How to Do Wudu

Wudu, meaning half-ablution, is the ritual of washing oneself before every prayer, whether obligatory or voluntary. Wudu works like water on a dusty surface; it purifies and beautifies the soul. It is derived from the Arabic word wadah, which translates to beauty. Wudu cleanses the soul and frees a person from sin. This blog will discuss the benefits of wudu, the way to do it, and the different rulings on wudu by Prophet Muhammad SAW.

How to do Wudu – The Two Ways

There are two ways of doing wudu: obligatory and mustahabb (also known as the sunnah of doing wudu). It is better to do the mustahabb wudu steps since it gains more rewards, but if there is a water shortage, the obligatory way is acceptable.

The Obligatory Way

  • Remove any accessories or substances that may prevent the water from reaching the prescribed areas of the body, such as nail polish, earrings, paint, etc.
  • Wash the entire face once, including rinsing the mouth and nose.
  • Wash both arms up to the elbows once.
  • Wipe the entire head, including the ears.
  • Wash both feet up to the ankles once.

The evidence for the obligatory form of wudu comes from Surah Maidah, verse 6, in which Allah SWT says: “O those of you who believe, wash your face and hands up to your elbows, wipe your heads and wash your feet to the ankles.”

The Mustahabb Way

  1. Remove any accessories or substances that may prevent the water from reaching the prescribed areas of the body, such as nail polish, earrings, paint, etc.
  1. One should make the niyyah (intention) of doing wudu and removing impurities. The niyyah doesn’t have to be spoken since its place is in the heart. The niyyah can be performed by quieting the thoughts and focusing on the ritual one is about to perform.
  1. After the niyyah, one should say Bismillah (in the name of Allah) either silently or loudly. One thing to keep in mind is that bismillah, or the name of Allah, should not be taken in a place where there might be impurity (like a bathroom), even if one can’t see it. It is makruh to say Allah’s name in any of these places; it should be said silently in the heart. But if one is doing wudu in a pure place, one can say bismillah.
  1. Wash both your hands up to the wrists. Begin by washing the left hand using the right hand, then repeat this process on the other hand. Also, wash in between the fingers.
  1. Rinse the mouth three times while swirling the water around it to eliminate food stuck between the teeth.
  1. Rinse the nose three times, and then use the fingers of the left hand to drain excess water from the nose and clean it from the inside.
  1. Wash the face thrice, from hairline to jawbone, chin, and ear to ear. Make sure that every part is thoroughly wet. A man should wash his beard, as it is a part of his face. The beard should be thoroughly cleaned by wetting and running the fingers through it.
  1. Wash the arms up to the elbows three times. This step includes the area from the fingernails up to just above your elbow. Start with the right hand and finish with the left.
  1. Now perform Masah. Masah is known as the process of ritually cleaning one’s head with small amounts of water. Wet the hands thoroughly, then shake them to remove the excess water. Wipe the hands through the hair (starting from the hairline) till the back of the neck and then from the neck to the hairline. Then, put the index fingers in the ears and wipe the back of the ears with the thumbs. This step only needs to be done once.
  1. Wash both feet up to the ankles three times. Ensure you properly rub every part to wet it and go between each toe to clean it. Start with the right foot and finish with the left. All of these steps are to be done in the order mentioned.

The evidence for the mustahabb way of performing wudu can be found in the following hadith:

The free slave of `Uthman bin `Affan narrated that he saw `Uthman bin `Affan asking for a tumbler of water to perform ablution and when it was brought to him, he poured water from it onto his hands and washed them three times. Then he put his right hand in the water container, rinsed his mouth and washed his nose by putting water in it. Then he blew the water out. After that, he washed his face three times and then washed his arms up to the elbows three times. Then he passed his wet hands over his head and then washed each foot three times. After he was done, he said that he saw the Prophet Muhammad PBUH performing ablution in the same manner that he did. He further said that the Prophet PBUH stated that whoever performs ablution like this and then offers a two-rakat prayer in which he does not think of anything else (i.e., external affairs), then his past sins will be forgiven. 

Sahih al-Bukhari 164

Dua after Wudu – After Completion


Ashhadu an la ilaha ill-Allah wahdahu la sharika lah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluhu


I bear witness to the fact that there is no god except Allah alone with no partner or associate, and I bear witness to the fact that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

Conditions of Wudu

Some conditions must be met during wudu, or else wudu will be invalid.

  • The person must be Muslim.
  • He must be of sound mind and not insane.
  • The person doing wudu must have the intention of doing wudu.
  • The person must have reached the age of discernment.
  • Water must be pure (tahir) and should be legally obtained.
  • Water must reach every part of the body mentioned.
  • The one performing wudu is not in any major impurity that requires ghusl (like ejaculation or menstruation).

Benefits of Wudu

The Prophet PBUH said that when the believing enslaved person performs wudu, and he rinses his mouth, the sins of his mouth come out. When he rinses his nose and blows the water out, the sins of his nose come out. When he washes his face, the sins of his face and even the sins of his eyelashes come out. When he washes his hands, the sins of his hands come out, even from beneath his fingernails. When he wipes his head, the sins of his head come out, even from his ears. When he washes his feet, the sins of his feet come out, even from beneath his toenails. Then, walking to the mosque and performing salah will earn him extra merit.

Sunan an-Nasa’i 103

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