Basis of obligation

Basis of obligation

source :Osoul Global Center

Valid ablution is mandatory for any Muslim to pray and there is no other view on this subject. For ablution to be correct one must be sane, have the intention, follow the proper order and wash the obligatory parts.

Basis of obligation

The basis of making the ablution obligatory when wanting to pray is the Quran,

:as Allah says

‘Believers, when you are about to pray, wash your faces, and your hands and arms up to the elbows, and pass your wet hands lightly over your heads, and wash your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, purify yourselves. But if you are ill, or on a journey, or if one of you has come from the toilet, or if you have been in intimate contact with women and can find no water, then have recourse to pure dust, passing therewith lightly over your faces and your hands. Allah does not want to impose any hardship on you, but He wants to purify you, and to bestow on you the full measure of His blessings, so that you may be grateful.’ 

(5:6)

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘Allah does not accept a prayer without ablution or voluntary charity (i.e. sadaqah) from stolen booty.’

Related by Muslim, hadith No. 224

:He also said

‘Allah does not accept the prayer of one who had a discharge from the private parts until he has performed the ablution.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 6,954; Muslim, hadith No. 223

No Muslim has ever expressed a contrary view. Thus, the ablution is required on the basis of the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the unanimity of scholars.

Requirements

For ablution to be valid, it must comply with the following requirements:

1-Belief in Islam, sanity and sense of discrimination: It cannot be done by an unbeliever, a mad person or a child that does not discriminate between actions.

2-Intention:

:As the Prophet (peace be upon him) says

‘Actions are but by intentions.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 1; Muslim, hadith No. 1,907

There is no need for a verbal declaration of intention as this was not done by the Prophet (peace be upon him).

3-Clean water: Ablution cannot be done using water that has been contaminated by impurity.

4-Removal of anything that prevents skin contact with water, such as the presence of wax or dough on some spots, or nail varnish.

5-Immediate progress from one action to the next.

6-Following the proper order.

7-Washing all the organs that are required to be washed.

The obligatory part

1-Washing one’s whole face, 

:as Allah says

‘Believers, when you are about to pray, wash your faces...’

(5:6)

2-Washing one’s arms up to the elbows, as the relevant verse makes clear: 

‘...wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows...’

(5:6)

3-Wiping one’s head with one’s wet hand. There are different views on this, though the one we uphold is to wipe one’s whole head. However, some scholars consider wiping a part of one’s head sufficient. 

:Allah says

‘...and wipe over your heads...’

(5:6)

To wipe a part of one’s hair that is not close to one’s head is invalid.

4-Washing one’s feet up to the ankles, 

:as Allah says

‘...and wash your feet up to the ankles...’

(5:6)

5-Following the proper order: This is required because Allah mentions it in order and the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed his ablutions in the same order mentioned by Allah: the face, then the arms, then the head then the feet. This is clearly indicated by the hadith reported by 'Abdullah ibn Zayd and in other hadith describing the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) ablution.

6-Continuous progress: This means washing one organ immediately after the one before it, without delay. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to perform his ablution without leaving gaps between washing the different parts. This is further confirmed by the hadith reported by Khalid ibn Ma'dan:


‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a man praying and noticed that there was on the top of his foot a spot the size of a coin which was dry, because water did not touch it when the man performed his ablution. The Prophet ordered him to repeat his ablution.’

Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 15,495; Abu Dawud, hadith No. 175; al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan al-Kubra, hadith No. 396

 Had it not been necessary for ablution to be consecutive without any gap, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have told the man only to wash the unwashed part, not to repeat his ablution.

The recommended part

Certain actions are recommended when performing the ablution. These are Sunnah, which means that a person who does them earns a reward, while the one who omits them misses out on a reward but his ablution is valid. These are:

1-Saying, ‘In the name of Allah’ at the beginning,

 :as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘A person who does not say the name of Allah when doing the ablution does not have his ablution complete.’

Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 9,418; Abu Dawud, hadith No. 101; al-Hakim, vol. 1, p. 245; al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan al-Kubra, hadith No. 186

2-Brushing one’s teeth. 

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘Had it not been for fear that I make things too hard for my community, I would have ordered them to brush their teeth every time they performed the ablution.’

Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 9,928; al-Nassa’i in Al-Sunan al-Kubra, hadith No. 99; al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan al-Kubra, hadith No. 148

3-Washing one’s hands three times at the start, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that as reported by his companions who explained how he performed his ablution.

4-Rubbing one’s face to ensure that one’s wet fingers go through one’s thick beard.

 :The Prophet (peace be upon him) did that

‘When the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed his ablution, he rubbed his arms.’

Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 16,441; Ibn Hibban, hadith No. 1,082; al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan al-Kubra, hadith No. 1/196; al-Hakim, vol. 1, p. 243

‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) took water below his jaws to go through his beard.’

Related by Abu Dawud, hadith No. 145; al-Hakim, vol. 1, p. 250; al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan al-Kubra, hadith No. 1/90

5-Starting with the right hand or foot, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that:

‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) liked to start with the right when putting on his shoes, dismounting, performing ablution and all matters.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 168; Muslim, hadith No. 268

6. Washing one’s face, hands and feet three times. What is obligatory is once only, but it is recommended to do it three times, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that.

:It is authentically reported that

‘at different times he washed each part once, or twice or three times.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith Nos. 157, 158 and 159

7-Rinsing one’s mouth. 

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘When you perform the ablution, rinse your mouth.’

Related by Abu Dawud and al-Bayhaqi

8-Cleaning one’s nose. 

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘When you perform the ablution, take some water in your nose and blow your nose.’

Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud

9-Wiping one’s ears using one’s forefinger to wipe the inside of one’s ears and one’s thumb to wipe the outside.

10-Glorification after the ablution.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘For any of you who performs the ablution and does it well, then says, “I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah; He has no partners; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger,” will have all eight gates of heaven opened and he may enter through any one he wishes.’

 Related by Muslim, hadith No. 234; al-Tirmidhi, hadith No. 55, though al-Tirmidhi adds the supplication, ‘My Lord, make me one of those who repent of their sins and one of those who always purify themselves

11-Economy in using water.

:Anas reports

‘that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to wash his body  for purification, using the equivalent of two litres.’

Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim

He might use only one quarter of this amount for ablution.

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