Ablution, also known as Wudoo’, is a cardinal part of every Muslim’s life. That is because a Muslim has to pray five times a day, and for his prayers to be valid a certain set of conditions have to be met. From those is a correctly performed act of purity, namely the ablution (which I will refer to as Wudoo’ from here onwards).
Now, no Muslim has to be told what Wudoo’ means, except someone who is new to Islam. Some might not know how to perform it correctly, but they would know what it is and what purpose it serves.
You might argue that if one doesn’t know how to perform it correctly, it implies that he doesn’t know what it is. In such a case you would be in luck: I am going to agree with you 100%. Still, if such a person is looking for a definition of Wudoo’, he has to go somewhere else (as in, not here).
To hark back to the topic, a Muslim must make sure his Wudoo’ is performed correctly in order for his prayers to be correct. If his prayers are not correct or valid, then he is in deep trouble.
Since my studies here in Islamic University of Madhinah, I have come across some information about the mistakes we make when we perform Wudoo’. I admit I was ignorance about some of this myself, but praise be to Allah, I am trying to correct myself now. And now I am on a mission to educate others.
Let’s move on to the pith of the topic—the exact mistakes that I am referring to.
Firstly: Omitting part of the face when washing it, namely the part between the sideburn (along with part of the beard, since these two are joined together) and the ears. Often, we wash our faces up to the sideburns and ignore the area between it and the ears. Next time you perform Wudoo’, make sure you wash that part.
Clearly, this might not be a problem for those who doesn’t have beards and hence doesn’t have too much hair to separate the area in question from the rest of the face. But every Muslim man is supposed to have a beard (unless he is a kid or his beard doesn’t grow, etc.), so there.
Secondly: Not washing the hands while washing the arms after the face. Didn’t get that? Let me explain.
When we start (to perform Wudoo’, duh!), we first wash our hands. This is not an essential part of Wudoo’, rather it is considered as a Sunnah (meaning that even if you skip this part, it won’t affect the validity of your Wudoo’). After this washing of the hand, we wash our face, rinse our nose and mouth, then we wash our arms. Now, in this step, we tend to ignore the hands since we had already washed it at the beginning. We put the wrist under the tap and wash from there to the elbow. However, this is wrong and it is imperative that the hands to be washed along with the arm, after the face. Even if the hands were washed at the beginning.
This means that even if you don’t wash your hands at the beginning, there is another step for washing the hands.
It is well known that the different parts of Wudoo’ must be performed in a specific order. These different parts are pointed out in the Qur’aan, and Allah mentions the washing of the hands (along with the arms—the whole limb is considered as one) after the face.
I hope it is clear. I consider myself capable of making it a bit clearer, but I wanted to keep this post as short as possible.
Thirdly: Not washing the leg thoroughly (I thank my uncle for mentioning this; I didn’t realize that this actually happens until he mentioned it in a Facebook comment).
Scores of people have the habit of washing their feet and remove any dirt before they actually begin the Wudoo’, and there is nothing wrong with this. But when they do that, they tend to forget to wash the feet thoroughly at the end of Wudoo’. Since the feet are wet from the first wash, they fail to notice any deficiency in the washing of the feet at the end.
This is it. But in no way I am implying that these are the only mistakes. They are only those that I know of, or that I can think of at the moment. I hope that you weren’t among those who used to commit these mistakes, but if you were, now you know better.
And Allah knows best.