Chaplain Chats – Wudu’ Refresher

So you know how to make wudu’, huh? Well here are the notes from our workshop we conducted on the subject of wudu’ [ablution] on March 20th, 2012. The source we used was the text commonly referred to by the Maliki’s as “al-Matn al-Akhdari” by Abu Zayd ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad al-Sagir al-Akhdari, known more succinctly as al-Akhdari. A copy of the text in PDF format can be downloaded here. What’s discussed here are bullet points from al-Akhdari’s text.

al-Taharah [ritual purity]/الطهارة.

al-Taharah can be broken down into two categories: taharah hadath/طهارة حدث and taharah khubth/طهارة خبث:

  1. Hadath: that which invalidates one’s wudu’ by relieving oneself, passing wind, deep sleep, etc.
  2. Khubth: that which disallows one from praying due to the presence of some time of filth or impurity such as blood, urine, etc.

The conditions for water: That it does not change its three main characteristics:

  1. Color.
  2. Taste.
  3. Smell/odor.

There are a few exceptions here that al-Akhdari points out. If water contains a material that does not change its natural state, such as sand, then one can still use this to make wudu’. Another is salt: even though salt does dissolve in water and can change its taste [#2 above], it’s still considered to be a natural state for water [i.e., sea water/salt water naturally occurs] and thus can still be used for wudu’.

Impurities: some notes and conditions:

  • If a garment has an impurity on it that can be seen with the naked eye, then one simply cleans the spot in question or removed the garment if it cannot be cleaned.
  • If a garment has an impurity that cannot be seen with the naked eye, then the entire garment must be cleaned.
  • If one knows there is the presence of some impurity but is doubtful if it has come into contact with your clothes [i.e., walking down the street and one sees excrement or urine from a dog but one’s not sure if one’s clothes have come into contact with that impurity] then one sprinkles some water on that area to remove the impurity instead of washing the garment/ومن شك في إصابة النجاسة نضح.
  • If one is certain that one’s clothing for instance, has definitely come in contact with something [say some type of liquid] but you are uncertain if that substance [here liquid] is pure or impure, then one is not required to take any action because the Shari’ah only deals with certainty.
  • If one remembers the presence of some impurity while s/he is praying and the prayer is still in the mukhtar time [i.e., the early part of the prayer] then one should cut his or her prayer, remove the impurity [or change garments if it cannot be cleaned] and repeat the prayer.
  • If one remembers after the prayer [] and again, the prayer is still its mukhtar/مختار time, then one should repeat the prayer so long as one will not enter into the dururi/ضروري time [i.e., the prayer would be getting late]. If it is the latter case [in the dururi period] then one does not repeat the prayer.

Obligatory acts of wudu’. They are seven [*note: the Maliki’s consider the basmallah/بسملة “saying bismillah” a pure act of worship and thus must be said outside of the lavatory]:

  1. Intention/النية. For the Maliki’s it’s preferred to be done silently, “in the heart.”
  2. Washing the face from the hairline to the chin [for brothers this includes the beard and the area it covers]/غسل الوجه.
  3. Washing the hands including the elbow joint/غسل اليدين إلى المرفقين. In Arabic the “yad” also includes the arm.
  4. Passing the hand over the head once [as we’ll see, the return wipe is part of the fadilah or “Sunnah” aspects of wudu’/مسح الرأس.
  5. Washing the feet including the ankle bone/غسل الرجلين إلى الحعبين.
  6. Application of the water must be done with the hand, including the feet [unlike the Hanafis]/الدلك.
  7. Continuity without the drying of the limbs: in other words, one may pause one’s wudu’ so long as none of the limbs dry/الفور. If they do before the final limb is washed, the wudu’ is broken and must be redone.

*Note: for the Maliki’s, it is not required to do the fara’id/الفرائض obligatory acts in order/الترتيب [tartib]. This is considered a fadilah/Sunnah.

Sunnah acts of wudu’:

  1. Washing the hands including the wrist bones [from the beginning of wudu’/غسل اليدين الكوعين.
  2. Swishing water in the mouth [one may use the index finger, miswak, or a dry tooth brush for an added fadilah]/المضمضة.
  3. Inhaling water [lightly]/الاستنشاق. For the one that’s fasting, this should be done carefully so as to not invalidate the fast. *Note: simply putting water in one’s nose does not count.
  4. Exhaling water from the nose/الاستنثار. This is done by placing the left hand on the bridge of the nose and gently blowing out. It is disliked/مكروه [makhruh] to do this loudly.
  5. The return wipe on the head [see step 4 above]/رد مسح الرأس. This is done only once and does not go past the hairline.
  6. Washing the ear plate/مسح الأذنين.
  7. Renewing water for washing the ear plate/تجديد الماء.
  8. Doing the obligatory acts and Sunnah acts in the order represented here/الترتيب.

Matters concerning forgetfulness: if one is performing a complete/Sunnah wudu’ and skips a Sunnah act by accident [i.e., step 3 from the Sunnah acts] then one may return to this step at the end of the wudu’ for one does not stop and go back for a Sunnah act in favor of continuing on to an obligatory one.

There are many other points which, God willing if we have the time, will revisit in greater detail.

Chaplain Chats – Intro to Reciting the Qur’an

The following are some loose notes from a talk I delivered at the University of Pennsylvania on March 12th, 2012, on the topic of qira’at al-Qur’an or the Recitations of the Qur’an. I will try to provide some succinct information on some of the terminology, also known as istilahat (اصطلاحات) as well as the various qurra’ (قراء) or reciters.

Listen to the audio from the Chaplain Chat here.

When we say there is a qira’ah of the Qur’an, what we mean is really three things:

  1. Qira’ah (قراءة): it is that which relates to one of the Ten Reciters, a qari’ (قاريء). These Ten are sometimes known as al-‘Ashr al-Ma’rifun (العشر المعرفون). For example, Imam ‘Asim and Imam Ibn Kathir are from this group. Each of the Seven Reciters (known for their chains of narration (sanad), which are mutawatir, had two students (the next group).
  2. Riwayah (رواية): it is that which relates to one of the narrators, a rawin (راو). These narrators took the recitation from the above group and dispersed it. Such examples might be Hafs ‘an ‘Asim or al-Susi ‘an Abi ‘Amru, with ‘Asim and Abu ‘Amru being the teachers of Imam Hafs and Imam al-Susi respectively. Think of it as student ‘an teacher (lit., Hafs the student of ‘Asim, Qunbul the student of Ibn Kathir, etc.) (الطالب عن شيخه).
  3. Tariq (طريق): these are in a sense the students of the rawaya (روايا أو راويون) or narrators. An example of this might be a mushaf (physical copy of the Qur’an) which has the title of Qunbul  ‘an Ibn Kathir min Tariq al-Shatibiyyah, or Qunbul, the student of Imam Ibn Kathir from the chain of al-Shatibiyyah. For time’s sake, we will not be delving into al-Azraq or al-Shatibiyyah but do know that there is this third component.

The Seven Mutawatir Reciters are:

  • Imam Nafi’: his two students were Warsh and Qalun. Therefore you have the recitation of Wash ‘an Nafi’ or Qalun ‘an Nafi’. Imam Nafi’ is from the Madinah school.
  • Imam Ibn Kathir: his two students were al-Bazzi and Qunbul (incidentally, these are sometimes also pronounced al-Buzzi and Qanbal). Their recitations are known as al-Bazzi ‘an Ibn Kathir and Qunbul ‘an Ibn Kathir. Ibn Kathir is from the Makkah school.
  • Imam Abu ‘Amru: his two students were al-Susi and al-Duri*. Their recitations are known as al-Susi ‘an Abi ‘Amru and al-Duri ‘an Abi ‘Amru. Abu ‘Amru is from the ‘Iraqi school (al-Kufah).
  • Imam Ibn ‘Amir: his two students were Hisham and Ibn Dhakwan. Their recitations are known as Hisham ‘an Ibn ‘Amir and Ibn Dhakwan ‘an Abi ‘Amir.
  • Imam ‘Asim: his two students were Hafs and Shu’bah. Their recitations are known as Hafs ‘an ‘Asim (the most commonly recited narration today) and Shu’bah ‘an ‘Asim. Imam ‘Asim is also from the Kufic school of ‘Iraq.
  • Imam Hamzah: his two students were Khalaf and Khallad. Their recitations are Khalaf ‘an Hamzah and Khallad ‘an Hamzah. Imam Hamzah is also from the Kufic ‘Iraqi school.
  • Imam al-Kisa’i: his two students were Abu al-Harith and al-Duri*. Their recitations are Abu al-Harith ‘an al-Kisa’i and al-Duri ‘an al-Kisa’i. Imam al-Kisa’i is also from the Kufic ‘Iraqi school.

* al-Duri is the only student to have taken narrations from two Master Reciters: Abu ‘Amru and al-Kisa’i.

The Three Mash’hur Reciters:

  • Abu Ja’far.
  • Ya’qub.
  • Khalaf.

Three major conditions for being classified as a qira’ah:

  1. Sound chain of narration: narrators were continuous, well known for their piety and were known to possess Sound memories. The recitation must also be dispersed by a large number of narrators after the Sahabah (this is the condition of mutawatir). Narrations which did not fit this stringent category were considered either mash’hur (as in the case of Abu Ja’far, etc.) or irregular (shaddh).
  2. The recitation had to match the grammatical rules and constructions of the Arabic language. This was acceptable even if they matched styles only found in the Jahiliyyah poetry (pre-Islamic poetry).
  3. The narration had to agree with the script of one of the copies of the Qur’an disseminated by Khalif ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan in the ‘Uthmani script (al-Rasm al-Uthmani/الرسم العثماي). This is why it is acceptable to have differences in the “dot placement” (تعلمون أو يعلمون) so long as the other conditions are met.

When time permits, I will try and upload more audio files of the various qira’at/riwayat of the Qur’an, in sha’Allah.

What’s the Purpose of Revelation and Prophethood?

The following are the notes and audio to a khutbah I delivered at the University of Pennsylvania on March 9th, 2012.

[audio:http://www.marcmanley.com/media/mp3s/khutbahs/2012-3-9-purpose-of-revelation.mp3|titles=Khutbah – What’s the Purpose of Revelation and Prophethood?|artists=Marc Manley]

What’s the purpose of Revelation? Of prophecy? Of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in our lives?

If the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is Imam of the Messengers, then are we treating him as our Imam as well? Imam – the one who is in front and leading us.

Submission – it’s what we do for our own selves. Not whether or not others take us seriously.

وإذا رءاك الذين كفروا إن يتخذونك إلا هزؤا اَهذا الذى يذكر ءالهتكم وهم بذكر الرحمن هم كفرون

“When those who are kafir see you, they only make a mockery out of you: ‘Is this the one who makes mention of your gods?’ Yet they are kuffar about the mention of the All-Merciful.” [al-Anbiyā’ 21: 36]

Submission is an ongoing process.  In order to facilitate this, God has provided for us His Signs. We need only slow down to notice them:

خلق الإنسان من عجل – سأوريكم و ءايتى فلا تستعجلون

“Mankind was created hasty.  I shall show you My Signs so do hasten.” [al-Anbiyā’ 21: 37]

Don’t be hasty. Though we were created hasty, don’t be hasty. There’s a difference between how we are created and how Allah wants us to be.

If you allow it, the Qur’an will move you. It will lift your spirits, it will over-awe you, it will terrify you, it will move you to tears.

By coming to see this aspect of our relationship with Allah—The Big Picture—we foster a greater sense of realization [يقين-معرفة] of our purpose in life:

and …

الذين يذكرون الله قياما وقعودا وعلى جنوبهم ويتفكرون في خلق السموت والأرض ربنا ما خلقت هذا باطلا سبحانك فَقِنا عذاب النار

“Those who remember God standing, sitting and laying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth [utter], ‘O our Lord, You have not created all this in jest, how perfect You are, so protect us from the torment of the Fire.” [Āl-‘Imrān 3: 191]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ :

“يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٌ مِنْهُمْ، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ بِشِبْرٍ، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ ذِرَاعًا، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا(1) وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي، أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً

We all know the hadith: The world [al-Dunya] is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the ingrate [kafir]/روى أبو هريرة أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال الدنيا سجن المؤمن وجنة الكافر. Most folks stop at this and say, “there’s nothing we can do or enjoy from this life.” But the nature of all prisons is that the prisoners want to break out; the nature of Paradise is that no one wants to leave. So, we strive to break out of this prison, not to sit glumly by while not being tricked into thinking we’re staying here in this fake paradise forever.

Chaplain Chats – Tips On Reading the Qur’an

The following audio if from our Chaplain Chats talks with guest speaker Adnan Zulficar, the former Muslim Chaplain at UPenn. The talk was delivered on February 28th, 2012, at the University of Pennsylvania.


[Direct download]