Prior to performing our prayers, we are required to perform wudhu or ablution. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ
“O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles.”
(Surah Al-Maidah, 5:6)
Ablution or Wudhu is a ritual purification in Islam and an essential step to perform our prayers. Without it, our prayers are not accepted as mentioned in a Hadith by our Prophet s.a.w:
لاَ تُقْبَلُ صَلاَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ إِذَا أَحْدَثَ حَتَّى يَتَوَضَّأَ
The prayer of none amongst you would be accepted in a state of impurity until he performs ablution.
Performing wudhu itself is an act of worship. It has many benefits as mentioned in multiple hadiths. Such as:
مَنْ تَوَضَّأَ فَأَحْسَنَ الْوُضُوءَ خَرَجَتْ خَطَايَاهُ مِنْ جَسَدِهِ حَتَّى تَخْرُجَ مِنْ تَحْتِ أَظْفَارِهِ
He who performs the ablution well will have his sins depart from his body even from under his nails
A famous hadith that tells us the benefits of praying at least two rakaat of prayer after taking a wudhu, the Prophet s.a.w. asked Bilal r.a. during the time of Subuh prayer:
يَا بِلاَلُ حَدِّثْنِي بِأَرْجَى عَمَلٍ عَمِلْتَهُ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ، فَإِنِّي سَمِعْتُ دَفَّ نَعْلَيْكَ بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ.
قَالَ: مَا عَمِلْتُ عَمَلاً أَرْجَى عِنْدِي أَنِّي لَمْ أَتَطَهَّرْ طُهُورًا فِي سَاعَةِ لَيْلٍ أَوْ نَهَارٍ إِلاَّ صَلَّيْتُ بِذَلِكَ الطُّهُورِ مَا كُتِبَ لِي أَنْ أُصَلِّيَ.
"O Bilal, Tell me of the best deed you did after embracing Islam, for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise." Bilal replied, "I did not do anything worth mentioning except that whenever I performed my ablution during the day or night, I prayed after that ablution as much as what was written for me."
Like every other thing that we do, we should start the wudhu by having the right intention which is to perform the wudhu for Allah s.w.t. Then, we may continue the other steps by reciting Basmalah:
In the name of Allah
After performing the wudhu, we are encouraged to recite several duas:
أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ
Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaahu wahdahu laa shariika lahu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuuluhu
I testify that there is no god but Allah, the One, there is no associate with Him and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.
اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي مِنَ التَّوَّابِينَ وَاجْعَلْنِي مِنَ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
Allahummaj'alnii minat-tawwabina waj'alni minal-mutatohhirin
O Allah! Make me among those who repent, and among those who purify themselves.
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ، أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْكَ
Subhanaka-llahumma wa bihamdika, ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa Anta, astaghfiruka wa atubu ilaik
Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise be upon You. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance.
(Sunan Abi Daud)
Check out these powerful duas to read every day!