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The method for ‘wudu’ (ablution)

The Quran says:The method for ablution before prayer is given in the Quran, and it consists of four simple steps:

“O you who believe, when you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), you shall wash your faces and your arms to the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles” 5:6


Hadith attributed to the prophet:

Despite this simple and clear command from God, yet we read in hadith that the prophet performed his ablution in a different manner, adding other steps not given in the Quranic ablution. We must be reminded here that ablution for salat is a part of our religious rituals. This is different from washing or having a bath at other times. God gave us 4 simple steps in order to test our obedience, will we follow the simple command, or will be tricked by Satan into altering God’s command under the false impression that we are doing good by washing other parts of our bodies to be more clean!

God commanded Muhammad and all believers to follow the Quran and nothing else, thus it goes without saying that the prophet of God would have never changed or altered God’s commands.

In a number of hadith we read the opposite. We read that Muhammad either improvised or invented a different method of wudu. Did Muhammad disregard God’s commands, or were these hadith false accusations against the prophet?


Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 142:

Narrated ‘Ata’ bin Yasar:

Ibn ‘Abbas performed ablution and washed his face (in the following way): He ladled out a handful of water, rinsed his mouth and washed his nose with it by putting in water and then blowing it out. He then, took another handful (of water) and did like this (gesturing) joining both hands, and washed his face, took another handful of water and washed his right forearm. He again took another handful of water and washed his left forearm, and passed wet hands over his head and took another handful of water and poured it over his right foot (up to his ankles) and washed it thoroughly and similarly took another handful of water and washed thoroughly his left foot (up to the ankles) and said, “I saw Allah’s Apostle performing ablution in this way”

In another hadith, it is claimed that the prophet instructed the believers that they must wash their noses when they perform ablution! We also read a weird narration about the necessity to clean the private parts with stones and that it must be done with an odd number of stones!


Volume 1, Book 4, Number 162:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Whoever performs ablution should clean his nose with water by putting the water in it and then blowing it out, and whoever cleans his private parts with stones should do it with odd number of stones”


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Permanent link to this article: http://islamic-research.org/the-method-for-wudu-ablution/

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