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Ibn Qudamah on Ritual Ablution, Al-Wudu

March 22, 2012


By Abu Amina Elias for

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Ibn Qudamah writes in Umdat filFiqh:

The ritual ablution (wudu) is not valid, neither is any act of worship, unless its practitioner begins by formulating his intention to perform it, because of the Messenger of Allah’s saying, peace and blessings be upon him:

 إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى

Actions are by intentions, and every person is credited for what he intended.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1, Grade: Sahih

Having formulated this intention, he should proceed as follows:

  • He should say, “In the Name of Allah.”
  • He should wash the palms of his hands three times.
  • He should rinse his mouth and nostrils with water, using one or three scoops of water.
  • He should wash his face three times, lengthwise from the points where hair grows on the head down to the curve of the jawbones, and lengthwise from ear to ear.
  • He should run his wet fingers through his beard, if it is thick, but if it is merely stubble on the skin he is obliged to wash it.
  • He should wash his hands and lower arms up to the elbows, three times, and dip them into the wash bowl.
  • He should rub his head, including both ears.
  • He should begin by placing his hands on his forehead, then draw them across to the nape of his neck, and then bring them back to his forehead.
  • He should wash his feet up to the ankles, three times, and dip them into the wash bowl, and he should also run his wet fingers between his toes.
  • He should turn his gaze up to the sky and say:

أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

Among the elements listed above, the following are strictly obligatory (wajib):

  • Intention.
  • Washing one time in each case, except the palms of the hands.
  • Rubbing the whole head.
  • Performing the ablution in the correct sequence, as we have described.
  • The washing of a member of the body must not be delayed until the one before it becomes dry.

The following elements are the prophetic tradition (sunnah):

  • The invocation of the name of Allah.
  • Exaggeration in the rinsing of the mouth and nostrils, except in the case of someone who is fasting.
  • Running the fingers through the beard and between the fingers and toes.
  • Rubbing the ears.
  • Washing the parts on the right side before the left side.
  • Washing three times in each case.

Washing more than three times is disapproved, and so is the extravagant use of water. It is customary to use the toothstick whenever the mouth is tainted, when arising from sleep, and at the time of ritual prayer, because of the Messenger of Allah’s saying, peace and blessings be upon him:

لَوْلَا أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَى أُمَّتِي لَأَمَرْتُهُمْ بِالسِّوَاكِ عِنْدَ كُلِّ صَلَاةٍ

If I could have done so without imposing hardship on my community, I would have commanded them to use the toothbrush at the time of every prayer.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 22, Grade: Sahih

It is also recommended at other times, except for the person who is fasting in the afternoon.

لا يصح الوضوء ولا غيره من العبادات إلا أن ينويه لقول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم «إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى ثم يقول بسم الله ويغسل كفيه ثلاثا ثم يتمضمض ويستنشق ثلاثا يجمع بينهما بغرفة أو ثلاث ثم يغسل وجهه ثلاثا من منابت شعر الرأس إلى ما انحدر من اللحيين والذقن وإلى أصول الأذنين ويخلل لحيته إن كانت كثيفة وإن كانت تصف البشرة لزمه غسلها ثم يغسل يديه إلى المرفقين ثلاثا ويدخلهما في الغسل ثم يمسح رأسه مع الأذنين يبدأ بيديه من مقدمه ثم يمرهما إلى قفاه ثم يردهما إلى مقدمه ثم يغسل رجليه إلى الكعبين ثلاثا ويدخلهما في الغسل ويخلل أصابعهما ثم يرفع نظره إلى السماء فيقول أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله

والواجب من ذلك النية والغسل مرة مرة ما خلا الكفين ومسح الرأس كله وترتيب الوضوء على ما ذكرنا وأن لا يؤخر غسل عضو حتى ينشف ما قبله

والمسنون التسمية وغسل الكفين والمبالغة في المضمضة والاستنشاق إلا أن يكون صائما وتخليل اللحية والأصابع ومسح الأذنين وغسل الميامن قبل المياسر والغسل ثلاثا ثلاثا وتكره الزيادة عليها والإسراف في الماء

ويسن السواك عند تغير الفم والقيام من النوم وعند الصلاة لقول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لولا أن أشق على أمتي لأمرتهم بالسواك عند كل صلاة ويستحب في سائر الأوقات إلا للصائم بعد الزوال

العمدة في الفقه باب الوضوء

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.