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Wudhu » Immersive ablution (al-wuḍūʾ al-irtimāsī) → ← Mutahhirat » Laws of utensils

Mutahhirat » Ablution (wuḍūʾ)

Ruling 235. In wuḍūʾ, it is obligatory to wash (ghasl) the face and the arms, and to wipe (masḥ) the front part of the head and the upper part of the feet.

Ruling 236. The length of the face that must be washed is the area from the top of the forehead where the hair grows to the bottom of the chin; and the breadth of the face that must be washed is the area that is covered by the tip of the middle finger to the tip of the thumb. If even a small amount of this area is not washed, the wuḍūʾ is invalid; and if one is not certain of having washed this area completely, he must also wash a little extra around this area in order to be certain.

Ruling 237. If someone’s face or hand is smaller or larger than normal, he must observe the amount that people with a normal sized face and hand wash, and he must wash the same amount. And if hair grows on one’s forehead, or, if one does not have hair on the front part of his head, he must wash the same amount of his forehead that people with normal foreheads wash.

Ruling 238. If a person deems it probable that there is dirt or something else in his eyebrows or in the corners of his eyes or lips which would prevent water from reaching those areas, in the event that his deeming this probable would be considered by people to be reasonable, he must examine this before performing wuḍūʾ and if there really is such an obstacle, he must remove it.

Ruling 239. If the skin of one’s face is visible from in between his facial hair, he must ensure that the water reaches the skin. If it is not visible, then washing his facial hair is sufficient and it is not necessary for him to ensure that water reaches under his facial hair.

Ruling 240. If a person doubts whether or not the skin of his face is visible from in between his facial hair, then based on obligatory precaution he must wash his facial hair and also ensure that water reaches the skin.

Ruling 241. It is not obligatory to wash inside the nose or those parts of the lips and eyes that cannot be seen when they are closed. However, if a person is not certain that everything that must be washed has been washed, it is obligatory that he washes a little of those parts as well in order to be certain. Furthermore, with regard to someone who did not know this rule, if having performed wuḍūʾ he does not know whether he washed the required area or not, the prayers he performed with that wuḍūʾ are valid and it is not necessary for him to perform wuḍūʾ again for the next prayer.

Ruling 242. The direction in which one must wash the arms is from top to bottom [i.e. in a direction towards the fingertips]. The same applies, based on obligatory precaution, to washing the face [i.e. it must be washed in a direction towards the chin]. If a person washes from bottom to top, the wuḍūʾ is invalid.

Ruling 243. If a person wets his hand with water and wipes it on his face and arms, in the event that the wetness of his hand is to the extent that by wiping his face and arms the water covers them, it is sufficient, and it is not necessary for the water to flow over them.

Ruling 244. After washing the face, one must wash his right arm from the elbow to the tips of the fingers, and he must then proceed to wash his left arm in the same way.

Ruling 245. If a person is not certain that the elbow has been washed completely, he must also wash a little above it in order to be certain.

Ruling 246. If someone washes his hands up to his wrists before washing his face, then when he performs wuḍūʾ, he must still wash his arms up to the tips of his fingers; if he washes his arms only up to his wrists, his wuḍūʾ is invalid.

Ruling 247. In wuḍūʾ, washing the face and arms once is obligatory, twice recommended, and three times or more unlawful. The first washing is complete when one pours – with the intention (qaṣd) of performing wuḍūʾ – an amount of water onto the face or arms that covers them completely, such that there is no need to take any further measures to ensure that the water has reached the required area. Therefore, if, for example, one pours water ten times onto his face until the water covers his face completely, and he does this with the intention of the first wash, there is no problem [i.e. the first wash will be deemed to have taken place correctly]; and until he does not make the intention of performing wuḍūʾ and of washing his face, for example, the first wash is not deemed to have taken place. Therefore, he can pour water onto his entire face a number of times and on the last time that he pours water, he can make the intention of a wuḍūʾ washing. However, the validity of such an intention for the second washing is problematic, and the obligatory precaution is that one must not pour water onto his face and arms more than one time after the first washing, even if it is not with the intention of performing wuḍūʾ.

Ruling 248. After washing both arms, one must wipe the front part of his head with the wetness of the water that has remained on his hand. And the recommended precaution is that one should wipe with the palm of his right hand and that he should wipe from top to bottom [i.e. in a direction towards his forehead].

Ruling 249. The area that must be wiped is the front quarter of the head, i.e. the quarter immediately above the forehead. It is sufficient to wipe any part of this area and to any extent, although the recommended precaution is that the length of the wiping should be at least the length of one finger, and the width of the wiping should be at least the width of three fingers joined together.

Ruling 250. It is not necessary that the wiping of the head be on its skin; rather, it is also correct (ṣaḥīḥ) to wipe the hair on the front of one’s head. However, if the length of someone’s hair at the front of his head is so long that if, for example, he was to comb it, it would fall onto his face, or it would reach other parts of his head, then he must wipe the roots of the hair. And if he gathers the hair which falls on his face, or which reaches the other parts of his head, at the front of his head and then wipes it, or, if he wipes the hair that has come to the front part of his head from other parts of his head, then such a wiping is invalid.

Ruling 251. After wiping the head, one must wipe the upper part of the feet with the wetness of the wuḍūʾ water that has remained on his hands. The area that must be wiped is from the tip of one of the toes to the ankle; and based on obligatory precaution, wiping the feet up to the raised part in the middle of the foot [before the ankle] will not suffice. And the recommended precaution is that one should wipe the right foot with the right hand and the left foot with the left hand.

Ruling 252. The wiping of the feet can be of any width; however, it is better that the width be the width of three fingers joined together; and it is even better for the whole of the upper foot to be wiped with the whole of the hand.

Ruling 253. With regard to the wiping of the feet, it is not necessary for one to place his hand on the tips of the toes and to then draw his hand to the back of the foot; rather, one can place his whole hand on his foot and draw it back a little.

Ruling 254. With regard to the wiping of the head and feet, one must draw his hand over them; therefore, if one keeps his hand still and draws his head or foot along it, the wiping is invalid. However, there is no problem if the head or foot moves slightly when one is drawing his hand over them.

Ruling 255. The area to be wiped must be dry; and if it is wet to the extent that the wetness of the hand has no effect on it, the wiping is invalid. However, there is no problem if the area to be wiped is merely damp, or its wetness is so little that it becomes absorbed in the wetness of the hand.

Ruling 256. If for the purposes of wiping no moisture is left on the hand, one cannot wet his hands with additional water; rather, one must take moisture from his beard and perform the wiping with that. Taking moisture from anything other than one’s beard and wiping with it is problematic [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, such a wiping does not suffice].

Ruling 257. If the moisture on one’s hand is only sufficient for wiping his head, the obligatory precaution is that he must wipe his head with that moisture, and for the wiping of his feet he must take moisture from his beard.

Ruling 258. Wiping performed on socks or shoes is invalid. However, if one is unable to remove his socks or shoes on account of severe cold, or fear of thieves or predatory animals etc., then the obligatory precaution is that after he has wiped on his shoes or socks he must also perform tayammum. If it is a matter of taqiyyah,(1) it is sufficient if he only wipes over his socks or shoes.

Ruling 259. If the upper part of one’s foot is impure and it cannot be washed [and made pure] so that it can be wiped, then tayammum must be performed.

(1) Taqiyyah refers to the discretionary concealment of one’s beliefs under duress.
Wudhu » Immersive ablution (al-wuḍūʾ al-irtimāsī) → ← Mutahhirat » Laws of utensils
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