Minor Ablution (Shafii)

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What is minor ablution in islam?

In terminology, wudu’ is cleansing and wiping certain parts of the body with the intention of performing an act of worship.

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said, “Prayer offered by one who is not in the state of ablution will not be admissible until performing minor ablution (wudu’).” Just as performing wudu’ is an act of worship to Allah, it is also an act of physical purification. Thus, one who carries out ablution earns good deeds (hasanat). Wudu’ also erases some of the past sins and helps them to be forgiven.

It is important to note what the Prophet (pbuh) said:

Whoever performs wudu’ as I do, his past minor sins shall be forgiven”[1]

“If a man performs ablution perfectly and then offers the compulsory prayer, Allah will forgive his sins committed between that (prayer) and the (next) prayer till he offers it.”[2]

”When a Muslim performs ablution and washes his face, the sins of every wrong deed which he did with his eyes goes away with the water of ablution – or with the last drop of water. When he washes his hands, every wrong deed which his hands have done goes away with the water – or with the last drop of water. When he washes his feet, every wrong deed which his feet have walked goes away with the water or with the last drop of water, until he emerges cleansed of sins.”[3] Wudu’ is a significant part of a Muslim’s life as it helps to abstain from sins and, in fact, it is the prerequisite of prayer, which is “the best deed”.[4] Regarding this matter, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) has said, “the key to Paradise is Prayer, and the key to Prayer is Wudu’.”[5]

I. The Obligatory Acts of Wudu ’The obligatory acts of ablution are based on the authentic hadith “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions[6] and the following verse of the Qur’an

O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform]prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles…”[7]Accordingly, there are six obligatory acts of wudu’:

  • Intention: Intention can be stated by saying in Turkish “Niyet ettim Allah rızası için abdest almaya” or in Kurdish “Min neyta ez dest nmeja xwe helal bikim bi ave”. What is important in intention is that it is done by heart and it should be stated when starting to wash the face.
  • Washing the face once (from the part of the forehead where hair grows down to the part under the chin; from ear to ear including the raised part of the ear close to the face).
  • To wash hands and arms once (from fingertips up to the elbow, including the elbow)
  • To wipe over part of the head. The front part of the head should be preferred for wiping.
  • To wash the feet up to the ankles (including the ankles) once.
  • To follow the order (tartip): To follow the order between the acts of ablution mentioned above

In order to perform a proper and complete minor ablution (wudu’), all of the above mentioned six obligatory acts should be done properly. If any one of these six acts is neglected or not done properly, then minor ablution will not be performed in an admissible way.In addition to the Shafi’i school, the Hanbalis also regard following order among the acts of ablution as obligatory. All schools other than Hanafis view intention as one of the obligatory elements of ablution. The Hanafi school, on the other hand, does not accept intention and order as obligatory because they are not mentioned in the verse. The Maliki school views rubbing (dalk) while washing as obligatory; the Maliki and the Hanbali schools accept, as one of the obligatory acts of ablution, the washing of limbs without taking breaks between the acts whereby the wetness on the limbs may get dried (muwalat), and wiping over the whole head. Moreover, the Hanbali school regards recitation of basmala, washing the mouth and the nose as obligatory acts of ablution.

II. The Sunnah Acts of the Minor Ablution (Wudu’)Sunnah acts of minor ablution are as follows:

  • To brush the teeth by using a siwak or a toothbrush or, if they are not available, to rub the teeth by one’s fingers.
  • To begin the minor ablution by the recitation of basmala
  • To wash both hands thoroughly up to the wrists. If there is a ring on a finger, to move it to ensure the water goes underneath it.
  • To state the intention while washing the hands. To state the intention by tongue and keeping it in mind till the end of performing the ablution.
  • To wipe between the fingers of one hand with the fingers of the other (takhlil).
  • To begin with the right when washing hands, arms, and feet.
  • To rinse the mouth three times, taking fresh water each time (madmada).
  • To wash both nostrils three times, taking fresh water each time (istinshaq). To draw water by right hand and to blow the water by left hand.
  • To wash the face, arms and feet three times. To wash more than the required limits.
  • When washing the face, to use both hands, to begin washing from the upper part of the face, to rub the thick beard and to ensure the water go through the beard.
  • To wipe over the whole head.
  • To wipe inside and outside the ears by using fresh water.
  • To rub the limbs of ablution while washing.
  • To drink some water (if not fasting) at the end of the ablution and recite the following invocations.

Ashhadu alla ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lah. Wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu” “Allahu’m-maj’alni min al-tawwabin waj’alni min al-mutatahhirin[8]“I testify that there is no true god except Allah Alone, Who has no partners and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His slave and Messenger.” “O Allah make me among those who repent and purify themselves”

  • To perform two cycles of ritual prayer, if it is an appropriate time, is also a Sunnah.

III. The Reprehensible (Makruh) Acts of the Minor Ablution (Wudu’)It is reprehensible to do any one of the following actions:

  • To use little or excessive amount of water.
  • To splash water to the face and other limbs of ablution and cause it to splash over the clothes.
  • To talk about worldly matters while performing ablution without a necessity.
  • To ask help from another person to pour water for ablution without a necessity.
  • To ignore the Sunnah acts of ablution.
  • If one is not in a hurry to catch the congregation, to wash the limbs more or less than three times, to wipe over the head more than three times, and if there is khuff (socks) on feet, to wipe over them more than three times.
  • To perform ablution in a dirty place (where impure materials may spread on the clothes).
  • To gargle water when fasting or drawing water to much into the nose.
  • To wipe over the neck.
  • To shake off the water left on the limbs after the ablution.

The above mentioned reprehensible acts are within the category of makruh tanzihi or close to permissibility and doing such acts decreases the spiritual rewards of ablution. One should try to avoid such acts if there is not a necessity.IV. Things not Permitted without Being in the State of Wudu’The following four things are not permitted for a person who is without wudu’:

  • To perform ritual prayer.
  • To perform prostration of recitation (sajda al-tilawah).
  • To circumambulate around the Ka’bah.
  • To touch the Qur’an or to carry it. One who is not in the state of ablution is not allowed to touch the Qur’an, its cover, or the text of a verse written on something. When an electronic screen is on, the digital version of the Qur’an is accepted to be the same as a hard version of the Qur’an. Without being in the state of ablution, it is forbidden to touch the case, bag, etc. used for carrying the Qur’an when there is a Qur’an in it.

It is recommended to perform ablution in the following situations:

  • To perform ritual standing (waqfa) in the plain of Arafat and to perform ritual walking between the Hills of Safa and Marwa (sa’y).
  • To recite the call for prayer (adhan).
  • To wash or carry a body of a dead Muslim.
  • To recite the Qur’an by heart or from a text without touching it. To listen to the recitation of the Qur’an.
  • To read books on Islamic sciences such as Exegesis, Islamic law, hadīth etc.
  • To sit in a mosque, to enter a mosque, and to deliver a sermon other that the sermon for Friday prayer.
  • For a person who is in the state of major impurity, to go to sleep, to eat something, or to want to have one more intercourse.
  • To laugh loudly while performing the ritual prayer.
  • Before going to sleep or after waking up.
  • After making a mistake, getting angry, or backbiting a person.

Trying always to be in the state of ablution and to refresh ablution for every ritual prayer are praiseworthy (mustahab) acts. Wudu’ is the armor of a believer.V. Things that do and do not Nullify the Minor Ablution

  • The minor ablution is nullified when something comes out from the front or the back way, including the breaking of wind, excrement, urine, wadi, mazi, and all kinds of fluids.
  • The minor ablution is also nullified with something that removes the clarity of consciousness, such as getting intoxicated, fainting, losing one’s mind, or sleeping. The state of a person’s minor ablution is not nullified if someone, who sleeps cross-legged by placing the hips on the ground, does not fall firmly asleep and does not see a dream. According to Imam Shafii, it is recommended (in order to remove disagreement) for the person who sleeps to sit with his posterior on the ground.
  • When the bare skin of a male and a female touch, who are not mahram (close blood relatives who cannot get married to each other), their minor ablution is nullified. Moreover, if the skin of spouses or their in-laws touch each other then their minor ablution is nullified. Touching the dead body of the opposite gender also nullifies the minor ablution. Wudu’ is not nullified if one touches the opposite gender with something that can prevent skin touching each other, like a cloth or gloves. Since hair and nails are not similar to skin, touching them does not nullify wudu’. Touching the skin of children younger than seven years old does not nullify wudu’, either.
  • Touching the genitals with the inside of the palm invalidates the state of the minor ablution. Moreover, the state of the minor ablution is nullified in the case of both males and females touching one’s own or somebody else’s genitals with the inside of the palm. Touching the anus also nullifies the state of the minor ablution. However, touching genitals or anus just with the tips of the fingers (not with the inside of the palm) does not invalidate the state of the minor ablution.[9]

VI. The Ablution of People with Chronic Justifications (‘udhr)

Those people who have chronic problems, which continuously nullify their state of ablution, are known as “the people with chronic reasons (‘udhr).” If the chronic problem of a person continues incessantly for the duration of a prayer time and repeats itself at least once in the following prayer times, then that person is accepted as “a person with chronic justifications.” For example; a person with continuous bleeding from the beginning of noon prayer time until the beginning of the late afternoon prayer time is considered a person with chronic justification for the time of the noon prayer. If the bleeding occurs during the late afternoon prayer time even for a single drop of blood, that person is again accepted as a person with an impediment. In short, if the excuse or justification that nullifies the state of ablution continues throughout the duration of the first prayer time and continues into the next prayer time, even for a short while or reoccurs sometime during the next prayer time, that excuse is regarded as a chronic justification.Continuous bleeding, urine incontinence, the chronic flows of other bodily secretions such as pus due to some disease are also among the conditions which are considered chronic justifications.

  • The person with incontinence has to re-perform ablution for every prescribed prayer. The person is not allowed to perform two prescribed prayers by performing one ablution. However, during a prayer time, one is allowed to perform supererogatory prayers and recite the Holy Qur’an as much as he or she wants in addition to the prescribed prayer of that time.
  • One must perform the ablution after the beginning of the time period for the prayer one intends to pray; otherwise his/her ablution will not be valid. For example, if the person with incontinence performs ablution for the dawn prayer, his state of ablution will be nullified with sunrise. If one performs ablution to perform the Duha prayer (pre-noon prayer), he can perform the noon prayer because the prescribed time for noon prayer still continues.
  • According to the Shafii madhhab, the person with chronic justification must cleanse the part of the body affected by the excuse prior to his/her ablutions. The believer with incontinence should first cleanse his private parts (istinja), and then try to stop it by using something such as a piece of cloth. After that, he must perform ablution without waiting. Walking to a mosque, waiting for the congregation or waiting for the Friday prayer are not regarded as acts of waiting. If his excuse occurs while waiting for the mentioned reasons or while performing the ritual prayer (salat), and the impure substance spreads on the body or the cloth used to stop the incontinence, his state of ablution will not be affected.
  • At the first occurrence of the chronic problem, it is recommended to delay the performance of the ritual prayer until the last moments of a prayer time. Those who have chronic justifications should not lead the congregation as imams.
  • If the chronic problem stops for the duration of a prayer time, the state of being excused stops as well. In other words, such people are not accepted as people with justifications and they have to follow the rules established for healthy believers.

[1] Sahih al-Muslim, Kitab al-Tahara, 8.[2] Sahih al-Muslim, Kitab al-Tahara, 6.[3] Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Bab al-Taharah. 2.[4] Sahih al-Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, 137.[5] Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Bab al-Taharah, 4.[6] Al-Bukhari, Bad al-wahy, 1.[7] Al-Ma’ida, 5: 6.[8] Muslim, Taharah, 553; al-Tirmidhi, Taharah, 55.[9] The last two articles do not nullify ablution according to the Hanafi School. Other schools of Islamic law have some different rulings in this matter. Bleeding or expulsion of pus from the body, mouthful vomiting, and laughing loudly while performing the ritual prayer are situations that nullify the minor ablution.

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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