Al-Wudu [Ritual Ablution before prayers]

1. When we want to perform a Salat, whether Wajib or Mustahabb, we must make a Wudu for that Salat. Before doing so, we must remove any thing, from the specified Wudu parts of the body, whid1 prevents the reach of water to their skin; such as the stincking materials, paints, cosmetics, etc.

2. If there is Najasah on any of the parts of the Wudu, we have to purify that part before performing the Wudu.

3. Intention is a basic condition for the valid performance of the Wudu; otherwise it would be incorrect.

How to Perform the Wudu

The Glorious Qur'an, in the verse No. 6 of Suratul-Maidah, tells us how to perform it. It says:

"O you who believe! when you rise up for the Salat wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet up to the ankles."(5:6)

Allah, the Glorified, commanded us to perform the Wudu for the Salat so as to stand in His presence, purified, invoking upon Him and asking His forgiveness.

The Wudu consists of six consecutive steps:
1. Washing the face vertically from the hairline clown to the chin, and in breadth from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the middle finger.

2. Washing the right arm from1 the elbow till the tips of the fingers.

3. Washing the left arm from the elbow till the tips of the fingers.

4. Wiping the top of the head down2 to the hairline with the wet fingers of our right hand.

5. Wiping the back of our right foot with our wet right hand, from the tips of our toes up to the ankle.

6. Wiping the back of our left foot with our wet left hand, from the tips of our toes up to the ankle.

The Desirable Norms of the Wudu

There are some acts which we call: "The desirable norms of the Wudu: "They are Mustahabb, not Wajib acts. Performing them is better for us because they please Allah, the Glorified, and He rewards us on them. The Noble Messenger of Allah (s) used to perform them. Some of them are as follows:
1. Saying: "Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim”, before starting the Wudu.

2. Reciting some Mustahabb invocations.

3. Rinsing3 the mouth with water.

4. Sniffing water.

Invadilators of the Wudu [Things Which Render It Batil]

We have learnt that the Wudu effects our Taharah, and that the Salat would be invalid if performed without Taharah. There are, however, other occurrences which render the Wudu Batil and require it to be re-performed. Examples:

1. Urination and defecation: If urine or faeces have been discharged from a person's body, his Wudu will become Batil and he will have to repeat it. If this happens during the Salat, it will also become Batil, and will have to stop it repeat the Wudu and then repeat the Salat once again.

2. Breaking wind: If a person break wind his Wudu will become Batil, and he will have to repeat the Wudu if he has to perform a Salat. Should one breaks wind during the Salat one would have to stop his Salat, repeat his Wudu, and then repeat the Salat.

3. Sleep: If a person, who has performed the Wudu, slept and his sleeping overcame his senses of hearing and sight, his Wudu would become Batil, and he would have to repeat it if he wanted to perform a religious duty which requires the Wudu like Salat.

4. Whatever causes mental disorder like unconsciousness, intoxication, and madness.


Q1. If a Mutawaddi [the one who has performed Wudu] slept, should he repeat his Wudu for his next Salat or not? Why?

Q2. Are mouth-rinsing and sniffing water desirable traditions or Wajibs when making Wudu?

Q3. After finishing the Wudu, one noticed that his nose was bleeding. Would his Wudu become Batil or not?

Q4. Explain how you would teach an interested person how to perform the Wudu, if he asked you.

Q5. A person has performed his Wudu while there was a thick patch of glue on his hand. Would his Wudu be correct or not? Why?

  • 1. The Faqihs of the four sects have unanimously given the option to wash the arms starting from the elbows or from the fingers, but they differ in respect or the tradition. Some say it should be started from the fingers, while the Shafi'is say that it differs, whether one ladles water with one's hand or pours water on one's hand. They say that if one has ladled water by one's hand, one is to start from the frony of the limbs. But if one has poured water down, as from a tap or a pitcher or somebody else has had to help one to perform the Wudu, one would have to start from the elbows in washing the arms, and from the ankles in respect of the feet. (Look up: Abdur-Rahman Al-Juzayri’s "Al-Fiqha"Ala Al-Madhahibil-Arba'ah” vol. 1. p. 56, quoted from "Al-Haqa'iq Fil-Jawami Wal-Fawariq”). The Imami Shi'ah say that it is Wajib to start from the elbow, while the other sects say it is allowed to do so... As-Suyuti, in his interpretation of the Qur’an. "Ad­Durrul-Manthor", vol. 2, commenting on Suratul-Ma'idah, verse No. 6, concerning the Hanafi" says: "Ad-Dar-Qutni and Al-Bayhaqi in their 'Sunan', quoting Jabir Ibn Ahdullah, said: ''The Messenger of Allah (s) used to pour water on his elbows for performing the Wudu.
  • 2. The Muslims unanimously say that it is Wajib to wipe the head in the Wudu, as is stated in the Qur'an explicitly, but they differ in respect of the place of the wiping and its width. The Malikis and the Hanbalis say that the whole of the head is Wajib to wipe. The Shafi’is say that it is necessary to wipe the head even a little part of it. The Hanafis say that the supposed part is a quarter of the head. The Imami Shi'ah say that the Wajib is only a part or the front of the head. It is stated in Muslim's “Sahih” and elsewhere in respect of the Hadith narrated by Al-Mughirah (r.) that. "The Prophet (s) performed the Wudu wiping his forelock or (forepart of his head) while he still had his turban on.” Ahu Dawud (r.) quotes Anas's narration that. "The Prophet (s) inserted his hand under his turban and performed the Mash (wiping) on the forepart of his head without removing the turban”. No need to say that Allah's saying and wipe your head"' does not mean that the whole head should he wiped. There are more similar verbs, such as: ··I hit Zayd’s head... or I beat him on the head... or “I beat Zayd.” I beat him on the hand". In all these linguistic meanings the hitting or the beating was effected on a part of the said organs. The same is true in respect of the said verse, too (Look up) “Ar-Rawdatun-Nadiyyah Fi Sharhid-Duraril-Bahiyyah” by Abut­Tayyib Al-Qanuji Al-Bukhari. vol. 1, p. 38). The four sects said: “Both feet, including the insteps must be washed once. The Imamis say they must be wiped with the moisture of the Wudu, starting from the tips of the toes up to the insteps, which are the "Arches of the feet the difference concerning performing wiping or washing the feet stems from misinterpreting verse No. 6 of Suratul-Ma'idah: “O you who believe! When you rise up for the Salat wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and lightly wipe your heads and your feet up to the ankles."' The clause “your feet” was read as in the genitive case, as well as in the accusative case. So those who say that the feet must he wiped, regard the clause to be in the genitive case, while those who say that they must be washed, regard the clause to be in the accusative case. Al-Fakhrur-Razi's opinion supports performing the wiping while Muhammad Ibn Jarir A1-Tahari Al­ Hasan Al-Basri, Al-Juba’I, Ath-Thawri and Al-Uwza'I, who are of the great Sunni Ulama, leave it to one's option to choose either to wash or to wipe. Others say that both are to be performed. Abo Dawod narrated that Ibn Abbas had said: “Do you want me to show you how the Messenger of Allah (s) used to perform Wudu? Then he related the narrative ending it by saying: "'Then he wiped his feet with his hands”.
  • 3. The mouth-rinsing and the sniffing are Wajib, in the opinion of the Hanbalis