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Hazrat Sheikh-ul Hadeeth Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelwi (R.A.) explains;   

Here the time of eating is general, before or after. Technically, wudu - ablution is that which is a requirement for Salaah  - prayer and performed at the times of salaah. It is well known. In the’ Arabic language only the washing of the hands and face is also called wudu. This is commonly known as the Lughawi (linguists-literal) Wudu. Two types of narrations are mentioned in this chapter. In some we find that wudu was performed, this is the Lughawi Wudu. In some narrations it is found that Rasulullah salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam did not perform wudu, this is the first type which is the common (shar'ee) wudu, or technical wudu.   

(176) Hadith Number 1.  

Ibn'Abbaas Radiyallahu'Anhu says: "Once when Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam came out of the toilet, after relieving himself from the call of nature, food was served to him. They asked if water for wudu should be brought? He replied: 'I have been commanded to perform wudu when 1 perform salaah"'. 


Technical wudu is only waajib - compulsory for salaah. It is not necessary to perform wudu before eating or immediately after relieving one's self. Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam did not perform wudu for it must not be thought that wudu is compulsory after visiting the toilet.

(177) Hadith Number 2.

Ibn 'Abbaas Radiyallahu 'Anhu relates: "Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam once, after relieving himself in the toilet, came out, and was served food. The Sahaabah Radiyallahu’ Anhu inquired: 'Will you not perform wudu?'. Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam replied: 'Do I have to perform salaah, that wudu must be performed?"'   


It has been mentioned in the previous hadith, that it is not mustahab to perform wudu before eating. It is better to be in the state of wudu at all times. Physical cleanliness has an effect on spiritual cleanliness.
It is therefore recommended that wudu be performed after visiting the toilet.

(178) Hadith Number 3.

Sayyidina Salmaan Faarisi Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "I have read in-the Tauraah, that performing wudu (washing the hands) after eating increases blessings. I mentioned this to Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam. Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam said: 'Wudu before and after eating (washing the hands and mouth) increases blessings'.  


It may be possible that only the time (after eating) is mentioned in the Tauraah. In this manner the other time (before eating) was added to the shari'ah of Sayyidina Muhammad Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam. Many laws have been revealed that were not in the shari'ah of the previous Ambiyaa (As). It is possible that both times are mentioned in the Tauraah, and since changes have been made to it, the law of washing the hands before eating, may have been removed from it. The 'ulama have stated that by 'Barakah’ (blessings) in washing the hands before eating', means increase in the food, and filling of the stomach. The 'Barakah of washing the hands after eating', means that the benefits and intention of eating is fulfilled. i.e. It becomes part of the body, creates energy and stamina, assists in strengthening one to perform 'ibaadah, and to possess good manners.

Studying Ash-Shaam-il  

Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) performing wudu at the time of eating 

In Usul’ul Fiqh, which is the study of jurisprudence in Islam, it is found that in many cases the context of the original Arabic words altered when they were fitted in Shariah – Islamic law. In the Arabic language, the word ‘wudu’ means ‘washing’, yet in terms of the Shariah it is ablution, which is the washing of four pillars in body for salaat. We need to know the context of these expressions in the Shariah. Similarly, the literal meaning of ‘salaah’ is to ‘turn to’, yet it is now understood as meaning ‘prayer’ in Shariah.  

Importance of Wudu  

The ‘wudu’ is the weapon for the believers, it keeps shaytan away. To perform wudu before eating is not obligatory, as legislated by Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). However to wash before eating is beneficial for purposes of hygiene and it is part of Shariah to honour food.

Before eating, it is Sunnah to wash the hands and then eat without drying them using a towel or by shaking them. This reduces the chance of contamination. It is medically proven that there is five different ways to wash hands. It is Shariah, to wash hands thoroughly before eating, and it is the washing of the upper hands that should be thorough. It is also important to wash hands after eating for blessings and that energy derived is used for worship.