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Purification For Salaat (Prayer) “Wudoo”
By Al Allaamah As Shaikh Muhammad Bin Saalih Al ‘Uthaimeen
By Al Allaamah As Shaikh Muhammad Bin Saalih Al ‘Uthaimeen
Translated by Abu ‘Abdis Salaam Siddiq Al Juyaanee
From the establishment of the Salaat (prayer) is that an individual fulfills that which is incumbent upon them from purity. This has been be pointed to (and proven) by the Book (the Qur’an), the Sunnah and the consensus (of the scholars).
From the Qur’an, Allah says,
“O you who believe! When you intend to offer As Salaat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands/arms up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your head, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of Janaabah (i.e. after a sexual discharge), purify yourselves (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey, or any of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse), and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your face and hands.” [Suratul Maa’idah: 6]
And from the Sunnah, the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
“Allah does not except the Salaat without purity.” [Collected by Muslim]
And he (ﷺ) said,
“Allah does not except the Salaat of one of you who has broken (his Wudoo) until he makes Wudoo.” [Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim]
Allah has made it clear in the noble verse that Tahaarah (purification) is of two types, the origin and that which replaces it. The origin is the purification with water, and that which replaces it is Tayammum. Allah The Mighty and Majestic has explained that the purification with water divides into two categories, kubraa (meaning big, which would necessitate making a Ghusul) and sughraa (meaning small, which will necessitate making Wudoo). As far as Tayammum its description is one for both Kubraa and sughraa.
The small purification (Wudoo) with water (comprises) of the cleaning of only four limbs.
First: The Face
The length of the face is from the top edge of the forehead to the bottom of the beard, while its width is from ear to ear.
Second: The Hands/Arms
Allah The Mighty and Majestic has defined the hands/arms (in His statement)
“And your hands/arms up to the elbows.” [Suratul Maa’idah: 6]
(In the verse) up to means including, an example of this is like His the Most High’s statement,
“And devour not their wealth to your wealth.” [Nisaa: 2]
Meaning, by adding it to your wealth, there is no doubt that the elbows are included in that, which is to be washed, as made clear by the Sunnah. For indeed, Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu ‘anhu) when making Wudoo would wash his arm up to the upper arm and his feet up to his calf; he would say, “I saw the Prophet (SallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) doing this”.
Here I must stop to point out an issue that some of the people do. When they wash their arm they only wash the forearm, especially when they put their forearm under the faucet (when washing it). You find them washing the forearm and leaving the hand, and this is a tremendous mistake. This is because when they wash the forearm without including the hand, it will not be affirmed for them that they (have fulfilled the) washing of the arm (yad) . This is because Allah The Most High says,
“And your hands/arms up to the elbows.” [Suratul Maa’idah :6]
 Translator’s note: This is because Yad in the Arabic Language means and is used to refer to that part of the body that if from the shoulder to the finger tips, see Al Mu’jam Al Waseet.
Third: “Rub (by passing wet hands over) your head”
The wiping of the head includes all of the head so he cannot wipe just a portion of the head except if he is wearing a turban. In that case, he would wipe over the turban and that area of the head that is exposed; this (is the only case) where he would wipe a portion of the head as well as the turban.
Forth: “And (wash) your feet up to the ankles”
The two ankles are the two bones that bulge out just below the calf. The two ankles are included in the washing of the foot. In the Noble Verse arjolakom (your feet) have been recited two ways. The first is with a kasrah (under the laam i.e. arjolikom) and the second is with a fathah (over the laam i.e. arjolakom). Upon the second (recitation), “your feet” will refer back to your faces without any doubt (which means that the feet must be washed just as the faces are washed). As far as the first (recitation) with kasrah, “your feet” will refer back to the head, “and wipe your head” (which will imply that the feet are to be wiped). 
 The great Shaikh Muhammad Al Ameen Ash Shanqeetee (rahimahullah) said in Adwaaul Bayyaan:
“As for the recitation with the kasrah (which implies wiping) there is a (seemingly) general principle in the verse; which is the understanding that it is sufficient to just wipe the feet when making Wudoo, like the head, as opposed to washing them. This (understanding) opposes the authentic Ahaadeeth (plural for Hadeeth) which clearly point out the obligation of washing the feet when making Wudoo as well as the threat of the fire for the one who leaves it off, like his (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam’s) statement, “Beware for the heels from the fire (i.e. wash them).” Firstly, know that two recitations that (seemingly) contradict one another, (even) if in one verse, has the ruling of two verses (i.e. as if they were two verses), as is well known amongst the scholars. Once you have known that, know that the recitation “arjulakom (your feet)” with fathah is a clear cut (proof) of the obligation of washing the feet.
The (proper) understanding of the recitation with the kasrah, (is that it comes as such) do to its close proximity and bypassing of that which has a kasrah, even with the fact that its origin is a fathah as proven by the recitation with a fathah (arjulakum). The Arab would put a kasrah on a word due to its close proximity and bypassing of that which has a kasrah, even though its ‘Iraab (voweling) was a fathah or dummah.”
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