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Judenbad Speyer 6 View from the first room down

Pool of a medieval mikvah in Speyer, dating back to 1128

1. Place of OriginEdit

Unknown


2. Metaphysical AbilityEdit

Washing the body as means of spiritual purification.


3. HistoryEdit

JudaismEdit

Ablution in the Hebrew Bible has been related to menstruation, childbirth, sexual relations, nocturnal emissions, unusual bodily fluids, skin disease, and death. Modern Judaism is based on the Hebrew Bible and Jewish oral law. This includes the Mishnah and Gemarrah (which together form the Talmud) in addition to rabbinic commentaries. This law further specifies regulations for ablution. These laws specify obligations for excretory functions, meals, and waking. These regulations of biblical and oral law prescribe water-based washing for removal of any ritual impurity. Sometimes requiring only a simple washing of hands, and other times it required full bodily immersion. The oral laws require the use of un-drawn water for full immersion. This can be a natural river, stream, spring, or special bath (a Mikvah) which contains rain-water.

TM washing

The al-Kas ablution fountain on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem.

These regulations were observed by ancient Israelites; contemporary Orthodox Jews and some (with modifications and added leniencies) Conservative Jews continue these practices, with the exception for those tied to sacrifice in the Temple in Jerusalem, as the Temple no longer fully exists. They continue to practice many of the hand washing rituals, as well as the full ritual immersion. The quintessential immersion rituals still practiced are those relating to nidda. According to which a menstruating woman must avoid contact (especially avoiding sexual contact) and may only resume contact after fully immersing herself in a mikvah of living water seven days after her menstruation has ceased.

In December 2006 the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of Conservative Judaism re-affirmed traditional requirements that Conservative women ritually immerse following menstruation. Doing so, it adopted multiple opinions regarding details, including an opinion reaffirming traditional (Orthodox) practices and concepts, an

opinion adapting certain leniencies including counting seven days from start of menstruation rather than its end, and an opinion reformulating the theological basis of the practice, basing it on concepts other than ritual purity.

Classical ritual immersion and associated requirements are not generally observed by Reform Judaism or Reconstructionist Judaism. The exception that both generally include immersion as part of the ritual for Conversion to Judaism, though Reform Judaism does not require it.

Tumat HaMet ("The impurity of death"), coming in contact with a human corpse is considered the ultimate impurity. This act cannot be purified through Ablution. Tumat HaMet requires purification through sprinkling the ashes of the Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer. Though this law is in active since the Temple in Jerusalem and the Red Heifer currently don't entirely exist. All are assumed to possess the impurity of death, though someon who is a Kohen (a priestly class) is not.

Karaite Jews are the only Jewish movement that carries on the observance of the laws of Ablution, as they are written in the Torah.

ChristianityEdit

Baptism, as a form of ritual purification, occurs in several religions related to Judaism, but is most prominent in Christianity. Christianity also has other forms of ablution. In older churches and modern Roman Catholic churches, there are numerous lavers around the building. The Laver is a symbol of cleansing oneself, usually by dipping the fingertips in holy water, and making the sign of the cross. In traditonal liturgical churches the laver is embedded in the wall, existing only for the priest and deacons to wash hands before celebrating the Eucharist.

Ancient churches were built with a large fountain in the courtyard. It was the tradition to wash before entering the church for worship. This usage is also legislated in the Rule of St. Benedict, as a result many medieval monasteries were built with communal lavers for monks or nuns to wash in before the Daily Office.

Giotto - Scrovegni - -30- - Washing of Feet

Christ washing the feet of the Apostles, by Giotto di Bondone (Cappella Scrovegni a Padova)

Traditionally, Christianity adhered to the biblical regulation. This required purification of women after childbirth. This practice was adapted into a special ritual known as the churching of women. There exists liturgy in the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer, but it's use is now performed in a number of Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic churches.

Roman Catholics, Eastern Ortodox and High church Anglicans are traditionally required to regularly attend confession, as a form of ritual purification from sin. Especially as preparation before receiving the Eucharist. For Catholics, this is required at least once a year. Required for those who are guilty of unconfessed mortal sins.

In Reformed Christianity, ablution is achieved through the Cofession of Sins, and Assurance of Forgiveness, and Sanctification. Through the power of the Holy Spirit; believers offer their whole being and labors as a 'living sacrifice' and cleanliness becomes a way of life.

Islam: WuduEdit

Wudu (Arabic: الوضوء‎ al-wuḍūʼ;  Hindi: वुज़ू ; Persian: آبدست‎ ābdast ; Urdu: وضو‎ vazū ; Turkish: abdest ; Pashto: ‎ awdas ; Bengali: ওযু ojoo ; Indonesian: wudhu ; Chechen: Lamaz etsar ; Bosnian: abdest ; Kurdish: destniwêj ; Somali: weeso ) is the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body using water, typically in preparation for formal prayers (salah). The Qur'an says "For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean."

Muslims are also required to be clean when handling and reading the Qur'an.  Which says ""Which none shall touch but those who are clean." The Islamic prophet Muhammad said that "Cleanliness is half of faith".   Purification of the body and clothes is called taharah.  To have taharah for the body, one should do either ghusl or wudu. Wudu is often translated as "partial ablution", as opposed to ghusl, or "full ablution".  Muslims often recite the Durood and Ayatul Kursi after ablution.

Permitted water types:Edit

  •     Rain water
  •     Spring, sea or river water
  •     Water of melting snow or hail
  •     Water of a big tank or pond
  •     Well water

Prohibited water typesEdit

  • Unclean or impure water
  • Water extracted from fruit and trees
  • Water that has changed its colour, taste and smell and becomes thick because something was soaked in it
  • Small quantity of water in which something unclean has fallen, e.g. urine, blood, stool or wine or some animal had died after falling into it
  • Water left over after drinking by haraam animals, e.g. pigs or predatory animals.
  • Used water of wudu or ghusl (according to the opinion of the Hanbali School)

The Acts of WuduEdit

There are four fard (obligatory) acts, if one of these is omitted, you must return to it and complete the successive acts. 

There are other acts that are performed during wudu (coming from the sunnah of Islamic prophet Muhammad and Sunni Islamic scholars) and the detailed acts of the wudu can be classed into three types:

Farā'id according to Sunni MuslimsEdit

According to Sunni Muslims the Qur'anic mandate for wudu comes in the sixth ayat of sura 5. The ayat has been translated by Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Rashad Khalifa, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Pickthal and Maulana Muhammad Ali and refer to washing the feet.

O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that ye may be grateful.
—Al-Ma'ida, Sura 5, Ayah 6

  • Washing the face once.
  • Washing both the arms including the elbows once.
  • Performing masah of one-fourth of the head.
  • Washing both the feet once up to and including the ankles.  It's not sufficient for one to pass wet hand over the feet or shoes. Under certain conditions masah can be done over leather socks known as khuffs.
  1. Narrated by Abd-Allah ibn Amr: "...we were just passing wet hands over our feet (not washing them thoroughly) so he addressed us in a loud voice saying twice or thrice, 'Save your heels from the fire.'."
  2. Narrated by 'Ubaid Ibn Juraij: "...and he used to perform ablution while wearing the shoes (i.e. wash his feet and then put on the shoes)."
  3. Narrated by Yahya Al-Mazini: " 'Can you show me how Allah's Apostle used to perform ablution?' ...and washed his feet (up to the ankles)."
  4. Narrated by 'Amr: "...and then he washed his feet up to the ankles."
  5. Narrated by Humran: "...and washed his feet up to the ankles..."
  6. Narrated by 'Amr bin Yahya: "...and washed his feet up to the ankles..."
  7. Narrated by 'Abdullah bin Zaid: "...and washed his feet (up to the ankles)."

OtherEdit

Ablution or washing the body for spiritual purification; usually undertaken during an initiation or during certain magical rites. This is often done along with other forms of purification; such as fasting or abstinence from sex.

Rosarium 11 fermentatio

Sol and Luna in Alchemic Ablution.

In the alchemical arts, men and women are shown together in baths. Sol and Luna; representing volatile and fixed elements. The bath is seen as cleansing and purifying; the water is seen as rejuvenating and redemptive.

4. Evidence of Metaphysical AbilitiesEdit

None

5. Possibility of Metaphysical AbilitiesEdit

1. None; there is nothing to suggest spiritual purification can be gained by Ablution

6. SourcesEdit

7. LinksEdit

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