Salaah is a fard-ul- ‘ain, compulsory on every mature, sane, Muslim; and it distinguishes a believer from a non-believer.
A lot of us have difficulties of various kinds in performing salaah: punctuality, regularity, concentration, dressing, etc. Wouldn’t it be sadder if after all our effort, the little we manage to observe are not valid hence not accepted?
The validity of salaah lies (amongst other things), in praying at the right time, 5 times daily at least, preferably in congregation and in the masjid, dressing properly, facing the qiblah, wudhu etc.
Ablution (wudhu) is a prerequisite for performing salaah (with Tayammum-dry ablution as its alternative) and is in a way, part of salaah itself. We often pay scant attention to wudhu because we’ve done it a thousand times but this should not be so. It is not only necessary for salaah but also for picking up a mushaf, tawaf, and recommended before sleep.
Abdullah bin Busr narrated that: the Prophet (SAW) said, ‘On the Day of Resurrection, my nation will be radiant from prostrating and shining from wudhu.-Jamiat Tirmidhi 607
The Prophet (SAW) used to perform wudhu with a mudd of water, discouraged extravagant use of water and washed each part between once and thrice.
Here’s how to perform ablution:
• Use clean water.
• Make the intention quietly. Basmallah.
• Wash both hands from wrist to finger tips and between the fingers thrice; right before left.
• Rinse out the mouth (with a finger) thrice.
• Sniff water into the nostrils and blow out, thrice.
• Wash the face from hairline to chin, (between the ears) thrice.
• Wash the forearms up to the elbows thrice; right then left.
• Wipe head from the hairline to the nape, return it and clean both ears once.
• Then wash the feet (and between the toes) including the back of the heels thrice.
• Declare Ashadu an laailahailallah wa ashadu ana Muhammadan abduhu wa Rasuluhu.
Note, the ablution should be sequential, neither slow nor fast and should not be interrupted; the right should be washed before the left, front before back.
The importance of the ablution should not be underrated. A Sahih hadith from Sunan Abi Dawud 906 states: Uqbah ibn Amir al-Juhani reported the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying,
‘Anyone who performs ablution and performs the ablution perfectly and then offers two rakahs of prayers, concentrating on them with his heart and face but Paradise will necessarily fall to his lot.
May we be among those who Paradise will become their lot.