Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem
VIRTUES OF WUDHU (ABLUTION)
‘Uqbah bin “Aamir (RA) said that I heard Nabi (SAW) saying, “There are two men from amongst my followers, one of them gets up during the night and forces himself into cleanliness, showing complexes of discouragement and evil counsels of Satan. He performs ablution, but he has knots tied upon him. When he washes his hands, a knot is opened up and when he washes his face, another knot is opened and when he wipes his head, another knot is opened and when he washes his feet, another knot is opened. Allah then addresses the angels behind the veil saying, “look at this devotee of mine who is forcing himself in order to ask of My Favours. Whatever this devotee of mine desires, I will grant it to him.” (Ahmad, Ibne Hibbaan, Tabraani)
In the above Hadith, the Nabi (SAW) informs us of two kinds of believers. One kind fights himself, his passions and his pleasure and gets up during the night to cleanse himself in order to worship Allah and ask of His favours. When this devotee gets up, he gets rid of the ropes of Satan as well as of his complexes and evil counsels; he also escapes from the illusions of the soul which orders wrongdoing, pushing its holder into sleep instead of awakening. Satan makes this person lazy instead if him standing before Allah. When this devotee gets up, performs ablution and then asks Allah, his request is responded to and he is relieved from sadness.
In the same meaning, Nabi (SAW) says, “When one of you sleeps, the Satan ties three ties at the back of his head and says for each tie: have a long night, so slumber. When he wakes up and mentions Allah, one of these ties is unravelled. When he performs ablution, another tie is unravelled and when he establishes prayer, all of the ties are unravelled and he becomes alert and pleasant, otherwise, he becomes wicked hearted and lazy. (Maalik, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nasaai)
Abu Hurairah (RA) relates that Nabi (SAW) said, “When a Mu’min or Muslim servant of Allah performs ablution and he washes his face, the sins which the eye committed by looking are washed off with the water or with the last drop of water. When he washes his hands, the sins which were committed because of the touch of the hands are washed away with the water or with the last drop of water. When he washes his feet, the sins which were committed by the walking of the feet are washed off with the water or with the last drop of water until he comes out from that ablution cleansed from every sin (minor). (Muslim)
Abdullah As-Sanaabihi narrates that Nabi (SAW) said, “When a servant makes Wudhu and washes his mouth, the sins committed by his mouth are washed out. When he cleans his nose, the sins are cleansed from his nose. When he washed his hands, the sins of his face are washed off, even from under the eyelids. When he washes his hands, the sins of his hands are washed off, even from beneath the nails of his hands. When he wipes his head, the sins from his head come off, even from his ears. When he washes his feet, the sins of his feet are washed off, even from under his toe nails. Then his walking to the Masjid and prayers are rewarded separately. (Nasaai, Ibn Majah, Haakim and he says that it is correct according to the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim)
Othman bin ‘Affan (RA) narrates that Nabi (SAW) said, “Whoever performs a perfect Wudhu, the sins are washed off from his body to such an extent they even come out from beneath his nails.
In another narration, Uthmaan (RA) made Wudhu and said, ‘I saw Nabi (SAW) made Wudhu the way I made Wudhu and then He (SAW) said, ‘Whoever makes Wudhu like this, his previous sins (minor) will be forgiven and his Salaah and walking to the Masjid will be rewarded separately. (Muslim, Nasaai)
Ibn Umar (RA) narrates in the episode when Jibreel (AS) came to Nabi (SAW) to ask him Some Questions regarding Islam. Nabi (SAW) answered, ‘Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah and to establish Salaah and to discharge Zakaah and to perform the Hajj and Umrah and to take a complete bath from Major impurities and to complete the Wudhu and to fast in the month of Ramadhaan.’ He (AS) then asked, ‘if I do these acts, am I then a Muslim?’ He (SAW) replied, ‘Yes’. (Ibne Khuzaimah)
Abu Hurairah (RA) relates that Nabi (SAW) went to the graveyard and greeted, ‘Peace be upon you O abode of the believers and surely if Allah wills, we will join you. I wished if we could see our brothers.’ When Nabi (SAW) said these words, his companions asked, ‘Are we not your brothers O Nabi of Allah?’ Nabi (SAW) replied, ‘You are My companions and our brothers are those who did not come as yet.’ The companions asked, ‘How will you recognize those who did not come as yet from your Ummat O Nabi of Allah?’ Nabi (SAW) replied, ‘Do you not see that a person who has a horse with some white on its forehead and hooves, will he not recognize his horse if it is standing next to a pitch black horse?’ They replied, “Yes O Nabi of Allah’. Nabi (SAW) then said, ‘certainly they will come with their limbs shining because of Wudhu and I will be receiving them by the Hawz-e-Kawthar. (Muslim)
Abu Hurairah (RA) says, ‘I heard Nabi (SAW) saying, ‘the ornaments of Jannah will worn on the places of Wudhu. (Ibne Khuzaimah)
Abu Hurairah (RA) says, ‘I heard Nabi (SAW) saying, ‘the believer will wear the ornaments of Jannah on the limbs of Wudhu.’ (Muslim)
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Nabi (SAW) asked, ‘should I not inform you of such an action which if done, Allah will wipe out the sins and will elevate the person in stages? The companions replied, ‘Certainly O Nabi of Allah.’ Nabi (SAW) said, ‘Performing an excellent Wudhu despite of difficulties, excessive footsteps to the Masjid and waiting for the Salaah after Salaah. That is guarding the boundaries! That is guarding the boundaries!’ (Muslim) (These actions are referred to as guarding the boundaries, because it will guard its companion from disobeying Allah)
Ali (RA) says that Nabi (SAW) said, “whoever makes complete Wudhu in spite of it being extremely cold, he will receive two rewards.’ (Tabraani)
Ibn Umar (RA) says that Nabi (SAW) used to say, ‘Whoever performs Wudhu upon Wudhu, he will receive ten rewards.’ (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Ibne Majah)
Abdullah bin Buraidah narrates from his father (RA) who said, ‘One day Nabi (SAW) awoke and he called Bilal (RA) and asked him, ‘O Bilal why have you succeeded me in Jannah? Certainly I entered Jannah last night and heard your footsteps in front of Me.’ Bilal (RA) said, ‘O Nabi of Allah, whenever I called the Azaan, I performed two Rak’aats of Salaah after it (the Azaan) and whenever I broke my Wudhu, I immediately made a new Wudhu.’ Nabi (SAW) then said, ‘it is because of this.’ (Ibne Khuzaimah)
Umar bin Khattab (RA) narrates that Nabi (SAW) said, ‘There is no one of you who performs a perfect Wudhu, then he says Ash Hadu an laa Ilaaha Illal lahu Wahdahu laa Shareeka lahu wa Ash Hadu anna Muhammadan ‘Abduhu wa Rasooluhu except that the eight doors of Jannah are opened up for him and he may enter through any door he desires. (Muslim)
Abu Sa’eed Al Khudri (RA) says that Nabi (SAW) said, ‘Whoever reads Surah Kahaf, on the day of Reckoning, he will have Noor from his place until Makkah and whoever reads the last ten verses of Surah Kahaf and Dajjal comes out, Dajjal will not harm him and whoever makes Wudhu then says, ‘Subhanakal laa humma wa bi Hamdika, Ashhadu an laa Ilaaha illa anta, Astaghfiruka wa Atubu ilaik, these words will be written on a piece of paper and thereafter sealed up and this seal will not be broken until the day of reckoning.’ (Tabraani, Nasaai)
‘Uqbah bin ‘Aamir (RA) said that Nabi (SAW) said, ‘there is no person who makes a perfect Wudhu, then he performs two Rak’aats of Salaah with complete devotion and humility except that Paradise becomes Waajib for him.’ (Muslim)
Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani (RA) narrates that Nabi (SAW) said, ‘whoever performs a complete Wudhu then thereafter prays two Rak’aats of Salaah without any negligence, all of his previous sins (minor) will be forgiven. (Abu-Dawood)
BENEFITS OF WUDHU (ABLUTION)
In the Islamic ablution (wudu), there are 26 washing movements to be carried out 5 times a day, a total of 130 daily washing movements. A Muslim does wudu every time before he/she prays, if he/she is not in wudu. The following Quranic verse shows us what to do in wudu:
Surah Maidah 5:6:
"O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that ye may be grateful."
Various hadiths also give us instructions too. There are various advantages of the Islamic ablution (wudu) in which a person can benefit from. Some of which are scientific, are as follows:
1) Blood Circulatory System:
"Blood vessels are the essential part of the circulatory system. Blood vessels resemble flexible tubing, dividing into thinner branches as the distance from the heart increases. Various aspects of our life cause the blood vessels to harden and become constricted. If the thinner tubes in particular becomes hardened and loses their elasticity, pressure and workload upon the heart are increased. In medical term it is known as arterio-sclerosis. Sclerotic development is considered to be the basis of aging and body deterioration.
Hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels does not happen all at once, but over a long period of time. The vessels furthest from heart, such as those in brain, feet and hands, are more vulnerable to the process that begins slowly in these locations and goes no continuously with the passage of time.
Water gives rise to temperature gradient, which cause blood vessels to have a sort of exercise by alternately contraction and dilation. Hence water ensures flexibility and visor of the vessels away from the heart by dilating them when hot and contracting them when cold. It also forces nutrients, deposited in tissues as a result of sluggish circulation, back into the bloodstream by the virtue of the temperature difference.
There is no doubt, as we see when Muslims daily wash their hands, feet and face in wudu rite is really a favour to them from the creator.
2) Immune System (Lymphatic Circulation):
The lymphatic system (whose vessels are ten times thinner than those, which conduct red blood cell) keeps all the point of the body within the protection of the immune system. Any bacteria, alien object or cancer cell, which may have invaded the body is destroyed by the leucocytes (white blood cells) in the lymphatic circulation.
Thus we see that the structure of the immune system is reinforced through wudu. In fact the way wudu is performed so specifically (step by step) clearly aims at lymphatic system. The reasons are as follows:
For the lymphatic system to function properly even a single point in the body must not be neglected, which is assured by the full ablution or the Gusl. The most important center for stimulating the lymphatic system is the nasopharyngeal region behind the nose and tonsils. Washing these spots is especially ordered.
Stimulation of the both sides of the neck has great influence on the lymphatic system and is also part of wudu.
Thus we see, the lymphocytes are transported to the farthest reaches of the body and, after passing through intensive biological training, patrol each point in the body many times a day. If they meet a bacterium or the cancer cell, they destroy it. Is this not a divine blessing of the first quality?
3) Static Electricity
The body normally has balance of static electricity. However the atmospheric conditions as well as plastic clothing and the products common in our daily life adversely affect this balance. Most of us are aware of this electricity when getting out of the car or after sitting on a plastic chair. Irritability and facial wrinkles are the best known ill results, though there are many psychosomatic illnesses arising from it.
The worst influence of static electricity is exerted continuously on the small sub-cutaneous muscles (under the skin), finally rendering them inoperative, which is why wrinkles are set in.
These bad effects due to imbalance of static electricity can be simply avoided by doing the wudu several times a day. At this point many readers would have divined at least one of the reasons for the radiant appearance of those who have done wudu all their lives."
Moreover, washing the hands prevents the transmission of various contagious diseases, while washing the face recharges such organs as the intestines, stomach, bladder as well as having a positive effect on the nervous and reproduction systems. When washing the mouth, teeth and gum problems are prevented, as food particles are eliminated. Washing the nostrils removes germs trapped inside so they do not reach the respirator system. Washing the ear decreases high blood pressure and relieves tooth and throat pain, as well as removing any extra wax that could cause ear infection and general body imbalances. Washing the face invigorates facial skin and helps prevent early wrinkles. It also helps invigorate the end of the blood vessels, as well as the nerves and glands that are near the skin's surface, and therefore helps them perform their functions properly. Washing the feet helps prevent a fungal problem of the foot named: athlete's foot. Ablution helps prevent skin cancer, because the areas washed are parts of the body most prone to exposure to pollution, both internal and external. Ablution removes this pollution and therefore maintains a clean outer layer of the skin, which assists cells underneath to function efficiently.
Also, there was a research done that those men who keep a beard, and wash it regularly, they have less chances of having upper respiratory tract infections which are: infection of lungs, throat etc. Prophet Muhammad taught us that it is highly recommended to keep a beard, and it was made compulsory to do wudu, in order to pray. Hence, both beard and wudu compliment one another, and decrease the chances of a man having upper respiratory tract infections.
Prophet Muhammad encouraged doing ablution before going to bed (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sahih Tirmidhi, Sahih Abu Dawud & Sahih Jami - Source. This same ritual is also encouraged by Yoga experts who say that washing important motor and sensory organs such as the hands, arms, eyes, legs, mouth and genitals before sleep using cool water relaxes the body preparing it for a deep sleep.
In addition, according to a scientific study carried out by a number of medical professors of a university of one of the Arab Muslim countries, it was confirmed that a person who performs Wudu (Ritual Ablution) five times a day cleanses his nose from germs, dust and other connected things. It was also confirmed that those who do not perform Wudu (Ritual Ablution) are more liable to a number of different kinds of germs, nearly 11 kinds of germs.
It also protects the body from mycosis in the toes, skin infections and suppurations as well as pus accumulations. It also minimizes possibility of skin cancers, as it removes chemical substances from the skin before they accumulate thereon. That is why skin cancers are rare in Islamic countries.
Moreover, we are also taught to clean the outer ears (the triangular fossa & acoustic meatus + tragus) with water, and wipe the back of the ears with our thumbs (Abu Dawud, Sahih Musnad, Sahih Tirmidhi, Sunan Nasai & Sharh Ma'ani Al-Athar). Cleaning ears in this fashion helps to remove some unneeded wax. Furthermore:
"If ears are not kept clean, debris accumulates behind the ear and in the anterior aspect of the external ear. This can lead to ulceration and infection." (Karen Creason Sorensen, & Joan Luckmann - Basic Nursing: A Psychophysiologic Approach - Saunders, 1986 - Page 660).
Additionally, washing the back of the ears (known as the mastoids bone) prevents inflections like mastoiditis from arising. (David B. Jacoby, R. M. Youngson -Encyclopedia Of Family Health - Marshall Cavendish, 2004 - Page 1160).
Moreover, a scientist informs us the following:
"The process of washing the organs usually exposed to dust is no doubt of a great significance to public health. These body parts are exposed all day long to numerous numbers of microbes counted in millions in every cubic centimeters of air. These microbes are in a constant offensive state against the human body at the exposed areas of skin. In ablution, microbes are taken by a surprise sweep from the surface of the skin, specially with perfect massaging and enough pouring of water, as guided by the Prophet. Following such a process, no dirt or germs are left on the body except what Allah decrees.
Rinsing the mouth. Modern science has proved that rinsing the mouth protects the mouth and throat from inflammation and the gums from suppuration (pyorrhea). It also protects and cleans teeth by removing food remnants.
Sniffing the nose. Washing and sniffing the nose strongly helps keep the nostril clean and free of inflammation and germs, thus reflecting positively on the health status of the whole body.
Washing the face and the two hands. Washing the face and the two hands up to the elbows is of a great benefit in removing dust and microbes as well as sweat from the surface of the skin. This also cleans the skin from the fatty substance secreted by skin glands, and which is usually a very suitable place for the proliferation and sustenance of germs.
Washing the two feet. Washing feet with massaging lead to a feeling of quietness and complacency that engulfs the Moslem after ablution.
Other secrets. Scientific research has proved that blood circulation in upper limbs from the hands to the forearms, and in the lower limbs from the feet to the legs is weaker than it is in other organs, being peripheral to the centre of regulating blood circulation, namely, the heart. So washing these limbs with massaging at every ablution help strengthen the blood circulation in these parts, thus increasing the vitality and activity of the body. Science has proved the effect of sun rays, particularly the ultra violet ones, in causing skin carcinoma. This effect decreases very well with the consequence of ablution, as it constantly dampens the surface of the skin with water, particularly the parts exposed to such rays. This helps protect the surface and internal layer cells of the skin from the harmful impact of rays."(Dr. Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal - Medical Miracles Of The Quran - The Islamic Foundation, 2006 - Pages 91-92).
To add to that, the following Hadith shows that Prophet Muhammad indirectly encouraged us to use the siwaak/miswak (Islamic tooth brush) at the time of abolition.
"Narrated Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib (and others), the Prophet said: If it wasn't too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use the siwaak at every time of prayer & ablution." (Targhib Wa-Al-Tarhib, 1/133 - Isnad Classed As Sahih By Mundhiri - Source. Also Found In: Sheikh Albani - Sahih Jami Al Sagheer, 5318 - Classed As Sahih Hasan & In Musnad Ahmad, 13/255 - Classed As Sahih By Ahmed Shaker - Source).
This helps remove food particles in the teeth even more to add to the washing of the mouth done in ablution. Additionally:
"Scientific studies confirm the benefits of the miswak. Sinnegrin, tannic acid, and sodium carbonate in the root act as natural antiseptics. Other properties include anti-inflammatory substances, fluoride, and silicon which helps clean the teeth." (Kathy Cuddihy - An A to Z of Places and Things Saudi - Stacey International, 2004 - Page 151).
"Miswak toothpaste is scientifically formulated from pure extract of the Miswak plant, 'Salvadore Persica' the famous 'Toothbrush Tree' for centuries. The astringent and bactericidal properties Miswak help reduce tooth decay, fight plaque and prevent gum disease." (Francis Cherunilam - International Business: Text And Cases - PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., 2007 - Page 556).
"PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to compare the effect of the chewing stick (miswak), and toothbrushing on plaque removal and gingival health.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The participants comprised 15 healthy Saudi Arabian male volunteers aged 21 to 36 years, attending the Dental Center at Al-Noor Specialist Hospital in Makkah City in Saudi Arabia. The study was designed as a single, blind, randomized crossover study. The Turesky modified Quigley-Hein plaque and Loe-Silness gingival indices and digital photographs of plaque distribution were recorded at baseline, one week after professional tooth cleaning, and again following three weeks use of either the miswak or toothbrush. Professional tooth cleaning was repeated, and after a further three weeks use of either the miswak or toothbrush (using the alternative method to that used in the first experimental period), plaque and gingival indices, and digital photographs of plaque distribution were recorded anew.
RESULTS: Compared to toothbrushing, the use of the miswak resulted in significant reductions in plaque (p < 0.001) and gingival (p < 0.01) indices. Image analysis of the plaque distribution showed a significant difference in reduction of plaque between the miswak and toothbrush periods (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: It is concluded that the miswak is more effective than toothbrushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis, when preceded by professional instruction in its correct application. The miswak appeared to be more effective than toothbrushing for removing plaque from the embrasures, thus enhancing interproximal health." (Oral Health Prev Dent. 2003;1(4):301-7 - Source).
Did Muhammad know all these scientific advantages? No, he was only an illiterate man, and wudu was a commandment from Allah he was given and taught by. So, this shows the miraculous scientific advantages with the wudu which we benefit from, as well as the spiritual advantages we get, since doing this is a good deed, in Islam. These scientific benefits may attract a non Muslim to do wudu. For Muslims, these scientific advantages are not the main reasons why we do wudu. We do wudu, because it is a commandment from Allah, in order to be clean in prayer.