ibn Qunfuzh related that he greeted the Prophet, upon whom be peace, but that
the latter did not return his salutation until he had made ablution: “There is
nothing that prevented me from responding to you except that I do no like to
mention the name of Allah unless I am in a state of purity.” Said Qatadah,
“Because of this, al-Hassan hated to recite the Qur’an or mention Allah’s name
unless he had performed ablution. (Related by Amad, Abu Dawud, an Nasa’i and
Ibn Majah.) Reported Abu Juhaim ibn al Harith, “The Prophet, upon whom be
peace, met a person at the well of Jaml, who greeted him, but he did not return
his greeting until he had wiped his face and hands.” (Related by Ahmad,
al Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i.) This action was one of
preference, not of obligation. Mentioning the name of Allah is permissible for
the one who is in a state of purity, one who has a minor impurity, a person in
post-sex impurity, or one who is standing, sitting, and so on. Said ‘Aishah,
“The Messenger of Allah used to remember Allah at all times.” (Related by “the
five,” except for an-Nasa’i.) Al Bukhari recorded it in mu’alliq form.)
Reported ‘Ali, “The Messenger of Allah would come from relieving himself,
recite to us and eat meat with us. Nothing would stop him from the Qur’an
except post-sex impurity.” (Related by “the five.” At Tirmizhi and Ibn as-Sakin
categorized it as sahih.)
Going to sleep
Al-Barra’ ibn ‘Aazib reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, “When you go to your bed, perform ablution, lie on your right side and then say, ‘O Allah, I submit my soul to You, and I turn my face to You. I entrust my affairs to You. I retreat unto You for protection with hope and fear in You. There is no resort and no savior but You. I affirm my faith in Your books which You revealed and in Your prophets you sent.’ If you die during that night, you will be along the natural path. Make it your final statement (of the night). He reported that he repeated this supplication to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and he said, “...and Your messengers.” The Prophet interjected, “No...’and the prophets You sent.” (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and at-Tirmizhi.) This also applies to one who is in post-sex impurity. Ibn ‘Umar asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah, can one of us sleep while he is in post-sex impurity?” The Prophet answered, “Yes, if he makes ablution.” Reported ‘Aishah, “When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, wanted to sleep in a state of post-sex impurity, he would wash his private parts and perform ablution.” (Related by “the group.”)
a: To remove a sexual impurity
If a person in a state of post-sex impurity wants to eat, drink or have intercourse again, he should perform ablution.
Said ‘Aishah, “When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, was in a state of impurity because of intercourse and wanted to eat or sleep, he would perform ablution.” ‘Ammar ibn Yasar reported that, the Prophet permitted a person in post-sex impurity to eat, drink or sleep if he performed ablution first. (Related by Ahmad and at Tirmizhi, who classified it as sahih.)
Abu Sa’eed reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “If one has intercourse with his wife and wants to repeat the act, he should perform ablution.” (Related by “the group,” except for alBukhari. Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and al Hakim recorded it with the addition, “It makes the return more vivacious.”)
Before performing ghusl
It is preferred to perform ablution before ghusl regardless of whether that particular ghusl was an obligatory or a preferred act. Said ‘Aishah, “When the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, performed post sex ghusl, he would begin by washing his hands and then pour water from his right hand to his left and wash his private parts. He would then perform ablution..” (Related by “the group.”)
a: Before eating food touched by fire
Said Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Qarizh, “I passed by Abu Hurairah while he was performing ablution and he said, ‘Do you know why I am making ablution? It is because I ate some yoghurt dried over a fire, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘Perform ablution before eating food touched by fire.” (Related by Ahmad, Muslim and “the four.”)
‘Aishah related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “Perform ablution from whatever touches fire.” (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah.) This order is one of preference as the following hadith makes clear: ‘Amr ibn Umayyah azhZhamari said, “I saw the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, cutting a piece of a sheep’s shoulder and eating it. He was then called to prayer. He put the knife down, prayed, and did not perform another ablution.” (Related by al Bukhari and Muslim.)
b: Renewing the ablution for every prayer
Said Buraidah, “The Prophet, upon whom be peace, made ablution for every prayer. On the day of the conquest of Makkah, he made ablution, wiped over his socks and prayed a number of times with just one ablution. ‘Umar said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allah, you did something that you have not done (before).’ He answered, ‘I did it on purpose, ‘Umar.”’ (Related by Ahmad, Muslim and others.)
Said Anas ibn Malik, “The Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to make ablution for every prayer.” He was asked, “And what did you people use to do?” Malik said, “We prayed the prayers with one ablution unless we nullified it.” (Related by Ahmad and al Bukhari. )
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said, “Were it not to be a hardship on my people, I would order them to make ablution for every prayer.” (Related by Ahmad with a Hassan chain.)
Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “Whoever makes ablution while he is already in a state of purity will have ten good deeds written for him.” (Related by Abu Dawud, atTirmizhi, and Ibn Majah.)
Notes of importance concerning ablution
It is permissible to speak while performing ablution. There is nothing reported from the Sunnah that prohibits it.
Making supplications while washing the extremities is based on false hadith. It is best for the person to use only the supplications mentioned under the Sunnah Acts of Ablution.
If the person who is making ablution has a doubt concerning how many times he has washed a particular part of the body, he should go by the number he is certain about.
If any barrier or substance with weight, such as wax, is found on the body, it would invalidate one’s ablution unless it is removed and the ablution is performed again. Coloring, like henna, is permissible, as it does not affect the ablution’s correctness.
People with unusual circumstances (i.e. women with “prolonged flows of blood”), people who cannot control their urine, people with flatulence, and so on, should perform one ablution for each prayer whether their problem exists all or part of the time. Their prayers will be acceptable even while their problems are occurring.
One may be assisted by others in performing ablution.
One may use a towel to dry himself during any time of the year.
To be continued