What is the wisdom behind wiping the hands on the face?

The Details of the Question

We wipe our faces with our hands after saying prayers and uttering salawat for the Prophet (pbuh). What is the wisdom behind them?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Ibn Abbas narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"When you pray to Allah, open your palms; do not pray with the back parts of your hands. When you finish saying prayers, wipe your palms on your face."

Hz. Aisha narrates:

"Whenever the Prophet (pbuh) went to bed, he would to cup his hands together and blow over it after reciting the chapters of al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and an-Nas, and then rub his hands over whatever parts of his body he was able to rub, starting with his head, face and front of his body. He would to do that three times. When he was ill, he would order me to do the same."[Bukhari, Fadailul-Qur'an 14, Tibb 39, Da'awat 12; Muslim, Salam 50, (2192); Tirmidhi, Da'awat 21, (3399); Abu Dawud, Tibb 19]

The following is stated in the narration of Hz. Umar:

“When the Messenger of Allah raised his hands to say prayers, he would not put them down without wiping his face with them.” (Tirmidhi, Da’awat, 11)

This narration shows that it is legitimate to wipe the face with the hands after prayer (dua). Some scholars say,

"Allah never refuses prayers and sends His mercy to the hands that are opened and raised for Him; therefore, it is appropriate to convey that mercy to the face, which is man’s most honorable and respectable organ."

Hands are wiped over the face after prayer for tabarruk. That is, the traces of mercy that come down to the hands with prayer are conveyed to the face by wiping. (see Prof. Dr. İbrahim Canan, Kütüb-i Sitte)

There are different views about wiping the face with the hands or not after prayer; Qadi Abu Tayyib, Abu Muhammad al-Juwayni, Ibn Sabbagh, al-Mutawalli, Sheikh Nasr and Ghazali hold the view that it is mustahab. (see Nawawi, al-Majmu, 3/501)

It is necessary for people not to accuse one another of doing wrong related to an issue on which scholars have different views. Besides, scholars agree unanimously that it is permissible to act according to weak hadiths related to deeds of virtues.

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