Since you are now acquainted with the conditions, the obligatory acts, and the acts of the Sunnah to be observed during ablution, then you are aware of the proper way ablution is performed, which is an application of the above mentioned rulings. Put differently, the perfect way of performing ablution is achieved by observing these conditions, obligatory acts, and acts of the Sunnah, which are derived from the texts of Shari’ah (Islamic Law). So, every Muslim has to spare no effort in observing them once he knew them, Allah willing.

The Way of Performing Ablution:

  1. Intention.
    To intend performing ablution for the acts of worship for which ablution is required, such as prayer and the like.
  2. Tasmiyah.
    To say “Bismillah” (i.e. In the Name of Allah).
  3. To wash the hands 3 times.
  4. To rinse the mouth 3 times and then to rinse the nose 3 times
    (by sniffing water and then blowing it out using the left hand).
  5. To wash the face 3 times,
    from the upper part of the forehead (the beginning of the normal hairline) to the lower parts of the jaws lengthwise, and from one ear to the other width-wise (without washing the ears, as they are treated as part of the head, not the face, as previously mentioned). The beard, as well, must be washed; if the hair of the beard is not thick, one has to wash it internally and externally. But if it is thick, it has to be washed from the outside, and it is desirable to insert wet fingers washing it internally, as mentioned above.
  6. To wash the hands up to the elbows 3 times,
    each hand is to be washed from the upper parts of the fingers and nails to the beginning of the upper arm. Moreover, one has to remove whatever sticks to the hands or the fingernails (such as dough, mud or thick paint) before washing them, so as to allow water to reach such parts.
  7. To wipe over the whole head only once, including the ears,
    with wet hands (provided the water used for wiping over them is fresh one, unlike that remaining from washing hands). The proper way of wiping over the head is to be by putting one’s wet hands on the upper part of the forehead and let them pass backwards till they reach one’s nape, then return them forwards to the starting point. After that, one is to insert one’s two wet forefingers in the holes of the ears while wiping over their outer parts with one’s two thumbs.
  8. To wash the feet 3 times including the ankles.
    As for one whose hand or foot is amputated, such one is to wash what is left of the arm or the feet. To clarify, if the arm is amputated from the joint of the elbow, one is to wash the front part of the upper arm, and if the foot is amputated from ankles, one is to wash the tip of the amputated leg; Allah, Exalted be He, says: “So fear Allah as much as you are able…” – Qur’an 64:16. Similarly, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “If I command you to do something, then do of it as much as you can.” – Al-Bukhari 13/308. Accordingly, if a person washes what is left of an amputated limb, it will be sufficient as one thus does what one can.
  9. After finishing performing ablution invoke Allah,
    in accordance with the above stated form, one may raise one’s sight towards the heaven and invoke Allah with some of the invocations of the Prophet (pbuh) in this regard, such as saying: “I testify that there is no deity but Allah, Alone, with no partner, and I testify that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger. O Allah! Make me among those who are constantly repentant, and make me among those who purify themselves.” – Al-Muslim 2/112.

The reason behind mentioning dhikr and invocation following ablution is to combine both physical and spiritual purity, for ablution is a means of physical purity, whereas dhikr and invocation (implying monotheism and repentance) are signs of spiritual purity. In this way, one becomes in the most perfect state of purity (combining both physical and spiritual purity), and becomes pure enough to be admitted to stand before Allah (in prayer), imploring Him humbly and submissively.

By the way, it is all right to dry ones organs with a towel or the like after ablution.

Excessiveness in pouring water, which is considered wastefulness, leads to other illegal, detestable consequence, such as:

  • Incomplete purification: One may depend on using water in abundance during ablution and so does not make sure that water reaches all parts of the organs. Consequently, some spots may remain unwashed while one is unaware. Hence, one’s ablution becomes incomplete and thus one performs prayer without purification.
  • Excessiveness in worship: Ablution is an act of worship, and if any act of worship is excessively performed, it becomes void.
  • Insinuation in purification: One may get insinuation and be doubtful concerning purification due to excessiveness in using water while performing ablution.

In fact, the best way to avoid the aforesaid consequences is to follow in the Prophet’s footsteps and abide by his Sunnah, for the most evil of (religious) matters are those newly innovated. May Allah guide us all to that which He likes and to what pleases Him.

Also read – The Conditions of Ablution
And read – The Sunnah Acts of Ablution
And read – The Obligatory Acts of Ablution

SOURCEIslamic Jurisprudence - Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan
He is a member of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatawa in Saudi Arabia, a committee of the Council of Senior Scholars. The Council issues rulings in Islamic jurisprudence and prepares research papers for the Council of Senior Scholars.