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Prior to entering Salaat, the person is required to undertake a certain purification procedure known as "Wudhu" without which, the person's prayer would not be acceptable in the sight of "Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). " Allah,-the Almighty, says:“ O ye who believe, when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your arms to the elbows,- rub your heads (with water),- and (wash) your feet to the ankles” (Qur'an 5:6).
And the Prophet (peace be upon him), said:“ Prayer without ablution is invalid” (Reported by Imam Muslim).
Conditions for the Performance of Wudhu
There are various conditions required to be fulfilled in the performance of Wudhu which are as follows:
- Acceptance of the Islamic Faith.
- Sanity and consciousness.
- Intention (Anniyah) to perform Wudhu as an act of worship.
- Purifying oneself from urine, excrement and all other kind of impurities before performing Wudhu.
- Ensuring the purity of the water to be used for the Wudhu.
- Ensuring that water is not prevented from reaching the parts of the body which need to be washed in the performance of the Wudhu.
- Being conscious and keeping the Wudhu in mind.
Essential Acts of Wudhu
- Washing the entire face once with Rinsing the mouth with water and Sniffing of water in and out of the nostrils.
- Washing each arm once.
- Wiping the entire head once and Passing of water outside and inside of the earlobes.
- Washing the feet up to the ankles.
- Ensuring that the above 4 acts are performed in the given sequence.
- Performing the Wudhu acts continuously and without unnecessary let-ups until completion.
Voluntary Acts of Wudhu
Besides the above essential acts of Wudhu, there are also some voluntary but recommended acts in the Wudhu procedure. These are as follows:
- Invoking Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) at the start of the Wudhu.
- Washing of both hands up to the wrists.
How the Wudhu is performed
The essential and voluntary acts discussed above shall now be integrated to demonstrate how the Prophet (peace be upon him), used to perform Wudhu:
- Making the intention to perform Wudhu as an act of sincere homage and worship for the pleasure of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). The intention need not be uttered but it should be kept in mind during the Wudhu.
- Invoking Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) at the start of the Wudhu by saying: BISMILLAHI ARRAHMANI ARRAHIIM (in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful).
- Washing the hands up to the wrists for three times, while rubbing them and letting the water reach between the fingers.
- Rinsing the mouth with water thrice, preferably using the "Miswak" (tooth stick), toothbrush, or fingers to brush the teeth and the gum. Regarding the importance of the Miswak, the ProphetRinsing the mouth with water thrice, preferably using the "Miswak" (tooth stick), toothbrush, or fingers to brush the teeth and the gum. Regarding the importance of the Miswak, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:“ If it had not been too great a burden on my Ummah, I would have ordered them to use the Miswak at every Wudhu” (Reported by Imam Malik).
- Cleaning the nostrils by sniffing water in and out for three times.
- Washing the entire face thrice using both hands from the top of the forehead down to the bottom of the chin and from ear to ear.
- Washing the arms three times up to the upper end of the elbows: right arm first, and then, left arm, Arms should be rubbed while they are being washed.
- Wetting both hands and passing the same over the head starting from above the forehead down to the nape (the back of the neck) and from there, returning both hands up to above the forehead.
- From the head, without wetting the hands again, the person wipes the earlobes, using the fore fingers to wipe the inner part of the lobes and the thumbs for the outside part.
- Washing both feet up to the ankles for three times, beginning with the right foot and then with the left foot. Both feet should be rubbed while they are being washed and water should freely pass between the toes.
Important Points on Wudhu
- Much virtue is attached to Wudhu which is properly performed-as can be noted from the following saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him):“ A person who performs Wudhu properly will have his sins removed from his body, so much that the sins are removed even from underneath his nails” (Reported by Imam Muslim).
- Having completed the Wudhu, the person may recite the "SHAHADA", i.e. the words of witness and the supplication for concluding the Wudhu as follows: ASH-HADUANLAA ILAHA ILLA-LAAHU WA ASH-HADU ANNA MUHAMMADAN ABDUHU WA RASUULUHU. ALLAHUMMA IJ'ALNII MINA T-A WABIIN WA IJ'ALNII MINA-L MUTADAHIRIIN, which means: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger... O Lord, make me among those who return to you in repentance and of those who are undefiled. Regarding the virtue of the above supplication, the leader of the faithful, Umar lbn-ul Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying:“ If anyone performs the Wudhu completely and then says, I testify that there is no god but Allah alone, He has no partner: and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, the eight gates of Paradise will be opened for him and may enter by whichever of the gates he wishes” (Related by Imam Muslim).
- When performing Wudhu, it is recommended to let the water reach beyond the area required to be washed (e.g., when washing the arms the person may wash beyond the elbows or beyond the ankles when washing the feet). Great virtue has been attached to this fact, as can be noted from the following saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him):“ My nation (Ummah) will be called (distinguished) on the Day of Judgement as a people with bright faces and limbs from the effect of their Wudhu practices. Therefore, anyone of you who wishes to increase his brightness may do so (by washing beyond the required areas when performing Wudhu)” (Reported by lmams Bukhari and Muslim).
- The person is required to avoid use of water more than what is necessary.
- Much importance has been attached to the performance of two rakaats after performing Wudhu as can be noted from the following conversation between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Bilal, the first Muadhin (may Allah be pleased with him):“ O Bilal! tell me which of your acts is most meritorious since joining Islam, for I heard the sound of your shoes in Paradise ahead of me? Bilal replied.- I do not have any action more meritorious than that whenever I performed Wudhu (purification) during the day or night, Each time I offered a prayer as much as Allah has destined for me” (Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim).
Wiping Over the Socks
- If someone's "Wudhu", gets nullified, then, when performing a subsequent Wudhu, it is allowed to wipe over the socks with wet hands, instead of washing both feet on condition that the socks were put on after washing the feet in the first Wudhu or before the same is nullified.
- A traveler may avail himself of this privilege continuously for three consecutive days and nights (72 hours), but a resident may do so for only one day and one night continuously (24 hours).
How Wiping Over the Socks is Done
Wiping is done according to the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him), as follows: After removing the shoes, wet hands are passed only over the upper surface of socks without the need to wipe the bottom parts.
When the Wiping Privilege Ceases
The wiping privilege becomes invalid in the event that one or more of the following cases occur:
- When the maximum timings allowed as discussed earlier lapse.
- The moment the socks are removed.
- When any of the cases requiring "Ghusl" occur.
Matters which Invalidate the Wudhu
The person will remain in a state of Wudhu until any of the following matters is committed:
- Passing of excrement, urine or wind. When someone passes urine and/or excrement, it becomes mandatory upon such a person to remove the foulness of these things before performing Wudhu. Pure water should be used for this purpose, but in case, it is not available after earnest search for it, the person may resort to the use of certain dry objects, such as stones, dry woods and tissue paper to remove the filth. This is known as "Istijmaar". Odd numbers of the object to be used is preferred, such as 3, 5, etc. The person should ensure that no drops of urine or stains of foulness are left on his/her body or clothes. However, in the case of persons afflicted with permanent wetting or permanent passing of wind, or of women who are suffering from prolonged flows of blood, such persons are required to perform Wudhu only once before the start of each prayer and their Wudhu would remain valid even if the above problems may occur later in the course of the prayer.
- Eating of camel's meat.
- Sleeping in which the person losses consciousness.
- Loss of consciousness resulting from insanity, fainting, etc.
- Touching of the sexual organs intentionally, directly and unclothed.
- Renouncing of Islamic Faith.
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