How to Wash for Prayer

Reviewing by : A.J. Kassem

When a Muslim prays, he is in direct communication with Allah, the Lord of all Things. Therefore, he should prepare himself for this meeting by performing a ritual purification. Since Allah doesn't accept the prayer of anyone until he is in a state of ritual purity, a Muslim must learn how to do his ablutions.

Before performing wudu (ablution), a Muslim must remove any filth from his body, such as traces of human waste or blood. He should also remove things that prevent water from reaching his skin, such as glue, paint, or nail polish (for women).

Before beginning, he says, Bismillah (in the name of Allah).

Then, he washes his hands three times, rinses his mouth three times (he may gargle as well), and sniffs water in to his nostrils three times by raising water with his right hand to his nose, inhaling it, then holding his nose gently with his left hand while blowing the water out.

Next, he should wash his face three times. He should wash all of his face, from above his forehead to the bottom of his chin, and from ear to ear. If his beard is thick, he should comb through it with his fingers. If his beard is light, he should wash it with the rest of his face.

After that, he should wash his right forearm three times from the tips of his fingers (and in between them) to the elbow, then his left forearm in the same manner.

Then, he should wipe his head with his wet hands, front to back from the forehead to the end of the hair, and then reverse - back to front. He should also wash the insides and outsides of his ears with his fingers.

Finally, he should wash his right foot three times from the tips of his toes and between them to his ankle and then do the same with his left foot.

When he finishes his ablutions, he should say, Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah wa ashadu anna Mohammadan Abduhu wa rasullahu (I witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and that Mohammad is His servant and messenger).


Some points to wudu for your consideration:

A Muslim should not waste water when making wudu or at any other time, as Allah does not love wasteful people.

There is no need to pronounce an intention for any act of worship, including ritual washing, as this has not been reported to have been done by the Prophet, peace be upon him. The only act of worship that he was reported to have enunciated his intention for before undertaking is the haj.

He should wash his private parts with water after using the bathroom, but not every time that he performs wudu.

It is recommended to brush one’s teeth before performing prayer along with ritual washing.

When performing wudu, a Muslim should wash all of the aforementioned body parts completely, letting water touch every part of them.
A Muslim should not pause for an extended period while making wudu, or else he should start over again.

There are no prescribed sayings during the process of making wudu, other than mentioning Allah’s name before beginning.

There is no need to wash more than the aforementioned body parts for the ritual purity to be complete.

Although it is recommended to wash each body part three times, according to prophetic guidance, a Muslim may wash them more or less than that.

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