Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Wa Alaykum Assalam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate
It is obligatory to wash the outer part of a thick beard, within the limits of the face. It is sunna to wash the part of a beard that falls beyond the limits of the face and also sunna to pass a wetted hand through the beard. It is not called upon to get water to all the hair of a thick beard, nor through to the skin under it, because of the difficulty entailed. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya]
A ‘thick beard’ is one through which the skin is not clearly apparent. Otherwise, if the skin is apparent, the beard will be considered ‘thin’ and it will be obligatory to get water to the skin under the beard within the limits of the face. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya]
The sunna way to perform ritual ablution, is to:
Wash the entire face. The face is defined as being from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and from earlobe to earlobe. This is the first of the four obligatory acts of the ritual ablution. It is sunna to wash the face three complete times. After this, pass wetted fingers through the beard if long. It is recommended to start washing from the forehead. Avoid slapping water onto the face, as this is improper. (From the forthcoming: The Absolute Essentials of Hanafi Fiqh, Faraz Fareed Rabbani, Amman, 2004.)
Faraz Rabbani and Sunni Path Q/A Team
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