Muwalat (continuance of acts)
Our scholars - in following their Imams - state that the continuance of the acts of wudu is a condition for it being correct. The condition is that the previous part should not become dry - given the same time, place and health of the one performing the ablution - before completing the following part.
The Shafi'is and Hanafis have stated that the muwalat is not prescribed; it is not a condition or obligatory, rather, it is a Sunni. For them, it is detestable to separate between the parts if there is no excuse. If there is an excuse, then it is not abominable. Similarly, it is not abominable if he forgets [the muwalat] or the water prepared for his wudu runs out and he goes to get more water to complete his wudu.
The Malikis have stated that the muwalat is obligatory if one remembers and is able to do so. It is dropped if one forgets or has an excuse.
Our proof lies in the acts of the Prophet of God (P) for he would follow continuation in his wudu just as he performed it in sequence. No laziness was seen of him in the acts of wudu at any time, just as they did not see him not observing the sequence. If the muwalat was not a condition, he would have omitted it even once or would have announced that it was permissible to omit it, explaining the shari'a ruling in accordance with his practise of legislating from Allah, the most High. Since he did not do this, we know that it is not allowed.
Moreover, there is no difference in the correctness of the wudu if it meets these conditions. If it does not meet them, then its correctness is a matter of dispute. [When there is no muwalat] the Imams of the ahl al-bayt, peace be upon them, do not see it as removing impurity nor does it allow one to pray, so be cautious in your religion. It is necessary to observe caution here because the practical principle (al-asl al-'amali) requires, with regards to doubtful acts, that we be cautious when we are not sure the conditions [attached to the act] are fulfilled. Moreover, the ritual impurity of a thing continues to exist (istishab) as long as one is not sure that it's opposite (removal of the impurity) has not occurred, as we have discussed.
Adapted from: "Questions on Jurisprudence" by: "Abdul Hussein Shareefaldin Al-Musawi"
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