Islamic Laws

Method and Rulings of Wudhu

Compiled and Translated by Saleem Bhimji
O you who believe! When you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith, Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful. (Holy Qur’an, Suratul Ma’idah, 5:6)
Selected Wudhu’ Rulings
Please note that the finer points in relation to Wudhu have not been mentioned here, nor have the other forms of Wudhu such as Irtimasi nor the Wudhu when one has a cast on a body part which must be washed in Wudhu. Please refer to the Islamic Laws of the Marja` whom you follow for more details on these and other rulings. This short guide is simply to acquaint you with the general, basic rulings of Wudhu and how to perform it.
According to the religious edicts of Ayatullah al-`Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid `Ali al-Husaini as-Sistani. These can be found on…
1. In Wudhu, it is obligatory to wash the face and arms, and to wipe the front portion of the head and the upper part of two feet.
2. The length of the face which should be washed is from the upper part of the forehead where hair grows down to the farthest end of the chin, and its breadth which should be washed is the part covered between the thumb and the middle finger. If even a small part of this area is left out, the Wudhu will be void. Thus, in order to ensure that the prescribed part has been fully washed, one should also wash a bit of the adjacent parts.
3. The face and arms must be washed from above downwards, and if one washes the opposite way, his Wudhu will be void.
4. After washing the face, one must first wash the right arm and then the left arm from the elbows to the tips of the fingers.
5. In order to ensure that each arm has been washed thoroughly, one must include some portion above the elbow in washing.
6. While performing Wudhu, it is obligatory to wash the face and the arms once, and it is recommended to wash them twice. Washing them three or more times is haram. As regards to which washing should be treated as the first, it will depend upon washing the face and arms thoroughly, leaving no room for precaution, with the intention of Wudhu.
7. After washing both arms, one performing Wudhu must wipe the front part of his head with the wetness which is in his hand; the recommended precaution is that he should wipe it with the palm of his right hand, from the upper part, downwards.
8. The part on which wiping should be performed is one fourth frontal part of the head. It is sufficient to wipe as much at any place in this part of the head, although the recommended precaution is that the length should be equal to one finger, and its breadth should be equal to three joined fingers.
9. It is not necessary that the wiping of the head should be performed on its skin. It is also in order if a man wipes the hair on the front of his head. However, if the hair is so long that when combed they fall on his face, or on other parts of his head, then he should wipe his hand on the roots of his hair, or part the hair and wipe the skin. If a person collects his hair on the front side of his head, or on other parts of his head and wipes them, or if he wipes the hair of other places, such a wiping would be void.
10. After wiping the head, one must wipe – with the moisture present in one’s hands – one’s feet from any toe of the foot up to the joint. As a recommended precaution, the right foot should be wiped with the right hand, and the left foot with the left hand.
11. Wiping of the feet can have any breadth, but it is better that the breadth of the wiping should be equal to three joined fingers, and it is still better that the wiping of the entire foot is done with the entire hand.
Wudhu is Obligatory for the following things
1. For all obligatory prayers, except Salatul Mayyit. As regards top the Mustahab prayers, Wudhu is a condition for their validity.
2. For the Sajdah and Tashahhud which a person forgot to perform during the prayers, provided that he invalidated his Wudhu after the Salat and before performing those forgotten acts. It is not obligatory to perform Wudhu for Sajdatus Sahw.
3. For washing and making pure the holy Qur`an which has become Najis, or for taking it out from the toilet in which it has fallen, when he becomes obliged to touch the script of the holy Qur`an with his hand, or some other part of his body.
It is haram, as an obligatory precaution, to touch the Name of Allah or His special Attributes without Wudhu, in whichever language they may have been written. And it is also better not to touch, without Wudhu, the names of the Noble Prophet of Islam, the holy Imams and Sayyidah Fatima Zahra (peace be upon them).
Wudhu is Mustahab for the following purposes
1. Salatul Mayyit
2. Visiting the graveyard.
3. Entering a Masjid (Mosque).
4. Entering the Shrines of the Holy Prophets and Imams.
5. For reading, writing, or touching the margin or border of the Noble Qur`an, or for keeping it with oneself.
6. Before going to bed for sleep. It is also Mustahab that a person already in Wudhu, should perform a fresh Wudhu for every Salat
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم:
إن الوضوء على الوضوء نور على نور ومن جدد وضوئه من غير حدث آخر جدّد الله توبته من غير استغفار

The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said, “Wudhu upon Wudhu is light upon light and the person who renews his Wudhu even though noting has been done to break it (the Wudhu), Allah, the Noble and Grand will forgive his sins even without the person asking for forgiveness (of his sin).”
Man La Yahdharul Faqihi, Volume 111, Page 41
Du’as (Supplications to Recite while Performing Wudhu’)

Beginning of Wudhu
بِسْمِ اللهِ وَبِاللهِ وَالْحَمْدُ للهِ اْلَّذِي جَعَلَ الْمآءَ طَهُوراً ولمْ يَجْعَلْهُ نَجِساً

I begin in the name of Allah, and only for Allah and all praise belongs to Allah who has made water pure and not made it impure.

Washing the Hands
بِسمِ اللهِ وَبِاللهِ اللّهُمَّ اجعَلْني مِن التَّوّابينَ وَاجعَلْني من المُتَطِهّرينَ

I begin in the name of Allah, and only for Allah. O’ Allah! Place me amongst those who ask for forgiveness and place me amongst those who purify themselves.

Rinsing the Mouth
اللهُمَّ لَقِّني حُجَّتي يَومَ ألقاكَ وَأطلِقْ لِساني بِذِكرك

O Allah! Enable me to answer correctly on the Day of meeting You and open my tongue for Your Praise.

Rinsing the Nose
اللّهُمَّ لا تُحَرِّمْ عَلَيَّ رِيحَ الجَنَّةِ، وَاجعَلني مِمَّن يَشمُّ رِيحَها وَرَوحَها وَطيبَها

O Allah! Do not make the fragrance of Paradise forbidden for me and let me be one of those who will smell its scent, its refreshment and its perfume

Washing the Face
اللهُمَّ بَيِّضْ وَجهي يَومَ تَسْوَدُّ فيه الوجُوهُ، وَلا تُسوِّدْ وَجهي يَومَ تَبيَضُّ فيه الوجُوهُ

O Allah! Brighten my face on the Day (of Judgement) when the faces will be darkened, and do not darken my face on the Day when the faces will be made bright.

Washing the Right Arm
اللّهُمَّ أعطِني كِتابي بيَميني، والخُلْدَ في الجِنانِ بِيساري، وحاسِبْني حِساباً يَسيراً

O Allah! Place my Book of deeds in my right hand and a permanent stay in paradise on my left, and make my reckoning an easy one.

Washing the Left Arm
اللّهُمَّ لا تُعطِني كِتابي بِشِمالي وَلا مِن وَراءِ ظَهري، ولا تجعَلْها مَغلُولَةً إِلى عُنُقي، وأعُوذُ بِكَ مِن مُقَطِّعاتِ النِّيرانِ

O Allah! Do not place my Book of deeds in my left hand nor behind me, and do not make it hang around my neck. And I seek refuge with You from the blazing Fire!!

Wiping the Head
اللّهُمَّ غَشِّني برَحمَتِكَ وَبَرَكاتِكَ

O Allah! Cover me with Your Mercy, Your Blessings and Your Pardon.

Wiping the Feet
اللّهُمَّ ثَبِتْني عَلى الصِّراط يَومَ تَزِلُّ فيهِ الأقدامُ، واجعَلْ سَعْيي في ما يُرضيكَ عَنّي ياذا الجَلالِ والإكرامِ

O Allah! Keep me firm on the Bridge (to Paradise) on the Day when the feet will slip, and help me in my efforts to perform acts which will please you. O’ The Glorious and Mighty.

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