The Preconditions of Wudu'
What are the different categories into which the preconditions of wudu are divided?
The preconditions of wudu' are divided into three categories:
1. Preconditions of soundness. Wudu' is not valid until these preconditions are met.
2. The preconditions of obligation. Wudu is not obligatory until these preconditions are met.
3. The preconditions concerned with both soundness and obligation. Wudu' is neither obligatory nor valid until these preconditions are met.
What are the preconditions that are concerned with the soundness of wudu and how many are there?
There are three:
1. Islam. If wudu' is performed by an unbeliever it is not valid. This precondition is not particular to wudu', but is rather a precondition for all acts of worship: acts of purification, prayer, zakat, fasting and hajj.
2. That there is no barrier which prevents the water from reaching the skin, such as a layer of wax or thick oil on the limb. Mucous from the eye, ink on the hand of the writer and other types of actual dirt on the body are also considered to be barriers.
3. Lack of anything which negates wudu'. If wudu' is performed while something impure, such as urine, is actually emerging from the body or while someone is touching his penis or other similar situations, then that wudu' is invalid.
48. What are the preconditions that are concerned with the obligation of wudu' and how many are there?
There are four:
1. The arrival of the time of the prayer. Wudu' is not mandatory before the arrival of the time of the prayer.
2. Puberty. Wudu' is not obligatory for a child.
3. The ability to perform wudu'. Wudu' is not obligatory for someone who is unable to perform it, like someone who is ill, or someone who has no water, or is harmed by it.
4. Having done something which breaks wudu'. Wudu' is not obligatory for someone who is in a state of wudu' and has not broken it.
What are the preconditions that are concerned with both the soundness and obligation of wudu' and how many are there?
There are four:
1. Sanity. Wudu' is not obligatory on or valid for a person suffering a bout of insanity or having a fit.
2. Being free of the blood of menstruation and lochia. This condition only applies to women. Wudu' is not obligatory on or valid for a woman while she is menstruating or bleeding after childbirth.
3. That there is sufficient pure water available. Wudu' is not obligatory on or valid for someone who has an insufficient amount of water to perform it. It is not considered to be a valid wudu' if he only washes part of his limbs with the water he has.
4. Not being in a state of sleep or heedlessness. Wudu' is not obligatory on someone who is asleep or heedless nor is it valid from them due to the lack of an intention. Wudu' becomes obligatory when the person wakes up or remembers.