Washing of hands and arms to the elbows
Washing of hands and arms to the elbows


The Book of Ritual Purification (Tahara) - كتاب الطهارة من الحدث.


Acts of Wudu'

Topic/Issue:8 - Washing of hands and arms to the elbows -- غسل اليدين والذراعين

The jurists agreed washing the hands and forearms are obligatory due to the ayah 5:6:{1}

  • O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows…
Opinion FromOpinionExplanation
Imam Abu Hanifa,Imam Shafi,Imam MalikWashing arms including elbows is obligatoryThe word 'ila'(i.e. in the verse ....and your hands (and arms) to the elbows.....) in verse 5:6 means 'up to and including' and word 'yadd' means hands and forearms
Zahirites, al-Tabari, later MalikitesInclusion of elbows is not obligatoryThe word 'ila' in verse 5:6 is not inclusive of elbows or yadd only include what is below the elbows
The hadith of abu huraira is recommendation.

They disagreed on whether one washes up to, and not including the elbows, or up to and including the elbows:

  1. Included: Abu Hanifa, Maalik, and ash-Shafi’ee.
  2. Not Included: Some Dhaahiris, at-Tabari, later Maalikis.

Reason for Disagreement

The disagreement is based on the proper understanding of two arabic words:

  1. ila: sometimes this word means “up to, not including”, and sometimes it means “up to and including”.
  2. yadd: this word has 3 meanings:
    1. the hand
    2. the hand and forearms
    3. the hand, forearms, and upper arms
  • If ila was understood to be inclusive or yadd was considered to be all 3 parts of the arm, then the opinion chosen included the elbow. They also use the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah to corroborate their opinion:
    • Muslim reports that Abu Hurayrah used to wash his right hand til the beginning of the upper arm, then the left in the same manner, followed by washing the right foot til the beginning of the calf and then the washing of the left in the same manner. He then said, “That is how I saw the Prophet of Allah performing ablution.”
  • Those who understood ila to not be inclusive or yadd to only include what was below the elbows did not include the elbows itself as something to be washed. They also may have considered the narration of Abu Hurayrah a recommendation and not an obligation.
Evidences :1 - Quran [5:6] [Hide/Show]
Tags :Worship,Purification, Tahara, Wudu', Hand, Arm, Elbow
See Also:The Acts of Ablution
References:1[pg:6-7] [Hide/Show]
Last Updated:2011-07-03

<< Back to List of Issues
Please Help Us Spread the Word. Press LIKE.