The obligatory acts of wudhu’ are
1. Washing the face, which includes maqmadah (rinsing the mouth with water) and istinshaaq (Sniffing water up into the nose and then expelling it)
2. Washing the hands up to elbow
3. Wiping over the whole head – ears are part of the head
4. Washing the feet up to the ankles
5. Doing the actions in order
5. Doing it continuously.
Al Maidah 5: 6
O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salât (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles
As for the rinsing mouth with water and sniffing up water into the nose – there is khilaf on it. However Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam did so for every wudhu’.
Wiping the head
Narrated Abdullah bin Zaid bin Aasim regarding the description of ablution: Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alaihi wasalam wiped his head from the forehead back (up to but not including the neck) and then back to forehead with his two wet hands.
If however, one has turban over the head, one can wipe the forelock and over the turban Insya Allah.
The report narrated by Muslim (247) from al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wiped his forelock and his turban. They said: He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) only wiped the forelock, which is at the front of the head.
Washing the ears
Washing the ears has different opinion. Some say it is obligatory. But majority of scholars say it is mustahab.
The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The ears are part of the head.” There is some difference of opinion as to whether this hadeeth is saheeh; it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.
Running the fingers through the beard
Narrated by Anas ibn malik: When Allah’s Messenger sallalalhu alaihi wasalam used to make ablution, he would take a handful of water and put it under his jaw and pass it through his beard. And he said, “Thus I was commanded by My Lord, the All Mighty All Powerful.”
Cleaning between Fingers and Toes
Clean in between your fingers and toes as the hadith
Perform ablution and clean between fingers and toes and sniff the water high during istinshaaq, unless you are fasting.
Performing it in Order
The act should not be mixed up. Even let’s say you miss a spot on the obligatory part of wudhu’ you have to repeat the wudhu’ all over again.
Narrated Anas : The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam saw a man whose foot appeared a portion like the size of a fingernail which was not touched by water. he then said, “Go back and perform your wudhu’ properly.”
Doing it Continuously
Wudhu’ must be taken continuously without long pause. A few second pause, to change from sink to a lower tap is permissible Insya Allah.
These obligatory part of wudhu’ needs to be washed or wiped once only. However it is mustahab to do three. Twice is also good. As we want to not be deprived of reward, we will do as how Prophet sallahu alaihi salam did as much as we can, Insya Allah.
1. Explanation of Important Lessons – Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz – Darussalam
2. Fiqh course – Volume 1, Tahara, salaah and Janaaiz – IIPH
3. bulugh Maram