Part II: Prayer (As-Salat)

Chapter 07

Wudu Ghusl and Tayyummum

         Wudu (Ablution) is essential for prayer as we have discussed in the preceding chapter and if one is in condition of sexual impurity (Janabat), then Ghusl (ceremonial or full bath) is imperative. However if water is not available or the use of water is harmful then one can perform Tayyummum (dry ablution) before saying his prayer. But before describing the rules and regulations regarding Wudu, Ghusl and Tayyummum, it would be appropriate if we reproduce the verses of the Qur’an and some of the Ahadith (Traditions) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) relevant to these subjects.

Verses of the Qur’an

1-            O you who believe! Do not perform your prayer when you are drunk until you understand what you say; nor in state of ceremonial impurity, save when travelling, till you have bathed. And if you are ill, or on a journey or one of you comes from the toilet, or you have been in (sexual) contact with women, and you do not find water, then take clean soil and rub your faces and your hands therewith. Certainly Allah is Benign, Forgiving. – (4:An-Nisa:43)

2-            O you who believe! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads (with wet hands), and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. And if you are unclean (because of sexual discharge) then purify yourselves (by taking a full bath). And if you are sick or on a journey or one of you comes from the toilet or you have had (sexual) contact with women and you find no water, then go to clean soil and rub your faces and hands therewith. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you and to complete His favour upon you, so that you may give thanks. – (5: Al-Maidah:6)

Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

1-            Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The prayer of the person who has not performed ablution is not accepted till he performs it. – (Bukhari, Muslim)

2-            Usman reported that he performed ablution and that he thrice poured (water) over his hands. Then he gurgled and snuffed up water. Then he washed his face and then he washed thrice his right arm up to the elbow. Afterwards he washed thrice his left arm up to the elbow and then he wiped his head. Afterwards he washed his right foot thrice and the left foot thrice. Afterwards he said: I have seen the Messenger of Allah performing ablution similar to this ablution of mine. He then said: Whoso shall perform this ablution of mine and then say prayer of two rak’ats without allowing himself to talk between these two with anything, will be forgiven of his past sins.  – (Bukhari, Muslim)

3-            Abu Heetah reported: I saw Ali performing Wudu. First he washed his both hands and cleansed them. Then he thrice gurgled and thrice put water in his nose. Then he washed his face thrice. Then he washed both his hands thrice up to the elbows. Then he wiped his head. Then he washed his both feet up to ankles. Afterwards he stood up and drank the remaining water. And then he said: I wanted to show you how the Prophet used to perform Wudu. – (Tirmizi, Nisai)

4-            Osama reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoso makes ablution and makes ablution well, his sins come out of his body, till they come out even from under his nails.  – (Bukhari, Muslim)

5-            Oqbah-b-A’mer reported that the Messenger of Allah said: If any Muslim performs ablution and performs his ablution well and then stands up and says prayer of two bendings with his heart and face turned (sincerely) to them both, Paradise becomes sure for him.   – (Muslim)

6-            Ayesha reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The superiority of the prayer of which teeth have been cleansed over the prayer for which teeth have not been cleansed is seventy times.  – (Baihaqi)

7-            Umar-b-Khattab reported that the Messenger of Allah said: If any of you makes ablution and makes the ablution complete, and afterwards says: I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger (in another narration: I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, the One, without any partner for Him and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger), the eight doors of Paradise will be opened up for him. He will enter by whichever of these (doors) he will like. – (Muslim)

8-            Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: My followers will be called on the Resurrection Day with heads shining on account of the effect of ablution. So whoever among you is able to prolong this brightness, let him do it. – (Bukhari, Muslim)

9-            Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Had I not thought it hard for my people, I would have directed them to delay the night prayer and use the tooth stick at the time of each prayer. – (Bukhari, Muslim)

10-         Abu Ayub reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There are four things out of the practices of the Messengers: Shame, circumcision, use of perfume, teeth cleansing and marriage.  – (Tirmizi)

11-         Ayesha reported that the Prophet did not use to perform wudu after performing Ghusl. – (Ibn Majah, Tirmizi, Abu Daud)

12-         Ayesha reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: The use of a tooth stick is a means of purifying the mouth and is pleasing to the Lord as well. – (Ahmad Nisai)

13-         Mughera bin Shubah said: Prophet performed ablution and wiped over his socks and his sandels. – (Ibn Majah, Abu Daud, Ahmad, Tirmizi)

14-         Ayesha reported that the messenger of Allah, whenever took bath from impurity (sexual impurity), he used to begin and wash his hands, then make ablution as he used to do for prayer. Afterwards he used to introduce his fingers into water and make picks therewith unto the roots of his hairs. Then he used to pour three jugs (of water) upon his head with his hands and then allow the water to flow over his entire body. – (Bukhari, Muslim)

15-         Ayesha reported that the Messenger of Allah said: When the front portion of male organ penetrates the female organ, bath becomes obligatory …… (Tirmizi)

16-         Ammar reported that a man came to Umar bin Al-Khattab and said: I have become sexually impure and do not find water. At this Ammar reminded Umar a similar incident which happened in the time of the Prophet (who taught how to make tayyummum): The Prophet struck the ground with his palms and blew the dust off from them and then wiped his face and his hands therewith. – (Bukhari)

Wudu (Ablution)

1-            Performance of Wudu, as stated earlier, is compulsory for a believer who intends to offer obligatory five daily prayers or any other prayer.

2-            The intention should be made in mind to perform Wudu. as it is made to perform any other devotional act such as prayer, fasting, etc.

3-            Procedure of performing of Wudu is as under:-

a)            Recite  (Bismillah) and then start the Wudu.

b)            Wash right hand thrice up to the wrist and then left hand thrice up to the wrist cleaning between the fingers.

c)             Then put water in the mouth with right hand thrice and rinse the mouth.

d)            Then put water in the nose thrice and blow out the nose with left hand cleaning it thoroughly.

e)            Then wash face thrice from the upper part of the forehead to the lower part of the chin and from right ear to left ear i.e. the entire face leaving no portion of it dry. If one has thick beard, that should be combed with wet fingers so that water reaches the roots of the hair.

f)              Then wash both the arms thrice starting from the hands up to the elbows, first the right and then the left.

g)            Then wipe over head by passing your wet hands from the upper part of the forehead to the back of the hairline, and then from the back to the front where you started. And then the inside and outside of ears should be cleaned with the fingers and the thumb.

h)            Finally, both the feet, first the right and then the left, should be washed thrice including the ankles and the heels. Feet should be washed with left hand. Space between the toes should be cleaned with the little finger. Now your Wudu is complete.

4-            Wudu must be performed in the above mentioned sequence.

5-            Wudu should be performed continuously without any long interruption of time between each step.

6-            It is the Sunnah (practice) of the Prophet to clean (or brush) the teeth before the wudu. There are so many Ahadith of the Prophet (see Traditions of Prophet Muhammad mentioned above) which highlight the merits and rewards of cleaning the teeth and tell us that the Prophet used to clean his teeth with a tooth-stick. According to a tradition, the reward of the prayer which is offered after cleaning the teeth is seventy time of the prayer for which teeth have not been cleaned.

7-            After completing the acts of Wudu, it is recommended that the following supplication should be recited

Ash-hadu an laa Ilaaha Illallaahu wah-dahu laa shareeka lahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasooluhu. Allahum-majalnee min at-tawwaa-beena, wajalni min al-muta-tahhireen.

I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and apostle.  O Allah! Make me among those who turn to you in repentance and also make me among those who purify themselves.

8-            After Wudu, two rakaat optional prayer should be offered. This prayer is called Tahayyatul-wudu. It is mentioned in Hadith No. 2 and 5 above that this prayer carries a lot of merit.

9-            Excessive use of water in performing Wudu is disliked. Rather economy in the use of water is recommended. It is reported that the Prophet used to perform Wudu with one ‘madd’ of water (i.e. with almost a liter of water).

10-         It is not permitted to perform ablution in an impure place as some of the impurity may touch one’s clothes or body.

11-         It is preferred if one performs Wudu for every prayer separately as the Prophet used to perform fresh Wudu for every prayer. However offering as many prayers as one can is allowed with the same ablution if it lasts, as the Prophet did not disallow his companions to do it.

12-         If a limb which has to be washed in ablution is injured and it has been bandaged or plastered, then wiping over the plaster or the bandage is sufficient. However, if the wiping is also harmful, it should be ignored.

13-         Besides prayers, Wudu is also required, according to the Jurists, for reading or touching the Qur’an, for Tawaf of Kaabah, for engaging in the remembrance of God, etc. It is preferred to perform or be in state of Wudu before sleeping, after arising from sleep, while running between Safa and Marwa, before having a bath, while imparting religious education, before pronouncing Adhan, before reciting Khutbah, etc.

14-         Things or acts which nullify the Ablution (Wudu) or make it void are:-

a)            Passing of urine, stool, wind, or emission of any substance from front or from behind.

b)            Vomiting in mouthful, issue of blood from any part of body, spittle containing overwhelming element of blood, etc.

c)             Sleeping i.e. having a sound sleep.

d)            Touching the sexual organ with the bare hand and fingers.

e)            Losing consciousness or sanity by drunkenness, use of drugs, anesthetics, etc. or on account of disease, etc.

f)              Having sexual intercourse or wet dream nullifies the Wudu but Ghusl is required to get purity.

g)            Menses (Haidh) and blood associated with childbirth (Nifas) also nullify Wudu. However, Ghusl is required to purify oneself.

15-         Wiping over the socks and foot covering in allowed in certain situations. Many authentic Ahadith are reported that the Prophet himself used to wipe over his socks, shoes, and foot-covering while performing the ablution in place of washing his feet and allowed his companions to do so. There are, however, following conditions attached to this concession or permission:

a)            One must have put on the socks or foot covering after washing the feet in a Wudu or Ghusl or while in state of Wudu.

b)            The socks or the foot-covering itself must be free of impurity.

c)             Maximum period for wiping over the socks or foot covering is one day (24 hours) in case you are at home and three days (72 hours) if you are on a journey. This time period startes from the first time when you wiped over the socks while performing Wudu.

d)            Upon the expiry of the period mentioned above or in case of major defilement (e.g. sexual intercourse, ejaculation in dream, etc), permission for wiping over socks comes to an end.

e)            If you put off socks or foot coverings before the expiry of the period mentioned at serial No. c, permission available for wiping over socks comes to an end.

Ghusl (Complete Bath)

1-            As stated earlier, the Qur’an (in verse 43 of Surah 4 and verse 6 of Surah 5) has prescribed Ghusl (bathing) as compulsory in case you are unclean by having sexual intercourse or wet dream (or sexual discharge by any other means). Ghusl is to be performed to get purity or to be able to offer prayer.

2-            For a believing woman, Ghusl is also compulsory after menses (Haidh) and after bleeding on account of childbirth (Nifas) stops, in order to get purity before she intends to start prayers.

3-            In state of uncleanliness caused by sex-related acts as mentioned at serial No 1 or caused by Haidh (menses) or Nifas (bleeding associated with childbirth) as mentioned at serial No. 2, a believing man and a woman is not allowed to offer prayer (be it obligatory or optional). He or she is also not allowed to perform Tawaf of Kaabah, to touch or recite the Holy Qur’an, or to stay in the mosque. However, passing through the mosque is permitted.

4-            In Ahadith, it has been recommended rather enjoined that the believers should take bath on Friday, on Eid day, while putting on Ihram (pilgrim’s garments), before entering in Makah as a pilgrim, while staying in Arafat during Hajj, and after giving Ghusl to a dead body. When a Muslim dies, he or she is given Ghusl before burial.

5-            Intention to perform Ghusl is essential as it is in case of Wudu, prayer or fasting.

6-            In Ghusl, entire body should be properly washed including every limb, even no hair should be left dry. It is Sunnah to wash every limb or organ three times.

7-            Procedure or method of performing Ghusl is briefly stated as under:

a)            Make intention to perform Ghusl and start with Bismillah.

b)            Wash both the hands up to wrists three times.

c)             Then wash and clean the private parts with the left hand. And then wash down any other impurity from the body.

d)            Now perform all the regular acts of Wudu in prescribed way, however, delay washing the feet until the end of Ghusl.

e)            After performing Wudu, pour down water over the head while passing the fingers through the hair. However a woman whose hair is braided is not required to pass the fingers through the hair. She may merely pour water on her head thrice.

f)              Then pour water on the entire body and rub and wash it with soap or without it, leaving no limb not even a hair dry.

g)            At the end, you should wash your feet. Now Ghusl is complete

8-            Things or acts undesirable in Ghusl are:

a)            Taking bath in open or publicly without proper barrier or screen between one and the people’s view is forbidden.

b)            It is not permitted to take bath naked in front of people, because exposing one’s private parts to others than one’s spouse is forbidden.

c)             Taking a bath in an impure place is not allowed.

d)            Using excessive amount of water is discouraged. The Prophet used to take bath with a Sa’a of water i.e. with about four litres of water.

e)            Washing with the standing water, particularly sitting in a bathtub before removing impurities is disliked.

9-      There is no problem in attending public bath if you can do so without exposing yourself to the sight of the people.

10-    It is permitted for a man and his wife to take bath together, drawing water from the same container.

11-    If one performs Ghusl, but does not perform Wudu, the Ghusl is sufficient.

Tayyummum (Dry Ablution)

         The best means of purification is water. However, when water is not available or its use is harmful, Allah has not only permitted but has also taught the use of clean dust or soil as substitute of water for getting purification. The Qur’an, it its verse 6 of Chapter 5(Surah Al-Maidah) says: “…… and if you are sick or on a journey or one of you comes from the toilet or you have had (sexual) contact with women and you find no water, then go to clean soil and rub your faces and hands therewith. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but he wants to purify you and to complete His favours upon you, so that you may give thanks”. Almost similar words have been used by the Qur’an for this concession of getting purification with soil in verse 43 of chapter 4. This method of getting purification with soil instead of water is called Tayyummum in Islamic terminology.

         Thus Tayyummum is permissible substitute for Wudu (ablution) or Ghusl (complete bathing) whether one is on a journey or at home. Following are the rules and regulations regarding Tayyummum:

1-            Tayyummum is permitted in the following situations:

a)            The water is not available at the place or in the vicinity where one is staying.

b)            One is sick or wounded and the use of water is harmful as it would increase the illness or delay the recovery. This determination can be made on the advice of a doctor or on the basis of honest personal experience.

c)             The water is very cold and if used, it is likely to cause a disease such as pneumonia, provided one is unable to warm it.

d)            Available water is in too small a quantity that it can hardly fulfill the needs of drinking and cooking. Or water is available at a long distance and it is not possible to bring it with available means of transport in available time. Or water is available but in bringing it there is danger to life from enemy or from a harmful animal. Or water is available for a price but one has not enough money to purchase it.

2-            It is permissible to perform Tayyummum with clean dust or soil or anything else that originates from the earth such as sand, rocks and pebbles.

3-            The procedure or method of performing Tayyummum is as follows: Make intention of performing Tayyummum in your mind to get purification. Then say Bismillah, slap the dust with your palms on the surface of the earth. Then blow the excess. Dust off your palms, and then wipe your face and both your hands up to and including the wrists.

4-            Since Tayyummum is substitute for Wudu (ablution) and for Ghusl (complete bathing), so Tayyummum enables one to do all the acts which one can do with Wudu and Ghusl like performing of prayer, touching and reading of Qur’an, performing of Tawaf of Kaabah, etc.

5-            Everything that nullifies or makes Wudu void, also nullifies or makes Tayyummum void. Availability of water also nullifies Tayyummum and cancels its justification for those who made it due to non- availability of water. As for those who made Tayyummum for the reason that use of water was harmful to them, they will lose justification for Tayyummum when the excuse ceases and they are able to use water.

6-            However, if one performed prayer (Salat) with Tayyummum and then found water or regained the ability to use it, he is not required to repeat his prayer, even if there is time left for it.


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