Ablution, Wudu (الوضوء al-wuḍū), Ghusl, and Tayammum is the act of washing oneself using water, in particular for hygiene and for ritual purification in preparation for formal prayers of Ṣalāt. The Qur’an says “For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.” (Surat Al-Baqara, Verse 222).

Muslims are also required to be clean when handling and reading the Qur’an. The Qur’an says “Which none shall touch but those who are clean.” (Surat Al-Waqia, Verse 79).

Purification of the body and clothes is called Taharah. Prophet Muhammad (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said that “Cleanliness is half of faith” (Hadith: Sahih Muslim).

To have taharah for the body, one should do either ghusl or wudu. Wudu is often translated as “partial ablution”, as opposed to ghusl, or “full ablution”.

Water is used for Ablution and the permitted and non permitted types are listed below. Tayammum is a “dry ablution” using clean soil, rock, or sand and is to be performed when water is not readily available to perform ablution.

Permitted water types:
Water from Rain, a Well, a Spring, Sea or a River
Water of melting snow or hail
Water of a big tank or pond

Not Permitted water types:
Unclean or impure water
Water extracted from fruit and trees
Water that has changed its colour, taste and smell and becomes thick because something was soaked in it
Used water of wudu or ghusl
Water left over after drinking by animals
Water left by a person who has just drunk alcohol

How to perform Ablution (الوضوء al-wuḍū):

  1.  AblutionStart by making niyyah (your intention) to perform wudu and cleanse the self of impurities.
  2. Say ‘Bismillah’ (In the Name of Allah).
  3. Wash the right hand up to the wrist (and between the fingers) three times, then similarly for the left hand.
  4. Rinse the mouth and spit out the water three times.
  5. Gently put water into the nostrils with the right hand, pinch the top of the nose with the left hand to exhale the water. This is performed three times.
  6. Wash the face (from the hairline on the forehead to where facial hair begins and ear to ear). This is to be performed three times.
  7. Wash the entire right arm, including the hand, up to and including the elbow three times; then the left arm three times. Pass fingers of one hand between the fingers of the other hand. If wearing a ring it should be moved freely to allow water to pass under it.
  8. Wet hands should be passed all over the head (masah مسح); then the first finger of the right and left hand should be moved in the right and left ears respectively and in the same operation thumbs should be passed around the ears; then pass the backs of the hands over the hind part of the neck only. This is only done once.
    Note: Hands should not be passed around the fore-neck as it is prohibited.
  9. Starting with the right foot, wash both feet from the toes up to and including the ankles thrice. The little finger of the left hand should be passed between the toes of both the feet beginning from the little toe of the right foot and ending with the little toe of the left foot.
  10. Recite the Shahadah.

Now you are ready for Ṣalāt (Prayer).

Note: According to the Hadiths; Prophet Muhammad (صلي الله عليه وسلم) practised and recommended using miswak before every prayer.

Miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak) is a teeth cleaning twig made from a twig of the Salvadora persica tree, also known as the arak tree or the peelu tree.

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