How To Perform Ablution Before Praying in Islam

It is mandated by the Holy Quran that every Muslim should perform an Ablution or must clean oneself with clean water before performing Salat (prayer). Wudhu (Ablution) literally means preparing yourself for prayer by cleaning yourself. Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said, "The key to Paradise is Prayer and the key to prayer is Cleanliness." Every Muslim is required to pray five times everyday, and every prayer must have a prelude with ablution. Otherwise, it is stated in the Holy Qur'an that the prayer will not be acceptable.

I. Steps in Performing Wudhu (Ablution)

  • NIAT (Intention) Make an intention to perform ablution in one's mind for the purpose of praying or worshipping Allah. This means clearing the heart and mind, focusing entirely on perfecting the process of ablution and pleasing the creator.
  • Invoking the name of Allah at the start of Ablution, by saying "BISMILLAH," which means "in the name of Allah."
  • Wash both hands up to the wrists with water and allow the water to run between the fingers. Repeat three times.
  • Rinse the mouth with water three times. The mouth must be empty of food.
  • Sniff water in and out of the nostrils to clean it three times.
  • Clean the face from the top of the forehead down to the chin and from ear to ear three times.
  • Wash both arms from the elbows. Start with the right arm first then the left arm. Repeat three times.
  • Wet hands and pass them over the head, from the forehead to the back of the neck, and from the back of the neck to the forehead without wetting the neck. Wipe the earlobes with the forefingers to clean the inside of the ears and the external side with the thumbs. Repeat three times.
  • Lastly, wash both feet. Start with the right foot first then the left foot, up to the ankles. The feet should be rubbed while being washed and run the water between the toes. No part of the foot should remain dry. Repeat three times.

II. Supplication

After performing the above stated steps for ablution, it should be followed by Supplication. It is a duwaa (a verse from the Qur'an) that should be recited testifying that there is no God except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God. Then, a Muslim is already prepared for prayer.

III. Wudhu or Ablution is nullified by several acts. This means that one has to repeat his or her wudhu when any of the following acts occur:

  • Natural discharge; that which comes out from the two private parts (front and back) such as urine, stool, wind, excretion, blood and the like.
  • Flow of blood or pus from any part of the body.
  • Full mouth vomiting
  • Falling asleep, while lying down or reclining.
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Touching the uncovered private parts, whether intentionally or not.

IV. Benefits of Wudhu (Ablution)

Wudhu (Ablution) is an act of worship. The steps are clearly stated in the Holy Qur'an. The process and steps on how to perform it is also found in the Holy Qur'an. It is an act Commanded independently by Allah. Therefore, performing wudhu or ablution is fulfilling Allah's command. As such, its benefit is also independent or separate from performing salat or prayer. The following are among those mentioned in the Holy Qur'an as benefits we can derive by doing wudhu or ablution correctly and in the proper manner.

  • Wudhu or ablution is an act that purifies oneself. And the Holy Qur'an is the word of Allah, it is Godsend, it is holy and not just any ordinary book. One can only touch the Holy Qur'an after one did wudhu. Those who are impure cannot touch the Holy Qur'an.
  • Wudhu or Ablution is a Prerequisite of prayer. It is the foundation, the building blocks, of salah (prayer). According to a Hadith from Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. "If wudhu or ablution is not done properly, salah does not count." His or her prayer will not be accepted because a mandatory element is missing. Therefore, it is not complete.
  • As mentioned, wudhu is an act that purifies a Muslim, not just physically but spiritually as well. It is stated in the Holy Qur'an that when a Muslim performs wudhu, for example washing the face, it will purify/washes away the sins of his/her eyes. Every body part that is washed in wudhu is purified and at the same time, the water of wudhu washes away the sins of that specific body part.
  • Every Muslim believed in the Day of Judgment, and it is believed that on that day, there will be no light and everything will be covered in darkness. And on that day when there is nothing but darkness and where there is no shade, our body parts that have been washed with wudhu will shine and serve as our light so we can see amidst the darkness. And this light will also let the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. identify and recognize you as one of the believers and followers of Islam so you can be with him.
  • Finally, wudhu being an act of worship and fulfilling Allah's command has an everlasting reward in the Hereafter. Every Muslim who does and perfects his wudhu awaits eternal prize in Jannah (Paradise). The Supplication or duwaa after wudhu opens eight gates of Jannah (Paradise) and one can enter any of these eight doors, as one pleases.

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