Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah dear sisters and brothers,
The following post from Qibla speaks to a common issue today, so I wanted to post it here. It seems that the smaller percentage of the Muslims who do practice their religion are often obsessively worried about the degree of their practice, to the extent it is actually detrimental to themselves and to the community, whereas they should be the ones who are most useful to the community of believers as well as the community at large. With that short preamble do please read the following post. I have asked Qibla previously about their copyright policies on reposting, and verified it is fine to repost content up on their website under fair usage policies and with appropriate citation. Therefore this article is available at –
The specific question pertains to ghusl (I was traveling and needed to make the ghusl while so doing, so that is how I came across this), but the principle is general. Indeed, MashaAllahu ta’ala once I learned this principle from an excellent course Sh. Haneef taught on the Hadith arabaeen of Imam Nawawi, life became much easier and I could taste more of the sweetness of my ibadaath. May Allah accept it from me and us all. I hope this benefits you too!
My ghusl takes very long. I want to do it in 5 minutes but I cant, it take about 30-40 minutes. Everywhere I wash I go into detail. My legs hair is a little big, so when I wash I be there at the legs, trying to make sure water gets over it, and be there for about 5 minutes on each leg. Then the face, making sure water is getting through the eyebrows and the feet, every toe and the small hair above it and then usually my nose is blocked then I have the problem of that and also my head, how do I know water is gone everywhere? I do this under the shower, why is it taking me so long? please help me.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said �Verily the religion is ease, and none shall make the religion hard except that it will defeat him. So be moderate, do as best you can, be of good cheer, and seek help in the mornings, the afternoons and something of the night� [Bukhari]
Obsession in acts of worship are termed waswasa which literally means �whispering� and it refers to the whispering of the devil whose job in life is to sow doubts in peoples hearts about everything that is to their advantage. Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq mentions in his Adab al-Tariq that the cause for waswasa is an unbalance in the intellect and ignorance of the sunna. It is based on an ignorance of the sunna because the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who was the source of the sacred law, enjoined to �moderation� and to �doing one�s best�; to not be obsessed with the outer aspects of ones worship but rather to aim for perfection in the inner aspects of one�s worship, namely presence of heart with Allah. It is caused by an unbalance in one�s intellect as often the person afflicted with waswasa will override the dictates of common sense because he feels that he hasn�t done good enough. Common sense would say that anyone can get their whole body wet in five minutes yet the unbalanced mind will ask �but how can I be sure?�
Allah Most high has obliged us to do our best to follow the injunctions of the sacred law and we will be asked on judgement day about our efforts based on how things appeared to us. An example of this is that any pool of water is immediately assumed pure and only treated as impure if we are certain of impurities being present in it. So if one spent years doing one�s ablution from a pool of water without knowing that it was impure one�s prayers are still legally valid because to the best of one�s knowledge, which is what counts, it was pure; as for it�s really being impure, that doesn�t concern us nor affect us. The same applies to the ghusl. As long as we feel reasonably sure that everything has been washed then that is all that counts. If in Allah�s knowledge a millimetre squared of one�s body was left dry it doesn�t affect the validity of one�s worship so long as one was not being overly negligent.
To return to the question, the following points must be kept in mind:
� Water, by its nature, flows. If one was to pour a glass of water over one�s head and then rub one�s head a few times, all of the roots of one�s hair would get wet. This is known to everybody. Your leg hairs cannot be thicker then the hair on your head so the same should apply. Pour water over the top and rub it slightly and that�s it. The same applies to facial hairs and any hairs on one�s body.
� One does have to wash one�s nose up to the bone in the Hanafi school. Sucking it up is not a condition and neither is taking it beyond the bone. If one�s nose is blocked one can place water with one�s hands and then use one�s fingers to make sure that it gets everywhere, or one may place water in one�s nose and tilt one�s head backwards to achieve the same objective.
� It is not considered piety or god-fearingness to be obsessive about matters of purity. Rather piety consists in following the sunna which is ultimately moderate when dealing with such matters. Furthermore if somebody considered obsession a necessary part of the ghusl then one would be guilty of a reprehensible innovation and might even be sinful for that belief.
� Spending too much time in the bathroom is counter productive and leads to wasting water which is disliked and can even be haram if done in a mosque with a limited water supply.
� At times it is obligatory to be quick in the shower, for example if one wakes up five minutes before sunrise, then one must be able to bathe and pray in five minutes and unnecessary delaying would be sinful. Just for practice one should bathe by washing everything once as quickly as one can so that if such a situation occurs, one will know what to do. If after bathing one has doubts about having washed a particular part of the body then one ignores this doubt as it occurred after the completion of act.
� Worship should be a pleasant experience which brings us closer to Allah. People with waswasa often find worship painful and focus whole heartedly on their own self imposed restrictions rather than the One for whom the worship is offered.
To summarise in the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), �Be moderate, do as best you can and be of good cheer�.
And Allah alone gives success.
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