The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), said, “When a Muslim or a believer washes his face (in the course of ablution), every sin he contemplated with his eyes will be washed away from his face along with water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin they wrought will be effaced from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin towards which his feet have walked will be washed away with the water or with the last drop of water with the result that he comes out pure from all sins.” Sahih Muslim 244

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)‎ has commanded Muslims to offer five daily obligatory prayers in the state of Wudu (ablution), which means an ablution is a compulsory act of worship. Prophet (ﷺ) has taught Muslims how to perform ablution and purify themselves to present themselves before Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)‎ at the time of prayer.

There is no denying the importance of wudu (ablution) in a Muslim’s Ibadah, as being paak (clean) is the foremost requirement. Therefore, along with the steps of Wudu, Muslims also need to understand the masail-e-wudu (laws and practices) in light of Sunnah and Islamic Jurisprudence.

The Steps of Wudu

The first step to perform Wudu is to make Niyyah, intention in the heart, and then say Bismillah. The next step is to wash your hands to the wrists three times, then rinse your mouth thrice, and then wash your nostrils with your right hand.

Next, wash your face thrice, wash both arms to your elbow, and do Massah. The correct way to do it is to wash your head from the forehead to the back of your neck and clean your ear with your fingers. The last step is to wash your feet three times.

Our Prophet () said, “He who performed ablution like this, all his previous sins would be expiated, and his prayer and going towards the mosque would have an extra reward.” Sahih Muslim 229

Now, let’s look at some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wudu:

1. How To Make Wudu Without Water?

If water is not available for wudu, Allah has allowed Muslims you have looked thoroughly for water, and if it is unavailable, then you can perform Tayammum. It is the replacement for Wudu in case you don’t have water or are not allowed to use it.

You must get your hands on the earth/sand and gently rub them on the necessary body parts to perform tayammum. The items that tayammum is permissible with are sand, pure earth, stone, brick walls, stones or mud, clay, any item covered with a thick layer of dust, banked earthen pots, limestone, and a lump of sand.

However, you cannot perform Tayammum with food items, anything that melts or burns into ashes, wood, metal, or glass.

2. How to Make Wudu While Travelling?

Water facilities are often available on trains and planes, so you should perform Wudu as you normally would and offer prayer in your seat. If you’re traveling by bus or car, you can do Wudu by stopping at a place with water access.

However, if there is no water access in the vehicle, you can do tayammum with pure sand or earth. All you need to do is stamp your hands on sand or clean ground and rub the fingers lightly on your face and wrists. It will make you eligible to offer Salah.

Most Islamic scholars maintain that it is not permissible to offer prayers in a moving vehicle. You can only offer salah in a moving vehicle if you fear the time for fard (obligatory) prayer will end when you reach your destination.

3. How To Perform Wudu in Sickness?

In the Quran, Allah says, “and [Allah] has not laid upon you in religion any hardship.” Quran, Al-Hajj 22:78

Islam is a religion of ease, and Allah doesn’t burden His followers beyond their capacity. Therefore, if a person is sick, they are allowed leniency in Salah and Wudu.

If someone is so sick that they:

  1. Are unable to get up and perform wudu
  2. Their disease/illness can aggravate with the use of water

Then it is permissible for them to do tayammum instead.

Moreover, if the sick person cannot move their hands because of the ailment, then the person who’s nursing them can help perform the wudu on the person.

If the sick person cannot rinse their mouth and nose because they are in a reclining position or because it may worsen their condition, then they can omit the part but do tayammum to compensate for missing the essential part of cleaning mouth and nose.

If the ailment or disease doesn’t allow the person to use water, they must perform tayammum. If they can’t move from their place to put their hands on the wall or the earth, they can put their hands on the bed and do tayammum.

If this person cannot move for tayammum, the person nursing them can perform tayammum on them with their hands. However, if the sick person cannot afford to hire someone to help them, then they can offer prayer as it is, and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)‎ will accept it.

4. How To Do Wudu with A Bandage?

If you cannot remove the caste or bandage, and wish to do Wudu, then you must perform regular ablution. Please don’t wash the area with the bandage or the cast; wipe a wet hand over it instead.

You don’t have to dampen the covered area with water; wiping a hand over it would do the job. This procedure is applicable for Wudu as well as Ghusl.

5. Is Wudu Valid with Makeup?

Yes, it is valid to put on makeup after you have performed Wudu, and the Wudu is valid as long as the makeup product you used is pure of any impurity. The purity of your body and clothes is an essential part of the prayer to be acceptable in the eye of Allah.

On the other hand, it is essential to remove your makeup before making wudu because some products are waterproof, which restricts water from penetrating your skin and purifying you.

However, natural products like Henna don’t create a barrier between water and skin, so it is permissible to perform Wudu with Henna.

6. What Are the Sunnahs of Wudu?

The Sunnahs of Wudu are as follows:

  1. Making Niyyah (intention) perform Wudu.
  2. Saying Bismillah before making the Wudu.
  3. Washing both hands up to the wrists thrice.
  4. Using Miswak, the way Prophet (ﷺ) told us to.
  5. Washing the next part of the body before the previous one dries.
  6. Rinsing the mouth with water and clean nostrils thrice.
  7. Cleaning ears with wet fingers.
  8. Making Khalil pass the wet fingers against each other to clean them up.
  9. Washing each required part of the body thrice.
  10. Performing Massah (wipe) over the whole head with wet hands.
  11. Washing the vital parts of the body in the prescribed order.
  12. Washing feet by using fingers to clean the toes.

7. Is it allowed to do Tayammum to conserve water?

No, in case running or clean water is available, you have to perform Wudu.

You can only do Tayammum if the water is unreachable, unavailable, and you’re not allowed to touch it and don’t have anyone else to help you. In any other case, if water is available, you have to perform Wudu with it, and Tayammum is not permissible.

8. Which Dua Is Recited Before and After Wudu?

Before making Wudu, you have to say: Bismillah, which means In the Name of Allah.

After making Wudu, you have to say: Ash-hadu ‘a laa ‘ilaaha ‘illallaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu wa ‘ash-hadu ‘anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasooluhu.

It means, “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.”

This Dua was taught to us by the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), who said that saying this means saying Shahadah, and it completes the Wudu.

There are two more Duas that you can say after finishing Wudu. They are:

Allaahummaj’alnee minat-tawwaabeena waj’alnee minal-mutatahhireen.

It means, “O Allah, make me among those who turn to You in repentance, and make me among those who are purified.”

Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bihamdika, ‘ash-hadu ‘a laa ‘ilaaha ‘illaa ‘Anta, ‘astaghfiruka wa ‘atoobu ‘ilayk.

It means. “Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise; I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance.”

9. Is The Method of Wudu Different for Men and Women?

No, the method of performing Wudu is not different for men and women. They both have to follow the Fard and Sunnah aspects of washing up and performing ablution before they can offer their Salah.

10. Is It Compulsory to Make Wudu Before Reading the Quran?

It is compulsory to perform Wudu before touching the Quran as you need to be completely pure before putting your hands on Mushaf.

However, if you are reading from memory, it is advised to make Wudu, but it is not compulsory.

11. Can You Do Masah Over Leather Socks During Wudu?

Yes, you can perform Masah over leather socks during Wudu. The Prophet (ﷺ) and his companion used to call these leather socks, Khuffayn and used them during ablution. However, if your socks are torn, you cannot do Masah over them during Wudu.

Masah over leather socks can only be done if you have made full wudu (washed your feet) before putting the socks on. The steps are:

  1. Make full ablution without your socks on
  2. Put your socks on after wudu
  3. If you need to do wudu again, perform all the ritual steps except washing your feet.
  4. In lieu of washing feet, wet your hands, and move your hand over the leather socks from the toes to the ankles
  5. Use your right hand for the right foot and your left for the left foot

12. What Is the Difference Between Ghusl and Wudu?

The difference between Ghusl and Wudu is that Ghusl is a full-body bath or shower. It means that the believers cleanse themselves after events like ejaculation, menstruation, giving birth, etc. On the other hand, Wudu means cleaning major body parts after using the toilet or breaking the wind to offer Salah.

13. Must We Do Wudu After Ghusl to Offer Salah?

No, the proper manner of performing Ghusl includes Wudu; hence, it is not obligatory to do Wudu after Ghusl. If a believer performs Ghusl after sexual impurity and intends to purify themselves, then Ghusl is required to offer Salah.

14. Can Tayammum Only Be Performed on Sand?

No, Tayammum is performed on other surfaces of the earth and sand. Substances like soil, sand, stones, or salt deposits are also suitable for Tayammum.

All you have to do is recite Bismillah, place your hands on the surface of the ground and carry out the steps of Tayammum.

15. What Is the Difference Between Sunni and Shia Style Wudu?

Both Sunni and Shia believers are obligated to perform Wudu before Salah, but there is a slight difference in their styles. Sunnis do Wudu from their fingers to elbows, while Shias wash from their elbows down to their fingers.

Another key difference is how they perform Masah for the head or feet. Shias use three wet fingers to pass from the middle of the head to the forehead, while Sunnis use their wet hand to wipe from their forehead to the back of their head.

Similarly, for the foot, Shias use three fingers to wipe from toes to ankles, while Sunnis clean the entire foot and wipe with their hands.

16. Can Wudu Be Done with Nail Polish?

No, Wudu cannot be done with nail polish. The rule is that the water should be able to penetrate the skin and not be hindered by any substance on the hand, feet, or face. The formula in nail polish restrains water from seeping into the nails; hence, Wudu becomes invalid.

However, some companies have come with water-permeable nail polishes; unlike traditional polishes, this allows water to penetrate the layer, and hence the Wudu would remain valid.

17. Can Wudu Be Done with Oil in Your Hair?

Yes, Wudu can be done with oil in your hair. For your Wudu to be valid, there shouldn’t be a barrier between your skin and water. However, Wudu can be done with a small amount of oil in your hair since the requirement is to wipe over the hair and not wash it.

18. Should I Make Wudu After Smoking?

No, smoking doesn’t invalidate your Wudu, but it is better to remove offensive mouth odor before performing Salah. Smoking is not a preferred activity in Islam, and it is advised not to smoke before entering a congregational prayer, but it doesn’t break your Wudu.

19. Should I Make Wudu After a Nap?

Yes, if you fall asleep lying down, you must do Wudu again. However, if it was a light sleep on the ground or a chair sitting up, it doesn’t invalidate your Wudu. But there is a difference between light and heavy sleep, so it is better to perform Wudu after every nap.

20. Should I Make Wudu for Each Salah?

No, making Wudu for each Salah is unnecessary if your previous Wudu is still intact and valid. If a person hasn’t passed urine, stool, or wind and hasn’t eaten camel meat or slept in the meantime, then the Wudu is still valid. It is reported in Hadith that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) prayed all five prayers with one Wudu on the day of the Conquest of Makkah.

Now You Know All About Wudu (Ablution)

Wudu is an obligatory act for believers to perform before they offer prayers. It is not obligatory to do Wudu before every prayer if it is still valid from the previous one. There should not be any layer of a substance that hinders passing water to the skin; if there is, it should be removed before Wudu.

The alternative is Tayammum, which can only be done when no water is available or if the person is prohibited from using water on the skin due to a medical condition. There are some Sunnah and some Fard aspects of performing ablution, and Sunnis and Shias have slightly different ways of doing it.

We hope these FAQs helped you find answers to some troubling questions about Wudu.


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