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Ablution in Islam

[ February 05, 2016 ]
Ablution signifies spiritual purity, which the Prophet (SAW) was granted when the angels washed his heart, both in his youth and again, later, when angels washed it with the water of the holy well Zamzam on the Night of Ascension. To gain the full benefit of ablution, the worshipper must perform it with the realization of its inner aspects, washing away the burdens and darkness of worldly life that distract him or her from Divine service.

By removing both the physical and mental filth that accumulates through the day, one ignites and seals the latent spiritual energy of one’s being by means of the special attributes of water. The extremities washed during ablution are the primary means of interacting with the worldly life, and these must be cleansed of the taint left by that contact. Ablution begins with washing the hands, signifying that the first level of spiritual energy is in the hands. Human hands contain a Divine Secret, for they are a reflection of the Divine Attribute of Power, which Allah has bestowed in a limited degree on humankind. They provide the means for the outward manifestations of humankind’s will to change its circumstances. Thus, hands are a source of change, control and healing. No other creature has been endowed with so great an ability to manipulate its surroundings, and the hands are the main physical instrument of that ability. The hand can act as a receiver of positive energy. The circle of the body, so clearly illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci, is reflected on a smaller scale in the circle of the hand. Energy can be drawn in through the hands and channeled throughout the body. When one rubs the hands together during ablution, one activates a spiritual code that Allah has given us within our hands: the power of the ninety-nine Beautiful Names and Attributes that Allah has inscribed on every person’s palms. Purification of the heart blocks the influence of Satan on the believer. For this reason, the Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said: Ablution is the weapon of the believer. The friction between the two hands creates energy in the form of heat and rubbing them together under water locks in that energy, preventing it from escaping. The water keeps the energy that is generated by rubbing the hands together within the body, where it can be released later. During the process of ablution the hands are used to convey the water to each other limb and organ, thereby functioning as a dispenser of that divine energy. As the limbs and organs are washed in ablution, each undergoes similar spiritual alterations based on the water, the hands and their energy, and the various movements and recitations that are part of the ablution. For the believer to benefit from the water, it must be pure and clean, otherwise its secret blessings do not reach the body. On an esoteric level, ablution becomes a metaphor for purifying the heart. Water is always clean in its essence, so the degree of spiritual reception is dependent on keeping the water free from external impurities. If we expand the spiritual metaphor, the water symbolizes the remembrance of Allah. That remembrance is pure, in and of itself, but can be tainted by the darkness of negativity which derives from wrong intent, wrong will and wrong action. The most powerful energy we carry as human beings is our spiritual energy. Second to that is the physical energy of creativity, which manifests during the act of procreation. In the course of physically expressing this creative energy Allah has placed within us, we enter into a state similar to the spiritual state of annihilation, but not related to the divine presence, on the contrary, it is related to the lower self. When this occurs, it is essential to wash the body completely, with the intention to restore the spiritual state of purity lost during the act. Purification of the heart blocks the influence of Satan on the believer. For this reason, the Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said: Ablution is the weapon of the believer.