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Definition of a Washing

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Sidi Moustafa Elqabbany

What is considered one washing? Is it something like taking water once and the rubbing motion even if something is left untouched or is it that everything is wet even if it takes more then one handful of water and rubbing to complete? If some one had to use more than one handful and more than one rubbing sequence to get the limb completely wet should additional washings be added to make up to the sunna number?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


This answer only attempts to define the meaning of washing in context of wudu, as opposed to its meaning in the context of removing filth.


A complete washing occurs when the entire limb (or body part) is covered in water, even if not all at once, and even if it takes many attempts. For example, if Zayd needs to scoop water to his face three times before all of it is washed, then he has just completed a single washing. In order to fulfill the sunna of washing his face three times, he needs to be confident that he covered his entire face in water two more times, even if it requires him to lift water to his face more than two times.

Rubbing the limbs isn’t necessary for a valid wudu in our school; however, it is recommended.

Allah the Exalted knows best.

Moustafa Mounir Elqabbany

Metro Vancouver, Canada

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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