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Differences in Worship Practices

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 10/22/04

Q. Since Islam is one faith, why are there different methods of doing the essential acts of worship, such as wudhu and prayer? Why do we have to follow four Imams, and not one method? What is the correct way of doing the wudhu, or ablution? Since people wear different sorts of clothes in prayer, may I ask whether it is permissible to pray wearing a T-shirt, or trousers going below the ankles? Why do people not pay attention to those who are praying and cross their paths?

M.S. Arifin

A. We do not follow four Imams, but we follow the Prophet and understand his guidance through the four schools of Fiqh. They simply explain things and show us the way. The differences are mostly based on what the Prophet did, and he did things differently on different occasions, to indicate that the different methods are acceptable. This makes things easier, because if there was only one way to do every single thing, people would have had great difficulties in attending to their religious worship.

The correct way to do the ablution is the one which satisfies the requirements and adds a few recommended things. What is obligatory in performing the ablution, or wudhu, is that we wash our faces, hands up to the elbows, wipe over a part of our heads and wash our feet up to the ankles. When we do these with the intention of performing wudhu, our ablution is complete. Now we can add a few more things to increase our reward, such as rinsing our mouths, wiping our ears, repeating each wash three times, etc. For a man to wear a T-shirt or long trousers in prayer is perfectly acceptable. People cross in front of someone engaged in prayer because they are ignorant of the importance of refraining from doing so.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace

 Apartheid Wall

The Israeli Land-Grab Apartheid Wall built inside the Palestinian territories, here separating Abu Dis from occupied East Jerusalem. (IPC, 7/4/04).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python (Alquds, 1/25/03.

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