The wisdom of wudu in Islam, Islamic virtues of wudu (ablution)

Sheikh Abu Bakr Zoud discusses the wisdom behind the ablution.

What is Wudu (ablution)?

Wudu (ablution) is a form of worship that Muslims partake in before prayer, ensuring that a Muslim is clean before he/she meets and worships Allah ( ). Ablution also cleanses a Muslim spiritually, from the sins that he/she commits throughout the day.
Uthman ibn Affan () reported: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: He who performed ablution well, his sins would come out from his body, even coming out from under his nails” (Sahih Muslim).
When an individual performs wudu he/she washes away the sins that have been committed, an example of this is that if he/she speaks haraam when they wash their mouth they cleansed any and all impurities.

How to make wudu (ablution)

Allah ( ) says, “O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles… Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful” (Qur’an 5:6).
When performing ablution intention must be made, it does not have to be verbalised, Bismillah should be said as well before beginning. You should start by washing your right hand then left three times. Rinse your mouth three times, swirling the water around inside your mouth, and rinse your nose three times, blowing the water out and using the left hand to remove the water from your nose. Wash your face three times from the hairlines to the jawbone and chin, and from ear to ear. A man should wash their beard as it is part of the face. The next step in completing your wudu is washing your arms up to your elbows three times, right then left. Wipe your head through to the back of your neck and ears once. To complete your wudu wash both feet three times, right before left, ensure that the bones at the bottom of your feet are wet and your ankles. The evidence for the steps of ablution is stated in a hadeeth narrated by Humraan the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan, who said that ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan () called for water to do wudoo. He washed his hands three times, then he rinsed his mouth and nose, then he washed his face three times, then he washed his right arm up to the elbow three times, then he washed his left arm likewise. Then he wiped his head, then he washed his right foot up to the ankle three times, then he washed his left foot likewise. Then he said,
“I saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) doing wudoo as I have done it, then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘Whoever does wudu as I have done it, then prays two rak’ats in which he focuses completely on his prayer, his previous sins will be forgiven.’” (Muslim)
In this verse, Allah () discusses the need for wudu as it is a blessing from Him in that it purifies us. He describes the methods to take to make wudu briefly, however, Shaqiq bin Salamah narrates the in-depth process of wudu, “I saw `Uthman and `Ali performing ablution, washing each part three times, and they said:
‘This is how the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to perform ablution” (Sunan Ibn Majah).
A dua that should be said after making wudu is,
Ash-hadu an la ilaha ill-Allahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluhu ‘I testify that there is no one worthy of worship but Allah, He is Alone and has no partner and Muhammad (ﷺ) is his slave and Messenger’ (Bulugh al-Maram).
The virtue of repeating this supplication after every wudu is that all the eight gates of Paradise will be opened for the person and they may enter through any gate they wish. After completing your wudu it is recommended to prayer two rak’at, Ibn Abbas narrated,
“I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) performing the ablution in this place and he performed in the prefect way and said, ‘Whoever performs the ablution as I have done this time and then proceeds to the mosque and offers a two rak’at prayer… all his past sins will be forgiven.’” (al-Bukhari).

When should wudu (ablution) be made

Ablution should not be limited to natural discharge e.g. releasing gas, urine or losing consciousness, fainting or intoxication, and sexual intercourse, but as Sheikh Abu Bakr Zoud states it should occur whenever a sin has been committed to ensure that we are purified before every salah (prayer). It is also stated by all four madhabs that it is recommended for wudu to be performed before every prayer.

Virtues of Wudu (ablution)

The completion of wudu entails many rewards for the individual in the hereafter and in his life this includes being among al-ghurr al-muhajjaloon on the Day of Resurrection.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “My nation will be called on the Day of Resurrection by the name ghurr muhajjileen (implying that parts of their body will be glittering or radiant) due to the traces of ablution. Whoever among you who can lengthen his portions of radiance should do so.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Other virtues include the expiation of sins: Uthman bin Affan () reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who performs the Wudu perfectly (i.e., according to Sunnah), his sins will depart from his body, even from under his nails. (Muslim).
Another virtue of ablution is reported by Humran, the freed slave of Uthman: “I brought for Uthman b. Affan the ablution water. He performed ablution and then said: ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) perform ablution like his ablution of mine and then he said:
He who performed wudu like this, all his previous sins would be expiated and his prayer and going towards the mosque would have an extra reward.’ (Muslim).