The Recommended Elements of Wudu'

There are 12 recommended elements of wudu'

1. Performing wudu' in a clean place, which is always regarded as being pure. It is therefore disliked to do it in a lavatory, even before it is used.

2. Facing the qibla.

3. Saying "Bismillah." when washing the hands (at the commencement of wudu). There is disagreement about adding "ar-Rahmani-r-Rahim."

4. Using a small amount of water for washing the limbs during wudu'. This 'small amount' is undefined as the amount needed varies from person to person. Some people have large limbs and some small.

5. Washing the right arm or foot before the left.

6. Placing open vessels such as bowls on the right hand side, and narrow-necked vessels such as jugs on the left hand side. When using a jug the left hand pours water onto the right.

7. Starting with the top of the limb. With the face this means beginning with the hairline and continuing down to the chin or tip of the beard. When washing the arms one starts with the tips of the fingers and continues up to and including the elbows. In wiping the head, this means beginning at the hairline and continuing back to the nape of the neck. When washing the feet one starts with the toes and goes back to the heel and ankles.

8. Washing the limbs a second time. This applies to both the obligatory and sunna elements, including rinsing the mouth and sniffing water up the nose, but not including wiping the head or wiping over leather socks. Wiping over these a second time is disliked.

9. The third washing of the limbs. Both the second and third washings are recommended in their own right.

10. Putting the sunna elements of wudu' in their correct order. In other words washing the hands before rinsing the mouth; rinsing the mouth before sniffing water up the nose; sniffing water up the nose before blowing it out; blowing water out of the nose before bringing back the hands when wiping the head; bringing back the hands when wiping the head before renewing the water for wiping the ears; and renewing the water for wiping the ears before wiping them.

11. Putting the sunna elements in their correct order in relation to the obligatory elements. Such as putting the washing of the hands, the rinsing of the mouth, the sniffing of water up the nose and blowing it out before the washing of the face.

12. Using the siwak before rinsing the mouth. The best siwak to use is that made of arak. If there is no siwak available it is sufficient to use the finger in its stead. According to some of the scholars it is permissible to use the finger even if a siwak is available. It is recommended to use the right hand to do siwak, beginning with the right side when cleaning the teeth and with the tip when cleaning the tongue.