The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) said,"WUDHU is the key to prayer as prayer is the key to Paradise. ISLAM lays extreme stress on cleanliness and "TAHARAT". As external actions have deep impact upon internal feelings, such as artificial crying makes a person sad as well as artificial laughter makes one happy so is cleanliness and ablution.Purified body lends to purity of mind, however, cleanliness which is ablution, or wudhu, has been made compulsory before each prayer and in certain cases even a full bath has been made obligatory before prayer.
PHILOSOPHY OF WUDHU
A Muslim is required to perform ablution (Wudhu) before Salat. Ablution prepares one mentally for Salat and it also helps concentration in prayer. It is essential to wash or moisturize these parts of the body to generate concentration because the dispersion of thoughts is due to the keenness of the body's five senses. The centers of the five senses are the eyes, ears, nose mouth, hands and feet. It has been proven from the expertise of neurologists that the chain of thought can be rerouted by cooling fingers of the hands and feet. They also say that concentration of thoughts can be achieved by cooling the nerv-ends. That is the Philosophy of Wudhu.
A Muslim stands before his Creator by cooling nerve-ends of his body with Wudhu water and concentrating all his thoughts for the worship of the All-Mighty.In Wudhu, we wash or moisturize the nerve-ends of the hands, feet, hair, mouth, nose and ears. All the main nerve-ends of the body are touched in Wudhu in one way or another. Perfect concentration of thoughts to create the proper worshipping atmosphere is thus attained. As we learn from everyday experience that a person who has fainted can be brought back to his consciousness by sprinkling water on his face, hands and feet which clearly proves our theory. That is why a Muslim is expected to achieve his external as well as internal consciousness by performing Wudhu.Cleanliness and dirt are not compatible. Allah is clean and whosoever loves Him must be clean, externally as well as internally. Prayer, which is contact with Allah, is therefore unacceptable unless the person, who wants to contact his Lord, is clean.
The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) said,"The prayer of a person who does "HADATH" (passes urine, stool or wind) is not accepted till he performs or repeats Wudhu, the ablution."Because the Muslim Ummah is expected to be the cleanest by performing ablution at least five times a day, the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) therefore, gave glad tidings that "On the day of Resurrection, my followers will be called "Ghurrul Muhajjaleen" the bright armed and bright faced, from the traces of ablution on them. Therefore, whosoever can increase the area of his radiance should try to do so by always performing ablution before the prayers. (Bukhari, Kitabul Wudhu).
MAKING INTENTION (NIYAH) FOR WUDU
Before starting the actions of Wudu it is necessary to make Niyah (intention). Make Niyah that the act of performing Wudu is for the purpose of purity only. Niyah should be made in the heart because it is an action of the heart and not of the tongue. Niyah by words is not approved by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then start the Wudu by saying: Bismallah hir-rahma nir-raheem (In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful)
PERFORMANCE OF WUDHU
Step 1. Washing the hands three times up to the wrist; the right hand first and then the left and wash them in such a way that no spot is left dry;
Step 2. Rinsing and gargling the mouth three times;
Step 3. Washing the nose into three times;
Sept 4. Washing the face beginning from the forehead to the bottom of the chin, three times;
Step 5. Washing the forearms including the elbows three times;
Step 6. Wiping wet hands over the head from front down to the neck, then running the thumbs around the ears and wiping the inside;
Step 7. Wiping the neck with the back of wet hands;
Step 8. Washing the feet including the ankles three times. The right foot first and then the left unless socks are worn
In case if the socks are put on after an ABLUTION (WUDHU) is made, then during the next 24 hours, it is enough to pass wet fingers over them in making an ABLUTION instead of having to wash the feet each time, provided these have not been taken off during this period of time. If someone on journey, the traveler can make MASSAH i.e. passing wet fingers over socks up to three days.
The following things lapse or break the Wudhu
Answering the call of nature,
Passing the wind,
Sleeping or dozing off while leaning against a support,
and eating camels meat
SPECIAL FACILITIES IN WUDU (ABLUTION)
Rubbing the socks with wet hands instead of washing the feet is allowed, provided that the socks have been put on after performing an ablution, including washing the feet. This is allowed for 24 hours from the time of ablution, and for 3 days if the person in on a journey. After this time the feet must be washed. Similarly, if there is a wound in any parts of the body which has to be washed in ablution, and if washing that particular part is likely to cause harm, it is permissible to wipe the dressing of the wound with a wet hand.
Mughira bin Shubah said, Prophet (pbuh) performed ablution and wiped over his socks and his sandals. (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah).Each detail of ablution has been performed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once, twice or three times (except rubbing of head and cleaning of ears, i.e. actions 6 and 7 should only be done once.). Since all the above methods meet Prophet (pbuh)'s approval; we can perform ablution by doing the actions once, twice or three times; provided that no part has been left dry.
Amr bin Shuaib, quoting his father on the authority of his grand-father narrated that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, If anyone performs actions of ablution more than 3 times, he has done wrong, transgressed, and done wickedly.(Nasai and Ibn Majah)
DU'A AT THE END OF WUDU (ABLUTION)
Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wah dahu la shareeka lahu wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu.
I testify that there is no deity except Allah alone. And I testify that Mohammed (pbuh) is His servant and Messenger.(Muslim)
Allahum maj alnee minat taw-wabeena waj alnee minal muta tahireen.O Allah make me among those who are penitent and make me among those who are purified.(Tirmidhi)
In circumstances when water cannot be found, or just enough is available for drinking, or it is injurious to health: in such situations Tayammum (dry ablution) can be performed.The procedure below is given according to Quran and Hadith."
...And if you don't find any water, then take clean earth (or sand) and rub it on your face, and hands. Allah does not wish to put you in a difficulty, but he wants to make you clean, and to complete His favor unto you, so you should be grateful to Him." (5, 6)
(The permission to use sand for this purpose is allowed in the Quran.)
Procedure for Tayammum
1. Make Niyah in the heart.
2. Begin with the Name of Allah.
3. Strike palms of both hands on clean sand, dust or anything containing these, e.g. wall or stone, etc. then blow into the palms. Pass the palms of both hands over the face once and then rub your right hand with the left palm and left hand with the right palm. (Bukhari and Muslim).
4. Finish with the same Du'a as given at the end of ablution.
Note: Other procedures include the forearms and shoulders as well as armpits. These have been transmitted by reputable scholars but the most preferable and authentic is that given above.