The performance of wudu depends on certain conditions which are known in Islamic laws as “the conditions for the validity of wudu”. These conditions are ten in number: three are related to the water, three to the person; and four to the act of wudu itself.
i. The Water
1. The water must be mutlaq. “Mutlaq” means pure or unmixed; in the present context, it refers to the liquid which is normally considered by people as water. (It does not have to be pure chemically.) The opposite of mutlaq is “muzaf’ which refers to the water which is not considered pure by the people, e. g., orange juice.
2. The water must be tahir (ritually clean, not najis).
3. The water must be mubah (lawful), that is, you must be its owner or you must have the permission to use it.
The wudu performed with mixed, najis or non-mubah water is invalid even if it was done unknowingly. Likewise it is difficult to approve the validity of the wudu performed with the water which was in an utensil made of gold or silver.
ii. The Person
4. Niyyat : Niyyat means intention As wudu is an act of ritual worship (`ibadat), it is necessary to perform it with niyyat. Niyyat, in this context, means that one must have the intention to do the wudu in obedience to the command of Allah. Sincerity is an essential condition for niyyat; one should do wudu only for seeking the pleasure of Allah and in obedience to His command. If someone performs wudu for any other purpose, e.g., making himself cool in summer, then his wudu is invalid.
In niyyat, it is not necessary to utter the words; the mere intention of doing the wudu in obedience to the command of Allah is enough; nor is it necessary to mention that the wudu is wajib or mustahab.
5. The organs of wudu must be ritually clean (tahir) before washing or wiping them.
Besides the ritual cleanliness (raharat) of the organs of wudu, they must also be exposed. In other words, there should be nothing on them which might prevent the water from reaching the skin. Special care should be taken by women in case the lipstick, nail-polish, kohl, and eye shadow are such that the water does not reach the skin. If the dirt under the long nails is not more than normal, then it will not harm the wudu.
6. Use of the water should not be harmful to the person who wants to do wudu. If the person fears that he will become ill or his illness will be prolonged by the use of cold water or warm water in wudu, then he should do tayammum.
iii. The Acts of Wudu:
7. The place where wudu is being performed must be mubdh (lawful).
8. In normal situation, it is wajib for one to perform wudu by himself, without the help of others. However, help in the preliminaries such as fetching the water, pouring out the water, is allowed.
In case of disability because of illness, etc., someone else may help; but in such a case, it is necessary for both, the helper and the helped, to do the niyyat.
9. Correct Order (tartib): Every act in performing the wudu must be done in the prescribed order: first the washing of the face, then of the right fore-arm, and then of the left fore-arm, followed by the wiping of the head, then of the right foot, and lastly of the left foot.
10. Continuity (muwalat): The acts of wudu must follow each other so that, in normal weather, when each part is commenced the previous parts are still wet.