Ablution in Arabic is called Wudu. Wudu is typically done in preparation for formal prayers (salat) and also before handling and reading the Qur’an. Impurifying activities that invalidate wudu include urination, defecation, flatulence, deep sleep, light bleeding and sexual intercourse.
Allah, Exalted be He, says,
“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.” – Qur’an 5:6.
This verse stated that performing ablution whenever rising to prayer is obligatory, and tells us which organs should be washed and those which should be wiped during ablution, and specifies what part of them should be washed or wiped. Then, the Prophet (pbuh) through his sayings (hadiths) and practices, has clearly shown the way ablution is to be performed.
Every Muslim should know that ablution has certain conditions, obligatory acts, and practices of the Sunnah to be observed while performing it. Both conditions and obligatory acts must be fulfilled as much as possible in order to ensure the validity of ablution. As for the acts of the Sunnah related to ablution, they are considered complementary practices that guarantee the perfection of ablution. Observing these acts of the Sunnah during ablution increases one’s reward, yet abandoning them does not affect the validity of ablution.