We all agree that snow is absolutely beautiful. It just makes the day seem so much more special – especially for those seeing it for the first time – like me. Its really been a cold winter in Newcastle this year but today we woke to a yard full of snow. There is so much we take for granted. When it rains we complain, when the sun is out we complain its too hot yet do we understand the weather that Allah has ordained for us?
The last prophet of Allah, Muhammad (SAW) used to pray to Allah saying “… O Allah, wash away my sins with snow and hail water, purify my heart from the sins as is purified the white garment from the dirt..” (Bukhari). Although we always repeat this invocation, do we understand the miracle of Allah and the scientific facts in it? Allah says in the Quraan “And We made every living thing of water” (21:30). It has a miraculous ability when used to clean and dissolve dirt. Water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom linked together by polar covalent bond which gathers the molecules of water by the weak hydrogen bonds which gives water the unique different qualities that other similar-structure liquids do not have.
Water, which is chemically called the general solvent has a great ability to dissolve a lot of ionic substances because the polar molecules of water attack the crystal of the compound if it has the ionic quality, it isolates the attracted crystals inside the crystal lattice and as a result a mutual attraction power between the polar molecules of water and the ions emerges, the attraction power between the ions prevail in the crystal, and as a result, the dissolved substances disperse among water molecules.
This Dua likens the sins and faults to dirt which water cleans, so how the process of cleaning with water happens? When stains and dirt cling to cloth, the attraction power between the cloth and dirt take place. Water penetrates the stain and wet the cloth and because of the polar and the capillary quality of water, it makes the dirt dissolve by isolating its ions from each other, so the inter-link power between the ions is weakened, especially if they are among the kinds that dissolve in water.
If stains are fats which don’t dissolve in water, water breaks down in the form of balls that don’t wet the surface of the texture because the adhesive forces between water and stains is less strong than that of the molecules of water. So it must be washed by water and soap. The soap solution lessen the surface tension of water, so the soap solution covers the fat stains and reacts with it forming fat emulsion and the attraction power between water and stain becomes stronger, so the dirt leaves the surface which has already been clung to but the Dua has referred to another way of cleaning, it is by snow. So how can snow be a way of cleaning? As we know, when water freezes, it becomes snow at zero degrees and the way in which the molecules connect with each other changes and became like benzene rings.
There are some dirt such as wax or gum that can’t be removed with water or soap because the power of adherence between these stains and cloth is very strong. On putting snow over these stains, the frigidity makes the molecules of this substance come close to each other and contracted, so the power of adherence between them and the cloth decreases with the result that they are disconnected and moved away. Hail is formed at subzero centigrade, so in case of irremovable stains, hail will make the molecules of these dirt contract much more than the case with snow.
This Dua likens the sins to dirt that should be washed with water, and that are irremovable with water, snow will remove it, and that are irremovable with snow, it can be removed with hail till no sin left.
The Dua that The Last Prophet of Allah (SAW) left for us thus shows us so much that we have taken for granted. The next time we see rain, hail or snow, we should remember how Allah has made it a means to clean and perhaps when the rain or snow falls, all that it is, is a reminder to make a Dua asking Allah to wash away our sins like the water washes away dirt. If we are not reminded, would we ever do it?