. Ibn Abi `Uqiyy spat blood and continued his Prayer. `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu`anhu)   prayed while blood was flowing from him. `Ibbad Ibn Bishr (radiyallāhu`anhu) was hit with an arrow while praying, but continued his Prayers.” (This narrated by Abu Dawud, Ibn Khuzaimah, and Al-Bukhari.)

7.3 - Vomit

Regardless of whether the amount of vomit is great or small, there is no authentic Hadith stating that it nullifies ablution.

7.4 - Having Doubts about Releasing Gas

This is the case where a person is not quite sure whether he is in a state of purity or not. Such a confusing state of mind does not nullify ablution, regardless of whether the person is in Prayer or not, until he is certain that his ablution has been nullified. `Abbad Ibn Tameem related that his uncle queried the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) about a person who feels something in his abdomen while praying. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said: “He should not leave (the Prayer) until he has heard or smelled it.” (This narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi).

It does not mean that its sound or bad smell nullifies ablution, but that one must be certain of the act that nullifies one’s ablution.

Ibn Al-Mubarak (rahimahullāh) said: “If one is uncertain about one’s condition of purity, one does not need to perform a new ablution. Further, if one is certain that his ablution has been nullified and doubts whether he has purified himself or not, he must perform a new ablution.”

This does not nullify ablution, for there are no confirmed reports that state such a thing. 

This also does not require a new ablution, for the reports that say it nullifies ablution are weak. 

This involves only obligatory, voluntary, or funeral prayers, not the supplications (du`ā). This is based on Allāh’s statement, “O you who believe. When you get up to perform a prayer (salah) washes your face and your arms up to the elbows and wipe your head and feet to the ankles.” Also, the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “Allāh does not accept a prayer (that was performed while the person) was not in a state of purity. Nor does he accept charity from misappropriated booty.” (Recorded by “the group,” except for al-Bukhari.) 

Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anha) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Circumambulation is a type of prayer, but Allāh has permitted speaking during it. Whoever speaks during it should only speak good.” 

This hadith is related by At-Tirmidzi, Ad-Daraqutni, Al-Hakim, Ibn As-Sakin and Ibn Khuzaimah, who classified it as sahih. 

Abu Bakar Ibn Muhammad related from his father on the authority of his grandfather that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) sent a letter to the people of Yemen which stated: “No one is to touch the Qur`an except one who is purified.” 

This hadith is related by An-Nasā`ie, ad-Daraqutni, al-Baihaqi and al-Athram. Of its chain, Ibn `Abdul-Barr says, “It appears to be a continuous transmission.” `Abdullah Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “No one is to touch the Qur`an unless he has purified himself.” (Al-Haithami mentioned it in ‘Majma’ Az-Zawaid’ and said its narrators are trustworthy.) Apparently, this hadith has a problem. The word “purify” must have one particular meaning here. Therefore, to say that one who has a minor defilement may not touch the Qur`an makes no sense. Concerning Allāh’s statement, “...which none touches save the purified,” (Al-Waqi’ah 79), apparently the pronoun refers to “the Book kept hidden” (from the preceding verse) and that is “the well-preserved tablet” and the “purified” refers to the angels, which is similar to the verses, “On honored scrolls, exalted, purified, (set down) by scribes, noble and righteous” (Abasah 13-16). Ibn `Abbas, As-Sha’bi, Azh-Zhahak, Zaid Ibn `Ali, Al-Mu’aiyad Billah, Dawud, Ibn Hazm and Hammad Ibn Abu Sulaiman are of the opinion that one who has a minor defilement may touch the Qur`an. Most of the scholars, however, agree that such people may recite the Qur`an without touching it. 

Al-Muhajir Ibn Qunfuzh (radiyallāhu`anhu) related that he greeted the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) but that the latter did not return his salutation until he had made ablution: “There is nothing that prevented me from responding to you except that I do not like to mention the name of Allāh unless I am in a state of purity.” Qatadah said, “Because of this, Al-Hassan hated to recite the Qur`an or mention Allāh’s name unless he had performed ablution”. (Recorded by Amad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasā`ie and Ibn Mājah.) Abu Juhaim Ibn Al-Harith (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported, “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) met a person at the well of Jaml, who greeted him, but he did not return his greeting until he had wiped his face and hands.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and An-Nasā`ie.) This action was one of preference, not of obligation. Mentioning the name of Allāh is permissible for the one who is in a state of purity, one who has a minor impurity, a person in post-sex impurity, or one who is standing, sitting, and so on. `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) said, “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to remember Allāh at all times.” (Recorded by “the five,” except for An-Nasā`ie.) Al-Bukhari recorded it in mu’alliq form.) `Ali reported, “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) would come from relieving himself, recite to us and eat meat with us. Nothing would stop him from the Qur`an except post-sex impurity.” (Recorded by “the five.” At-Tirmidzi and Ibn As-Sakin categorized it as sahih.) 

Al-Barra’ Ibn ‘Aazib (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When you go to your bed, perform ablution, lie on your right side and then say, ‘O Allāh, I submit my soul to You, and I turn my face to You. I entrust my affairs to You. I retreat unto You for protection with hope and fear in You. There is no resort and no savior but You. I affirm my faith in Your books which You revealed and in Your prophets you sent.’ If you die during that night, you will be along the natural path. Make it your final statement (of the night). He reported that he repeated this supplication to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and he said, “...and Your messengers.” The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) interjected, “No...’and the prophets You sent.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and At-Tirmidzi.) This also applies to one who is in post-sex impurity. Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) asked the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), “O Messenger of Allāh, can one of us sleep while he is in post-sex impurity?” The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) answered, “Yes, if he makes ablution.” `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported, “When the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) wanted to sleep in a state of post-sex impurity, he would wash his private parts and perform ablution.” (Recorded by “the group.”) 

13- To Remove a Sexual Impurity 

If a person in a state of post-sex impurity wants to eat, drink or have intercourse again, he should perform ablution. 

`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) said: “When the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was in a state of impurity because of intercourse and wanted to eat or sleep, he would perform ablution.” `Ammar Ibn Yasar (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) permitted a person in post-sex impurity to eat, drink or sleep if he performed ablution first. (Recorded by Ahmad and At-Tirmidzi, who classified it as sahih.)
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “If one has intercourse with his wife and wants to repeat the act, he should perform ablution.” (Recorded by “the group,” except for Al-Bukhari. Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim recorded it with the addition, “It makes the return more vivacious.”) 

14 - Before Performing Ghusul 

It is preferred to perform ablution before ghusl regardless of whether that particular ghusl was an obligatory or a preferred act. `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) said: “When the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) performed post-sex ghusul, he would begin by washing his hands and then pour water from his right hand to his left and wash his private parts. He would then perform ablution...” (Recorded by “the group.”) 

15- Before Eating Food Touched By Fire 

Ibrahim Ibn `Abdullah Ibn Qarizh said, “I passed by Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) while he was performing ablution and he said, ‘Do you know why I am making ablution? It is because I ate some yoghurt dried over a fire, for I heard the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) say: ‘Perform ablution before eating food touched by fire.’’” (Recorded by Ahmad, Muslim and “the four.”) 

`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Perform ablution from whatever touches fire.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Muslim, An-Nasā`ie and Ibn Mājah.) This order is one of preference as the following hadith makes clear: `Amr Ibn Umayyah Az-Zhamari (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “I saw the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) cutting a piece of a sheep’s shoulder and eating it. He was then called to prayer. He put the knife down, prayed, and did not perform another ablution.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

16 - Renewing the Ablution for Every Prayer 

Buraidah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) made ablution for every prayer. On the day of the conquest of Makkah, he made ablution, wiped over his socks and prayed a number of times with just one ablution. `Umar said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allāh, you did something that you have not done (before).’ He answered, ‘I did it on purpose, `Umar.”‘ (Recorded by Ahmad, Muslim and others.) 

Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to make ablution for every prayer.” He was asked, “And what did you people use to do?” Mālik said, “We performed the solāh with one ablution unless we nullified it.” (Recorded by Ahmad and Al-Bukhari) 

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Were it not to be a hardship on my people, I would order them to make ablution for every prayer.” (Recorded by Ahmad with a hassan chain.) 

Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever makes ablution while he is already in a state of purity will have ten good deeds written for him.” (Recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, and Ibn Mājah.)

17 - Notes Of Importance Concerning Ablution

It is permissible to speak while performing ablution. There is nothing reported from the Sunnah that prohibits it. 

Making supplications while washing the extremities is based on false hadith. It is best for the person to use only the supplications mentioned under the Sunnah Acts of Ablution. 

If the person who is making ablution has a doubt concerning how many times he has washed a particular part of the body, he should go by the number he is certain about. 

If any barrier or substance with weight, such as wax, is found on the body, it would invalidate one’s ablution unless it is removed and the ablution is performed again. Coloring, like henna, is permissible, as it does not affect the ablution’s correctness. 

People with unusual circumstances (i.e. women with “prolonged flows of blood”), people who cannot control their urine, people with flatulence, and so on, should perform one ablution for each prayer whether their problem exists all or part of the time. Their prayers will be acceptable even while their problems are occurring. 

One may be assisted by others in performing ablution. 

One may use a towel to dry himself during any time of the year. 

18 - Proof of Its Legitimacy

Wiping over the socks is part of the Sunnah. An-Nawawi (rahimallāh) states: “All those who qualify for ijma’ (consensus) agree that it is allowed to wipe over the socks--during travelling or at home, if needed or not--even a woman who stays at home or a handicapped person who cannot walk can do so. The Shi’ah and Khawarij reject it, but their rejection is not valid. Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani (rahimallāh) says in ‘Fathul-Bari’, “All of the preservers (of hadith) are of the opinion that wiping over the socks has come through a continuous transmission. Some have collected all of its narrations (from among the companions), and its number exceeds eighty. This includes hadith from the ten people who were promised Paradise.” The strongest hadith on this point has been related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi on the authority of Hammam An-Nakha’ie who said, “Jarir Ibn `Abdullah urinated, performed ablution and wiped over his socks.” It was said to him, “You do that and you have urinated?” He said, “Yes, I saw the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) urinate and then do likewise.” Ibrahim said, “They were amazed at that hadith, because Jarir had embraced Islam after Surah Al-Māidah was revealed (10 AH). One of its verses calls for washing one’s feet. This hadith helps us understand the verse by confining it to one who is not wearing socks. This constitutes a particular case, and the person who wears socks can just wipe over them. 

18.1- Wiping Over Slippers

It is allowed to wipe over slippers, as this has been related from many companions. Abu Dawud says: “Wiping over sandals (has been done by) `Ali ibn Abu Talib, Ibn Mas`ud, Al-Barra’ Ibn `Aazib, Anas Ibn Mālik, Abu Umamah, Sahl Ibn Sa’d and `Amr Ibn Hareeth. It has also been related from `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab and Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhum).” `Ammar, Bilal Ibn `Abdullah Ibn Abu Awfi and Ibn `Umar also have hadith on this subejct. In Ibn al-Qayyim’s ‘Tahzhib As-Sunan’, he relates from Ibn Al-Munzhir, “Ahmad made a statement about the permissibility of wiping over slippers because of his fairness and justice. Nevertheless, the basis of this permissibility is the practice of the companions and a manifest analogy. There is no real difference between socks and slippers. It is correct that they take the same ruling. Most scholars say that one can wipe over either one.” Those who permit it include Sufyan Al-Thawri, Ibn Al-Mubarak, and `Ata, Al-Hasan and Sa`d Ibn Al-Musayyab. Commenting on this subject, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad said, “It is allowed to wipe over them if they are thick and completely hide what they cover.” 

Abu Hanifah (rahimallāh) did not approve of wiping over thick slippers, but he changed his mind three or seven days before his death. He wiped over his slippers during his illness and said to his visitors, “I did what I used to tell people not to do.” Al-Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) made ablution and wiped over his socks and slippers. This is related by Ahmad, At-Tahawi, Ibn Mājah and At-Tirmidzi, who called it hassan sahih. Abu Dawud graded it weak. 

As it is permissible to wipe over socks so is it permissible to wipe over any foot covering, which has been used to avoid the cold or protect the wound, and so on. Of its permissibility, Ibn Taimiyyah says, “It is all right to wipe over foot covering because it takes precedence over wiping socks or slippers, for usually a foot covering is used for some need and to protect the feet from some harm. If wiping over the socks and slippers is allowed, then wiping over any foot covering should come first. Whoever claims that there is a consensus on the inadmissibility of wiping over foot coverings does so with a lack of knowledge. Not to speak of a consensus, he cannot prove its forbiddance even from the works of ten famous scholars.” He goes on to say, “Whoever ponders over the words of the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), and gives analogy its proper place, will know that the license from him was spacious on this subject and in accord with the beauty of Islamic law and the monotheistic magnanimity with which the Prophet had been sent.” Even if there are some holes or cuts in the socks, it is permissible to wipe over them, as long as the person has only such socks to wear. Al-Thawri says, “The slippers of the emigrants and helpers were not free of cuts or holes, like the slippers of the people (in general). If this were a matter of concern, it would have been mentioned and related by them.” 

18.2 - Conditions for Wiping Over the Socks

One must have put his socks (or whatever covering he is using) while in a state of purity. 

Al-Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “I was with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) one night during an expedition. I poured water for him to make ablution. He washed his face and arms and wiped his head. Then I went to remove his socks and he said, ‘Leave them on, as I put them on while I was in a state of purity,’ and he just wiped over them.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Muslim). 

Al-Humaidi (radiyallāhu`anhu) related in his Musnad that Al-Mughirah reported, “We said, ‘O Messenger of Allāh, may we wipe over our socks?’ Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Yes, if you put them on while you were in a state of purity.” The stipulations by the jurists that the socks must completely cover the foot to the ankle, and that one must be able to walk (a distance) in them alone, has been shown by Ibn Taimiyyah in his Al-Fatawa to be weak. 

18.2.1- The Place to Be Wiped On a Sock 

Islamic law prescribes that the top of the sock is to be wiped. 

Al-Mughirah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “I saw the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) wipe over the top of his socks.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi, who called it hassan) `Ali observed, “If the religion was based on opinion, the bottom of the sock would take preference in being wiped to the top of the sock.” (Recorded by Abu Dawud and Ad-Daraqutni with a hassan or sahih chain.) What is obligatory in the wiping is what is meant by the lexicographical meaning of the word “wipe.” There are no specifications authentically mentioned with respect to the wiping. 

For the resident, this period is one day and night. For the traveller, it is three days and nights. Safwan Ibn `Assal (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “We were ordered (by the Allāh’s Messenger Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) to wipe over the socks if we were in a state of purity when we put them on, for three days if we were travellers, and for one day and night if we were residents. We did not remove them unless we were in post-sex impurity.” (Recorded by Ash-Shāfi`ie, Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaimah, At-Tirmidzi, and An-Nasā`ie, who graded it sahih.) 

Shuraih Ibn Hani (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “I asked `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) about wiping over socks and she answered, ‘For the traveller, three days and three nights; for the resident, one day and night.” This hadith is related by Ahmad, Muslim, At-Tirmidzi, An-Nasā`ie and Ibn Mājah. Of its authenticity, Al-Baihaqi says, “This is the most authentic report on this topic.” Some say that the duration begins with the time of the wiping, while others say it begins from the time of nullifying the ablution after wearing the socks. 

18.2.3 - The Description of the Wiping 

After the person completes his ablution and puts on his socks or slippers, it is proper for him to wipe over them later on when he wants to perform ablution. He is permitted to do that for one day and night if he is resident and for three days and nights if he is a traveller. But if he is in post-sex impurity, he must remove his socks, in accordance with the preceding hadith of Safwan. 

18.2.4 - What Invalidates The Wiping? 

The following invalidates the wiping:
i) - The end of the permissible time period for wiping.
ii) - Post-sex impurity.
iii) - Removal of the socks. If (i) or (iii) occurs while the person was in a state of purity, he need only wash his feet.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 1: Wudhu’ By Sayyid Sābiq]


1.  The Purification; 2.  The Menstruation; 3.  The Ghusul ;
4. Al-Wudhu’ ; 5. Tayammum;
22.   Solāh of a Traveler; 23.   Solāh Qasar; 24.    Solāh Jama’; 25.   The Solāh Jama’ ;
29.   Solāh al-Jumu`ah; 30.   The Sanctified Hour of Jumu’ah.
36.   Solāh al-Hajjat ; 37.   Solāh al-Tahajjud ; 38. Solāh al-Tarawih ;
39.   Solāh al-Dhuha ; 40.   Solāh al-Hajjat ; 41.  Solāh al-Istikhārah ;

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