[Istinja' is to wash the place of filth with water, derived from naja, to rescue, meaning to cut. It is as if the one who does istinja' removes something offensive from himself. Istijmar is to use small stones to remove offensive matter on the place.
Cleaning yourself with water after going to the lavatory should not be considered a part of wudu', being neither one of its sunna nor its fard aspects.
[ It is neither obligatory, sunna or recommended to connect wudu' to istinja'. It is a separate form of worship which is distinct from wudu' in time and place. It is not considered one of the sunan nor one of the obligations nor one of the merits of wudu'. Its aim is to clean the place in particular. It is recommended that it precede wudu'. If he delays it, then he must be careful about touching his penis which would break his wudu'. ]
However, you have to do it in order that all impurities are removed before doing the prayer. You do not have to make a special intention before doing it.
[ Istinja' is to remove impurity and so it is obligatory that it be done with water, as istijmar is done with stones so that he does not pray with impurity on the body. Part of what indicates that it is part of removing impurity is that it is enough that he remove it without intention.]
The same thing applies when washing impurities off clothes.
[Cleaning impurity from clothes does not require an intention.]
The way you wash yourself after going to the lavatory (istinja') is first of all to wash your hand and then the end of the penis where the urine comes out. You then wipe any impurity from your anus using hard earth or other things or your left hand, which you should then wipe on the ground and wash.
[The full description of istinja' is that after he has removed anything by lightly using his fingers, he takes his penis in his left hand with his index finger and thumb and then lightly pulls it from the bottom to the glans. Then he wipes any impurity from his anus with clods or anything which can be used for istijmar. Then he washes his left hand fearing that any unpleasant smell will remain on it. Then he does istinja' with water, but he first washes the place of urine before the place of faeces so that his hand will not be impure. Combining istijmar and istinja' with water is better since the Prophet did that.]
After this you wash your anus by pouring water over it which you continue to do while at the same time relaxing it a little, rubbing the area thoroughly with the left hand until it is clean.
[ You continue to pour water without letting up because it is more helpful in removing filth. You relax the anus a little because there are folds in it. When water touches it, it contracts. When it is relaxed, it can be washed. The place is rubbed with the hand while the water is being poured until it is cleaned of noxiousness. It is enough that he thinks it probable if he is able to do that. If he is not able to do it because his hand is cut off or short, he delegates someone who is able to touch that place, be it wife or slavegirl. He does not do wudu' when he leaves that without washing it.]
You do not have to wash the inside of either of the two openings.
[It is not recommended or sunna to wash inside the openings. For a man, there is only one opening, because the uretha has no opening.]
You should not do istinja' on account having broken wind.
[It is forbidden to do this cleansing on account of wind. The basis for that is the words of the Prophet,"The one who does istinja' on account of wind is not one of us." There is no text which clarifies whether the prohibition is one of prohibition or one of dislike. The hadith can imply either.]
When doing istijmar it is sufficient to use only three stones provided that the last one comes out clean,
[Istijmar is done with three stones. When the last one comes out clear of noxiousness, then that is adequate, even if water is available. One might conclude from his words that istijmar using less than three stones is not permissible. But the well-known position is that it is based on cleanness, even if it that is achieved with only one stone.]
[Ibn Juzayy points out that it should be an odd number.]
but using water is more purifying, pleasanter and preferred by the men of knowledge ('ulama').
[It is understood from his words that the stones are enough, even if water exists, out of the fear that someone might imagine that that is the same as using water and that they are equally excellent. That possibility is eliminated by his words that water is "more purifying" because neither substance nor trace remains when it is used while the stone only removes the actual thing, and water is better because it removes doubt. It is preferred by scholars, with the exception of Ibn al-Musayyab who said that using water is the action of women and implies that it is part of their obligation, i.e. specific to them and they are not allowed to use stones, as it is specifically necessary in menstruation, lochia and sperm, i.e. in respect of the one obliged to do tayammum because of illness or when he does not have enough water for ghusl, but does have enough water to remove the impurity. Water is also specifically necessary when a lot spreads out from the orifice when it is more than is customary.]
If someone has neither urinated nor defecated but is doing wudu' because he has broken it in some other way or has been asleep or done something else which makes it necessary for him to do wudu' he should wash his hands before he puts them into whatever water container he is using.
[ If someone has not urinated nor defecated or anything else which would require istinja', like madhy and wadiy, and wants to do wudu' because he has broken wind or done something else which obliges wudu', like apostasy, uncertainty about impurity, becoming a Rafidite [extreme Shi'ite], and other reasons like sleep, intoxication and unconsciousness, in following the sunna, he must wash his hands first even if there is nothing on them which demands washing them as when they are both clean. Washing the hands to must absolutely be done whether he does istinja' or anything else]
The sunnas of wudu' include: washing the hands before putting them into the water container,
[One of the sunnas of wudu' is to wash the hands to the wrists before putting them in the vessel. The sunna of washing the hands before putting them into the vessel is when there is little water and it is possible that it might be used up. Otherwise it is not sunna to wash them before putting them in the vessel.]
rinsing the mouth,
[Rinsing the mouth is a sunna: it is to move water about in the mouth and spit it out. If he swallows it, it is not the sunna. Also if he opens his mouth so the water runs into it, it is not the sunna. The water must be moved about in the mouth and then spat out.]
sniffing up water into the nose and blowing it out again,
[One of the sunnas is to to put water in the nostril by inhaling and if water water is put up the nose without sniffing, that is not the sunna. To blow it out, he puts his forefinger and thumb of his left on his nose and blows out the water from the nostrils using his breath.]
and wiping the ears. These are all sunna actions,
[It is a sunna of wudu' to wipe the outside and inside of the ears. The outside is what is next to the head and the inside is what is beside the face.]
the rest being obligatory (fard).
[The rest of wudu' is obligatory. This sentence is unclear since the rest of wudu' includes aspects which are sunna, like repeating the wiping of the head, renewing the water for the ears, and the correct sequence, and that which is recommended, like saying the basmala at the beginning. The answer to that is that his words, 'the rest being obligatory' means the rest of the limbs which are washed and wiped independently since it is obligatory to wipe the head, and repeating it is dependent on it. The rest of the limbs designates independent obligations. Renewing the water and the correct sequence are not limbs. They are not connected to limbs, but to other than limbs because renewal is connected to water and proper sequence is connected to washing.]
Some of the men of knowledge ('ulama') say that when you go to do wudu' because you have been asleep or for any other reason you should begin by saying "bismillah" (in the name of Allah), whereas others say that this is not part of doing wudu' correctly.
[ When you go to do wudu' for some reason which obliges it, like sleep or something else, some scholars says that one begins with the basmala. It is said that he says, "In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate," and it is said that he simply says, "Bismillah." Some scholars do not think that beginning with the basmala was part of the known business of the Salaf, and indeed think that it is reprehensible, i.e. disliked.
It is evident from the words of the author when he ascribes each position to 'some' that Malik did not take any stand regarding the basmala. There are three transmissions from Malik about the basmala. One is that it is recommended, and that is what was stated by Ibn Habib, and is well-known because of the words of the Prophet, "There is no wudu' for the one who does not mention Allah." The hadith appears to imply the obligation, and that is what was said by Imam Ahmad and Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, who was a mujtahid. The second is that it is reprehensible, saying, "Is he slaughtering so that he needs to say the basmala?" The third is that there is a choice and then the judgement is that it is permitted.]
It is easier to get at the water if the container is on your right hand side.
[It is recommended for the person doing wudu' to put the vessel from which he does wudu' to his right because it is easier to take water. If the vessel is open, he can scoop from it. If the opening is narrow, it is better to have it on his left because that is easier.]
You begin by washing your hands three times before putting them into the water container,
[After putting the open vessel to the right and the narrow one to the left, to follow the sunna, he begins by washing his hands to the wrists three times before putting them into the vessel with a separate intention.]
except if you have just urinated or defecated in which case you wash off any traces of impurity before starting to do wudu'.
[ What precedes is about the one who has not urinated or defecated. If he has urinated or defecated, then that person washes off the urine or faeces from himself before doing wudu'. Then he does wudu', meaning the linguistic washing of the hands. Thus his first words about washing the hands before putting them in the vessel is about the one who has not urinated or defecated. If he has urinated or defecated, then he washes the place of urine or other filth and then does wudu', i.e, washes his hands, which is the first of the sunnas of wudu'.]
You put your hand into the container, take some water, and rinse your mouth out three times, using either one handful or three as you wish.
[ You put your hand in the vessel if it is possible. Otherwise you pour the water and take enough water without being extravagant. You can rinse the mouth three times using one handful of water. The first handful is sunna and each of the remaining two is recommended. If he wishes, he rinses the mouth three times with three handfuls, and the second form is better than the first form.]
It is also good to rub your teeth with your finger.
[It is recommended to clean the teeth with the finger before doing wudu'.]
You then sniff up water into your nose
[For the correct sequence only, so after he has rinsed the mouth, he sniffs water up his nose. Note that he says, "into the nose" because there might be sniffing without in going into the nose. Perhaps he mentioned that to seek the blessing of the actual words of the hadith. Muslim says, "He snuffs water up his nose."]
and blow it out again three times, holding your nose as you do when you blow it.
[What is accepted is that it is sunna on its own, and the description of blowing out is to put the finger and thumb of the left hand on the nose and to bring the water with the air of the nose as he does when he blows the nose. Malik disliked blowing it like a donkey because of the prohibition against that in the hadith.]
It is all right if you do this rinsing and sniffing less than three times. It is also all right to do all of this with only one handful of water but three handfuls is preferable.
[ Less than three is adequate for rinsing and sniffing. The minimum is achieved by one or two times. The evidence for what he mentioned is that the Prophet did wudu' doing each action once and each action twice. The person doing wudu' can also combine rinsing and sniffing in the same handful. It has two forms. One is that he only moves to sniffing after he finishes rinsing and the second is that he rinses and sniffs and then rinses and sniffs and then rinses and sniffs. The first is better because it is free of any reversal of order in worship.]
Then you take water, either with both hands together or with the right hand bringing the hands together afterwards, and using both hands pour the water unto the face.
[ After finishing rinsing the mouth and sniffing, then he takes water with both hands if he wishes, or with the right hand and then puts it onto both hands and brings the water to his face. It appears that moving the water to the face is a precondition. This is according to Ibn Habib, Ibn Majishun and Sahnun. The well-known position is that it is not a precondition to move it. What is desired is to bring water to the surface of the face however that happens, even by a water-spout.]
Then using both hands you wash the face
[He applies water to the face without splashing the face with water as women and most men do it. He washes it with the hands. This means that washing connected to moving the water to the washed limb is a precondition of the recommendation in wudu'. He also does that himself, even if he entrusts someone else to do the wudu' when that is not necessary. It does not satisfy the requirement because that is one of the actions of the arrogant. Rubbing is also obligatory, and the well-known position is that rubbing is obligatory in itself, not simply bringing the water to the face.]
from the top of the forehead - which is marked by the hairline -
[The sunna in washing is to begin to wash the limbs from their top. If he begins from the bottom, it is allowed, but what he has done is disliked. He explains that what is meant by forehead is what touches the earth in prostration and the right and left sides of the brow, which is next to the normal roots of the hair. One does not take into consideration thick hair or baldness. He includes the thick hair in washing but not the place of baldness. From 'hairline' it is understood that part of the head must be washed to achieve the obligation.]
to the end of the chin,
[The face has both length and width. The beginning of its length is the normal roots of the hair and the end is to the end of the chin, which is point of the beard, and the hairs on the bottom lip. There is no dispute about it being included in the washing. Its width is from ear to ear.]
covering the whole area of the face from the jawbones to where the ears start, making sure you include the eye sockets, any wrinkles on the forehead and the bottom of the nose.
[ He must wash the entire face, rubbing around it, including the temples between the ears and the eyes. The well-known position is that it is included in washing. You run your hand over what is hidden inside the sockets and inside the eyes. That must be washed. Also the hand must pass over the wrinkles on the brow, which is the place of prostration The hand must be passed over the bottom of the nostrils. This refers to the outside out and not the inside. He must wash the outside of his lips if they are not covered while washing the face.]
You wash your face in this way three times taking water to it.
[The face is washed in this manner three times from the beginning of the limb to the end and rubbing it.]
When washing your face you rub the beard with both palms to make sure that water gets into it since hair has a natural tendency to repel water. You do not have to put your fingers through your beard when doing wudu' according to Malik. You merely rub your hands over your beard down to the end.
[ When the beard is thick, when washing the face, rub the hair of the thick beard with the palms in order to make the water enter it. If he does not do this, he will not do all of the outside of the hair because the hair repels water which gets on it unless it is moved by the hands. The well-known position from Malik is that one does not have to put your fingers through the hair of a thick beard in when doing wudu'. Indeed the apparent text of the Mudawwana is that it is disliked in the case of a thick beard. As for the sparse beard through which the skin shows, he must put his fingers through it when doing wudu'. It is obligatory to absolutely to make water penetrate the hair of the thin or thick beard in washing. The hands must move the water to the end of the beard.]
You then wash your right hand and forearm three times, or twice, pouring water over it and rubbing it with the left hand, making the fingers of one hand go between the fingers of the other. Then you wash the left hand and forearm in the same way.
[ Then first after finishing washing the face, which is the first obligation, he moves on to the second obligation, which is the hands. He washes the right hand first because it is recommended without dispute to begin with the right in things before the left since it is sound that the Prophet said, "When you do wudu' begin with the right." It is done three or two times. There there is a choice in the number times the hands are washed, but there is no choice in washing the face and feet. The reason for that is that it is established that the Prophet washed his face three times and his hands twice each.
He pours water on the right hand and rubs it with the left hand. The rubbing must be connected to pouring the water. He puts the fingers of one hand between those of the other hand. He inserts them through the gaps from the top and not the bottom because otherwise that would entrail entwining which is disliked. His words can imply either obligation or recommedation, but the first is the well-known position. The basis for that is the words of the Prophet, "When you do wudu', put water between your fingers and your toes." However, the command is obligatory for the hands and recommended for the feet. Then he washes the left hand in the same manner.]
When washing the arms you go right up to the elbow, including it in what you wash. It has also been said that you only wash up to the elbows and that it is not necessary to include them but it is better to include them in order to remain on the safe side.
[ When doing wudu' you wash up to the elbows and include the elbows in the washing. It is possible to include them or not in the washing. The most famous position is that it is obligatory to include them. He clearly stated that here. This is taking the ayat ["and your hands to the elbows,"] to mean "with". Those who say that it that the washing ends at the elbows take the ayat to actually mean " up to". The third position is that it is recommended to include them in the washing to remove the difficulty of definition because it is difficult to define the end which the washing reaches.
Then you take water with your right hand, pour it onto the left hand and using both hands you wipe over your head, beginning at the hairline at the front of the head. You place fingertips together with the thumbs at the temples then wipe over your head with both hands as far as the hairline at the back of the neck. Then you bring them back to the place you started, bringing your thumbs up behind your ears back to the temples. Whatever way you wipe your head is acceptable as long as the whole head is covered but the way mentioned is better. If you were to put both hands into the container, then lift them out wet, and wipe over your head with them this is also acceptable.
[ After finishing the second obligation, he moves to the third obligation, and takes the water with the right hand and pours it onto the left palm and wipes his entire head with his hands. It is recommended to start at the front of the head or the normal hairline whether the hair is thick or he is bald. The fingers are put together except for the thumbs which are put at each of the temples. Then the head is wiped to the back of the neck, which is the bottom of the skull and then it is brought back to the place from where you started. It is recommended to bring the thumbs behind the ears and back to the temples which must be wiped along with the rest of the face including the hair. This manner of wiping is not obligatory, but the basis is to acheive a comprehensive washing and to completely wipe the head and hair.
If he put his hands in the vessel, that is another way of taking water for wiping the head. So if he brings his hands out wet after putting them in the water, whether it is in a vessel or not and then wipes his head, that is enough according to Malik without dislike and it is recommended according to Ibn al-Qasim.]
Then you pour water over your index fingers and thumbs or if you like you dip them into the water and with them you wipe the outside and inside of both ears.
[After wiping the head, then the ears are wiped by taking water in the right hand and pouring it over the index finger and thumb of the left hand and the adjoining part of the left palm and he pours it on the same of the right hand. Then he wipes the outside and inside of both ears. If he wishes, he can dip the index fingers and thumbs in the water and then wipe with them. The first manner comes from from Ibn al-Qasim and the second from Malik.]
Women wipe their heads and ears in the same way but they have to wipe over any hair that is hanging loose and cannot wipe over any head covering.
[The woman wipes her head and ears like the man in amount and description by the words of the Almighty, "Wipe your heads," and women are the sisters of men. She wipes over any hair hanging loose. What is well-known is the obligation to wipe over any of man's hair which is handing on the two sides since it will fall on the place of the obligation or on the face. As for that which actually extends over the place of the obligation, it is agreed that it is obligatory to wipe it.
The 'head covering' is a cloth by which a woman binds her hair to protect it from the dust. She also does not wipe over other similar hair coverings when they are put next to the head because all of that is a barrier since it does not let her wipe what must be wiped. Otherwise it is permitted as Malik said that the Prophet wiped over his turban, which is by necessity. Imam Ahmad disagreed and said that there is choice in that. It is affimed that the Prophet wiped the forelock at the front of the head first and finished by wiping over the turban.]
They should put their hands under their plaits when bringing their hands back to the front.
[After the woman begins the wiping from the front of her head and reaches the back where the hair hangs down, she must put her hands under the plaits of hair to complete it, and it is sunna to bring the hands back if there is any moisture left on them. It is clear from his words that she does not have to undo her plaits because of the difficulty involved. Some people limit that to what is tied with a thread or two. When there are a lot of threads, it must be undone.]
[After he finishes wiping the ears, he begins the fourth obligation, i.e. washing the feet. It is said that its obligation is wiping. The reason for the disagreement as to do with how the words of the Almighty are read and whether "your feet" is in the genitive or accusative. If it is accusative, then the feet are added to "face and hands" and there is no doubt that its obligation is washing, and so this judgement is given by the conjunction. If it is genitive, then it is joined to "head" and it has the judgement of what it is joined to, which is wiping, and so they are wiped. They are wiped if he is wearing leather socks. This is deduced from what the Prophet did since it is confirmed that he only wiped his feet when he was wearing leather socks. The multiple transmissions from him is that he always washed them when he was not wearing leather socks.]
You then wash both feet pouring water onto your right foot with your right hand and rubbing it with your left hand little by little. You do this thoroughly three times.
[ The description of washing the feet is that water is poured with the right hand onto the right foot which is rubbed with the left hand. Rubbing one foot with the other is not enough. This is the position of Ibn al-Qasim.
Its washing is recommended to be completed by water and rubbing three times and should not be more than that. The washing of the feet is limited to three times, which is one of two well-known positions about whether the fourth is disliked or forbidden. The other statement is that washing the feet has no limitation. What is desired is to cleanse, even that is more than three. It is also well-known.]
If you want you can put your fingers between your toes. If you do not do this it does not matter, but doing it makes you feel more satisfied. You then rub your heels and ankles and any part which water does not get to easily due to hardening or cracking of the skin. You should make sure you do this well, pouring water on the area with your hand because there is a hadith which says, "Woe to the heels from the Fire." The "heel" of a thing is its extremity or end. You then do the same thing with the left foot.
[If he wishes, he puts water between his toes while washing them, and if he wishes, he leaves that, but it is better to put them between the toes and no doubt remains when it is done.
Rubbing the heels can mean either the obligation or recommendation. What is meant is the first. He must rub all those places where the water does not immediately reach due to hardness or cracks as well as wrinkles in loose skin. The threat regarding "Woe to the heels from the Fire" does not only apply to heels, but to every part of the limbs of wudu'. The Prophet said that about when he saw that the heels had no water on them and had not been wiped with water. The whole process is repeated with the left foot. He did not state the limit of washing, and it extends to the ankles. The best known position is to include them in the washing.]
Washing each of the limbs three times is not an actual command. You can do it less but three is the most you should do. If you can do it thoroughly with less than that it is acceptable as long as you do not leave anything out. Not everyone is the same in the amount of water they require to do wudu' thoroughly.
[ There is no actual definition that it is not adequate if the limbs are not washed in wudu' three times each. Three is the limit of what can be done, and no more than three. Ibn Bashir transmits the consensus that the fourth time is forbidden. The story of the consensus of its prohibition is not established because of the existence of the statement that it is disliked. However prohibition can include what is disliked. The basis in this is that it is related that a bedouin asked the Messenger of Allah about wudu' and he showed him three times each. It is clear that he did wudu' in his presence and then said, "This is how wudu' is." Therefore anyone who does more than this has acted badly, transgressed and done wrong. If it is done throroughly with less than that, it is allowed. The maximum is specified, but not the mininum since it is contained in one and two and so its state is known and there is no need to define it.
Not all people are the same in doing that washing thoroughly. If someone does not do it thoroughly with one time, then it is not allowed and specified in respect of him that which will achieve it. If that is only complete with two, then he intends the obligation by them, and the third is excellence. If it is only thorough with three, then the obligation is intended by it and the recommendation removes what is more. It is clear that the description of wudu' contains obligations, sunnas and virtues and the person is encouraged to peform them in the manner by which none of them is lacking.]
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who does wudu' and does it well and then raises his eyes to the sky and says, 'I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, without any partner and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger,' will have the eight gates of the Garden opened for him and he can enter by any of them he chooses."
Some of the 'ulama' recommend saying when you finish wudu', "O Allah, make me one of those who turn back to You and make me one of those who purify themselves."
ALLAHUMMA IJA'ALNI MINA'T-TAWWABIN WA'JA'ALNI MINA'L-MUTATAHHIRIN)
[Ibn Habib says that it is recommended to say this. The 'tawwabin' are those who have committed wrong actions and then repented and purified themselves of the wrong actions. ]
You must do wudu' realising that you are doing it for Allah as He has ordered you to do, hoping that it will be accepted and that you will get the reward for it and that it will purify you of your wrong actions.
[ Scholars say that the shaykh did not speak about the intention (niyya) for wudu' because he did not say that he makes the intention to perform wudu' which is an obligation by agreement with Ibn Rushd because he did not recall any disagreement about its being obligatory for wudu'. That is why the agreement is related about its being obligatory and in the soundest position with Ibn al-Hajib. Opposite it there is a text on wudu' from Malik about it not being obligatory. Then they disagree about whether it can be deduced from his words or not. Some say that he does not speak about intention in the Risala at all and some of that say that it is deduced from his words "he must", meaning the person doing wudu' must be doing wudu' sincerely for Allah, not for showing off or reputation. That is because sincerity is commanded in the words of the Almighty, "They were only commanded to worship Allah making the deen sincerely His." Sincerity is that a person intend the Worshipped by the act of worship without actual articulation. The focus of the intention is the heart. Part of its precondition is that it accompany the first obligation in wudu', which is washing the face. If it precedes it by a lot, then it is agreed that it is not permissible. There are two accepted positions about it preceding by a little. The best known is that it is allowed. They agreed that if he makes the intention after washing the face, then it is not adequate. The basis for the intention is that it accompany it. If it happens that he overlooks it, he is forgiven.
When wudu' is done sincerely with the intention of obeying Allah's command and secure in himself that the action is done freely, he should hope that it will be accepted and he will be purified of wrong actions absed on what is in Muslim where the Prophet said, "When a Muslim (or a believer) does wudu' and washes his face, then every wrong action at which his eye looked leaves from his face with the water - or with the last drop of waterÉ"
You should feel in yourself that it is a preparation and a cleansing for speaking to your Lord and standing in front of Him to carry out the acts He has made obligatory on you with humility in your bowing and prostration.
[ He should know that wudu' is a preparation and a cleansing from wrong actions and dirt. When the legally responsible person wants to perform wudu', he does it sincerely for Allah Almighty desiring that Allah will accept it because he is purifying himself and this is in order to prepare to converse with his Lord. Conversing with the Lord demands sincerity of heart and devotion of inner consciousness to His remembrance. It is also in order to perform the obligation Allah has imposed on him. Bowing and prostration are specifically mentioned as well as humility in other actions because total humility is meant and because the closest a slave is to his Lord is when he is in prostration.]
You should do wudu' with a certainty of this, taking good care to do it properly for no action is complete without the right intention behind it.
[ You should be aware that wudu' is preparation for intimate conversation with your Lord to order to make reverence and esteem firm in your heart. That will result in doing wudu' with due humility to your Master. This reverence and esteem will result in doing wudu' in a manner which is mindful of avoiding imperfections and whisperings. Actions are only according to intentions. It is enough that the Prophet said, "Every man has what he intends."]
Return to Home Page
Return to Index