"O Believers! When you prepare for prayers, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads, and your feet to the ankles and [if you] do not find water then betake yourselves to clean earth and wipe your faces and your hands with it." (Qur'an: Sura 5, Verse 6)
Why do Wudhu?
Prior to performing the daily prayers, and as a recommended or obligatory prerequisite to other acts of worship, Muslims must purify themselves - this is usually done with water. The minor form of this purification with water is called Wudhu, while the major form is called Ghusl. If water is not available, the purification can be performed with clean earth or soil, and is called Tayammum.
When to Perform Wudhu?
Every Muslim must be in a state of spiritual purification before performing the daily obligatory prayers. The same state of purification must also be achieved before numerous other acts of worship, such as optional prayers, touching the script of the Qur`an and the rites of the pilgrimage (hajj) can be performed. In most cases, it is sufficient to perform Wudhu in order to achieve this purification.
How to Perform Wudhu:
Step 1 - Niyya :
Make your intention as, "I am performing Wudhu for the pleasure of Allah, and to seek closeness to Him?.
Step 2 - Washing the face :
First, remove anything on the face (and hands) that may prevent water from reaching the skin before beginning Wudhu (physical items such as a watch, ring, etc or even things such as paint or anything which would act as a barrier over the skin). Take a handful of water in the right hand and pour this water over the face from the top (just above the forehead). Then using the right hand, wipe the face from the tip of where the hair-line is to the bottom of the chin such that the water reaches all parts from the hairline to chin, and the entire horizontal plane of the face within the reach of the span of the hand from the middle finger to the thumb. To ensure that all external parts have been washed, include a bit of the inner parts of your nose, lips, and eyes in the washing.You do not, however, need to wash the complete inner portion of these parts. Washing once as described above is obligatory. A second such washing is recommended while subsequent washings are prohibited.
Step 3 - Washing the arms :
Using the left hand, pour water over the right arm from the elbow to the finger-tips and then, with the same hand, wipe the water over both sides of the arm to ensure that all parts are washed. Then do the same with the left arm by using the right hand. The washing must be done from the elbows to the fingertips and not vice versa. Pour water from a little above the elbow to ensure that the whole forearm is covered. Wash in such a way that the water penetrates the hair, if any, and reaches the skin. Again, washing once as described above is obligatory. A second such washing is recommended while subsequent washings are prohibited.
Step 4 - Wiping the head :
Next, wipe the front most quarter of the head with the moisture that remains in your right hand. Wipe from the upper part of the head downwards (from the back of the head towards the face). It is recommended to wipe the length of at least one finger. Wiping can be done with one finger only; however it is recommended to use three fingers together (the middle finger, index finger and ring finger). The moisture must reach the scalp however if the hair is so short that it cannot be combed, it is sufficient to wipe your hair. While wiping the head, your hand should not touch your forehead. Doing otherwise will cause the water of the forehead to mix with the wetness of your hand, and this will render the act of wiping your right foot invalid, since the act of wiping must be done with the wetness of the hands only. Wiping must be done with the moisture remaining on the palms after washing
Step 5- Wiping the feet :
Finally, wipe your feet with the moisture that remains in your hands. Wipe starting from the tip of any toe up till the ankle joint. Wipe your right foot with your right hand, and your left foot with your left hand. It is better to wipe at least the width of three joined fingers (the middle finger, index finger and ring finger), and better yet to wipe your entire foot with your entire hand. At the time of wiping the foot, actually pull the hand from toes to the ankle joint (as described above) along the length of the toe-tips till the ankles. Do not just place your whole hand on your foot and pull up a little. Please note that wiping of the feet performed on socks or shoes is not valid except in unusual circumstances. Wiping must be done with the moisture remaining on the palms after washing