This is the wudhu’
As we have said before and in order to make it easy for Muslims, Allah the Almighty has imposed wudhu’ on Muslims before offering the prayer. Allah says:
O you who believe, when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles. Qur'an, 5:6
Then, wudhu’ is to wash the face and two hands and to wipe the head and the two feet. As we see, it is easy and accessible with no any difficulty or hardship. If a Muslim is at home or traveling, in an airport or a railway station, this wudhu’ shall not embarrass him at all; he just turns on the tap and washes his face and hands, and then he turns off the tap and wipes his head and feet with the wet of his hands. He may not take off his shoes except in the place of prayer if it is near, and then he wipes his head and feet.
But, if the wudhu’ is as described by (Sunni) jurisprudents who say:
• To wash the hands to the wrists three times
• To rinse out the mouth three times
• To wash the nose three times (by inhaling and ejecting out)
• To wash the face three times
• To wash the right hand three times and the left hand three times
• To wipe all the head
• To wipe the two ears
• To wash the right foot three times and then the left foot three times
This shall be of difficulty and hardship, especially to the youth when they are in travel. It is difficult to wash the feet in winter and then to wait until they dry in order to put on the socks.
What is important in this matter is that the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), that do not rely on personal opinions nor on misinterpretation before clear texts, acts according to the Holy Book and the pure Sunna of Prophet. The wudhu’ that the Shia follow is the wudhu’ that Allah has imposed on Muslims in the Holy Qur'an and it is the wudhu’ that the Messenger of Allah (S) and the infallible imams of his progeny did practice.
May Allah have mercy on Abdullah ibn Abbas who often said, “I do not find in the Book of Allah except two washes and two wipes, but you insist on following the rule of al-Hajjaj.”
Muslims today, especially the learned youth, have to go back to the right way of Islam with its simplicity and ease to make people love and wish for the religion. How often the Prophet (S) announced before Muslims, “Make it easy and do not make it difficult! Do not make (people) alienated from the religion!” And he often said, “Do not make it difficult for yourselves, lest Allah makes it more difficult for you as He did for the Children of Israel.”
How many people, who escaped from the prayer because of wudhu’ or they offered the prayer but with tayammum1 for fear of water which caused them prurigo in the hands and toes of the feet,2 recovered soundness and became tranquil with the wudhu’ of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)!
- 1. Ritual purification with sand, soil, or dust instead of wudhu’ when there is no water.
- 2. In the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s..), one can practice tayammum even if water is available when he fears from a disease, or what may lead to or complicate a disease as narrated from Imam as-Sadiq, “…soil is one of the two purifying things”.