The importance of physical purity in Islam cannot be overstated. The beloved Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said that the key to paradise is prayer (salat) and the key to salat is ablution (wudu) (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 10/1). There is also a beautiful prophetic narration in which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) mentioned that on the Day of Judgment the faces of the believers will be radiating from the effects of wudu (Sahih al-Bukhari 39/1, Muslim 216/1).
The Fiqh of It
Each obligatory (fard) act must be completed at least once. If even a hair’s breadth of space is left dry, wudu will not be valid.
Sunnah Method of Wudu
In order to perfect wudu and increase reward for purification, it should be completed in the best manner possible, following the correct order as transmitted in the hadiths. Each part should be washed three times, whilst being mindful of wasting water, and each subsequent limb should be washed before the previous one dries.
- Make intention of purification – to say it verbally is not necessary.
- Recite basmalah.
- Wash both hands up to and including the wrists – 3x.
- Cleanse the mouth with tooth stick (miswak).
- Rinse the mouth – 3x.
- Put water into the nostrils with the right palm and clean it out with the left thumb and little finger – 3x.
- Wash the face, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and from one earlobe to the other.
- For men, saturate the beard (khilal).
- Wash both arms from the fingertips up to and including the elbows – 3x.
- Make khilal of the fingers.
- Wipe (masah) the whole head once.
- Make masah of the ears and nape once.
- Wash the feet up to and including the ankles.
- Make khilal of the toes.