It-haf: Mustahab Acts of Wudu -Pt.4

Its Desirable (Mustahab) Acts:
– Meaning of washing (wudu), it is also called mandub, adab and fadilah. It is defined as that which was performed by the Prophet (s) once/at times, and left at other times, and that which is beloved to the early muslims (salaf).[1]

Beginning from the right,
– Meaning with the right side when washing the hands and feet[2] not the face nor ears.

wiping the neck,
– With the back of the hands[3] the throat is not wiped because to do so would be an innovation.

the transmitted invocations during it
– There are a number of invocations mentioned which can be recited whilst washing and wiping the various body parts.[4]

Additional Rulings: From the etiquettes (adab) of washing (wudu) are: To face the qiblah in other than the state of istinja[5], to perform it before the entering of the prayer time except for the one with a chronic excuse[6], the moving of a loose ring[7], not seeking help from another person[8], to not engage in wordly talk, to join between the intention of the heart and verbalizing with the tongue, the lengthening of the white patches/streaks[9], the recitation of surah al-Qadr and praying two units[10] in other than a disliked prayer time.[11]

[1] In the work Tuhfa al-Fuqaha (1/21) of Ala al-Din al-Samarqandi said the difference between sunnah and adab is defined as that: the sunnah is that which was the continuous practice of the Messenger of Allah (s) which was only left by Him (s) once or twice. Adab is defined as being that which was performed by the Messenger of Allah (s) once or twice and was not habitually performed.
The scholars have stated that there is no difference between the terms: mustahab, mandub, adab, fadilah, nafl. See Dur al-Mukhtar with al-Hashiyah (1/123).
[2] Beginning with right side when washing has been mentioned as being mustahab in a number of works of the hanafi madhab such as al-Kanz, al-Tanwir and Sharh al-Durar. It has been classified as being sunnah in the work al-Shirah and in al-Hidayah as being from the fadail.
However Abu Dawud (4141) and Ibn Majah (402) report that He (s) said: ‘If you perform wudu then begin from your right side’, it is also reported by Ibn Khuzaimah (178) Ibn Hibban (1078) in their Sahih’s. A number of companions who relate His (s) manner of performing wudu clearly mention his beginning the washing the hands and feet from the right hand side, this therefore indicates this was His (s) regular practice as the companions related what they saw from His (s) habitual performance, therefore it is a sunnah.
[3] Abu Ubaid al-Qasim narrates in al-Tahur (192/386) from al-Qasim bin Abd al-Rahman from Musa bin Talha said: ‘He who wipes his neck with his head will be protected from the ghul on the day of judgement’.
Ghul: a ring of steel placed around the neck to debase and torture. The hadith is Mawquf but it takes the ruling of Marfu as the content of the hadith was not mentioned based merely on opinion. It is strengthened by that which is mentioned in a marfu form is Musnad al-Firdaws from the hadith of Ibn Umar that: ‘Wiping the neck is a protection from the ‘ghul’ on the day of judgement’ however its chain is weak, except that that it is agreed that the weak hadith are acted upon in virtuous actions’. See Fath Bab al-Inayah (1/57) and Talkhis al-Habir (1/135-136).
[4] Al-Tahtawi said in his Hashiyah ala Maraqi al-Falah (p.45): Ibn Ameer Hajj said: Our Sheikh the Hafidh of his age, Shihab al-Din bin Hajr al-Asqalani was asked regarding the narrations cited in the Muqaddimah of Abu Layth regarding the invocations for the limbs. He answered: They are weak and the scholars are lenient when mentioning the weak hadith and acting upon it in virtuous actions. None of them are established from the Messenger of Allah (s), neither from his statements, nor actions. Therefore there is no harm in acting upon them based on the principles of the weak (hadith) along with its conditions.
Imam al-Nawawi said in al-Adhkar (p.81) that the jurists (fuqaha) have said it is mustahab to recite the prayers whilst washing each body part.
[5] Because it is an act of worship or a prelude to it, therefore one chooses for it the best place which is to face the direction of prayer (qiblah).
[6] A person with a chronic excuse is someone repeatedly nullifying his wudu and is unable to control it. This person performs wudu for the time of every prayer, and his wudu is nullified with the prayer time finishing. Therefore should he perform wudu before the entering of the prayer time- eg. Performing wudu near the end of the time of Zuhr so that he may pray Asr- his wudu is nullified as soon as the time for Asr starts. His wudu will only have lasted till the end of Zuhr time. Therefore in the case of a person with a chronic excuse there is no benefit in his performing wudu before the time for that prayer starting.
In the case of the person whom is normal and does not have a problem (ie. Someone who is not classified as having a chronic excuse) it is sunnah for them to make wudu for the prayer before the time of prayer entering. After the entry of the prayer time it becomes fard (obligatory) to perform wudu. This is one of the issues wherein a sunnah act is superior to a fard action, Imam al-Suyutis versification of these issues can be found in al-Ashbah wa al-Nazair (p.275).
[7] As for a ring which is tightly fitted on the finger then it is necessary to move it in wudu and ghusl in order for the water to reach the skin area it covers. Because the Prophet (s): ‘When He would perform wudu for the prayer would move the ring on His finger’ reported by Ibn Majah (449).
[8] Meaning not seeking help with the actual washing and wiping of the body parts. As for someone pouring water for the one performing wudu, or providing water for them then there is nothing disliked in this, even if it was requested.
Al-Bukhari said in his Sahih (1/248 with the Sharh of Ibn Hajar) that: The Messenger of Allah (s) departed from Arafah came to al-Shuab and relieved himself. Usamah s
aid: I poured water for Him whilst He performed wudu…’.
[9] The Messenger of Allah (s) said, “My nation will come with bright streaks of light from the traces of ablution…If one can lengthen his streak of light, he should do so’, reported by al-Bukhari (1/45).
What is meant by lengthening the streaks of light is going beyond the obligatory area to be washed in wudu.
[10] Due to His (s) words: ‘If one performs and perfects his ablution and prays two rak’ah with his heart and face (completely on his prayer), Paradise becomes his’, reported by Muslim (17).
[11] Because the leaving of a disliked act is superior to the performance of a desired act.

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