3 Common Wudhu Mistakes when washing face

Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim. Something that we do regularly every day is Wudu', the ritual ablution. It is highly recommended to be in Wudu' all the time of course, but many may perform it just before prayers. Over time, we may pick up incorrect habits, which unfortunately will not only invalidate the Wudu', but the prayers as well. So here are three common mistakes that some people make when washing the face in Wudu'.

Number one: the start of the Wudu'. When washing the face, some people take some water and place it here or here and then proceed to cover the whole face. Unfortunately, such a Wudu' is actually invalid. Why? Well, the length of the face that must be washed is the area from the top of the forehead where the hair grows to the bottom of the chin, and the breadth of the face that must be washed is the area that is covered by the tip of the middle finger to the tip of the thumb. It is recommended to do the sides as well.

But the direction in which one must wash the face is from the top to the bottom, i.e. from here to here, in this way. If we wash it from bottom to top, Wudu' is invalid. So we must start washing the face right from the top and not halfway through, then go back up. One way round this is to place water, wherever in the face whilst not having the intention of starting Wudu', then deciding to start Wudu' and then wiping from top to bottom.

Number two: not checking for any obstacles that prevent water getting to the skin. Sometimes we have something stuck on the skin, on our faces, like glue, paint or even what is known as sleep-cross next to the eyes in the early hours of the morning. Now, these need to be removed so water can get to the skin when we are washing the face.

Number three: washing the face too many times in Wudu'. To wash the face once is obligatory. What does that mean? Well it means to use water and to cover the entire area, even if it means pouring water a few times. Once the face area is covered with water once, that is one wash. To wash the second time is recommended, but three times or more is unlawful.

If you have any questions on Wudu' or anything else, please visit the "Ask the Sheikh" section on our website, www.islamiced.org, where you can submit your questions.