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Wudhu » Laws of wuḍūʾ → ← Wudhu » Recommended supplication (duʿāʾ) while performing wuḍūʾ(1)

Wudhu » Conditions for the validity of wuḍūʾ

There are a number of conditions for wuḍūʾ to be valid.

The first condition: the water used for wuḍūʾ must be pure, and according to one opinion [of the jurists], it must not be tainted with anything that human beings find disgusting – such as the urine of an animal whose meat is lawful to eat, a carcass that is pure, or pus from an injury – even if it is pure in Islamic law. This opinion is consistent with exercising precaution.

The second condition: the water must not be mixed.

Ruling 264. Wuḍūʾ performed with impure or mixed water is invalid, even if one did not know at the time that it was impure or mixed, or he had forgotten about it; and if one has performed prayers with that wuḍūʾ, he must perform them again with a valid wuḍūʾ.

Ruling 265. If apart from mixed muddy water one does not have any other water with which to perform wuḍūʾ, in the event that the time remaining for prayers is short, he must perform tayammum. If one has sufficient time, he must wait for the water to become clear, or he must make it clear by some means and perform wuḍūʾ with it. Muddy water is considered to be mixed water only when it can no longer be called ‘water’.

The third condition: the water must be permissible (mubāḥ) to use [i.e. it must not be usurped].

Ruling 266. Performing wuḍūʾ with usurped (ghaṣbī) water, or with water about which it is not known whether or not its owner consents to its use, is unlawful and invalid. Furthermore, if wuḍūʾ water drips from one’s face or arms onto a usurped place, or, if the place in which one performs wuḍūʾ is usurped, in the event that he cannot perform wuḍūʾ in any other place, his responsibility (taklīf) is to perform tayammum; and if he can perform wuḍūʾ in another place, it is necessary for him to perform wuḍūʾ in that other place. However, in the event that he performs wuḍūʾ in the usurped place, thus committing a sin, his wuḍūʾ is still valid.43

Ruling 267. There is no problem in performing wuḍūʾ with water from the pool of a school when one does not know whether the pool is a charitable endowment (waqf) to the general public or only to the students of the school, as long as people usually perform wuḍūʾ with water from that pool and no one prohibits them from doing so.

Ruling 268. If someone does not want to perform prayers in a mosque and does not know whether the mosque’s pool is a charitable endowment to the general public or only to those who perform prayers in the mosque, he cannot perform wuḍūʾ with water from the pool of the mosque. However, if people who also do not usually pray in that mosque perform wuḍūʾ with water from that pool and no one prohibits them from doing so, one can perform wuḍūʾ with it.

Ruling 269. Performing wuḍūʾ with water from pools in shopping arcades, hotels, and similar places by people who do not reside there is valid only in the event that usually people who do not reside there also perform wuḍūʾ with water from those pools and no one prohibits them from doing so.

Ruling 270. There is no problem in performing wuḍūʾ with water from streams that rational people would consider permissible to use without the consent of the owner – irrespective of whether the owner is an adult or a child – even if one does not know that the owner consents to it. In fact, it is permitted to use a stream’s water even if the owner forbids performing wuḍūʾ with it, or if one knows that the owner does not consent, or if the owner is a minor (ṣaghīr) or insane.

Ruling 271. If a person forgets that some water is usurped and performs wuḍūʾ with it, his wuḍūʾ is valid. However, if someone usurps some water himself and then having forgotten that it is usurped performs wuḍūʾ with it, then to consider his wuḍūʾ as being valid is problematic [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, it must not be considered to be valid].

Ruling 272. If a person owns the wuḍūʾ water but the water is in a usurped utensil and no other water is available, then in case he can empty the water in a lawful manner into another utensil, it is necessary for him to do so and then perform wuḍūʾ; and in the event that this is not possible, he must perform tayammum. If he has some other water, it is necessary for him to perform wuḍūʾ with that other water. In both cases, if he acts contrary to the above and performs wuḍūʾ with water from a usurped utensil, his wuḍūʾ is valid.

Ruling 273. If a brick or a stone of a pool, for example, is usurped, in the event that drawing water from the pool is not commonly regarded as using the brick or stone, there is no problem. However, in the event that it is regarded as using the brick or stone, then drawing water from the pool is unlawful but the wuḍūʾ is valid.

Ruling 274. If a pool or a stream is built in the courtyard of the shrine (ḥaram) of one of the Imams (ʿA) or one of the children of the Imams (ʿA), and that courtyard had previously been a graveyard, in the event that one does not know that the ground of the courtyard is a charitable endowment for the graveyard, there is no problem in performing wuḍūʾ with the water of that pool or stream.

The fourth condition: the parts of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed must be pure at the time of washing and wiping, even if one purifies them during wuḍūʾ before he washes or wipes.(1) And if the washing during wuḍūʾ is performed with kurr water or suchlike, then purifying an impure part before washing is not necessary [as it will become pure during the wuḍūʾ].

Ruling 275. If a place that has been washed or wiped becomes impure before the wuḍūʾ has been completely performed, the wuḍūʾ is valid.

Ruling 276. If a part of the body on which wuḍūʾ is not performed is impure, the wuḍūʾ is valid. However, if one has not purified the urinary outlet or the anus, the recommended precaution is that one should first purify it and then perform wuḍūʾ.

Ruling 277. If one of the parts of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed is impure, and after performing wuḍūʾ one doubts whether or not he washed it with water before performing wuḍūʾ, the wuḍūʾ is valid. However, he must still wash the part that was impure with water.

Ruling 278. If there is a cut or a wound on one’s face or arms, and blood from it does not stop, and water is not harmful to it, he must – having first washed that area in the correct order of wuḍūʾ – immerse the cut or wound in kurr or flowing water and then put pressure on it so that the blood stops; then, under the water, he must draw his finger along the cut or wound from top to bottom so that water flows over it and then wash the lower parts; if he does this, his wuḍūʾ is valid.

The fifth condition: there must be sufficient time for performing wuḍūʾ and prayers.

Ruling 279. If there is so little time [before the end of the prescribed time for prayers] that by performing wuḍūʾ the entire prayer or part of it would have to be performed after its time, then one must perform tayammum. However, if the time required for performing tayammum and wuḍūʾ is the same, then one must perform wuḍūʾ.

Ruling 280. If due to the shortage of time for prayers one’s duty is to perform tayammum but instead he performs wuḍūʾ with the intention of attaining proximity to Allah (qaṣd al-qurbah), or [he performs wuḍūʾ] for a recommended act, like reciting the Qur’an, then the wuḍūʾ he performed is valid [despite the fact that his duty was to perform tayammum]. Similarly, the wuḍūʾ would still be valid if he performed it with the intention of performing that prayer, unless he did so without the intention of attaining proximity to Allah.

The sixth condition: one must perform wuḍūʾ with the intention of attaining proximity to Allah, and it is sufficient to perform it with the intention of following the command of Allah. If one performs wuḍūʾ in order to cool down or with some other intention, it is invalid.

Ruling 281. It is not necessary for one to actually utter the intention (niyyah) of performing wuḍūʾ or to feel it in his heart; rather, it is sufficient if he performs all the acts of wuḍūʾ in compliance with the command of Allah.

The seventh condition: wuḍūʾ must be performed in the sequence (tartīb) mentioned earlier, i.e. first the face must be washed, then the right arm, and then the left arm; following that, the head must be wiped and then the feet. And the recommended precaution is that one should not wipe both feet together; rather, one should wipe the left foot after the right foot.

The eighth condition: the acts of wuḍūʾ must be performed in close succession (muwālāh).

Ruling 282. If there is a gap in between the acts of wuḍūʾ to the extent that the acts of wuḍūʾ cannot be commonly regarded as being performed in close succession, the wuḍūʾ is invalid. However, this does not apply if a legitimate excuse (ʿudhr) arises; for example, one forgets that he is performing wuḍūʾ, or the water runs out. In fact, if when one wants to wash or wipe a place, the moisture on all the places that he has already washed or wiped has dried up, the wuḍūʾ is invalid. And if only the moisture on the place that comes before the area he wants to wash or wipe has dried up – for example, when he wants to wash his left arm, the moisture on his right arm has dried up but his face is still wet – then his wuḍūʾ is valid.

Ruling 283. If a person performs the acts of wuḍūʾ in close succession but the moisture on the previous places has dried up by means of hot weather or on account of excess body heat and suchlike, his wuḍūʾ is valid.

Ruling 284. There is no problem in walking while performing wuḍūʾ; therefore, if after washing the face and arms one walks a few steps and then wipes his head and feet, his wuḍūʾ is valid.

The ninth condition: washing the face and arms and wiping the head and feet must be performed by the person himself; if someone else performs wuḍūʾ on him or helps him in getting the water to his face and arms, or in wiping his head and feet, his wuḍūʾ is invalid.

Ruling 285. If a person cannot perform wuḍūʾ by himself, he must get assistance from someone else even if this results in the two of them washing and wiping jointly. In the event that the helper wants payment, the mukallaf must pay him, provided that he is able to do so and it does not harm him financially. However, in such a case, the mukallaf must himself make the intention of performing wuḍūʾ and wipe with his own hands. If the mukallaf cannot perform wuḍūʾ jointly with the helper, he must ask the helper to perform wuḍūʾ on him, in which case the obligatory precaution is that both of them must make the intention of performing wuḍūʾ. If it is possible, the helper must take the hand of the mukallaf and draw it over the place of wiping; but if that is not possible, the helper must take some moisture from the mukallaf’s hands and with that moisture wipe the mukallaf’s head and feet.

Ruling 286. One must not get assistance from someone else in performing those acts of wuḍūʾ that he can perform by himself.

The tenth condition: using the water must not be harmful for the person.

Ruling 287. If someone fears that by performing wuḍūʾ he will fall ill, or that if he uses water for performing wuḍūʾ he will remain thirsty, he does not have any obligation to perform wuḍūʾ. And if one does not know that water is harmful for him and he performs wuḍūʾ and the water really was harmful for him, his wuḍūʾ is void.

Ruling 288. If a person would not be harmed by washing his face and arms with the minimum amount of water with which performing wuḍūʾ is valid but he would be harmed by using an amount more than that, he must perform wuḍūʾ with the minimum amount.

The eleventh condition: there must not be an obstruction for water to reach the parts of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed.

Ruling 289. If a person knows that something is stuck to a part of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed but he doubts as to whether or not it would prevent water from reaching that part, he must remove it or make the water go underneath it.

Ruling 290. There is no problem if there is dirt under one’s nails. However, if the nails are clipped, in the event that the dirt is an obstruction for water to reach the skin, one must remove the dirt for the purposes of wuḍūʾ. Furthermore, if one’s nails are unusually long, then dirt collected under the length that is longer than normal must be removed.

Ruling 291. If there is swelling on one’s face, arms, front of head, or feet as a result of being burnt or due to some other reason, it is sufficient to wash and wipe over it; and in the event that the swelling is pierced, it is not necessary to make water go underneath the skin. If part of the skin has peeled, it is not necessary to make water go underneath the unpeeled part; however, in the event that the peeled skin is such that it sometimes sticks to the body and at other times it hangs loose, one must cut it off or make water go underneath it.

Ruling 292. If a person doubts whether or not something is stuck to a part of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed, in the event that his deeming this probable would be considered by people to be reasonable – for example, after working with clay, one doubts whether or not clay is stuck to his hands – he must examine that part or rub his hands to the extent that he becomes confident that if there was something stuck on them, it has been removed or water has gone underneath it.

Ruling 293. If a place on the body that must be washed or wiped is dirty but the dirt is not an obstruction to water reaching the body, there is no problem. Similarly, there is no problem if after plastering and suchlike, something white remains on one’s hand that does not prevent water from reaching it. However, if one doubts whether or not its presence will prevent water from reaching that part of the body, he must remove it.

Ruling 294. If before performing wuḍūʾ one knows that on some parts of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed there is an obstruction for water to reach those parts, and after wuḍūʾ he doubts whether at the time of performing wuḍūʾ he made water reach those parts or not, his wuḍūʾ is valid.

Ruling 295. If on some parts of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed there is an obstruction which water sometimes manages to go under by itself and at other times it does not, and if one doubts after performing wuḍūʾ whether water went under it or not, then, in the event that he knows that while he was performing wuḍūʾ he was not aware of water going under it, the recommended precaution is that he should perform wuḍūʾ again.

Ruling 296. If after performing wuḍūʾ someone sees on a part of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed something that is an obstruction to water reaching that part, and if he does not know whether it was present at the time of performing wuḍūʾ or it appeared afterwards, his wuḍūʾ is valid. However, if he knows that at the time of performing wuḍūʾ he was not aware of the obstruction, the recommended precaution is that he should perform wuḍūʾ again.

Ruling 297. If a person doubts after performing wuḍūʾ whether or not there was something that was an obstruction to water reaching those parts of the body on which wuḍūʾ is performed, the wuḍūʾ is valid.

(1) For example, if one’s arm is impure, and at the time of performing wuḍūʾ he pours water onto it and purifies it, and if this is done before he wipes his arm down with his hand, then the fourth condition will have been fulfilled.
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