By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh
Wudū is not only a means of external cleanliness, it is also a means of internal purification. As well as removing al-hadath al-asghar (the impurity that arises when wudū is broken) it also purifies the soul and the heart and assists the nafs through the lowly stage of ammāriyyah, through lawwāmiyyah, towards itmi’nān, the stage of perfection.
To fully appreciate how wudū contributes towards this internal cleansing we need to understand that our hearts are corrupted or rectified by our actions, and that our actions come into existence through the function of four parts of the body: the face, head (mind), hands and feet. There is a process by which an action normally comes into existence:
1. First, the inclination to do or not do a particular action is born. This happens by coming face to face with and seeing something, for that is how we understand something to be attractive or repulsive. It is possible for this inclination to arise straight away or at some future time after the encounter.
2. Next, the mind weighs up whether to undertake the action or leave it.
3. Thereafter the feet move one towards doing it or avoiding it, and the arms and hands reach out to accomplish it, or deflect it.
So, as a rule, a human uses these four parts of the body in order to acquire or avoid something.
If these four parts of the body are blessed, through the action of wudū, they will incline towards blessed things; if they are left unclean, they will incline towards filthy things. By washing the face, arms and feet and doing masah of the head in wudū we increase both their power of attraction towards goodness and their power to repel evil.
Therefore, we should do wudū as frequently as we can and try to remain in a state of wudū at all times. Wudū is one of the weapons Allāh ta‘ālā has given believers to ward off the insidious whispers of Shaytān. Washing the face frequently will mean that the eyes will be inclined towards goodness and disinclined to evil. Doing masah often will mean that if confronted with temptation, the mind will decide against it, and when encountering goodness it will decide to acquire it. As the hands and feet – the servants of the mind – are also washed frequently they will support and obey the mind. This is why it has always been the habit of the sulahā (pious predecessors) to remain in the state of wudū at all times. They not only do wudū for salāh or tilāwah, but renew it whenever it breaks.
A special effort should be made to also retire to sleep in the state of wudū. Ḥaḍdrat Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh explains that doing wudū before sleeping wards off bad dreams and Shaytānī whispers during the night, and if combined with the recital of Āyat-ul-Kursī before sleeping, then all the better.
We should also make a habit of performing two raka‘āt of Tahiyyat-ul-Wudū after completing wudū, as long as it is not a makrūh time to offer salāh and there is enough time before the fard salāh. After Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam returned from mi‘rāj he asked Bilāl radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, “O Bilāl! Tell me in which of the actions you have done in Islām you have the most hope of reward, for truly, I heard the sound of your footsteps ahead of me in Jannah?”
Bilāl radhiyallāhu ‘anhu replied, “I have done no action that I have more hope in than that whenever I do wudū, any time in the day or night, I perform as much salāh with that wudū as Allāh ta‘ālā has ordained for me.” (Al-Bukhārī)
Attentiveness During Wudū
To derive the greatest benefit from wudū we must do it with understanding, concentration and attentiveness. When Imām Zayn-ul-‘Ābidīn rahimahullāh (the son ofHusayn ibn ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu) used to sit down to do wudū, his demeanour would change and he would turn pale. Once, someone asked the cause of the change and he explained that when commencing wudū the realisation would dawn that it is time to stand in the court of the Almighty, and thus his heart would be weighed down by a sense of awe at the Greatness and Majesty of Allāh ta‘ālā.
Our pious predecessors would do wudū with the realisation that they were about to present themselves in the court of the Almighty. They would start preparing for salāh up to an hour beforehand, and utter beautiful supplications during the various stages of wudū, remaining mindful of Him from beginning to end. They would enter the masjid with that attentiveness, offer Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid and the sunnah salāh and then sit in anticipation of the fard salāh, neither looking this way nor that, completely engrossed in the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā.
Imagine the connection with the Almighty they would have established when they would finally stand for the fard salāh and say Allāhu Akbar! Shaykh Fadl-ur-Rahmān Ganjmurādābādī rahimahullāh used to say that when placing his forehead on the ground in sajdah, he would feel like never lifting it up again, and he would feel he had placed his head in the lap of Allāh ta‘ālā, and Allāh ta‘ālā was stroking his head with affection. That is why when our pious predecessors would finish salāh they would not feel like leaving the masjid.
It is sad to say that our condition is very different. When the time for salāh approaches we rush through wudū and rush to offer salāh, which we regard as a burdensome duty. Even while doing wudū, our minds are occupied with worldly matters, or we chat and laugh. And after salāh we rush out of the masjid.
May Allāh ta‘ālā instead grant us the ability to follow in the footsteps of our pious predecessors by giving wudū an important place in our lives, and doing it frequently and with attentiveness.
© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 25 No. 4, Apr 2016)