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Wuḍūʾ (Arabic: الوضوء al-wuḍūʼ [wʊˈdˤuːʔ]) is the Islamic procedure for cleansing parts of the body, a type of ritual purification, or ablution. Wudu involves washing the hands, mouth, nostrils, arms, head and feet with water and is an important part of ritual purity in Islam. What activities require wuḍūʾ, what rituals constitute it and what breaks or invalidates it are governed by fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and specifically its rules concerning hygiene.
Wuḍūʾ in other languages is Bengali: অযু, romanized: ôju; Persian: آبدست or دستنماز, romanized: ābdast or dast-namāz; Urdu: وضوء, romanized: wuzu; Turkish: abdest; Berber languages: لوضو, romanized: luḍu; Albanian: abdesi; Azerbaijani: Dəstəmaz; Malay: wuduk; Chechen: Ламаз эцар/Lamaz ecar; Bosnian: abdest; Kurdish: دەست نوێژ, romanized: destniwêj; Somali: weeso.
Wuḍūʾ is typically done in preparation for formal prayers (salat) and before handling and reading the Qur'an. Impurifying activities that invalidate wudu include urination, defecation, flatulence, deep sleep, light bleeding and sexual intercourse.
Wuḍūʾ is often translated as "partial ablution", as opposed to ghusl ("full ablution"), washing the whole body, or tayammum ("dry ablution"), replacing water with sand or dust due to its scarcity, its harmful effect on the person or some other reason. Purification of the body and clothes is called taharah.
The Qur'an says "For God loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." In regard to Muslims being required to be clean when handling and reading the Qur'an, the Qur'an says "Which none shall touch but those who are clean." The Islamic prophet Muhammad said that "Cleanliness is half of faith".
There are four fard (obligatory) acts. If one of these acts is omitted, it must be returned to and then the succeeding acts completed.
According to Sunni Muslims, the Qur'anic mandate for wuḍūʾ comes in the sixth ayat of sura 5. The ayat has been translated by Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Rashad Khalifa, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Pickthal and Maulana Muhammad Ali as follows. Note that these scholars' translation refer to washing the feet.
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. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. 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.
According to Shia Muslims the Qur'anic mandate for wuḍūʾ comes in the sixth ayat of sura 5. The ayat has been translated by Muhammad Habib Shakir as follows. Note this scholars translation refers to wiping the feet.
O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete His favour to you, that ye may be grateful.
A handful of mustahabb (recommended) acts that are considered to make the wuḍūʾ better. If one of these acts is omitted, the wuḍūʾ is still considered valid.
Muslims who are unable to perform the prevailing form of ablution, due to skin disease, a disability or lack of clean water, etc. are recommended to perform tayammum, sometimes called "dry ablution", using sand or dust instead of water. Such an alternative form of ritual purity may also be accepted in cases where one fears the acquisition of hypothermia in cold weather.
Sunni Muslims perform the following:
Theoretically, one can perform one wuḍūʾ for salat and this wuḍūʾ would be considered valid for the rest of the day. However, traditionally Muslims believe that certain acts invalidate the wuḍūʾ (often referred to as "breaking wuḍūʾ" and "losing wuḍūʾ") and these can be stated generically thus, although the Quran does not explain most of these:
In Shia theology, wudhu is invalidated when waste or matter exits the lower most extremities of the body, the anus and urethra, as either feces, urine, semen or gas. For wudhu to be invalid through flatulence, one must actually hear or smell the passing, otherwise it is not considered void. In addition, wudhu is considered void when someone falls into a deep sleep in which they have no alert consciousness. 
Belching and vomiting do no invalidate wudhu, however it is strongly recommended that the individual rinses his or her mouth following the latter. Bleeding is not considered to invalidate wudhu either, as Ja'far al-Sadiq made it clear in Hadith that a bad wound is not cause to repeat wudhu. This concept further extends to parasites that may exit the body through the two extremities. Cutting one's hair or nails does not invalidate wudhu but he or she should wipe the area with water.
Tayammum is a "dry ablution" using clean soil or dust, to be performed when water is not readily available to perform ablution or when one is defiled (on janabah) and could not perform ghusl, and is authorised under specific circumstances.
Wuḍūʾ in Hadith Abu Hurayra, in reference to the Day of Resurrection, reported that Muhammad, when asked if he would be able to recognise Muslims, said, "Yes, you would have a mark which other people will not have. You would come to me with a white blaze on your foreheads and white marks on your feet because of the traces of ablution."
Abu Hurayra said, "I have heard prophet (may peace be upon him) say. In a believer adornment would reach the places where ablution reaches."
'Umar ibn al-Khattab reported that Muhammad said, "No one among you does wuḍūʾ and does wuḍūʾ thoroughly – or adequately – and then testifies, 'There is no god but Allah Alone with no partner and I testify that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger', without the eight doors of the Garden being opened to him so that he can enter by whichever of them he wishes."
It is mentioned in numerous Hadiths by Ja'far al-Sadiq that it is permissible to make wudu with water that is not overwhelmed with the stench of dead animal. If there is a dead animal, it is recommended to take wudu from the opposite side of the location of the animal. He also said it is permissible to take wudu from the ponds between Mecca and Medina in which people perform ghusl, dogs and beasts drink, and animals die so long as the water level is at least up to the knees.
It has been narrated by Ali al-Ridha that if a drop of urine, blood or animal feces falls into a well, one must remove about ten buckets from it before performing wudu. If the feces has disintegrated into the water, forty to fifty buckets must be removed. Ja'far al-Sadiq has also mentioned that if an animal falls into the well, and has not disintegrated in it, remove five to seven buckets of water from it or until the smell or taste of the water changes. However, If the animal is bleeding or has an open wound, one must draw out thirty to forty buckets before it becomes purified for wudu. If a camel dies in the well or wine is poured into the well, all the water must be drained.
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