Chapter 14: The Adab of Wud'u

1. In al-Faqih: The Holy Prophet (S) would renew his wud’u1 for every compulsory act of worship and every salah (ritual prayer).2

2. From al-Qutb in ayat al-Ahkam: From Sulayman ibn Buraydah from his father: The Noble Prophet (S) would perform wud’u for every salah and when the year of the conquest (of Makkah) came, he would perform the salawat3 with one wud’u so ‘Umar said: “O Apostle of Allah! You have done something which you have not done before?” He (S) replied: “I did it knowingly.”4

3. In al-Ja’fariyat: In his narration from Ja’far ibn Muhammad from his fathers (as) (who said that): ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) used to perform wudhu for every salah and he would recite the ayah:

“When you stand for prayer wash your faces ...” (Surat al-Ma`idah (5): 6)

Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (as) said that he would do this to attain excellence. The Holy Prophet (S), Amir al-Mu’minin (as) and the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) would (also) combine the prayers with one wud’u.5

4. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Zurarah who said: Abu Ja’far (as) said: “Should I not tell you about the Holy Prophet’s (S) wud’u?” We replied: “Yes.” He said: “Bring me a bowl with some water.” Then he placed it in front of him and rolled up his sleeves. Then he dipped his right hand (in it) and said: “This (is done) if your hand is tahir (clean from what is deemed impure).” Then he scooped a handful of water and placed it on his forehead and said ‘bismillah’ and let it drip down to the edges of his beard.

Then he passed his palm on his face and forehead once. Then he dipped his left hand and scooped out a handful of water and placed it on his right elbow and passed his palm over his (right) arm until water had reached the edge of his fingers. Then he scooped a handful of water with his right hand and placed it on the left elbow and passed his palm over his (left) arm until the water reached the edge of his fingers. He then wiped the front part of his head and the back of his feet with the wetness of his left hand and the remaining wetness of his right hand.

Abu Ja’far (as) said: Surely Allah is single and he likes singularity. It is sufficient to perform wud’u with three handfuls (of water), one for the face and two for the arms, and (then) wipe the front of your head with the wetness of your right hand and with what remains of the wetness of your right hand wipe the back of your right foot and with the wetness of your left hand wipe the back of your left foot.

Zurarah said: Abu Ja’far (as) said: A man asked Amir al-Mu’minin (as) about the wud’u of the Holy Prophet (S) so he described it to him in this way.6

Note: There are many similar narrations from Zurarah and Bukair. These have been narrated by al-Saduq, al-Tusi, al-’Ayyashi, al-Mufid, al-Karajiki and others, and the ahadith from Ahl al-Bayt in this regard are numerous.7

5. From Mufid al-Din al-Tusi in his Amali: Narrated from Abi Hurayrah (that): When the Noble Prophet (S) would perform wud’u, he would always start with his right side (before his left).8

6. In al-Tahdhib: In his narration from al-Husayn ibn Sa’id from Ibn Sinan from Ibn Miskan from Abi Basir who said: I asked Aba ‘Abdillah (as) about wud’u and he said: “The Holy Prophet performed wud’u with a mudd (of water) and he performed ghusl with a sa’9 (of water).”10

Note: There is a similar narration from Abi Ja’far (as) with a different chain of narrators.11

7. In al-’Uyun: Narrated by two chains of narrators, from al-Rid’a from his fathers (as) – in a lengthy hadith: The Holy Prophet (S) said: It is not permissible for us - the Ahl al-Bayt - to accept charity, and we have been ordered to perform the ritual purification perfectly; and we do not mate donkeys with mares.12

8. In al-Tahdhib: In his narration from Husayn ibn Sa’id from Qasim ibn ‘Urwah from ‘Abdillah ibn Sinan from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: rinsing the mouth and putting water in the nose (while performing wud’u) were from the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S).13

Addendum to this Chapter

1. In al-Khisal: From al-Sakuni from Abi ‘Abdillah from his fathers from ‘Ali (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) said: There are two things which I would not like anyone to participate in with me – my wud’u as it is part of my salah and my charity as it is placed in the hands of the Most Merciful.14

2. In al-Manaqib: He (S) would keep his water for wud’u himself at night.15

3. In al-Ikhtisas: From ‘Abdillah ibn Abi Rafi’ from his father from his grandfather who said: When the Noble Prophet (S) performed his wud’u for salah, he moved his rings three times.16

4. In Majma’ al-Bayan: The Holy Prophet (S) would wipe the front part of his head (while performing wud’u) and this would be approximately one fourth of the head (span).17

5. In Amali of al-Shaykh al-Tusi: From Abi Ishaq al-Hamadani in a hadith from ‘Ali (as) who said: Rinse your mouth three times, put water in your nose three times, wash your face, then your right hand and then your left hand, then wipe your head and your feet, for I saw the Apostle of Allah (S) doing this.18

  • 1. Ritual ablution performed before acts of worship esp. salah. (Tr.)
  • 2. al-Faqih 1:39, Da`aim al-Islam 1:100, al-Mustadrak 1:294
  • 3. Plural of salah – ritual prayers. (Tr.)
  • 4. Fiqh al-Qur`an 1:12
  • 5. al-Ja’fariyat:17, al-Mustadrak 1:295
  • 6. al-Kafi 3:25
  • 7. al-Faqih 1:36, Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:55, al-Istibsar 1:58, Tafsir al-`Ayyashi 1:298 – Surat al-Ma`idah, Kanz al-Fawa`id: 69
  • 8. Amali al-Tusi 1:397
  • 9. An old measurement – Mudd is equivalent to about 750 ml and Sa` is equivalent to 3 liters. (Tr.)
  • 10. Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:136, al-Istibsar 1:121, al-Ja’fariyat: 16
  • 11. Tahdhidb al-Ahkam 1:136
  • 12. ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rid’a 2:28, Sahifat al-Imam al-Rid’a: 46
  • 13. Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:79, al-Ikhtisas: 36, Usul al-Sittata ‘Ashar: 157
  • 14. al-Khisal 1:33, Tafsir al-’Ayyashi 2:108 – Surat al-Tawbah, al-Ja’fariyat:17
  • 15. al-Manaqib 1:146
  • 16. al-Ikhtisas: 160
  • 17. Majma’ al-Bayan 3:164 – Surat al-Ma`idah (5)
  • 18. Amali al-Tusi 1:29