FAQ in the category of Tahara (cleanliness)

1 What are the wisdoms behind wudu (ablution)? What is the importance of the organs to be washed?

The wisdoms behind wudu

Wudu (ablution) includes material and spiritual cleaning together and enables material cleanliness; it is an indispensable step of worshipping that gives a Muslim peace in heart and spiritual power. A Muslim prepares himself for worshipping spiritually and bodily when he makes wudu.

Wudu is important in terms of health because it cleans the organs that are exposed to dirtiness and that are always in contact with things outside like hands, face, mouth, teeth, nose, head and feet. The ways through which microbes could penetrate the body are cleaned at least five times a day thanks to wudu; thus, many diseases are prevented; the nervous system and the circulatory system of the body become more regular.

Wudu soothes fury, eliminates anger and calms the spirit. Therefore, the Prophet (pbuh) advised a person who got furious to make wudu. (Abu Dawud, Adab, 3; Musnad, 4/226) Wudu is a spiritual weapon of a believer and a spiritual shield against invisible dangers.

A Muslim who makes wudu is purified and cleaned from both material and spiritual impurities. His sins are washed away as he washes an organ; it is stated that each organ of wudu will shine brightly on the Day of Resurrection.  .

Some hadiths that are related to the virtues of making wudu:

1. The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

“When a Muslim who makes wudu rinses his mouth and nose, the sins committed by his mouth and nose are washed away. When he washes his face, his sins are washed away from his face and even between his two eyelids. When he wipes his head, his sins are washed away from his head and even from his ears. When he washes his feet, the sins committed by his feet are washed away from his feet and even between his nails. Thus, that person is purified from his sins and faults.” (Ibn Majah, Taharah, 6; Muslim, Taharah, 32; Nasai, Taharah, 108)

2. Abu Hurayra (ra) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Listen to me carefully! Shall I inform you about the deeds through which Allah eliminates mistakes and elevates your ranks? To make wudu fully and properly despite its difficulties, to go to mosque from a distant place and to wait for the next prayer after a prayer.” (Nasai, Taharah, 107)

3. Umar bin Khattab (ra) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“If a person makes wudu nicely without leaving any dry place on his wudu organs and says, ‘Ashhadu anla ilaha illallah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger)’, eight gates of Paradise are opened for him. He can enter Paradise through whichever gate he wishes.”(Nasai, Taharah, 109)

4 Abu Hurayra (ra) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) was asked, “O Messenger of Allah  ! How will you recognize your ummah coming after you?” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) answered:

“If a man has a horse with a white forehead and white patches on their legs, will he not recognize his horse among black horses?” The people who were present there said, “Yes, he will.” Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“My brothers who will come after me will appear with their foreheads and wudu organs shining on the Day of Judgment. I will wait for them next to the pond of Kawthar.” (Nasai, Taharah, 110)

5. Abu Hurayra (ra) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“My ummah will come with bright faces and bright hands and feet on account of the marks of wudu; so, he who can increase the luster of his forehead and that of his hands and legs should do so.”(Muslim, Taharah, 246)

 We mentioned above the verse stating what organs Allah ordered us to wash during wudu. Accordingly, the fards of wudu are as follows:

To wash the face, the two hands and arms including elbows, to wipe the head and two wash the two feet including the heels. (Süleyman Kösmene)

The wisdoms behind wudu in terms of protection from sins

Our religion orders us to wash certain organs of the body (to make wudu) before standing in the presence of Allah. The divine aim here is not only cleaning these organs from visible dirt and dust but also from the spiritual and invisible impurities of the sins they have committed through the water of repentance and asking for pardon. Besides, there are deep wisdoms behind the order of washing these organs.

1. The first organ that is fard to wash is the face. For, there are organs like the mouth (tongue), nose and eyes that are used primarily to commit sins. Let us think about the mouth: It eats forbidden things. Cursing, backbiting, slandering, telling lies, divisive words, seductive words and shameless expressions are uttered by the mouth. It is seen that the source of the biggest bad deeds against both Allah and people is the mouth.  

What about the eyes? Is it not the organ that catches the secret bad things and makes the other organs follow it? Is it not the organ that catches the smell of the evil and makes the whole body turn to that side and that has the responsibility and a big share of the sins committed by a person?

Therefore, we are ordered to wash the face first, which includes the organs that start and cause all kinds of sins and deeds prohibited by the religion. Thus, a person is virtually addressed as follows: as you fulfill most of the proper duties of these organs, you also need to wash away the dirt and dust accumulated on them, protect the health of your body, clean them, regret the bad deeds committed by them, repent and decide to commit them again and prevent them from committing similar sins so that you can be a real Muslim. 

2. After the face, the arms are washed. For, when a person does a bad deed, the tongue speaks first; then, the eyes see it; after that, the arms catch or hold them and become the accomplice of the bad deed. Therefore, it is an appropriate deed to wash the hands, which take the second step to obey Satan after the tongue and the eyes, in order to purify it from the visible impurities through water and invisible impurities through begging Allah. 

3. The third fard of wudu is to wipe the head. The fact that wudu wants to encourage a person to do spiritual cleaning along with material cleaning is seen the most clearly in the wiping of the head. For, according to the Islamic tradition, a person does not usually walk around with his head uncovered; it is generally covered. Even if it is uncovered, the thick hair protects the head from dirt and dust. Therefore, it is impossible for it to accumulate so much dirt that needs to be cleaned five times a day. Besides, it is something difficult to wash the head each time a person makes wudu; it does not fit the lofty aim of God Almighty, who always orders His slaves to do easy things.   

However, in wudu, the head includes an organ that cannot be overlooked in spiritual cleaning: the brain, which is the center of the body and which starts to think as soon as it receives any news about sins, makes plans and distributes duties to commit the sin to other organs. A person is reminded of the spiritual impurities of the head, which does not have many material impurities; therefore, he is ordered only to wipe the head instead of washing it, to seek ways of eliminating them and to watch out. What a deep and lofty wisdom that contains so many meanings and astonishes the heads in the presence of these subtleties.

4. The last fard of wudu is to wash the feet. If the evil deed to be done is at a distance away, the organs that take the body there and enable it to commit it are the feet. Therefore, the share of the feet in the bad deed forms the last step but it is a big step. Thus, it is the last and most important duty to wash away the material impurities of the feet and to ask Allah for forgiveness after remembering all of the sins caused by them before standing in the presence of Allah, that is, before starting to perform a prayer. It is necessary to note that the organs mentioned above are the organs that could accumulate the most amount of material impurities during daily life and that our religion, which orders us to wash them, gives great importance to material cleaning by ordering us to wash them along with spiritual cleaning.

It can be said that to look for wisdoms and reasons behind the orders of our religion is like looking for water in the middle of the sea. It is indeed so. Every order, from the smallest to the biggest one, of our religion contains so meaningful wisdoms as to astonish every sane person whose heart has the slightest amount of light of belief and to make him shed tears.