Rasulullah SA states:
“Perfect your Wudu’ and you will live longer”
The thing about Shariat is that it is not one dimensional; in fact there are so many aspects to it, that with every new development in human history, with every shift in social and cultural trends, one can examine Shariat in a new light. Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Burhnanuddin RA would often say that ‘Shariat is like freshwater; it never becomes stale’. It constantly churns up new meanings from within it.
On the face of it, this hadeeth mubarak seems like a simple call to perform the ablution rites of wudu’ and in doing so, by encouraging cleanliness and good hygiene, it would naturally be beneficial to one’s health and longevity.
Yet to the discerning student, there is something more. The operative word is asbigh – i.e. ‘to perfect’ one’s wudu’. The call to perfecting wudu’ is a call to awareness, focus, determination, dedication and commitment. When Maulana Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen AS would get up to perform wudu’, the gravity of the task ahead – that is, namaaz – would elicit a physical change in him, making his hairs stand on end, whereby he saw namaaz as the point where one comes face to face with his maker. That perspective had a paramount influence on the way he carried out his wudu’.
This is in stark contrast to one for whom namaaz is more of a hindrance than a serious engagement with the Almighty, for then wudu’ becomes just as trivial. It becomes a reflection of his everyday behaviour where he would be less than particular about other things too. If one lacks the understanding of what namaaz means and the degree of preparation required for it, his view of other things in life will also be short sighted. He would become indifferent to things which are of importance to his spiritual and material wellbeing – things like diet, hygiene and exercise. If he cannot see the tremendous advantage of namaaz both here and in the hereafter, then that attitude would beget a similar response to things which are advantageous to him.
This hadeeth is fundamentally imbibing a sense of purpose in all that you do. Proper preparation such as in doing wudu’ perfectly, is a key factor in lowering the stress caused by unintended outcomes which result from poor preparation. Perfecting wudu’ requires one to be methodical and clear in what needs to be done in the right way and at the right time. Proper wudu’ cannot be done in haste; it requires the requisite time. Hence doing wudu’ perfectly incorporates a number of virtues and because of the frequency of wudu’, those virtues can ultimately be integrated into one’s habits.
All in all, it causes behavioural change and underpins the principles of good management – for everything. Contemporary views strongly advocate ‘lifestyle changes’ in maintaining a healthy life. Consistency and continuity are keys to this and that is precisely what this hadeeth inspires us to do.