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Is Niyyah Necessary for Wudu? The Explanation You're Looking For

Is Niyyah Necessary for Wudu?

There is much discussion about Niyyah for wudu in Islamic legal literacy. In fact, it is a basic thing that must be learned by Muslims. If we visit several Islamic institutions, we will find the fact that Niyyah wudu (or wudu in a more general context) is the basic material that must be understood by students before they learn other things. The question is: is Niyyah necessary for wudu? Is that right?

Whatever your reason for opening this article, I am sure that you are looking for an explanation of the question that is the main topic of this discussion (is Niyyah necessary for wudu?). I promise, I won't let you down today. Why? Because that's what I'm going to explain now. So, you must read this article to the end!

Niyyah for Wudu: Key Points You Should Understand

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Hi! Do you know the main points about Niyyah for wudu that you should understand? If anyone doesn't understand it all, don't worry! That is what I will explain at the beginning of this discussion.

I don't want to beat around the bush. In general, some of the main points about Niyyah for wudu are as follows:

  • The literal meaning of Niyyah is deliberate (القَصْدُ), will (الإِرَادَةُ), determination (العَزْمُ), direction (الجِهَةُ), and displacement (التَّحَوُّلُ).
  • The meaning of Niyyah in is determination to do something (اِنْعِقَادُ الْقَلْبِ عَلَى عَمَلِ الشَّيْءِ).
  • Niyyah's meaning for wudu is the determination to wash and purify several parts of the body to remove minor hadas as an obligation and worship to Allah.
  • Niyyah for wudu is recited when Muslims do the first thing that must be done in wudu (washing the face).

Those are the four main points of Niyyah for wudu that you should understand at the beginning of this discussion.

Is Niyyah Necessary for Wudu?

Now I will explain the main topic in this discussion: is Niyyah necessary for wudu? I want you to understand it well so that there are no more questions about it in your mind—but if you still have questions (other questions related to that), please write them in the comment column. So you must read the explanation below carefully.

Before I explain the answer to that question, I will quote one hadith that is specifically related to this discussion. One hadith that I mean is as follows:

عَنْ عُمَرَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهم عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّةِ وَلِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لدُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوِ امْرَأَةٍ يَتَزَوَّجُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ

From Umar radliyallahu anhu, that the Messenger of Allah (Prophet Muhammad) sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Action depends on his intention (Niyyah), and a person only gets something according to his intention. Whoever emigrated to Allah and His Messenger, then his emigration was to Allah and His Messenger, and whoever emigrated for the sake of the world or because of the woman he wanted to marry, then his emigration was according to where he migrated."

Hi! Are you still with me? The above hadith explains the urgency of Niyyah in all things one does. If his Niyyah is good, then something he does will be good. Likewise, vice versa.

For example, if we eat with Niyyah so that we can worship Allah, because if we are hungry, we don't have the strength to worship Allah, then what we eat will have value as worship. Of course, we will get rewarded. But if we eat with Niyyah so that our stomach is full, then we will only get full. In the latter context, what we eat is only worth eating.

Now, if you are still wondering, “Is Niyyah necessary for wudu?”, the answer is, “Of course. Niyyah is necessary for wudu; in fact, it is very necessary for wudu.”

What Happens If You Perform Wudu Without Niyyah?

Now I will explain the last thing related to the main topic in this discussion: what happens if you perform wudu without Niyyah? I want you to understand that at the end of this discussion so that you have a good understanding of the main topic.

In general, three important things will happen if you perform wudu without Niyyah:

  • If you perform wudu without Niyyah, then all the washing and stroking that you do will be normal washing and stroking.

I'm not going to write a lot of important things first thing. Everything is clear. Niyyah is something that determines the status of an action. If Niyyah is to perform wudu, then all the washing and rubbing that is done is not wudu. If the Niyyah is not for performing wudu, then all the washing and rubbing that is done is not wudu.

  • The washing and wiping that you do cannot remove small hadas and is not worship to Allah.

The purpose of wudu is to remove small hadas as an obligation to worship Allah. If you wash and wipe various parts of your body without the Niyyah for performing wudu, you will not be able to achieve that goal.

  • If you have small hadas, you cannot perform those rituals that require you to have wudu while performing them.

This is very clear. Small hadas on your body will not disappear if your washing and rubbing are not wudu (unless you are doing ghusl Janabah). If you have small hadas, then you cannot perform rituals that require you to have wudu. Pay attention to the two hadiths below!

عَنْ عَلِيٍّ بْنِ طَلْقٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : إِذَا فَسَا أَحَدُكُمْ فِي الصَّلَاةِ فَلْيَنْصَرِفْ وَلْيَتَوَضَّأْ وَلْيُعِدْ الصَّلَاةَ . رَوَاهُ الْخَمْسَةَ

From Ali bin Thalq radliyallahu anhu, he said, "The Messenger of Allah (Prophet Muhammad) has said, "If one of you has emitted a soundless wind from his anus while praying (salat), then let him go out and perform wudu, then repeat the prayer (salat)." The hadith was narrated by five people (Ahmad, Abu Daud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah).

عَنْ أَبِيْ هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ أَنَّ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : لَا يَقْبَلُ اللهُ صَلَاةَ أَحَدِكُمْ إِذَا أَحْدَثَ حَتَّى يَتَوَضَّأَ . مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيْهِ

From Abu Hurairah radiyallahu anhu, that the Messenger of Allah (Prophet Muhammad) sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Allah does not accept someone's prayer from you if he has hadas (small hadas) until he performs wudu." This hadith was narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

You have a question? Please write in the comment column!

Akhmad Syafiuddin
Akhmad Syafiuddin Muslim. Graduate of Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.

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