Question text How is referred in the Quran to the anointment (to rub over with water) on feet?
categorization: Qur’an and the Rules
Anointment on feet is one another of issues that a group of Sunni scholars animadvert Shiite and followers of Ahl -e- Bait (a.s.) for that. Most of them know washing the feet necessary and they do not accept that anointment is enough. While holy Qur’an has been clearly issued the order of anointment on feet and act of followers of Ahl -e- Bait (a.s.) is according to Qur’an and lots of Ahadith from Prophet (s.a.) that number of them exceeds more than thirty. Also the act of most of Sahaba and Tabi’een (followers; persons who were after Sahaba) was to perform anointment and not to wash the feet. But unfortunately a group of oppositions have ignored these proofs and without enough attention started to attack us and with vilifying and out of truth and out of justice expressions animadverting followers of this sect. Ibn Kathir, one of famous scholars of Ahl -e- Sonnat, says in his book “Tafsir Alqur’an Alazim”: Rawafiz (pl. of Rafizi; abjured persons) (he meant followers of Ahl -e- Bait (a.s.)) has opposed in the issue of washing feet in ablution and they considered anointment enough without any proof due to their ignorance, while holy verse of Qur’an mentions the necessity of washing and act of prophet of Allah (s.a) was also according to the verse and in fact they have no proof for their expression!!1 Another group has followed their words deaf and blind, and without any investigation on the issue has accused Shiite as much as they wanted. Perhaps they considered all persons whom they had talked to as commons, and they did not think that someday scholars and scientists will criticize their words and they will be ashamed in front of history of Islam. Now, before anything else we look at the book of Allah, holy Qur’an. Qur’an says in the verse 6 of Ma’eda Sura (the last Sura which descended to prophet of Islam (s.a.)): “Those who believe in Allah! When you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and hand to the elbows and perform anointment on a part of your heads and feet”. It is clear that the word “أرجلکم” (your feet) refers to “رؤوسکم” (your heads) and this is the reason that anointment is necessary for both of them (not washing), even if we read “أرجلکم” with upper sound or lower sound (Attention!). [2] Anyhow, holy Qur’an has ordered to perform anointment on feet.

[1] Tafsir Alqur’an Alazim, vol. 2, p.518.
[2] The explanation is that the word “أرجلکم” (your feet) has two famous pronunciations. Pronouncing with the lower sound that a group of famous lectors like Hamza, Abu Omar, Ibn Kathir and even Asim (according to Abu Bakr) had performed and some other group of famous lectors had pronounced the word with upper sound and today all Qur’ans has been written with this pronunciation.
But surely there is no difference in the meaning between these two pronunciations.
Because if it is read with lower sound, it means that the word refers to “heads” and it means that perform anointment on your feet (as you perform anointment on your heads).
Is it any problem here if Shiite has acted to this pronunciation which has lots of adherents?
Moreover, if we read the word with upper pronunciation it refers to the subject which is “وامسحوا”, therefore in both forms the meaning of the verse is perform anointment on your feet.
But a group has thought that if we read “أرجلکم” (your feet) with upper sound, then it refers to “faces” and it means that wash faces and hands and also feet!
While this expression is against Arabic grammar and it is also against eloquence of Qur’an.
But its opposition to Arabic grammar is because of the fact that never a strange sentence will be placed between referred and the phrase that is referred to, and according to words of famous scholar of Ahl -e- Sonnat, it is impossible that “أرجلکم” (your feet) had been referred to “وجوهکم” (your faces), because it has been never heard that in eloquent Arabic speech someone says: “I beat Zayd and passed Bakr and Amr, in the meaning that I beat Amr”! (Explanation of Munyat Almusalla, p. 16).
Even commons do not talk like this; what about Qur’an that is the perfect example of eloquence.
Therefore as some of scholars of Ahl -e- Sonnat have said, there is no doubt that in any form of pronunciation, the meaning of the verse is that perform anointment (rub over with water) on your heads and feet during ablution for prayer.
Ref: Shia Answers; Ayt. Makarem Shirazi; Translated by: Bahador Shirazian