perform wudu

A complete guide to performing Wudu

Wudu or Ablution is both a physical cleansing and a traditional ritual performed by Muslims for good physical and spiritual hygiene. Traditionally, Wudu stands for the mental and physical preparation for prayer (Salāt/Tholugai), one of the five pillars of Islam.
The traditional steps followed by established schools or sub-categories of Islam (one of which is described below in the procedure) differ from the clear, precise and simple steps given by the Qur’an (5:6): “Oh, you who have come to faith, when you rise to salat (prayer) you shall

Make niyyah (intention) to perform ablution.

Niyyah is the Islamic concept of performing an action for Allah. In order to perform wudu properly, you must concentrate and shut out your thoughts. Seriously focus on what you are doing. Niyyah does not necessarily mean saying something out loud. “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah) is a good formula to focus on to get the centering you need. Say it out loud or just silently to yourself, whichever feels better to you.

Wash your hands

Wash your right hand with your left hand. Do this three times. Then you wash your left hand three times with your right hand. Make sure you also wash between the fingers and up to the wrist.

Put water in your mouth.

With your right hand, scoop water into your mouth three times. Swish it back and forth between your cheeks and your throat. Do this very thoroughly to completely flush any leftover food out of your mouth.

Inhale water through your nose.

Scoop water into your nose three times with your right hand. You can use your left hand to close a nostril and sniff it out if necessary. Sniff hard and abruptly without drawing too much water into your nose to avoid choking. If you can’t breathe water, you can just wet your fingers with water and clean your nostrils with it.

Wash your face

Wash your face three times by spreading your hands from left ear to right and from hairline to chin.

Wash your forearms from wrists to elbows, making sure no spot is left dry.

Wash your right arm three times with your left hand from wrist to elbow, then wash your left arm three times with your right hand.

Clear your head

With wet hands, wash your forehead from the eyebrows to the hairline. Also stroke your hair, neck, and temples. You only do this once.

Wash your ears inside and out.

Using the same water and your finger, clean any indentations in your ear cup. Use your thumb to clean behind the ear, from bottom to top. You do that once too.

Wash both of your feet.

Wash up to your ankles, making sure to get the water between your toes as well. Use your pinky to thoroughly clean the spaces between your toes. Starting with the right foot, scrub each foot three times.

Pointing your right index finger toward heaven, say a short prayer of witness.

This prayer is as follows: “Ash-hadu anlaa ilaaha illALLAHu wahdahuu laa shariikalahu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhuu wa rasuuluhu.” In English, this means something like “I declare that there is no other deity than Allah alone. he is one He has no partner and I testify that (Hadrat) Muhammad (sallallaahu ala Muhammadu sallallahu alaihu Wasallam) is His (chosen) servant and (true) messenger.”

Repeat wudu when it is lifted.

Things that void wudu include natural discharges, such as urination, defecation, major bleeding, or gas. Even deep sleep cancels wudu. After intercourse, wudu alone is not enough to be allowed to perform salat again. There is another form of purification that needs to be done in this case, which is called ghusul.


Clear your mind before wudu so you can fully focus on Allah. It is always advisable to completely void one more time before performing wudu. This way you can resist the urge to go to the toilet again after wudu. If you can’t stand for long (e.g. because of your age), you can also do salat sitting on a chair with the sali under your feet. You need water to perform the steps explained above, but if you don’t have access to water or are ill, you can do tayammum. This is a form of cleaning with clean dust, earth or sand. All steps must be performed in the correct order and without long breaks in between. The Prophet always brushed his teeth before wudu. You can wash your arm above a bracer if you must wear one. Before you wash your feet, wipe your neck with the back of your hand.

About the Author

Randy Diaz

Randy Diaz is a journalist with a zeal in mobile tech and the online gaming industry. He writes articles, editorials, reviews, round-ups, and how-to tips on a wide variety of topics. He spent several years working in the games industry as a tester and designer. Now he has been writing as a full time freelancer for over three years. He is also a regular contributor to several media, both in print and online.