May 28, 2011

Wudhu: the forgotten element of ibadah

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Sometimes I "stumble" across a gem from our deen that I feel I just have to share. For some of you, this is probably old hat :-) but for others it might be as illuminating as it was for me. For all of us, may it inspire and motivate us to improve ourselves. Amin!

A and I were discussing wudhu the other day. I had a question about a hadith I had heard that wudhu washes your sins away. A related the following hadith from RasoolAllah:

Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “When a Muslim servant (of Allah) or a believer (Mumin) washes his face (in the course of Wudhu), every sin he has committed with his eyes is washed away from his face along with the water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin they wrought is erased from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin towards which his feet walked is washed away with water, or with the last drop of water, with the result that he comes out cleansed of all sins.” [Sahih Muslim]

Subhanallah, how Allah forgives us! Even in our preparation for prayer there are untold blessings. So I was curious if this holds true even if you have wudhu.

For example, you make wudhu for dhuhr and asr comes around but you still have your wudhu. If you decide to make ablution again are you ridding yourself of these sins?

The way A explained it made so much sense masha'Allah. He reminded me that ridding ourselves of physical najasa (dirt) is only a small portion of why we make wudhu. We are also cleansing ourselves spiritually of the filth that has accumulated.

Imagine your ruh (soul) as if it were a sole. The sole of a shoe, not a fish. :-D Think of  how it looks after you've been slogging through the mud and muck outside. It dries on, sticks there, and slowly, slowly, crumbles off, bit by bit. Usually on someone's white carpet or freshly mopped floor. LOL But I digress.

Anyway I can very easily envision our soul becoming soiled in that same manner. Maybe you spoke rudely about someone or lost your temper with your children. Perhaps it's something a little deeper; maybe you took that second look or had anger in your heart. All of these things build up in our ruh and need to be cleansed.

Of course, making wudhu does not absolve you from major sins such as shirk (authubillah!), murder, or zina but you get the idea. It removes all those small, daily sins that sneak up on us.

There are a few things you must do to get this blessing:

1. Have the correct niyyah (intention) to make wudhu to cleanse your ruh and please Allah.

2. Perform your ablution in the name of Allah by pronouncing "Bismillah" before you begin.

3. Correctly make wudhu with the proscribed motions in the correct order: hands, mouth, nose, face, lower arms, hair, ears, and feet.

4. Only make 3 of each motion. For example, sometimes my nose might still feel stopped up but we are only to do 3 times. Doing it more is makruh (disliked).  After we finish wudhu we can then do more if we feel it is necessary.

5. Do not stop your wudhu to speak, dry your face, etc. This is makruh to do so.

6. You can make make dua; I've found a few different examples (look here) of this so I think it depends on what madhab you follow. This step is optional but it is used to increase the hasanat (blessings for good actions) you receive.

So insha'Allah this might have helped you view wudhu in a different light. For myself, I always felt if I had wudhu I was all set and didn't bother to make it again. Insha'allah now I will be more careful to always make wudhu before salaat unless time is truly of the essence.

And with Allah lies ALL success. :-)


Kaighla said...

Mashaallah, what a great post! One of the things that drew me to Islam was making wudhu. Seriously! There is just something about washing one's self when one may seem clean to the naked eye. I just love when my hands look clean to me but when I make wudhu and the filth comes off, it is very spiritual for me, reminding me that even if I am unaware of the filth that clogs my soul, it is there and needs cleansing.

However, there are two questions I have: the first is that of making wudhu when you have it. I have read a few ahadith that say one should not make wudhu unless one has broken it. My husband affirms this and yet makes wudhu before every prayer (and sometimes tell me he has not broken it) even when he has wudhu. So, that is confusing...

Next, I just...urgh, things like this where if you do A then your sins are forgiven...they just really bother me! Because that means one of two things: 1. You don't even have to be sorry and just by making wudhu your sins are forgiven. or 2. You have sins you are not aware of, in which case how can you be held accountable and then forgiven for something you did not know you did wrong?

Umm Aaminah said...

Salaam sis. I don't know what other hadith you are referring to but here is what I believe. When people say they've broken wudhu they mean physically but few think of the spiritual aspect. So I think this is where the niyyah comes into play. If your intention is to purify your ruh well we always have sins to wash away.

If your intention is just to clean your body then no you should not make wudhu again. This is my understanding and I might be incorrect.

As for the second part I know what you are saying. However, for myself, I guess if I am actively seeking the blessings of Allah I am NOT going to be the person who does wrong things without care. Does that make sense?

I think the two goes hand in hand. If you have the true intention to please Allah and ask for His forgiveness (even by the act of making wudhu when physically it isn't necessary) then you would be sincerely sorry. We know that we have to have tawbah or sincere repentance to be forgiven. No one would make wudhu for the forgiveness of sins if they weren't sincere.

This is just how I feel. I think the munafiq who makes wudhu with no sincere niyyah or tawbah for what they have done is trying to make a mockery of Allah.

I hope the above made sense. I was trying to straighten out my thoughts but wallah I am soooo tired right now... I could sleep at the keyboard. No, it's not night, I'm just sleep-deprived. lol

HijabiMommy said...

Aww, Masha'allah lovely post about the beauty of wudhu. Thanks for sharing, sis! Insha'allah, we can all strive to become better Muslims and becoming more conscientous of our every action towards pleasing Allah swt.

asmaa17 said...

MashaAllah! An amazing post, it's definately eye-opening and I've learnt something new. JazakAllah for sharing!

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