World Muslim News
Imam Warith Deen Muhammad
QUESTION: Would you please explain the purpose of and/or conditions one should use to prepare himself or herself for prayer? — Detroit, Mich.
IMAM: The preparation is first a conscious awareness of the obligation to pray and the intention that one makes in their heart to carry out that obligation.
That is followed by the steps of ablution or "wudu." In making wudu, we should first find water that is clean: that is pure, acceptable for wudu. That water should be tasteless and odorless, and should not have visible particles or visible matter in it. It should be tasteless, odorless and colorless.
All the time we might not be able to have water that is tasteless; we might taste water and say, "Oh. this water has a slight salt taste in it" or, "this water has a slight chemical taste in it." If the water is normal city water, purified by the city or town, that water is acceptable.
We mean odors of filth or decayed matter, or any kind of contamination or addition that we might put into the water such as soap. We don't make ablution with soapy water, we make ablution with just plain, clear water.
The area in which we make ablution also should be clean as possible because we are cleaning ourselves. We are making ablution.
We have to breathe in the air from the area, so the air should be as clean as possible. We clean out our nose; that is one of the steps in ablution—to clean out the nostrils by allowing water from the hand to come up into the lobes of the nose.
We do not suck it all the way up into the head but into the lobes of the nose. That is cleaning out the nose. But the air where we are making ablution should be as clean as possible too.
The washroom should be kept as clean as possible if we make ablution in the washroom.
We should make sure it's not neglected so that bad smells are coming from the toilet or somewhere.
Many Muslims outside of the country make ablution outdoors because the weather allows them to have a pipe with running water outside of their building or mosque all the time.
When the ablution is made inside then we have to give attention to the cleanliness of that area—keep that area clean.
I won't go on to give all the steps of ablution here because I don't think that's what the questioner is asking for. We just want to say that the preparation is to make the intention, to acknowledge the obligation, make the intention in our heart and then begin the steps of ablution at the stated time, and that is just before you make the prayer.