The Mistakes in Performing Ablution
Author: Abu Ahmad Said Yai
All praises be to Allah, peace and prayer of Allah be upon His messenger,
Islam is a perfect religion. However, it is a pity that many of the muslim themselves do not understand their own religion well. They are too busy pursuing the world, thus they are unwilling to learn it. As a result, there are a lot of religious matters that they are lacking of.
Islam is a religion from Allah, which authenticity will be preserved until the end of time. Allah had sent down the Qur’an and revealed to the Prophet – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- to explain the Qur’an and Islam thoroughly. Islam teaches its followers to always keep themselves from any kind of astray and deviation. However, the other religion’s teaching, deviations, and innovations made by some muslims could influence them as a whole to the extent that they want to follow it. Eventually, the astray and deviation becomes heritable thus it transforms into a habit that is very hard to separate from our society.
A. The Mostly Forgotten matters in Ablution
1. Istinsyaaq (inserting water inside the nostrils) and istintsaar (ejecting it).
One of the sunnah in ablution that is usually forgotten is to insert water inside the nostrils. The water should be scooped using the right hand, inhaled deeply until it enters the upper part of the inner nose, then ejected using the left hand. It is indicated in a hadith from the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him:
“And inhale deeply while doing istinsyaaq, except when you are fasting.” (Narrated by Abu Daud, An Nisa’i, At Tirmidhi, and Ibn Maja. It is a valid/sound hadith).
2. Rinsing the mouth and istinsyaaq simultaneously
The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- taught us to rinse our mouth and instinsyaq at the same time. One should scoop the water using his right hand, insert it in his mouth, and after that, inhale the residual water left in his hand inside his nose. It is should be repeated for three times.
The indication is a hadith from ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan –may Allah be pleased with him- when he demonstrated how the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- performed the ablution. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, the status is valid).
3. Washing in between the beard
A man having thick beard is suggested to pass water in between his beard after washing his face. (Narrated bu Abu Daud, Al Baihaqi, etc: the status is valid).
However, it is a pity that many of the muslims have shaved their beard, whereas it is among the teaching of the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- .
4. Wiping the whole head/hair and both ears using two hands
The scholars have agreed that wiping the entire head/hair is better than just a half of it. But they disagreed whether or not wiping only three strands of hair or one fourth of the head is considered as wiping the head? Some of them said it is considered as such, whereas some others said it isn’t. Therefore, in order to avoid the disagreement, it is better to always wipe the entire head.
To wipe the entire head/hair is by wiping it using the residual water on hands, after washing both hands, or by inserting both hands inside the water container without scooping it (just to wet it) then wipe both hands starting from the front part of the head (the border of forehead/hairline) back and down to the rear part of the head (just above the neck), then re-wipe both hands to the opposite direction, i.e., from the rear to the front part of the head.
It is suggested to wipe the head just once, and not thrice. However, it is still alright to do it twice or thrice.
After wiping the head, wipe both of the ears altogether using the residual water on hands. The index finger is used to clean the front part of the ear thoroughly, and the thumb is used to clea the back of the ears. Wiping the ears should also be done only once.
5. Passing water in between fingers while washing the hands and the feet
It is suggested to pass some water in between fingers while washing hands and feet, in order to make sure that the water is thoroughly reaching those parts.
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “When you perform ablution, pass some water in between your fingers and toes.” (Narrated by Ahmad, At Tirmidhi, etc; the status is valid)
6. Being efficient in using water
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- used to perform his ablution using only one mud of water (equal to two handfuls of water). Subhanallah! What a tiny amount, right? With that one mud, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- could wash all of his body parts in ablution. The Messenger of Allah-peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- used to bath by using only one sha’ of water (equal to four mud).
Even though we have plenty of water around us, we are still ordered to use it efficiently.
7. Performing two rak’ah of wudoo after the ablution
It is suggested to perform two rak’ahs of prayer after completing the ablution. The Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “None of a person who performs ablution, and he does it perfectly, then prays two rak’ahs of prayer while focusing his heart and face into the two rak’ahs, except he will be rewarded with the Paradise.” (Narrated by Muslim, the status is valid).
8. It is allowed to talk while performing ablution since there are no indications that prohibit it; however, it is better for us to keep focus on the ablution and to avoid talking.
B. The Common mistakes in Performing Ablution
1. Inserting finger inside the nose to wet the nasal cavity
Many people assumed that inserting water using the finger is enough to be considered as it is. But the truth is it is incorrect, because it doesn’t match what the Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- did.
2. Washing the hands, ears, and feet not in succesive order
Many people washed their hands, ears, and feet thrice, but with order of right and left, then right and left, then right and left again. Even though it is allowed to do so, it is basically not suggested. The appropriate order according to the sunnah is for the hands and feet to follow the order of right-right-right, and then left-left-left. As for the ears, they are wiped just once simultaneously, as we’ve explained earlier.
3. Uncovering the awrah and overwashing the feet until the thigh
One of the matters that are negliged by some muslims is uncovering the awrah in front of others while performing ablution. It is prohibited, as the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “A man isn’t allowed to look at another man’s awrah, and a woman isn’t allowed to look at another woman’s awrah.” (Narrated by Muslim, the status is valid).
Some men used to deliberately open their thighs in order to do the sunnah of extending their feet-washing up to their thighs; while it is not allowed to do so. Because the scholars have taught us that extending the feet-washing is only suggested until it reached the calves, and not the thighs.
Likewise, some women uncover their awrah in front of men, even though they are still able to cover it or to find another closed place to perform the ablution.
4. Washing the neck
Some muslims wet and wash their necks upon performing ablution, and it is actually not allowed to do so, because there are no valid hadith that explain about this practice. All hadith that reveal about how washing the neck is suggested are weak and false hadith, as stated by Asy Syaukani in “Nailul Authar”.
And very strangely, some people claimed that washing the neck is taught by the school of Shafi’i, whereas according to his school, it is not allowed to wash it. Therefore, many of the scholars from the school of Shafi’i denied this practice.
5. Washing the body parts for more than three times
It is not allowed to wash the body parts for more than three times in performing ablution.
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “This is how you perform ablution. Whoever adds it, then he has committed a bad thing, sinned, and crossed the line.” (Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nisa-i dan Ibn Maja : The status is valid)
6. Reciting the addition of the du’a “waj’alnii min ‘ibaadikash-shaalihiin.”
The suggested du’a after performing ablution is, “Allaahummaj’alnii minattawwaabiina waj’alni minal-mutathahhiriin.” As for the addition of “Waj’alnii min ‘ibaadikash-shaalihiin”, it hasn’t been found inside the trustworthy book of hadith. Sheikh Al-Albani (an expert in hadith) commented the addition by saying, “It has no basis.” (See: Riyadhush-shaalihin with the Tahqiq of Sheikh Al-Albani).
Therefore, it is not allowed to recite that additional du’a after performing ablution.
7. Reciting special du’a after washing each body parts
There are no specific indication that mention about there du’a. Hence, we shouldn’t recite them.
This is the end of this short writing, may it benefit us all. Aamiin.