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Allah (s.w.a) only accepts that which is pure, so we as Muslims strive to achieve purity, both of body and soul. In His infinite mercy, Allah (s.w.a) has given us many ways to achieve this purity, one of which is wudu. The benefits of wudu are too numerous to be listed here in their entirety. One of the most prominent amongst them being that our wudu will act as our ID for belonging to the ummah of Rasoolallah (s.a.w) on the Day of Judgement. The importance of wudu, having knowledge regarding it and performing it correctly, is proven by the fact that it is a precondition of Salah, and without it our Salah is invalid. The act of performing wudu falls under the category of ibadaat (acts of worship) and not muamalaat (everything else besides acts of worship). The general ruling on ibadaat and muamalaat is this; all acts of worship are forbidden unless found in the Quran and/or Sunnah, whereas all other acts, not pertaining to worship, are allowed unless proven otherwise from the Quran and Sunnah.
The proof of the various acts of wudu is found in the fifth chapter of the Quran, Surah al-Maaidah, ayah number six. Performing the obligatory acts of wudu derived from this ayah is the minimum requirement in order to have an acceptable wudu. When it is said that each part must be washed once, it is implied that that particular part of the body must be washed thoroughly at least once. As with many other things, we look to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) for the details of the actions in wudu and its perfection. These are listed here:
1) Intending to purify oneself (the intention should not be said out loud for its place is in the heart)
2) Saying Bismillah
3) Washing the hands three times, starting with the right
4) Rinsing the mouth three times, swirling the water around inside your mouth, and rinsing the nose three times, blowing the water out and using the left hand to remove the water from your nose
5) Washing the face three times, covering everything from the tip of the hairline to chin and from ear to ear. The beard is considered part of the face and should be washed as well. The level of scrubbing required depends on the thickness of the beard
6) Washing both arms, starting with the right, from fingertips to just above the elbows.
7) Wipe your head and ears once with fresh water, not the water left over from the previous step. The head is wiped by putting your hands at the front of the hairline and bringing them to the back of your head, then bringing them back to where you started. Then put your index fingers in your ears and wipe the back of the ears with your thumbs. A woman should wipe her hair, whether it is loose or tied up, by wiping from the front of the head to the back of the head. It is not necessary to wipe the entire length of her hair.
8) Wash both feet, starting with the right, three times, up to and including the ankles, making sure the water gets in between the toes and no part of the heel is left dry
Evidences for the above mentioned actions of wudu are derived from authentic ahadith, one of which is narrated by Humraan, the freed slave of Uthmaan, who said that Uthmaan ibn Affaan (r.a) called for water to do wudu (and a description of how he performed his wudu is given in this hadith, but omitted here due to lack of space). And when he was finished he said "I saw the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) doing wudu as I have done it, then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said 'Whoever does wudu as I have done it, then prays two rak'ahs in which he focuses completely on his prayer, his previous sins will be forgiven.'" (Muslim)
So, brothers and sisters, let's try to perfect our wudu, and be mindful not to mix anything with it which is not found from the authentic Sunnah of Rasoolallah (s.a.w), because wudu in itself is an act or worship. Further more, it will be a big step towards perfecting our Salah, inshallah.