Islam encourages a believer to be in a physically and spiritually clean state all the time. For example, a person is required to be in a clean state and to perform ablution (wudu) before starting the prayers (salat). This article discusses the steps of ablution (wudu) in detail and presents related evidences.
Steps for performing Wudu / Ablution
The following steps should be followed when performing wudu / ablution. These steps are ‘mustahab’ unless indicated as obligatory. The obligatory steps are mentioned in the following Quranic verse:
“O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.” Surah Al-Maeda (5:6)
1. Having the Intention for Wudu
The intention has to be from the heart. Nothing needs to be verbalized.
2. Saying Bismillah Before Starting Wudu (Ablution)
Similar to starting any action, one should say bismillah-hiir-Rahman-Ar-Raheem (In the Name of Allah, the Most Benevolent, the Most Merciful)
3. Washing hands three times
This requires washing the hands until the wrist area.
4. Washing the mouth three times
This means cleaning the inside the mouth by rinsing thoroughly.
5. Cleaning the Nose
This requires putting water in the nose and blowing the water out so as to clean the inside thoroughly. This should be done three sides.
6. Washing the face
This should be done three times. The area should include from the hairline to the jawbone and chin and from ear to ear. A person who has a beard should wash the hair inside and out. For those who have a thick beard, the surface should be washed while running fingers through the hair of the beard so as to clear it of any dirt.
7. Washing the Arms
This involves washing the arms three times all the way from the finger nails to the elbows and a little past the elbows to ensure the elbows are cleaned fully.
8. Wiping the Head
This involves wetting the hands with water and the wiping the head starting from around the hairline to the back and then bringing the hands in reverse motion back to where one started. As for a woman, she should wipe her hair whether it is loose or braided from the front of her head to the roots of the hair at the nape of her neck. However, she does not have to wipe the entire length of her hair.
9. Cleaning the ears
This step involves taking the wet clean index finger and putting it into the ear and while cleaning it to use the wet clean thumb to clean the back of the ear. This should be done for both ears using the two hands simultaneously.
10. Washing the feet
The last washing step of the wudu involves washing the feet thoroughly until the ankles.
11. Ending the Wudu
At the end of the wudu, it is recommended to say,
“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 the Messenger of Allah),”
Evidence of Wudu Steps
Additional evidence of wudu is from this hadith of Prophett Muhammad (saws). In a hadeeth narrated by Humraan the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan, who said that ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan (may Allah be pleased with him) called for water to do wudoo. He washed his hands three times, then he rinsed his mouth and nose, then he washed his face three times, then he washed his right arm up to the elbow three times, then he washed his left arm likewise. Then he wiped his head, then he washed his right foot up to the ankle three times, then he washed his left foot likewise. Then he said, “I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) doing wudoo as I have done it, then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Whoever does wudoo as I have done it, then prays two rakaahs in which he focuses completely on his prayer, his previous sins will be forgiven.’” (Narrated by Muslim, al-Tahaarah, 331)
Blessings of Wudu
More Hadith on Wudu / Ablution / Cleanliness
- Hadith on the virtues of wudu (ablution)
- Hadith on how Prophet Muhammad made ablution / wudu
- Hadith on the dua for answering call of nature
- Hadith on breaking of wudu and making or refreshing ablution
Ablutiuon and Wudu places
The following shows stalls installed within a mosque where prayer goers can perform ablution / wudu before prayers.