Wuḍū’ gives us the necessary external purification so that we can pray. Now that we have purified the external, we need to think about purifying the internal – and wuḍū’ also helps us to do just that. Ibn Al Qayyim said:
“If the servant is to meet his Lord on the Day of Judgment without complete purification (i.e. from sins), then he will not be allowed to enter [jannah] – Similarly, one is not allowed to meet his Lord in prayer except in a state of purity.”
Let us ponder a little bit over one of the du’a that is said after the wuḍū’:
“O Allah make me of those who repent often [to You] and of those who purify themselves.” (Tirmidhi)
So, before a person beautifies himself to meet Allah, one needs to cleanse oneself from his or her sins. Think of it this way: if you were to put on a new shirt, would you wash it first then perfume it, or would you perfume it then wash it? You would wash it first.
Uthman (radi allahu anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“A person who performs wuḍū’ properly will have his sins removed from his body, so much that the sins are removed even from underneath his nails.” (Muslim)
And in the narration by Abu Hurayra, it is said the sins leave “with the last drop of water” (Muslim).
SubhanAllah (Glory be to God) how wudhu removes sins, preparing one for his or her meeting with Allah. It was related by Uthman bin Affan (ra):
“When a servant [of Allah] washes his face (in the course of wuḍū’), every sin which he committed with his face will be removed; when he washes his arms, the same thing happens; when he wipes his head, the same thing happens and when he cleanses his feet the same thing happens” (Ahmad).
So imagine the sins we committed with our eyes will be removed, and with our ears removed and so on. The next time we perform wuḍū’, we should think of it as though we are actually seeing the sins as they fall off. And always think well of Allah that He will forgive (for a refresher, go back to the article on Rajah).
Abu Hurayra also narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Shall I not guide you to that by which Allah wipes away the sins and raises the ranks?” They responded, “Certainly O Messenger of Allah.” He replied:
“Performing the ablution thoroughly despite odds, traversing of more paces toward the mosque, and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer, and that is mindfulness” (Muslim).
Do whatever you want?
A person can say, “Well, great I’ll do what I want and commit so many sins and then do wuḍū’. I have a free pass!” But this isn’t correct. We should not make a mockery of Allah’s mercy with pre-meditated disobedience. Allah says:
“And they [i.e. the disbelievers] planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners” (Qur’an, 3:54).
What will Allah (subhana wa ta’ala – Glory be to Him) do? He could deny us the benefits of wuḍū’ as a result of making a mockery of His mercy.
The Marking of Wudhu
We all know the hadith when the Prophet (ﷺ) passed by the graveyard and said:
“Peace be upon you, dwelling of Believing People, and we will (all), if Allah wills, join you soon. I would have liked to have seen our brothers!”
The companions (ra) were surprised at this and said, “Are we not your brothers, O Messenger of Allah?”
He said, “You are my Companions and our brothers are those who have not yet come.”
They said: How will you know those who have not yet come from your ummah, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Have you not seen that if a man had a horse with a white blaze and hoof along with a totally jet-black horse, then would he not know his horse?”
They said, “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah.”
He said, “So they will come with white blazes and marks from the wuḍū’ and I will be present before them at the Hawḍ (the pool)” (Muslim).
That is one of the ways by which the Prophet (ﷺ) will know us on the Day of Judgment. Allahu akbar – God is great.
Raising Your Station with Wudhu
The Prophet (ﷺ) woke up one morning and went to Bilal (ra), saying to him, “O Bilal, how is it that I heard the sound of your footsteps in Jannah?”
Bilal (ra) answered, “O Messenger of Allah, I never committed a sin except that I prayed two rak’as [in repentance]; and every time my wuḍū’ breaks, I go renew my wuḍū’.”
The Prophet (ﷺ) answered, “Yes this is the reason why [I heard your footsteps].” (Ibn Khuzayma)
Some Things That Nullify Wudhu
Of course the purpose of this series is not solely to feel the spirituality behind wuḍū’ and prayer without cautioning against invalid wuḍū’. These are some of the things that nullify wuḍū’:
- Passing urine, feces or gas
- Deep sleep where you become unaware of your surroundings
- Losing consciousness
- Sexual intercourse
(This is not an exhaustive list.)
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use thesiwak for every wuḍū’ [in another narration, before every prayer]” (Bukhari).
The Prophet (ﷺ) also said:
“Siwak cleanses the mouth and earns the Lord’s pleasure” (An-Nisaa’ee).
Look at the Prophet’s (ﷺ) scrupulousness and care in his relationship with Allah – that he wanted to meet his Lord in prayer with a clean and pure mouth. The Prophet (ﷺ) loved the siwak so much that when he was sick in his final days, he was with Aisha (ra) when her brother Abdur-Rahman (ra) walked in and he had a siwak. She saw the Prophet (ﷺ) looking at it and she knew he wanted it. So she asked Abdur-Rahman for it, softened it for the Prophet (ﷺ) by chewing it, and gave it to him. (For more information on the siwak, click here.)
May we all perfect our wuḍū’ for the sake of Allah and in accordance to the example of his Messenger (ﷺ). Ameen.