Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 185
The Merits of Ablutions (Wudu')

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, wipe (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of Janaba (i.e., after a sexual discharge), purify yourselves (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey, or any of you comes from responding to the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e., sexual intercourse) and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour to you that you may be thankful.'' (5:6)

1024. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying: "On the Day of Resurrection, my followers (or Ummah) will be summoned `Al-Ghurr Al-Muhajjalun' from the traces of Wudu'. Whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: The word "Ghurr'' is the plural of  "Agharr''  which means shining or white. It is used for animals (like a horse), i.e., a white mark on its face. Here, it refers to that radiance which will issue from the brows of the believers on the Day of Resurrection and which will make them prominent. Muhajjalun is from Tahjil  which also means whiteness but it is used for that whiteness which is found on all the four or at least on three legs of a horse. Here, it refers to that light which will shine through the hands and feet of the believers because of their habit of performing Wudu'. This means that the believers among the Muslims will be distinguished from other communities by virtue of the refulgence issuing from their faces, hands and feet on the Day of Resurrection in the same way that a horse with a white forehead is easily distinguised from other horses.

1025. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard my Khalil (the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) as saying, "The adornment of the believer (in Jannah) will reach the places where the water of Wudu' reaches (his body).''
[Muslim].

1026. `Uthman bin `Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who performs the Wudu' perfectly (i.e., according to Sunnah), his sins will depart from his body, even from under his nails.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: To perform Wudu' in a proper manner means to perform it according to Sunnah. Ejection of sins from the body means forgiveness of sins, and the word `sins' here stands for minor sins because major sins are not forgiven without devout penitence.

1027. `Uthman bin `Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I saw the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) performing Wudu' the way I have just done it and said, "He who performs Wudu' like this, his previous sins will be forgiven and his Salat and walking to the mosque will be considered as supererogatory act of worship.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: Wudu' is a means of remission of minor sins, provided those sins are not related to the rights of people because they too will not be forgiven without penitence and compensating the aggrieved or the wronged.

To perform Wudu' at home before proceeding to the mosque for Salat is highly meritorious. He who does so, will be purged of minor sins. Then his going to the mosque and performance of Salat there, is a means for gaining further reward.

1028. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "When a Muslim, or a believer, washes his face (in the course of Wudu'), every sin which he committed with his eyes, will be washed away from his face with water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin which is committed by his hands will be effaced from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin his feet committed will be washed away with the water, or with the last drop of water; until he finally emerges cleansed of all his sins.''
[Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith has the same meaning mentioned in the preceding Ahadith. That is to say, such minor sins are washed off by Wudu'. In other words, Wudu' is a means of purification of the body as well as the soul.

1029. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) went to the (Baqi`) cemetery and said, "May you be secured from punishment, O dwellers of abode of the believers! We, if Allah wills, will follow you. I wish we see my brothers.'' The Companions said, "O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.'' They said; "O Messenger of Allah! How will you recognize those of your Ummah who are not born yet?'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Say, if a man has white-footed horses with white foreheads among horses which are pure black, will he not recognize his own horses?'' They said; "Certainly, O Messenger of Allah!'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "They (my followers) will come with bright faces and white limbs because of Wudu'; and I will arrive at the Haud (Al-Kauthar) ahead of them.''
[Muslim].

Commentary:  On the principle "The believers are brothers'' that is manifested in Surat Al-Hujurat of the Qur'an (49:10), the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) regarded all the successive generations of Muslims as his brothers. His Companions have an added distinction that they are his brothers as well as his companions.

This Hadith also mentions Haud Al-Kauthar which is awarded to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) on the Day of Requital, and he will give water from it to his followers after which they will never feel thirst. Those who invent innovations in religion, will be deprived of this honour, as is evident from other narratives.

Farat is a person who goes ahead of the others in the caravan and makes arrangements for the encampment and provisions of the caravan. It is a unique distinction of the Muslims that their Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) will be holding that position on the Day of Requital.

1030. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Shall I not tell you something by which Allah effaces the sins and elevates ranks (in Jannah)?'' The Companions said; "Certainly, O Messenger of Allah.'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Performing the Wudu' thoroughly in spite of difficult circumstances, walking with more paces to the mosque, and waiting for the next As-Salat (the prayer) after observing Salat; and that is Ar-Ribat, and that is Ar-Ribat.''
[Muslim].

Commentary:  Hardship and unpleasantness here stand for the uneasiness that one feels while performing Wudu' in severe cold. Ar-Ribat  means watching the frontiers or battlefront to check the invasion of the enemy. To wait for the next Salat after offering a Salat is regarded as Ribat for the reason that by so doing, a person who is particular in offering Salat keeps himself constantly engaged in the obedience and worship of Allah to keep Satan away from him.

1031. Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: "Wudu' is half the Iman.''
[Muslim].

1032. `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whoever of you performs Wudu' carefully and then affirms: `Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallahu Wahdahu la sharika Lahu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa Rasuluhu [I testify that there so no true god except Allah Alone, Who has no partners and that Muhammad ((sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is His slave and Messenger],' the eight gates of Jannah are opened for him. He may enter through whichever of these gates he desires (to enter).''
[Muslim].

    In the narration in At-Tirmidhi, it is added: "Allahummaj-`alni minat-tawwabina, waj-`alni minal-mutatahhirin (O Allah make me among those who repent and purify themselves).''

Commentary: Tahur (means Wudu' which is the foremost condition for Salat. One is not permitted to perform Salat without Wudu' in the prescribed manner. Wudu' is regarded as "half of the Salat'' and this principle makes its importance clear.