بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
Introduction to Purification
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِذَا قُمۡتُمۡ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغۡسِلُواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ وَأَيۡدِيَكُمۡ إِلَى ٱلۡمَرَافِقِ وَٱمۡسَحُواْ بِرُءُوسِكُمۡ وَأَرۡجُلَڪُمۡ إِلَى ٱلۡكَعۡبَيۡنِۚ وَإِن كُنتُمۡ جُنُبً۬ا فَٱطَّهَّرُواْۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرۡضَىٰٓ أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوۡ جَآءَ أَحَدٌ۬ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡغَآٮِٕطِ أَوۡ لَـٰمَسۡتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمۡ تَجِدُواْ مَآءً۬ فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيدً۬ا طَيِّبً۬ا فَٱمۡسَحُواْ بِوُجُوهِڪُمۡ وَأَيۡدِيكُم مِّنۡهُۚ مَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيَجۡعَلَ عَلَيۡڪُم مِّنۡ حَرَجٍ۬ وَلَـٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمۡ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعۡمَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡكُمۡ لَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ
[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. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favour upon you that you may be grateful.]
This is probably the most concise yet detailed verse in the Quran pertaining to rituals of religious purification.
The verse begins by addressing those “…who have believed…” This indicates that the following action is directed specifically to Muslims. The following action is the religious action of performing the prayer, “when you rise to [perform] prayer.”
Thereafter, Allah the Exalted stipulates the ritual act of ablution. Thus, before one stands for prayer he is required to be in the state of ablution; “wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles.” This indicates that performing ablution by washing the four limbs as stated above, is a condition for the validity of ones Prayer. It can be further understood from a linguistic perspective. The address begins with إذا which is one of the prepositions that are used in the Arabic language to stipulate a condition, which is thereafter followed by a فـ which indicates the conclusion. For example, “if you do this” is a condition, its conclusion is “then I will do that.” Here the condition is, when you rise from prayer (إِذَا قُمۡتُمۡ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ) and its conclusion is, then you must wash… (فَٱغۡسِلُواْ). Therefore, ablution is a condition for the validity of prayer.
Introduction to Ablution - وضوء
The first word in the verse with regards to the performance of ablution is اِغْسِلُوا (Wash!) which is a command by Allah the Exalted. Commands in the Arabic language are expressed in a specific etymological pattern (here اِغْسِلُوا which means Wash! Is etymologically derived from the present tense تَغْسِلُوْنَ). Usually, as a rule of thumb, a command indicates an obligation (fard), unless there is some other indicator which would change the legal classification of the action in question to a different legal status such as ‘mandub’ or ‘mustahab’. Here, the command اِغْسِلُوا illustrates that washing the limbs attributed to this command are obligatory i.e. fard (فرض) to wash before the prayer. Thus, the legal status of ablution before the prayer is fard, and the three limbs mentioned in the verse, namely the face, the hands and arms up to the elbows and the feet up to the ankles are also fard to wash.
Similarly, the command with regards to wiping the head (اِمۡسَحُواْ بِرُءُوسِكُمۡ) also indicates to an obligation.
Conclusion of lesson one
So far what have we learnt?
1) Ablution is an obligatory condition for the validity of prayer
2) The legal status of Ablution in and of itself is fard
3) There are at least 4 fard acts in ablution:
i. Washing the face
ii. Washing the hands and the arms up to the elbows
iii. Wiping the head
iv. Washing the feet up to the ankles
Note: according to Imam ash-Shāfi’i and others, there are more fard acts pertaining to ablution, these will be explored in future lessons. Also, details and difference of opinions will be explored in future lessons.
I hope this was beneficial.
May Allah the Exalted accept it from me and you.