15 // Small ritual ablution (wudu) Performing a small ablution
In Muslim religious practice, the presence of a small ritual ablution called “wudu” is necessary for prayer and some other actions.
Ruling 256 – Performing minor ablution includes washing the face and hands, and wiping the front of the head and the tops of the feet with a wet hand. In the following paragraphs, clarifications will be provided regarding the practice of “wudu”.
Ruling 257 – The person must be washed from the top of the forehead (from where the hair grows) to the bottom of the chin. The width of the washed surface of the face should correspond to the distance between the middle finger and the thumb, set aside. If during ablution, even a small area of the laid surface is not washed, then the small ablution is considered invalid. Therefore, to be sure that the entire applied surface of the face is washed, it is necessary to wash a little more of the applied surface.
Ruling 258 – If the size of a person’s fingers is larger or smaller than the size of the fingers of ordinary people, then when washing his face, he should wash the surface that is washed by people with ordinary fingers. The same goes for people whose hair starts to grow higher or lower than normal people’s hair growth. They should also start washing their faces from where other people start washing their faces.
Rule 259 – The face and both hands must be washed in such a way that the water reaches the skin of the face and hands. If there is any obstacle on the face and hands that prevents the penetration of water to the skin, then this obstacle must be removed before starting to perform a small ablution. Even if a person only assumes the presence of an obstacle on the face or hands, he must make sure that it is not.
Rule 260 – Men who have beards must bring water to the skin of the face in case the skin of the face is visible through the beard. But if the skin of the person will not be visible through a thick beard, then when washing, it is not necessary to bring water to the skin of the face. In this case, it is enough to wash only the beard itself.
Rule 261 – If a man is in doubt as to whether the skin of his face is visible through his beard or not, then he must wash both his beard and his skin.
Ruling 262 – When performing minor ablution, it is not necessary to wash the inner surface of the nose, as well as those parts of the lips and eyes that are not visible when closed.
Rule 263 – After ablution, one should immediately wash the right hand, starting from the elbow and ending with the fingertips. And after that, it is also necessary to wash the left hand.
Rule 264 – The face and both hands must be washed from top to bottom. If the face and hands are washed from the bottom to the top, then the small ablution performed is considered invalid.
Rule 265 – If a person wets his hands and runs his wet hands over his face and hands, then if there is a lot of moisture on his hands, so that it can be said “he washed his face and hands”, the small ablution performed will be valid.
Rule 266 – In order to be sure that the elbow is completely washed, it is necessary to start washing the hand just above the elbow.
Ruling 267 – Normally, before performing ablution, people wash their hands, but this is not counted as part of the minor ablution. After washing the person, one must completely wash the entire right and left hand, starting from the elbows and ending with the fingertips. If he washes his hands only from the elbow to the hand, then the small ablution is considered invalid.
Ruling 268 – When performing minor ablution, washing the face and hands once is an obligatory act. According to the mandatory measures, it is not necessary to wash the face and hands twice. And it is forbidden to wash them three or more times. Washing once means that the entire necessary surface of the face or hands is washed with water, regardless of how many handfuls of water are used for this, one or more.
Ruling 269 – After washing the hands, one must wipe the front of the head with the hand that has remained wet after washing the face and hands. According to a mandatory measure, wiping must be done with the right hand, and it will be better if it is done from top to bottom. But if you wipe the head from the bottom to the top, then the small ablution performed will be valid.
Ruling 270 – The place of wiping is the front of the head, located above the forehead. It is enough to wipe any place of this part of the head, in any size. But, according to the desired caution, the area to wipe the surface of the head should be one finger in length and three fingers in width.
Ruling 271 – Wiping the head is allowed to be performed on the scalp and on what hair grows on it. But if a person will have long hair that will fall on the face or reach another part of the head, then he needs to wipe at the roots of the hair. It is even better if, before starting to perform a small ablution, he makes a parting, dividing the hair into two parts, and calmly rubs the roots of the hair or the scalp.
Proposition 272 – After wiping the head comes the turn of wiping the upper part of the feet. Wiping the feet performs
with the moisture left on the hands after washing the face, hands and wiping the head. Wiping must be performed on the upper surface of the foot, from the tips of the fingers to the protrusion on the surface of the foot. With the desired caution, wiping should be done up to the joint (ankle).
Rule 273 – It is enough if the width of wiping the surface of the foot corresponds to the width of one finger. But it will be better if the wiping is done with a width of three fingers. And it is even better to wipe the entire upper part of the foot with the entire palm of the hand. To do this, it is enough to place the palm of your hand on the surface of the foot and run it a little.
Rule 274 – In order for the wiping of the head and feet to be valid, it is necessary to run the hand over the head and feet. If you keep your hand still and rub your head and feet against your hand, the small ablution performed in this way is canceled (according to the mandatory measure). But if during a small ablution the head or legs move slightly, then there is nothing wrong with that.
Rule 275 – The place of wiping should be dry, not wet. If there is very little moisture on it, and the performed wiping moistens it even more, then the performed small ablution will be valid.
Rule 276 – If the moisture left on the palms after washing the face and hands dries up, it is permissible to collect the moisture from the face and hands in order to wipe the head and feet. In this case, it is forbidden to take water for wiping from the outside. If the amount of moisture on the palm is enough only to wipe the head, then it is necessary to wipe the head with this moisture, and to wipe the feet, collect moisture from the face or hands.
Rule 277 – The rubbing should be done on the skin of the foot. If you wipe on a sock or shoe, then a small ablution will be wrong. But if a person is unable to remove his shoe or sock due to prudent concealment of beliefs (such), or fear of severe cold, or fear of thieves and predatory animals, then in this case he is allowed to perform wiping on the sock or shoe. And if the surface of the shoes is defiled, then it is necessary to throw any clean object on it, and only after that perform wiping on this object.
Rule 278 – If there is some impurity on the upper part of the foot and it is not possible to wash it with water, then, according to the obligatory measure, it is necessary to throw a clean object (for example, a cloth) on it and perform wiping on this object. And after that, it will be necessary to additionally perform “tayammum”.