Fiqh al-Sunnah: The Recommendations of Initiating Ablution

The waist level faucet and stool has become synonymous with the Islamic ritual custom and prayer requirement of ablution, and can be found in Islamic centers and masajid all across the world.

 

19 – باب مَا جَاءَ إِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ أَحَدُكُمْ مِنْ مَنَامِهِ فَلاَ يَغْمِسْ يَدَهُ فِي الإِنَاءِ حَتَّى يَغْسِلَهَا

Chapter: What has come related to when any of you wakens from sleep they should not submerge their hand in a bucket until washing the hand.

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْوَلِيدِ، أَحْمَدُ بْنُ بَكَّارٍ الدِّمَشْقِيُّ – يُقَالُ هُوَ مِنْ وَلَدِ بُسْرِ بْنِ أَرْطَاةَ صَاحِبِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ عَنِ الأَوْزَاعِيِّ عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ وَأَبِي سَلَمَةَ

Abu Hurairah said: the Prophet ﷺ said:

 

If any of you waken from the night they should not put their hand in a bucket until they’ve poured [water] over it two or three times, because he does not know where his hand slept. [Sahih, with al-Bukhari & Muslim]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ قَالَ ‏ “إِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ أَحَدُكُمْ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَلاَ يُدْخِلْ يَدَهُ فِي الإِنَاءِ حَتَّى يُفْرِغَ عَلَيْهَا مَرَّتَيْنِ أَوْ ثَلاَثًا فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَدْرِي أَيْنَ بَاتَتْ يَدُهُ.”

وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ وَجَابِرٍ وَعَائِشَةَ.‏

قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى وَهَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ.‏

قَالَ الشَّافِعِيُّ وَأُحِبُّ لِكُلِّ مَنِ اسْتَيْقَظَ مِنَ النَّوْمِ قَائِلَةً كَانَتْ أَوْ غَيْرَهَا أَنْ لاَ يُدْخِلَ يَدَهُ فِي وَضُوئِهِ حَتَّى يَغْسِلَهَا فَإِنْ أَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَغْسِلَهَا كَرِهْتُ ذَلِكَ لَهُ وَلَمْ يُفْسِدْ ذَلِكَ الْمَاءَ إِذَا لَمْ يَكُنْ عَلَى يَدِهِ نَجَاسَةٌ.‏

وَقَالَ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ حَنْبَلٍ إِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ مِنَ النَّوْمِ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَأَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فِي وَضُوئِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَغْسِلَهَا فَأَعْجَبُ إِلَىَّ أَنْ يُهَرِيقَ الْمَاءَ‏.‏

وَقَالَ إِسْحَاقُ إِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ مِنَ النَّوْمِ بِاللَّيْلِ أَوْ بِالنَّهَارِ فَلاَ يُدْخِلْ يَدَهُ فِي وَضُوئِهِ حَتَّى يَغْسِلَهَا.‏

 

 

20 – باب مَا جَاءَ فِي التَّسْمِيَةِ عِنْدَ الْوُضُوءِ

Chapter: What has come regarding saying [Allah’s] Name with ablution

حَدَّثَنَا نَصْرُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ الْجَهْضَمِيُّ، وَبِشْرُ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ الْعَقَدِيُّ، قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا بِشْرُ بْنُ الْمُفَضَّلِ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ حَرْمَلَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي ثِفَالٍ الْمُرِّيِّ،

Rabaah ibn Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Sufyan ibn HuwaiTib, from his grandmother, from her father, who said: I heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying:

 

There is no ablution for the one who hasn’t mentioned Allah’s Name over it.” [Hasan]

عَنْ رَبَاحِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ بْنِ حُوَيْطِبٍ، عَنْ جَدَّتِهِ، عَنْ أَبِيهَا، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ﷺ يَقُولُ ‏ “‏لاَ وُضُوءَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ.

قَالَ وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ عَائِشَةَ وَأَبِي سَعِيدٍ وَأَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ وَسَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ وَأَنَسٍ‏.‏

قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى قَالَ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ حَنْبَلٍ لاَ أَعْلَمُ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ حَدِيثًا لَهُ إِسْنَادٌ جَيِّدٌ‏.‏

وَقَالَ إِسْحَاقُ إِنْ تَرَكَ التَّسْمِيَةَ عَامِدًا أَعَادَ الْوُضُوءَ وَإِنْ كَانَ نَاسِيًا أَوْ مُتَأَوِّلاً أَجْزَأَهُ.‏

قَالَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ أَحْسَنُ شَيْءٍ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ حَدِيثُ رَبَاحِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ.‏

قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى وَرَبَاحُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَنْ جَدَّتِهِ عَنْ أَبِيهَا‏.‏ وَأَبُوهَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ زَيْدِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ نُفَيْلٍ.‏ وَأَبُو ثِفَالٍ الْمُرِّيُّ اسْمُهُ ثُمَامَةُ بْنُ حُصَيْنٍ‏.‏ وَرَبَاحُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ هُوَ أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ حُوَيْطِبٍ.‏ مِنْهُمْ مَنْ رَوَى هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ فَقَالَ عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرِ بْنِ حُوَيْطِبٍ فَنَسَبَهُ إِلَى جَدِّهِ.

حَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ الْحُلْوَانِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ، عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ عِيَاضٍ، عَنْ أَبِي ثِفَالٍ الْمُرِّيِّ، عَنْ رَبَاحِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ بْنِ حُوَيْطِبٍ، عَنْ جَدَّتِهِ بِنْتِ سَعِيدِ بْنِ زَيْدٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهَا، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ مِثْلَهُ.

 

NOTE: the “grandmother” mentioned here is Asmaa’ bint Sa’eed ibn Zaid ibn `Amr ibn Nufail. Sa’eed is one of the 10 given glad tidings in one sitting.

Sa’eed and Talha did not physically participate in Badr, but the Prophet counted their shares in the spoils because he sent them on a mission.

Sa’eed participated in the battle of Yarmouk with Abu Ubaidah at the very end of Abu Bakr’s khilaafah under the generalship of Khalid ibn al-Waleed. Sa’eed was the first governor of Damascus who asked Abu Ubaidah to grant himself return to Medinah to be an ordinary Muslim. During the khilaafah of Bani Umayyah, a woman went to Marwan ibn Hakam saying, “Sa’eed ibn Zaid stole some of my property” and so rumor spread in Medinah. When Marwan summoned Sa’eed, the latter said, “that is my property, and so I have an invocation, Oh Allah if this woman is lying about me, then take her sight away and cause her to fall into the same well she is accusing me of having stolen!” Rains later came and she had lost her vision, and fell into the well near Wadi Aqeeq.

Sa’eed later passed away and was buried in Medinah in 51 ah.

Asmaa’ is mentioned by al-Dhahabi in al-Meezan among the “unknown women” al-niswah al-majhoolaat, since no detail is known of her record keeping or biography. Her and the grandson who narrated from her are both unknown, which makes this narration weak.

Variations and Supports

 

As for the first hadeeth, I underlined “the night” or al-layl because other collectors transmitted “from sleep” leaving it general, to any sleep, day or night.

This narration from Sahih Muslim tells us similarly:

حَدَّثَنِي بِشْرُ بْنُ الْحَكَمِ الْعَبْدِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ، – يَعْنِي الدَّرَاوَرْدِيَّ – عَنِ ابْنِ الْهَادِ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ عِيسَى بْنِ طَلْحَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ﷺ قَالَ ‏ “‏إِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ أَحَدُكُمْ مِنْ مَنَامِهِ فَلْيَسْتَنْثِرْ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ فَإِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَبِيتُ عَلَى خَيَاشِيمِهِ“‏

When any one of you awakes up from sleep, he must clean his nose three times, for the devil spends the night in the interior of his nose.

Concerning tasmiyah al-Haafiz ibn Hajr mentioned an incredibly weak narration in al-Talkhees, and also al-Shawkaani in Nail al-Awtaar, that he attributed to ibn Mas’ud and Abu Hurairah and each collected by al-Daaraqutni and al-Baihaqi with the wording:

ومن توضأ وذكر اسم الله عليه كان طهورا لجميع بدنه ومن توضأ ولم يذكر اسم الله عليه كان طهورا لما مر عليه الماء» وفيه أبو بكر الداهرى عبدالله بن الحكم وهو متروك ومنسوب إلى الوضع. ورواه الدارقطنى والبيهقي أيضا من حديث أبي هريرة، وفيه مرداس بن محمد بن عبد الله بن أبان عن أبيه وهما ضعيفان. ورواه الدارقطني والبيهقي أيضاً عن ابن مسعود وفي سنده يحيى بن هشام السمسار وهو متروك

Whoever performs ablution and mentions Allah’s Name on it, it will be a purifier for their entire body, and whoever performs ablution but hasn’t mentioned Allah’s Name over it, then it would be a purifier for whatever the water passed over.

All these narrations are very weak individually due to the presence of weak, or even abandoned narrators accused of fabrication.

Al-Mundhiri, and ibn Hajr both agreed that even though there does not exist any single authentic narration regarding saying the name of Allah before performing ablution, the number of narrations and transmissions elevates the subject to being one with a Prophetic origin—saying Allah’s name before performing ablution.

Circular ablution fountains like this one at the Mohammed Ali mosque in Cairo are common in the courtyards of large masajid. The IIUM mosque has a similar one.

Lessons extracted:

 

The illah reason for not putting one’s hand in water is lack of knowledge of where their hand remained during their sleep. Nearly all scholars tied this to the possibility of the hand coming in contact with impure substances, whether from the body, insects or anything else.

All scholars of Islam agreed that one should rinse their hands after waking up before plunging their hands in any vessel of pure liquid. However, the vast majority believed this to be highly recommended, but not obligatory—so if someone went against the Prophet’s command here, they would not be a sinner for doing so, nor would the liquid become impure.

Imam al-Nawawi related from al-Shafi’I and others that the people of Hijaaz traditionally preferred cleaning themselves with rock after relieving themselves. And stones of course do not clean perfectly, so inevitably some residue remained of their excrement. And since their land was hot, they would likely sweat during the night, and so it was conceivable that their hands could touch their sweat and impurities during the night.

So some scholars believed the prohibition in this hadeeth was limited to cases like this, but that if someone cleaned themselves with water, it was not an issue.

Going back to the narration of Abu Hurairah recorded by Muslim about cleaning the nostrils, none of the scholars believed this to be obligatory, even though the wording alone suggests that. So some scholars say, “this ruling of this is like the ruling of that, even though the wordings suggest obligation, the ruling falls short of that.”

Nonetheless, al-Hasan al-Basri and an opinion from Ahmad ibn Hanbal hold the impure nature of the liquid that a person put their hand in without first rinsing.

The best that I read from the issue was quoted by the author of al-Mirqaat, that the purity of water as well as our body parts is established and known by certainty and certainty does not change by mere doubt. Yet still, whoever doubts the purity of their hand 50/50, then it is disliked [at the very least] for them to put their hand into a water vessel before rinsing it.

Al-Mubarakfuri, the commentator of al-Tirmidhi, sided with Ishaq in the issue and chose that if one did put their hand in a vessel of liquid, then it became “doubtful” [مشكوك فيه] and received the ruling of doubtful water. That is hard to disagree with.

The need to rinse one’s hands after waking is increased if they’re about to perform ablution. Rather than going straight for the mouth or face, as in the aayah of ablution, they should rinse their hands first.

 

Subtle benefit in the Prophet’s wording

 

ibnul-Mulaqqin mentioned that the Prophet’s words “…if any of you awakes” excluded himself, rather than saying “if anyone awakes” or anything else that would include himself. Why not? Because from among the Prophet’s khasaa’is unique traits is that his eyes sleep but his heart stays awake. So as for him, he would know where he hands had gone during his sleep and if he needed to wash them before anything else, although cleanliness was a major priority in the Prophet’s life.

 

Is the Basmalah a Condition Shar or Pillar Rukn of Ablution?

 

The vast majority of scholars believe it is highly recommended but not obligatory. None of the āyāt of the Quran or narrations that describe the Prophet’s ablution or that of the companions mentions the basmalah, so we only know it from weak narrations like this.

Most of those who saw it as obligatory were forgiving as long as one said the basmalah during the ablution if they forgot to or neglected it at the beginning, but if one neglected it on purpose, without ta’weel, then the ablution was invalid. Without ta’weel meaning they did not see any excuse for themselves, and were not merely interpreting the narrations or following the opinion that it is not obligatory, or neglecting it due to sexual defilement janaabah, or being in a place with impurities. Some of the Hanabilah said in that case to say it in heart, but others said aloud no matter where you are or your condition.

I lean towards saying it in the heart, to combine between traditions – saying the basmalah before ablution while avoiding the name of Allah while in a state of sexual taintedness. As for the overall ruling, I find it hard to believe it to be obligatory, when the evidence for it is quite speculative, but nonetheless because enacting upon it is not taxing on anyone, it is best to treat it as if it was obligatory.

Allah knows best.

About Chris
Chris, aka AbdulHaqq, is from central Illinois and accepted Islam in 2001 at age 17. He studied Arabic and Islamic theology in Saudi Arabia from 2007-13 and most recently earned a master's in Islamic Law from Malaysia. He is married with children.

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