Last Updated: 10-Jun-2014 1:48 PM

Wudhu is required of all Muslims before praying the five daily prayers. It follows a set procedure for washing parts of the body using water.

The Qur'an says: O you who believe! When you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. [5:6]

The Qur'an also says: For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. [2:222]

The four compulsory aspects of wudhu are:

(i) Washing the face

(ii) Washing the hands up to the elbows

(iii) Wiping the head with water

(iv) Washing the feet up to the ankles.

Further actions performed in wudhu are taken from the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).

It is important to note here that all the below actions of wudhu can be performed once, twice or three times with the exception of wiping the head – this should only be performed once. [Ref]

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Number 159:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet performed ablution by washing the body parts only once.

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Number 160:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zaid:
The Prophet performed ablution by washing the body parts twice.

How Wudhu is performed: The 10 steps of Wudhu

  1. Make the Intention – say Bismillah (in the name of Allah). The intention does not need to be uttered but it should be kept in mind during the wudhu.
  2. Wash the hands - Wash the hands up to the wrists and between the fingers.
  3. Rinse the mouth - Using the right hand, put a handful of water into the mouth and rinse thoroughly.
  4. Clean the nose - Using the right hand as a cup, sniff water into the nostrils and expel it with the help of the left hand.
  5. Wash the face - Wash the face to the ears, hairline and the bottom of the chin.
  6. Wash the arms - Starting with the right arm, wash from the hand to the elbow.
  7. Wipe the head -Pass wet hands over the head, wiping from the front hairline to the back.
  8. Clean the ears - Clean both ears inside and out. Clean all the grooves with index fingers and use the thumbs to clean behind the ears.
  9. Wash the feet - Starting with the right foot, wash both feet using the left hand up to the ankles. Use the small finger to wash between the toes.
  10. Recite the Shahada - Ashadu an la ilaha illa (A)llah, wa ashadu anna Muhammadan rasulu (A)llah (I bear witness that (or I testify that) there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God).

    Be sure to have left the place of ablution when reciting the Shahada. As a general rule of thumb, mentioning Allah’s name in any unclean place is considered haram. The Shahada can be recited in mind.

Some Muslims recite the following du’a variation: Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu. (I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.)

Allaahumm aj’alni min al-tawwaabeena waj’alni min al-mutatahhireena. (O Allah, make me one of those who repent and make me one of those who purify themselves)

What Invalidates Wudhu

  1. Natural discharge (urine, stool, breaking wind).
  2. Flow of blood or pus from any part of the body.
  3. Falling into a deep sleep thereby losing consciousness.
  4. Loss of consciousness (feinting)
  5. Vomiting
  6. Touching private parts.

Some Advice on Wudhu

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Number 138:
Narrated Nu'am Al-Mujmir:

Once I went up the roof of the mosque, along with Abu Huraira. He perform ablution and said, "I heard the Prophet saying, 'On the Day of Resurrection, my followers will be called "Al-Ghurr-ul-Muhajjalun" from the trace of ablution and whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so (i.e. by performing ablution regularly).'"

Follow the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). Try not to dwell too much on what breaks your wudhu. It really adds no value to the act of wudhu itself, especially if one bears in mind that wudhu should, by right, be performed before every Salat.

I cannot remember if I have my Wudhu or not.

Go perform your wudhu again. There are earthly benefits to being physically clean as well as spiritual benefits of renewing your wudhu. Performing your wudhu before every Salat is good practice.

The "Who can keep their wudhu the longest" competition - What is the point?

Who is cleaner? The one who keeps their wudhu for 12 hours straight or the one who renews his wudhu before each prayer?

I have just finished my shower - do I need to go through the ritual of wudhu before my next Salat?

You've washed everywhere except perhaps your mouth and your nose, so do that and off you go. Go pray!

Wudhu before each and every prayer

Yes, strive to perfect your wudhu but do not concentrate on the finer points such as what breaks the wudhu. Ask yourself - is it really that important if I popped a pimple and I bled so is my wudhu broken? GO DO IT AGAIN!!

I automatically make my wudhu before each prayer, without fail, whether I have broken it or not. Simple. Because sometimes I cannot honestly remember whether I have passed wind, or gone to the toilet etc. It is now second nature...I have it in mind that I am going to make my salat...so I make my wudhu. There is absolutely no need to consult Scholars, Imams and Sheiks on the matter of me bumping my big toe on the coffee table and it bled and so do I still have my wudhu! GO DO IT AGAIN!

Golden Rules of Wudhu

  1. Do not interupt your wudhu (i.e. perform it all together with no breaks)
  2. All areas such as the face, forearms, and feet need to have water touch EVERY single spot of skin to have the wudhu be performed properly
  3. Make sure all the acts of wudhu are performed in the mentioned order.