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Does Washing the Hands Before the Face Suffice for the Integral in Wudu? (Shafi’i)

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

In the Shafi’i school, if the general intention for the obligation of wudu is made and the right hand is washed followed by the left (rather than washing simultaneously) and one is conscious of the initial intention when washing the face, does it mean he still has to wash the hands when washing the forearms for the wudu to be valid in terms of maintaining the order of wudhu or can he leave the washing of the hands when washing the forearms?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum, I pray you’re well insha’Allah.

Acts of wudu are separated into integrals and sunnas. The sunna act of washing the hands before the integral of washing the face does not suffice for the later integral of washing the hands and arms.

Washing the hands in wudu and the integral of order

There are two times one washes the hand in wudu: the first is before washing the face and this is sunna. In this sunna wash, one washes the hands up to the wrists. The second is after washing the face and this is an integral, and includes washing the hands up to and including the elbow.

One of the integrals of wudu is the order of washing the limbs. One must wash the limbs in order of face, then hands and arms, then wipe the head, then wash the feet. One cannot wash the hands, then wash the face. Nor can they wash some of the hand and arms, then the face, and then the rest of the arm.


While it is valid to make the intention of wudu when starting with the sunnas of washing the hands, mouth and nose, one must ensure that the intention is still present in the mind when washing the face. This method is valid, but has its drawbacks, which can be found in the book of fiqh.

The proper way is to make the intention of ‘sunnan of wudu’ when washing the hands, mouth and nose, and then make the actual intention of wudu at the point when one first washes the face, which is the first integral of wudu.

I would recommend taking our Absolute Essential Shafi’i fiqh course which covers these topics.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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