`Abd Allah b. Zayd, while describing the Prophet's wudû, relates that: "… the Prophet (peace be upon him) would then rinse his mouth and nose with a single handful of water, and he would do so thrice."
This hadîth is related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî
(191) and Sahîh Muslim
The meaning of the hadîth:
Al-Bukhârî relates this hadîth in his book under the heading: "Rinsing the mouth and inhaling water into the nose with the same handful of water".
The hadîth is related with slight variations in its wordings. Some narrations read "with a single handful of water", like that in Sahîh al-Bukhârî
. Others read "with a single hand" and others read "With the water scooped up by a single hand".
The phrase "with a single hand" is the way it is most frequently related, so perhaps that is the most accurate wording.
Its legal implications:
This hadîth addresses the question of rinsing the mouth (madmadah
) and nose (istinshâq
) with the same handful of water. It is clear in indicating that it is permissible to do so.
This means that a person can scoop up some water in his right hand, then take some of it into his mouth to rinse with and inhale the remainder of the water into his nose. He can then use his left hand to assist in expelling the water. He then repeats the process a second and third time, altogether using three handfuls of water.
There are other hadîth that convey the same meaning:
1. `Atâ' b Yasâr relates that Ibn `Abbâs, after washing his face in wudû', took up a handful of water and rinsed his mouth and nose with it. After finishing his wudû', Ibn `Abbâs said: "This is how I saw Allah's Messenger carry out his wudû'." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî
2. Al-Dârimî relates from Ibn `Abâs that "the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to combine between rinsing his mouth and nose." [Sunan al-Nasâ'î
(1/73), Musnad al-Shâfi`î
(1/29), and Sahîh Ibn Khuzaymah
Al-Nawawî declares this hadîth to be authentic in his Khulâsah
3. `Alî b. Abî Tâlib, while describing the Prophet's wudû', relates: "…then he would rince his mouth and exhale water from his nose three times, rinsing and exhaling with the hand that he used to take up the water." [Sunan Abî Dâwûd
(111 and 113), Sunan al-Nasâ'î
(92, 93, and 94), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah
Since the hadîth uses the word "exhaling" instead of "inhaling" it has been understood by some to mean that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used his right hand to take up the water as well as to assist him in expelling it.
However, this is an unlikely interpretation. The problem presented by the choice of words in this hadîth is clarified by the other hadîth that explain how the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take up water into his mouth and nose from a single handful. Alî's narration should be understood in the same light.
Al-Nawawî makes the following general observation: "These are authentic hadîth indicating the practice of combining between the rinsing of the mouth and nose. As for doing these two things separately, no hadîth is established that conveys that meaning. There is only the hadîth of Talhah b. Musarrif, and it is weak."
The hadîth that al-Nawawî refers to is one that Talhah b. Musarrif relates from his father that his grandfather said: "I saw Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) rinse his mouth and nose separately." [Sunan Abî Dâwûd
It is indeed a weak hadîth. Ibn Hajar declares it to be weak in al-Dirâyah
. It has a number of defects.
For one thing, its chain of transmission contains the narrator Layth b. Abî Salîm, about whom Ibn Hibbân says: "He would get things mixed up. He would confuse chains of transmission and make broken chains complete. He would attribute to reliable narrators hadîth that he did not relate. This is why Ahmad, Ibn Ma`în, Ibn Mahdî, and Ibn al-Madînî rejected his hadîth."
Ibn Hajar says about Layth b. Abî Salîm in Taqrîb al-Tahdhîb
: "An honest narrator who later in life mixed things up."
Aside from the weakness of Layth b. Abî Salîm, there is an unknown narrator in the chain of transmission.
Ibn Hajar, in Tahdhîb al-Tahdhîb
, asserts that it is possible that the Talhah in the chain of transmission is not Talhah b. Musarrif at all, but some other Talhah whose identity is unknown. In this case, we do not know the identity of Talhah, nor that of his father, nor his grandfather.
If we take it that Talhah is indeed Talhah b. Musarrif, then he is a reliable narrator but his father's abilities as anarrator is unknown. His grandfather in this case is considered to be a Companion. Still, in this case the hadîth is weak for two reasons: the weakness of Layth b. Abî Salîm and the unknown quality of Talhah's father as a narrator.
We have already mentioned that al-Nawawî says there is no other hadîth besides that of Talhah indicating using different handfulls of water for rinsing the mouth and nose. However, some jurists of the Shâfî`î school, including al-Ghazâlî and al-Râfi`î, claim there are two other narrations to that effect, one from `Alî and one from `Uthmân.
Ibn al-Salâh categorically denies this to be the case. Ibn al-Mulaqqin and Ibn Hajar disagree with Ibn al-Salâh and assert that such hadîth do exist. Ibn Hajar writes in al-Talkhîs al-Habîr
that `Alî b. al-Sakan relates in his Sahîh narrations from `Alî b. Abî Tâlib and `Uthmân the same hadîth that is related by Talhah. Alas, though they exist, these two hadîth are also weak, as determined by Ibn al-Qayyim and other scholars.
This is why the majority of Islamic jurists hold the view that it is preferable to rinse the mouth and the nose with the same handful of water.
And Allah knows best.