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Proof for Masah on the nape

Question

What is the reason for the Hanafi madhab stating that one should do masah of the nape during wudu?

Is there any proof for this from Hadith?

Answer

According to the Hanafi Madhhab and some of the Shafi’is, it is mustahab (preferable) for one to make masah (wipe) of his nape in wudu. This is based upon adequate proofs, some being authentic and others weak. However, they all after being combined are strong enough to prove this matter.

1. Imam Abu Dawud (rahimahullah) and Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (rahimahullah) have recorded a narration in their respective works that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam), whilst making wudu, had also made masah of his head. (Sunan Abu Dawud; Musnad Ahmad)

This Hadith has been classified as weak by some muhaddithin (refer Talkhisul-Habir of Hafiz bn Hajar vol.1 pg.287-288; Al-Shakwani has said that Hafiz ibn Sayyidin-Nas had classified it as hasan (sound) – see Naylul-Awtar vol.1 pg.179). Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has stated that, ‘based on this narration, Imam Muhaddith al-Baghawi ash-Shafi’i has mentioned that masah of the nape is mustahab.’

This indicates that this narration is sufficient enough to prove the issue at hand.

2. Sayyiduna ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasal said, ‘Whoever makes masah of the nape in wudu will be saved from the burning thirst / shackles on the day of Qiyamah.’ (Musnadul-Firdaws vol.4 pg.44 Hadith 5628; Tarikh Isbahan vol.2 pg.115)

This narration has been classified as weak by Hafiz al-‘Iraqi and Allamah Zabidi (rahimahumallah)

(refer Takhrijul-Ihya vol.1 pg.82 Hadith 308; Sharhul-Ihyah vol.2 pg.580; ‘Ilmiyyah)

3. Imam Ibn Faris (rahimahullah) has also recorded this narration of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) with a separate chain of narrators.

Imam Ibn Faris (rahimahullah) then says, ‘This, Inshallah, is an authentic (Sahih) Hadith.’ (Refer Talkhis al-Habir vol.1 pg.288)

4. This is further supported by the fact that doing masah of the nape has been reported as the habit of the narrator of the above Hadith; Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) himself.

(Sunanul Bayhaqi, vol.1 pg.60)

5. Imam Abu ‘Ubayd (rahimahullah) has recorded a (mursal) Hadith from Imam Musa ibn Talhah that, ‘Whoever makes masah of his nape together with his head will be saved from severe thirst / shackles on the day of Qiyamah.’

(Refer Talkhisul-Habir vol.1 pg.288; Sharhul-Ihyah vol.2 pg.580)

Muhaddith Zafar Ahmad al-Uthmani (rahimahullah) has accepted all the reporters of this narration to be reliable. (‘Ilaus-Sunan vol.1 pg.123)

Mursal narrations (like the above) are acceptable according to majority of the fuqaha.

As I have stated at the outset, that though some narrations are weak, there are others that are authentic as well, like narration numbers 3 and 5. Some Muhaddithin have also regarded number 1 as authentic.

Besides the above, there are other narrations mentioned by Al-Shawkani in Naylul-Awtar.

A narration that has eluded many

In fact, the following is an authentic narration that has somehow eluded those who reject the validity of masah on the nape:

Sayyiduna Wa’il ibn Hujr (radiyallahu’anhu) has reported a lengthy narration regarding the manner in which Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) performed wudu, in which he stated, ‘And he (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) had made masah on his nape and the inner part of his beard with the water that remained from the masah of the head.’

(This narration has been recorded by Imam al-Tabrani and Bazzar).

Hafiz al-‘Iraqi (rahimahullah), the teacher of the famous Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah), referred to this Hadith with the following words, ‘Yes, the mention of masah on the nape has been reported in the narration of Sayyiduna Wa’il ibn Hujr (radiyallahu’anhu) by Imam Tabrani in his Mu’jam al-Kabir and Imam Bazzar in his Musnad and there is nothing wrong with it’s chain of narrators.’

(Tanzihush-Shari’ah, vol.2 pg.75).

Hence, this Hadith according to ‘Allamah‘Iraqi is effectively classified as hasan (soundly authentic) – لا بأس به

Therefore, there remains no doubt with the validity of the Hanafi standpoint on this matter.

A false claim

It is surprising to note that those who claim to follow Hadith directly, openly deny this and also falsely claim that the Hanafi Madhab is not based on Hadith, but on rational only.

In the issue at hand, these objectors are the one’s who have failed to act upon the Hadith.

Some of those who deny the existence of such Hadiths have relied upon the claim of a few scholars of the past who claimed that there exists no Hadith to support this issue.

However, as seen above, there are numerous Hadiths that give this meaning. It is for this reason that some muhaddithun and fuqaha that came later on had rebutted the claim of these scholars.

One would be forced to say that perhaps those scholars did not come across all these narrations and this is what lead him to denial.

In fact, Al-Shawkani, after mentioning the aforementioned narrations and a few others states, ‘And by means of all these narrations you would acknowledge that the claim of Imam Nawawi (who is one of those scholars that denied the existence of Hadith proofs for this matter) was issued in haste…

(Al-Shawkani further states) even Imam Ibn Rif’ah (rahimahullah) disagreed with Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) and he argued that Imam Baghawi (rahimahullah) who is an accepted (Shafi’i) Muhaddith had said that it was mustahab to make masah on the nape. Imam Baghawi would only base his decision on a suitable narration, nothing else.’

(Naylul-Awtar vol.1 pg.179; ‘Ilmiyyah)

Another angle

In fact, some scholars have even proven the masah of the nape through those Hadiths in which Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) has stated that his followers will be recognised on the day of Qiyamah through the shine on their limbs of wudu.

Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) then said,

‘If any one is able to increase that shine, he should do so.’,

i.e. by washing more than the required amount. For example, when washing the arms, to wash till way above the elbows and when washing the feet, to do so till the shin, etc.

So, in the same manner, if one, while making masah ‘increases’ it till his nape, he will be following this Hadith as well (which this has been recorded in Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 136 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith 579).

(Refer Tuhfatul-Kamalah  ‘ala Hawashi Tuhfatut-Talabah, pg.13; Majmu’ah Rasa’il ul-Laknawi vol.1 pg.261)

The above are sufficient to prove that to make masah on the nape is indeed established from authentic Hadiths.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar