"And We have made everything from water, will they not then believe?" (21:30)
In this noble ayah of the Holy Qur'an, we see Allah swt says He has created EVERYTHING from water, and hence when we look into science we see that water is an essential part of all existence, as we see our own bodies are 70% water, about 71.1% of this Earth is also water. And we are also very familiar with water, I'm sure I don't need to give an intro to it, as we all use water and all have many uses for water in our daily lives. For example, when we are thirsty, we drink water, when we shower or clean ourselves we use water, when we clean things we use water, etc. Hence we see water is an essential part of our lives and we need to it to survive.
Now, imagine for a second you didn't have any water for just one day.....then remember Karbala and how they didn't have water for 3 days.....I will come back to this at the end insha Allah...However, what did water actually mean to those people of the Ahlulbayt (AS) in Karbala? Hence, my topic today is the Significance of water in Islam.
Firstly, on a basic level as we all know water is a blessing of Allah swt. As Allah reminds us many times in the Qur'an, for example, in Sura al-Waqi'ah (Sura 56), verses 68-69"Consider the water which you drink. Are you the ones that cause it to descend from the sky or do We cause it to descend?" Allah is outlining to us here that the blessing of water has originated from Him and hence we must remain ever thankful to Him for this blessing He has granted us in abundance, and many of us in fact fall of short of thanking Allah for this blessing.But Allah doesn't stop there, He carries on saying " and if We had wished We would've made the water bitter, will you not then be thankful?" (Sura 56, Verse 70)
Imagine, in Africa some people only have dirty water and no clean water, but they still drink it because they have no choice. Now think, we need water to survive. If Allah wished, He could've made the water bitter, but we'd still HAVE to drink it because we need it to survive and hence would have no choice. But Allah out of His divine Mercy made for us "sweet water" (Sura 77). Should we not be thankful to Him for this blessing then?
Furthermore, when we go to the next level, we see that water is a SUSTENANCE (RIZQ) for us. As Allah says, Sura 40, Verse 13"And He shows you His signs and sends down from the clouds of His SUSTENANCE". You see a problem with people today is that when the word RIZQ is said many people automatically think of money. Hence whenever we make a du'a for rizq, many people do it with the intention that we are making du'a for money. But RIZQ means sustenance, and of this sustenance, one of our sustenance is water. So, for example, in our Isha du'a we supplicate"O Allah, make for me your Rizq in abundance, and make its attainment near and easy". Let’s see if Allah has answered our du'a in one way. Do we not have water in abundance, while in poorer places in the world they have no water whatsoever? Furthermore, you will find in villages in South Asia and Africa there are people who have to travel a mile or two before they reach a well where they extract water, while we just go and turn on the taps and there is a never-ending flow of water. Hence, Allah has granted us water in abundance and made it easy and near to get to.....hence hasn't Allah answered our du'a after Isha? Yet how much do we thank Him?
However, water has a very high status in Islam. We use water for two other very important uses; wudhu and ghusl. Many people have the basic understanding that we need to purify ourselves before we go in front of our Lord. However, if that is all there is to it, then why do we get narrations saying Imam Sajjad a.s started trembling when he went to do wudhu? This shows that even wudhu should have an effect on you. Hence we find a beautiful hadith by Imam Ja'ffar as-Sadiq a.s. in Misbahush-Shari'a, chapter 10 on Purity, where he gives water 3 big statuses; he says Allah has made water the key to his Proximity, the key to His supplication AND THE GUIDE TO THE COURT OF HIS SERVICE. Imagine, he calls water a guide. But he explains himself. In the hadith, he says when you walk up to the water to do wudhu, walk up to it as if you are walking up to the mercy of Allah, as in the same way it is only the mercy of Allah which purifies the sins of a man, it is only water which purifies the external filths of a human being. Ayatullah Khomeini expands on this in his book Adabus Salat that when you use the water for wudhu, remember you are entering the springs of Allah's mercy, and hence make the intention that in the same way you are using water to purify the external filths, you want Allah's mercy to purify your internal filths. We carry on in the hadith, and Ayatullah Khomeini (RA), in light of the next part, advises us just to stare at the water before we do wudhu. Then we see the 6th Imam says look at the clarity of the water, (look how clear and transparent it is), hence now make the intention you want to be that clear with Allah swt. Then he says look at the purity, softness and tender mixing of water with everything. A. Khomeini (RA) expands on this and says look at how pure water is, make the intention you want to be that pure. And look how water purifies everything it falls on, and it purifies everything around it. 6th Imam then says learn a lesson from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) where he says "a sincere believer is like water". Make the intention that you want to be pure like water, and that, like water, you want to be able to purify everybody around you. Then think of the softness of the water, and in the same way know you should be kind and gentle with Allah's creatures. Subhanallah, have any of you ever looked at water like this?
The rest of the hadith can be found in Misbahush Shari’ah, Chapter 10 on Purity or in the link below.
But to end, I would like to go back to Karbala, and see how water can transform our lives in another way. In Muharram, many of us become more religious. Why? Because we are motivated by this tragedy of Karbala to become better followers of Husayn (A). But why does this stop right after Arba'een, as we go back to our old habits. Many of us forget this tragedy after Arba'een. However, don't you agree if you remembered Karbala every day, you would be motivated to be good Muslims every day? In Muharram we are told to remember the thirst of those in Karbala every time we drink water. We drink water everyday right? So let us remember this tragedy everyday and hence become better Muslims throughout the year.
Just to end I would like to narrate a hadith from Nafasul Mahmoom, Chapter 3, by Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A) "O Dawood! May Allah send la'na upon the enemies of Husayn! There is no servant (of Allah) who drinks water and sends la'na upon his enemies except that Allah grants him 100 000 virtues, forgives 100 000 of his sins and elevates his position 100 000 times. It is as if he has freed 100 000 slaves and on the Day of Judgement he will be raised satiated."
May Allah grant us the shafa'at of Husayn on the day of Judgement! Wasalaam (Link for hadith about water of wudhu; - http://www.al-islam.org/adab/ Discourse 2, Objective 1, Chapter 3, named Concerning Disciplines of the Salik when coming to the water for purification)