Insights into Purification: Washing Your Face

Extracts from lessons given by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) on the rulings and etiquettes of purification. Habib Umar is teaching Habib Abdullah bin Husayn Balfaqih’s “Kifayat al-Raghib” in Shafi`i fiqh.


It is compulsory to completely wash your face when you perform wudu. You constantly wash the face which you present to the creation, but you never wash the face which you present to your Creator! What place does Allah have in your heart?

A person’s face in reality is their inner state and the direction in which their heart is focused. For this reason we say upon entering the prayer:

“I turn my face to Him Who created the heavens and the earth.”

What is meant is that you turn your heart and your focus to Him. You point your face towards the Noble Ka`bah but you turn your heart to Allah.

A person’s truthfulness or piety may manifest itself in the form of light on their face in this life. However, it is only on the Day of Judgement that people’s true states are made manifest on their faces.

Allah says:

Some faces that Day will be beaming; laughing and rejoicing. Other faces that Day will be dust stained; blackness will cover them. (80:38-41)

O Allah, pardon our wrongdoings and do not expose us on that Day due to our sins.