What is Wudu?

Wuḍhu is the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body using water often in preparation for formal prayers (salah). The Qur’an says “For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.”

Purification of the body and clothes is called taharah. The Islamic prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that “Cleanliness is half of faith”. To have taharah for the body, one should do either ghusl or wudu.

Water requirements:

Permitted water types

  • Rain water
  • Well water
  • Spring, sea or river water
  • Water of melting snow or hail
  • Water of a big tank or pond

Prohibited water types

  • Unclean or impure water
  • Water extracted from fruit and trees
  • Water that has changed its color, taste and smell and becomes thick because something was soaked in it
  • Small quantity of water in which something unclean has fallen, eg. urine, blood, stool or wine or some animal had died after falling into it
  • Water left over after drinking by haraam animals, eg. dogs, pigs or predatory animals
  • Used water of wudu or ghusl


Theoretically, one can perform one wudu for salaat and this wudu would be considered valid for the rest of the day. However, traditionally Muslims believe that certain acts invalidate the wudu (often referred to as “breaking wudu”):

  • Defecation, passing gas or urination
  • Emission of semen (ghusl is required)
  • Sleep
  • Loss of senses
  • Fainting
  • Sexual contact with another person (ghusl is required)
  • Touching the private parts with the bare hands