Chapter 2

How to Make Wudu, Step by Step

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What is Wudu?

Before we can perform salah we need to prepare ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. A large portion of this preparation is what is known as wudu. It is a purification process that every Muslim must perform before their prayer can be performed.

It is such an important part of the salah that if anyone decides to leave it due to ignorance, forgetfulness, or negligence then their prayer will not be accepted by Allah.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“No salah is accepted without wudu (purification)”
Sahih Muslim, Book 2, Hadith 2

Step 1 – Make your intention to perform wudu

The first step is to understand that you are about to begin the process of wudu so that you can perform salah. There are no words or special statements that need to be said here. Creating the intention is a matter of the heart and mind.

Step 2 – Say Bismillah

This is a critical part of making wudu. Before we begin to our wash ourselves we need to say Bismillah (In the Name of Allah). You can say it silently to yourself.

Step 3 – Wash Your Hands Three Times

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us to begin with our right side first. That means you will need to wash your right hand from the fingertips to the wrist three times.

Make sure water touches every part of the hand. Afterwards perform the same actions with your left hand three times.

Step 4 – Rinse Your Mouth Three Times

Take some water into your right hand and rinse your mouth three times. Do this thoroughly to clean your mouth properly.

Step 5 – Sniff Water Into Your Nostrils Three Times

Take some water in your right hand and sniff it into your nose.

We used the word “sniff” here to give you an idea of what this means. You will need to snort or inhale the water into your nose and then blow it out, three times. Try not to take in too much water or you may hurt yourself.

Step 6 – Wash Your Face Three Times

Every part of the face needs to be washed. That means from ear to ear and from the top of your forehead to the bottom of your chin. Do this step three times.

For men who have beards take your wet hands and pass them through your beard as you wash your face.

Step 7 – Wash Your Arms Three Times

Start from the fingertips and wash your right arm up to the elbow three times. Make sure that no part is left dry. Afterwards, follow the same process for your left arm and do it three times.

Step 8 – Wipe Your Head Once

Did you notice that step 8 says to “wipe” your head instead of “wash.” The choice of words here was intentional. Move your wet hands from the top of the forehead to the back of the head, and then from the back of the head to the forehead. This is done only once.

It doesn’t matter what type of hair you have. Whether you are bald, have short hair or long hair, the process is the same.

Step 9 – Clean Your Ears Once

This step should be performed with the same water from step 8. Using your wet hands you will use your index fingers to clean the inside of your ears and your thumb to clean the area behind your ears.

This is done only once.

Step 10 – Wash Your Feet Three Times

Similar to what was done with our hands, we will also wash our feet three times.

Begin from your toes on your right foot and wash up to and including your ankle. Make sure water touches every area of the right foot, especially between the toes and the back of the ankle. Do this three times with the right foot followed by three times with the left foot.

Step 11 – Recite the Shahada and the Dua

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) would complete his wudu he would say the shahada:

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh.”

This means “I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I also testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”

After this statement he would make the following dua: “Allahuma j‘alnee mina tawabeen waj-‘alnee minal mutatahireen

Which means “O Allah, make me among those who seek repentance and make me among those who purify themselves.

At this point your wudu is complete and you can begin to pray.

What Nullifies Your Wudu?

As we mentioned earlier in this chapter, a Muslim cannot perform salah until they have performed wudu. This leads into a common question one might ask:

How long will my wudu last for?

The answer is that your wudu remains until one (or more) of the following happens:

  • Anything that is a natural discharge. This refers to urine, stool, or passing gas
  • Falling asleep
  • Becoming unconscious
  • Ejaculation

If any of the above take place then you will need to perform wudu again.


Making Wudu While Wearing Socks or Shoes

If you decide to put on your socks while you have wudu on, then if a time comes for you to redo your wudu then you do not need to take off your socks.

When it comes time to renew your wudu and reach the step where you need to wash your feet three times (step #10), this time you will do things a little differently:

  • Keep your socks on. You do not need to take them off for this step
  • Using your right hand you will wipe gently over the top of your right foot. This is done only once
  • Using your right hand again you will wipe gently over the top of your left foot

This is what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do when he made wudu with his socks on.

Although we were referring to socks in this section, the same rules apply for shoes and sandals as long as they cover up to the ankles.

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