“Cleanliness is half of faith.” (Sahih Muslim 223)
The importance of purification is highlighted time and again in Islam. And when it comes to performing salah or reciting the Quran, cleanliness is obligatory.
Today we’ll be discussing a significant part of a believer’s life—performing wudu (ablution). Necessary to perform before any salah (whether Farz, Sunnah, or Nafil) as well as for holding and reciting the Quran, wudu is a way to cleanse both body and soul.
How To Perform Wudu – A Brief Guide
Performing wudu is itself an act of worship. This first step of salah also washes away minor sins. Here you’ll find a concise guide on ablution, perfect for both beginners and those looking to perfect this process for maximum blessings.
Step 1: Affirm Your Niyat (Intention)
As Muslims, we’ve been taught that intention matters. Before you start your ablution, make niyat.
There is no specific declaration of niyat, but a simple goal in mind is that you have to purify yourself in order to be able to perform prayer. Approaching wudu with an active and positive mindset gains you blessings even before you begin.
Step 2: Begin By Reciting Bismillah
To ensure that whatever you do happens well and pleases Allah, you start by reciting:
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
The simple act of saying Bismillah before wudu helps you gain more blessings. The beauty of salat is that each and every step—from the steps you take toward wudu to the point you end your prayer—is brimming with virtues.
Step 3: Wash Your Hands
Start with your right hand, and then attend to the left one. Wash each hand up to the wrists three times, and make sure to clean between the fingers and thumbs for proper cleansing. The proper way to do wudu is to run water on each part to be cleansed.
Step 4: Rinse Your Mouth
Similar to washing your hands, rinse your mouth three times. Make sure not to just put water in your mouth and throw it out, but also swirl it around to get rid of any food particles and impurities. If you’ve consumed something that leaves an unpleasant smell in your mouth, it is recommended that you use a brush or miswak to clean your teeth. Use your right hand for this step.
Step 5: Clean Your Nose
Take a small amount of water in a cupped right wrist, and add water to the nose to rinse it—repeating three times total. A significant Sunnah of performing ablution is to use clean water for performing wudu for optimal hygiene, as well as keeping yourself safe.
Step 6: Wash Your Face
Next, wash your face three times, from the hairline to the chin and ear to ear. Make sure that water reaches every part of your face, including under the eyebrows, nose, and lips. If you have thick facial hair, run your hands through it so that water reaches the skin itself and doesn’t just cling to the strands.
Step 7: Wash Your Arms
Once you’re done with washing your face, wash each arm up the elbows, the right one first. If you wash your arms just halfway due to longer sleeves, your wudu is considered incomplete and not admissible for salat.
Step 8: Perform Masah
Masah is the cleansing of the head, neck, and ears. Unlike the rest of the steps in wudu, this is only done once. The proper way of masah is:
- Wet both your hands and place your palms flat along your hairline.
- Swipe your hands all the way to the bottom of the back of your neck.
- Make sure your fingertips touch your skull so that some water reaches it.
- Once at the back, bring your palms to the front of the neck, pausing midway to clean the ears.
- Use your index finger and thumb to clean the folds of your ears.
- Bring your palms all the way to the front of the neck till they touch.
Step 9: Wash Your Feet
Finally, wash your feet to the ankles. Start with your right foot, wash it three times, then move on to washing the left foot the same number of times. Don’t miss your ankles, and do use your fingers to clean between the toes too.
Step 10: Make A Dua (Prayer)
End your wudu with a dua (prayer). Though a Sunnah (optional) dua, reading this helps gain blessings:
Ash-hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh.
“I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who has no partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger.”
A Few Things To Keep In Mind For A Correct Wudu
The steps of wudu have been defined clearly, and it is possible to make mistakes that can make your wudu null and you’d have to do it again to truly purify yourself for prayer.
- Make sure that water reaches the minimum heights—for example, to the wrists for hands, to the elbows for arms, to the ankle for feet, and to the front and back of the neck and the ears during masah.
- If you have any residue on your skin that isn’t permeable (e.g. paint, nail polish, thick dirt, food debris, etc.), then your wudu won’t be complete.
- Use only as much water as necessary and do not waste it, as wastage of natural resources is disliked by Allah. You can fill up a vessel instead of letting the water run for long periods of time while you go from step to step.
After wudu, passing urine or stool or any other discharge, and falling asleep or becoming unconscious are all acts that will break your wudu. Re-do ablution to perform prayer in a purified condition.
Learning The Essentials Of Salah
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