What is Wudu?
The word wudhu comes from the Arabic word وَضَاءَة (Wadho’ah), which means good and beautiful.
Wudhu, by terminology, means the act of ritual washing of specific parts of our body in a specific way to remove the ritual impurities. Although wudhu itself is a type of worship which entails certain rewards, wudhu can also be seen as a prerequisite to performing other ritual acts of worship, such as performing the tawaf (circling of the ka’bah) for umrah and hajj, holding the mushaf (Quran) and, most importantly, performing our five daily prayers.
Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْمَرَافِقِ وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِۚ
“O believers! When you rise for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads and wash your feet to the ankles”
(Surah Al-Maidah, 5:6)
How to Make Wudu
Wudu According to the Shafi`i Madh-hab
Bismi-llâh, wa-l-hamdu lillâh, wa-s-salâtu wa-s-salâmu `alâ rasûli-llâh
Conditions for the Validity of Wudu‘
- The age of understanding. (A child reaches the stage of mumayyiz (discerning) when he can eat, drink and clean himself after using the toilet unassisted.)
- Cleanliness from menstruation and postnatal bleeding.
- Being free from that which prevents the water from reaching the skin.
- Nothing should be upon the limb that will change the [qualities of the] water.
- Knowledge of it (wuduʾ) being obligatory.
- Not to assume the fard (obligatory) acts as sunnah (recommended). (For the general public, it is suffice to know some of its acts are fard and some are sunnah.)
- Pure water.
- Entering of the time [of salah], for a person who constantly remains in the state of impurity. (Wuduʾ should be performed after the entering of the salâh’s time for fard salâh or at a particular time for sunnah salâh (e.g. duhâ))
- Continuity, for a person who constantly remains in the state of impurity.
(NOTE: Both 9 & 10 apply to the one who constantly remains in the state of impurity, for example, the one who suffers from urinary incontinence)
Obligatory Acts of Wudu
- Intention. (The person performing ablution either intends removing a state of hadath (ritual impurity) or purification for the salah.)
- Washing the face. (The face is from the point where the hairline usually begins to the chin in length, and from ear to ear in width.)
- Washing both hands and arms including the elbows. (Washing both arms completely, up-to and including the elbows once.)
- Wiping any part of the head. (The minimum is to wipe part of a single hair, provided this part does not hang below the limit of the head (i.e. below the hairline).)
- Washing the feet including the ankles.
- Tartîb (to observe the above-mentioned sequence).
NOTE: Intention is to intend something simultaneously with the action; its place is in the heart. To make a verbal intention is a sunnah; its time is at the beginning of washing the first portion of the face. Tartîb (sequence) is to observe the sequence of the Wuduʾ, such that no latter limb of Wuduʾ should precede a former limb.
Invalidators of Wudu‘
- Anything that exits from either the front or the rear private parts, whether wind or anything else [whether common or uncommon, such as a worm or stone], except semen.
- Loss of intellect (i.e. the loss of the ability to distinguish) through sleep or other causes (e.g. drunkenness, insanity), except sleep while firmly seated on the ground. (Drowsing and daydreaming do not break Wudu’. Among the signs of drowsing is that one can hear the words of those present, even though without comprehension.)
- Skin-to-skin contact between an adult (Adult means the age that usually stirs up sexual desire in a person. Wudu’ will not break if this is only found in one of the two.), non-mahram (marriageable), male and female without any barrier. (The Wudu’ will break even if they touch without sexual desire, or unintentionally, and even if be with the tongue or a malfunctional surplus limb. Touching does not include contact with teeth, nails, hair or a severed limb. Wuduʾ is also broken by touching an aged person or a corpse of the opposite sex.)
- Touching the private parts of a human with the palm or inner surface of the fingers (i.e., Those parts of the palm which touch each-other when the hands are put together palm to palm).
Forbidden Actions Whilst in Minor Impurity (i.e., In Need of Wudu‘)
- Salâh (Prayer)
- Tawâf (Circumambulation around the Ka`bah)
- Touching the Mushaf (Written script of the Qur’ân)
Carrying the Mushaf (It is not permissible to touch the Mushaf, whether its writing, the spaces between its lines, its margins, binding, the carrying strap attached to it, or the bag or box it is in. However, it is permissible to carry a Mushaf in baggage and to carry money, rings, or clothes on which Qurʾān is written.)
The Sunnah Way to Perform Wudu‘
- Recite ta`awwudh: I take refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytân (to recite A`ûdhu billâh completely), and basmalah: In the name of Allâh, Most Merciful, Ever Merciful (to recite Bismillâh completely).
- Wash the hands up-to and including the wrists three times.
- Use the miswâk (toothstick), and then rinse the mouth and nose out three times, with three handfuls of water. One takes in a mouthful from a handful of water and snifts up some of the rest of the handful into the nostrils thrice.
- Wash the entire face, from the point where the hairline usually begins to the chin in length, and from ear to ear in width, three times. It is obligatory to wash all facial hair – inner, outer, as well as the skin beneath the hair, whether the hair is thick or thin – such as the eyebrows, moustache and so forth except for a thick beard.
- Wash both arms completely, up-to and including the elbows, three times. It is sunnah to pass the fingers through each other.
- Wipe the head by passing the wet hands from the front of the head, sliding the paired hands to the back up to the nape of the neck, and then return them to point of commencement, three times.
- Wipe the inside of the ears with the fingertips and their outside with the thumbs, with fresh water, three times.
- Wash the feet up-to and including the ankles, three times. Allow the water to pass between the toes by using the little finger of the left hand, beginning with the little toe of the right foot, and ending with the little toe on the left.
- During wudu‘, it is sunnah:
– to wash the limbs successively,
– to begin with the right when washing the arms and legs, but both hands, cheeks, or ears, are washed simultaneously,
– to begin with the top of the face and not to splash the water onto it,
– to avoid splashing water onto oneself,
– to face the qiblah, not to talk except for a necessity, and
– not to waste water
And Allâh Knows Best