To use more than what is necessary is termed israaf. Regarding israaf, Allah Ta‘ala declares, “Verily Allah Ta‘ala does not love the wasters.” (Surah A‘araaf, v31) Among the very great gifts of Allah Ta‘ala is water. To waste water is to literally “flush” the gift of Allah Ta‘ala down the drain. On one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked a person who was performing wudhu, “Why are you wasting water?” The person enquired, “Is there israaf even in wudhu?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “Yes indeed, (do not waste) even if you are at the bank of a river” (Sunan ibni Maajah #425).
Wudhu is a great ‘ibaadah (act of worship). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said that when a person performs wudhu in the proper manner, all the (minor) sins that were committed are washed off by means of the wudhu. However, among the acts that spoil this great ‘ibaadah and deprive one of the full benefits, is the wasting of water.
It has been very conservatively estimated that, at average, most people use more than six litres of water per wudhu. This is in stark contrast to the amount of water that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used for his wudhu. ‘Aaisha (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used one mudd of water for wudhu and one saa’ for ghusal (Sunan Abi Dawood #92). One mudd amounts to approximately 1.03 litres and one saa’ is approximately 4.1 litres. In other words, we generally use more water for wudhu than Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used for ghusal. Once Jaabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) narrated the saying of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that one mudd of water suffices for wudhu and one saa’ for ghusal. A person sitting there remarked, “It does not suffice for me.” Jaabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) silenced him by saying: “It sufficed for him [Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)] who was better than you and who even had more hair than you” (hence he would require more water than you to wash his head during ghusal) (Musannaf ibnu Abi Shaibah #713).
A few ways by which we can save water while making wudhu are:
- Make wudhu using a jug rather than the tap.
- If you are using the tap, do not open it completely to “full blast”. Rather open it until the flow is just sufficient for you to make wudhu.
- Close the tap while using the miswaak, making masah, khilaal, etc. Only re-open it when the water is again needed.
- Avoid taking a shower. Use a bucket instead. If the shower is used, open the water to just a little more than a trickle and finish off very quickly.