بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
There are six obligation when it comes to making wudhu`. Doing these actions will suffice for the person to be in a state of purity:
1. One must wash their face and this includes washing the mouth (al-madhmadhah) and sniffing water in the nose and blowing it out (al-istinshaq). Washing from where the hair starts and the cheeks and near the ears and down the jawbone to the chin. Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)said, “Whoever performs ablution should clean his nose with water by putting the water in it and then blowing it out, and whoever cleans his private parts with stones should do it with odd number of stones.” (Sahih al-bukhari, Book of Ablutions, Hadith 162)
2. Washing of the arms starting from the finger tips to the elbow. O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salât (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows…(Surah al-ma`idah 5:6)
3. Wiping the whole of the head. The ears are included with the head. Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Zaid: Once Allah’s Apostle (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came to us and we brought out water for him in a brass pot. He performed ablution thus: He washed his face thrice, and his forearms to the elbows twice, then passed his wet hands lightly over the head from front to rear and brought them to front again and washed his feet (up to the ankles). (Sahih al-bukhari, book of ablutions, hadith 196).*
4. Washing the foot from the toes to the ankles. …passed his wet hands over his head and washed his feet up to the ankles thrice. Then he said, “Allah’s Apostle (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said ‘If anyone Performs ablution like that of mine and offers a two-rak’at prayer during which he does not think of anything else (not related to the present prayer) then his past sins will be forgiven.’ “… (Sahih al-bukhari, book of ablutions, hadith 161)
5. One must perform these actions in order.
6. There should not be a big lapse in time for doing these actions after one another unless there is a valid reason such as looking for more water to complete the whole of the wudhu`.
* Notes: There is a dispute between the scholars on whether the ears are part of the head, there is a hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in which he said that the ears are part of the head but the authenticity is questioned by some scholars while some scholars say it is sahih (authentic). If they are part of the head then it is obligatory to wipe them but if they are not part of the head then it is mustahhab (liked) to wipe them only. The hadith is recorded by at-tirmidhi, abu dawood and ibn majah in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said “the ears are part of the head”.
Although we see in some of the ahadeeth to wash the body parts twice and thrice this is not obligatory but better if one does it. The hadith actually shoes the flexibility in performing the wudhu` a certain way, what is obligatory is to wash the body part once. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) performed ablution by washing the body parts only once. (sahih al-bukhari, book of ablutions, Hadith 159). There is hadith recorded by ibn majah in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) washed each body part once and then said “This is the ablution, that were one not to perform it, Allah would not accept his prayer from him.”