[I had been saving this post for a long time now, just waiting the right time to post it. Coincidently, today is World Water Day so it suits perfectly well. As it is also my late Father’s birthday today, please recite al-Fatihah for him, Ahmad Shah Bin Mohd Noor. Thank you for your kindness.]
Assalaamualaikum (peace be upon you) I bid to all my brothers and sisters!
There are many talks on being eco-friendly nowadays, and as a Muslim, I would like to address this point in this article, especially to my brothers and sisters out there, so that we follow the footsteps of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad s.a.w.
ECO FRIENDLY AS A MUSLIM’S CHARACTERISTIC
I wouldn’t have to go into detail on this, because I think every Muslim would agree on this point. As the khalifah of the earth, we have the burden of sustaining the earth, as well as to prevent from its destruction.
STARTING SOMEWHERE CLOSE
Some of our brothers and sisters might ask ourselves, on what matter can we be more eco-friendly, and at the same time receive hasanats/rewards for following Allah’s Messenger? What can be changed which can have a double effect, on the earth and also our practising religion?
Allow me to suggest a subject that is very close to us. The subject at hand that I would like to discuss may not occur to you, but to me it is important, nonetheless. The subject: Ablution/Wudhu’.
Yes, wudhu’, no need to rub your eyes, you read it right.
‘Why, of all things, are you focusing on wudhu’?’, you might ask. Here are some points to ponder:
– Muslims take it (a minimum) 5 times a day.
– An average usage that was reported is 10 liters per wudhu’ (at least in my country, Malaysia. Maybe not applicable to other countries, but let’s just take it as an example). Yes brothers, 10 liters PER wudhu’! Wow! We are advised to only drink 2 liters per day!
– According to Wikipedia, the amount of Muslims in the world is around 1.3-1.5 billion (alhamdulIllah). That is one in every 5 people of the world.
Ok, you might argue that I am not being fair, that non-Muslims also use water for all other purposes too. But that is the point I am trying to make here. We drink, they drink. We shower, they shower. We wash our dishes, they do too. We wash our cars, they do too. On all of our other daily routines, we can say that we are level with them. But we also use an additional 50 liters a day which they don’t!
What’s also interesting is, not only we Muslims will try to find mutlak water i.e. water which is pure and can purify, but also the best water available! So, even though in the Islamic term it is perfectly OK to use rain water as water for ablution, we will most certainly prefer tap water! (I am also ‘guilty’ on this)
So to summarize, only 1.3-1.5 billion Muslims take wudhu’ five times (and I am being very very optimistic here about all my brothers and sisters fulfilling their obligations on a daily basis) using 50 liters of clean water each day. That’s 65-75 billion liters daily!
Is this how it is meant to be? To answer this, let’s look at how the most perfect Muslim takes his wudhu’. Non other than our beloved Prophet, Muhammad s.a.w. himself.
Stating from Fiqh Sunnah, a well known book which addresses daily fiqh issues written by Sayid Sabiq, it is narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. usually shower (ghasl) with 1 sha’ (or 4 mud) to 5 mud of water, and 1 mud for ablution (Muttafaqun ‘alaih). From what I know, one mud is around 700 ml (or one scope of both of regular-sized hands), which means the Prophet s.a.w. only uses 700 ml for ablution!
Another narration by Ubaidillah bin Abi Yazid stated that, a man came to see Ibnu Abbas r.a. and asks: “How much water should I use for ablution?” He replied “1 mud (around 700 ml)“. “And for shower (ghasl)?” “1 sha’ (approximately 2.8 l)” He replied. “Ah, it is not enough for me” the man said. Ibnu Abbas replied, “Woe on to you! It is enough for a man even better than you, that is RasulUllah s.a.w.” . [Narrated by Ahmad and Thabrani in Al-Kabir]
Abdullah bin Umar r.a. narrated:
The Prophet s.a.w. came beside Sa’ad while he was taking ablution. He then asked “Why are you lavish in water usage, o Sa’ad?” “Is there such lavishness even towards water?” Sa’ad asked back. “Yes, even when you are in a flowing river.” the Prophet answered. [Narrated by Ahmad and Ibnu Majah]
Another important fact is that, for ablution, the water is mainly spread, NOT trickled. Trickled uses a lot more water, but spreading the water requires much lesser in volume. As long as your hands are wet, than the water can be spread across the wudhu’ areas. That is why we can see the logic of our Prophet using only 700 ml of water for his ablution.
TOWARDS LESS WATER USAGE
Here is an easy suggestion to less water usage (during wudhu’): Open the tap as minimum as you can! It is not that we actually use the 10 liters of water, but while we are spreading the water around our faces, hands, etc, the tap water is still running, and such pure and precious water go directly to waste! So let’s open our tap water as minimum as we can, and if possible, during long washing (like hands and feet), we close the tap.
One thing funny though, if you try to practice this, you might get somebody who just came asking, “Oh, is there not enough water today?”
THE BENEFITS OF LESS WATER USAGE DURING ABLUTION
– We avoid wasting. Wasters are a friend of syaitan! In addition to that, we come ever so closer to practicing the way our Prophet saw took his ablution.
– Undoubtly your water bills, or your local masjid’s water bills will also become cheaper. Especially for Masjid-goers (hey, that’s a nice term), please do remember that the money paying the bills of the masjid comes from the people as wakaf money. Let’s use it wisely.
– The Masjid’s carpets don’t get soggy and smelly caused by water from our feet due to excess water. The tilted floors will also not get slippery, which can be dangerous at times. (There was one incident in my university where a non-muslim slipped and nearly had a serious injury because a brother used a lot of water from the sink, and many fell on the floor. He didn’t even bother to clean it up. This is a very regretful behavior. Isn’t cleanliness also a part of a Muslim’s characteristic?)
In conclusion, reducing our water usage during wudhu’ does not only make you an eco-friendly person, but also a good Muslim!
Let’s think globally, and act locally. Save water, gain hasanats.
This is Luqman, your brother in Islam, loving you from Malaysia. May we be granted hasanats for following the Prophet’s way (saw).
P.S.: All comments, in Malay or English are most welcomed!
Reference: – Fiqh Sunnah by Sayid Sabiq