Ablution or Al-Wudu (Arabic: الوضوء‎)

Ablution

Definition:

  • Linguistically, it means brightness and looking good. We can relate this meaning as the cleanliness of keeping Al-Wudu keeps people clean, looking bright and good.
  • Islamically, it means a specialized type of cleanliness that includes washing parts of the body mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.

Types of Al-Wudu:

  • Obligated: Al-Wudu is a necessity for anyone who wants to pray a regular Salat, Nafelah, Janazah, and Tawaf around Ka’bah. Some disputed reasons among scholars include touching the Mus’haf or making Sujood Tilawah.
  • Preferred: Al-Wudu is urged to be renewed for every Salat, before sleeping, before showering, between intercourse, cooling anger, reading Quran, calling Azan or Iqamah, after washing the dead, or in case of committing sins.
  • Prohibited: Al-Wudu is not allowed if water used has been taken by force from someone, meaning illegally.

Al-Wudu major obligatory actions:

The Holy Quran spoke of four major acts in Sura 5(Al-Maeda), Ayat 6: {O you who believe! When you rise for the Prayer, wash your faces, and your hands to the elbows. And wipe your heads [with wet hands]. And [wash] your feet to the ankles}, that scholars agreed upon as being the main parts of Al-Wudu:

Agreed upon obligations:

  • Washing Face: One time from upper part of forehead where hair grows to bottom part of chin and from one side of the ear to the other.
  • Washing hands to elbows: One time and the actual elbows must be included in the wash.
  • Wiping head: One time and at least one quarter of the head.
  • Washing feet: One time to the ankles with focus on the water reaching the heel and back of feet as many people miss that.

Disputed obligations:

  • Intention: School of Shafe’i makes it an obligation while school of Hanafi includes it in intention for Salat itself.
  • Sequence: To keep order in washing as mentioned in the Quran is preferred only according to school of Hanafi and Malikiyyah. While school of Shafe’i and Hanabelah see it as an obligation.
  • Succession: It means that not much time should be left between washing parts of Al-Wudu. The school of Hanafi and Shafe’i see it as Sunnah while Maliki and Hanabelah see it as obligated.

Things That Revoke Wudu:

Among the eleven things that revoke your Wudu are three that all scholars agreed upon. These three are:

  1. Anything that passes from the private parts such as urine, gas and stool. Excluded from that would be the semen as it requires a ghusl, or a full shower. Allah said: {Or any of you comes after answering the call of nature}5:6. The prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah will not accept a prayer from any of you if (what voids Wudu as in call of nature) befalls until he makes Wudu.” Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari.
  2. Sleeping that leaves someone unconscious. Safwan son of Assal said: ‘The prophet (PBUH) used to order us if we were travelling not to remove the Khuff (leather like shoe) for three days and nights except for Janabah (sexual discharge) but not from urine, feces and sleep.’ Hadith Narrated by Imam Tirmizi.
  3. Mentally incapacitated. Examples of that would be like mentally ill, unconscious, drunk, or any status that leaves the person mentally incapacitated or compromised. These examples are in the same category under sleeping.

The other eight that scholars differed in opinion are:

  1. Touching the private area without a shield. According to the school of Hanafiah it does not void your Wudu. They support that by the Hadith of the prophet (PBUH): “It is but part of you.” Hadith narrated by Imam Baihaqi. Imam Shafei and Imam Ahmad consider that touching the private part does revoke your Wudu based on the following Hadith: “Whoever touches his private part (let him make) Wudu.” Hadith narrated by Imam Tirmizi. Because of the two narrations of the Hadiths, school of Malekiah considers it preferred to make Wudu but not obligated in such case. The Fatwa Book from the Council of Scholars in SA states the following: ‘The concluded view on touching the private part without a shield is that it does not void your Wudu. The Hadith that tells Muslims to make Wudu is considered as urging Muslims to do that only because of the other Hadith that relates that one does not need to.’
  2. Bleeding. According to the school of Hanafiah, the large amount of blood over a drop or two that flows on the skin voids your Wudu, and the area itself should be cleaned from blood as well. They support the ruling by the Hadith of the prophet (PBUH): “Whoever has vomited or had nose bleeding during Salat let him step away and make Wudu and continue on his prayer if he did not speak.” Hadith (Authentic) narrated by Ibn Majah through Aiesha (RAA). According to Shafei’yyah and Malikiyyah, blood will not void your Wudu because of this Hadith (Weak): The Prophet (PBUH) did cupping and prayed without Wudu and he did not wash the area of the cupping.” Narrated by Darqutni and Baihaqi through Anas. Also they support through a Hadith that Abbad Ibn Bishr was hit by arrows while praying and he kept praying. Narrated by Bukhari among (Al-Mu’allaqat.).
  3. Vomiting. According to the school of Hanafiah, any excessive amount of vomiting will void Wudu. They support this ruling by the Hadith that Abu Addarda’ said: “The prophet (PBUH) vomited and then he made Wudu.” Hadith narrated by Tirmizi. According to Imam Shafei, there is no direct Hadith that says vomiting voids Wudu. The previous Hadith is understood as it is preferred only to make Wudu.
  4. Touching the other gender. According to the school of Shafeiah, simple touching of a female (by a male) would void the Wudu. They support the ruling by interpretation of the verse: {or if you have touched women [intimately]} 5:6. Most other scholars do not interpret the verse as to mean simply just touching but rather in an intimate way. They also refer to the Hadith in which the prophet (PBUH) would kiss his wife and leave for the Mosque to pray without renewing Wudu. Hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad. School of Hanafiah rule that Wudu will be voided only if an almost intimate relation is reached. School of Malikiyyah and Hanabelah rule that wudu will be voided if pleasure was felt when touching other gender.
  5. Laughing during Salah. The school of Hanafiah considers that laughing during Salah would void your Salah and your Wudu. They support their view by the Hadith: “Only for those who laugh loudly they must repeat their Wudu and Salah.” Hadith narrated by Imam AlZaylaie and Al Asqalani. The majority of scholars do not support this view because the Hadith is weak, or Dai’ef.
  6. Eating camel meat, according to school of Hanabelah, will void your Wudu. They support their view by the Hadith (authentic): When the Prophet (PBUH) was asked about camel meat he said: “Make wudu because of it.” Hadith narrated by Muslim. Other schools don’t consider eating camel meat to void your wudu, and they support their claim because the last ruling of the Prophet (PBUH) was that he would not make wudu from that which fire has touched (in cooking, including camel meat.) Hadith narrated by Abu Daoud, Tirmizi and Ibn Majah through Jaber (RAA).
  7. Washing dead people would void your wudu according to school of Hanabelah. They support their claim that it was narrated that Ibn Omar and Ibn Abbas used to order those who wash dead people to make wudu afterwards. Other schools do not support that view.
  8. Uncertainty about wudu, according to school of Malikiyyah. The conclusion in their ruling is that if the person was certain that he had wudu but unsure if he lost it, then he is still on wudu. But if the person was uncertain if he had made wudu from the beginning then he needs to make wudu.
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