Is it obligatory to rinse the mouth during wudu?
Rinsing the mouth and nose is not an obligatory part of wudu according to the Shafi school, but is obligatory in the Hanafi school.
Allah Almighty has defined four obligations of wudu in Surah Maidah: the face, arms, head and feet. We wash every single bit of our skin.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْمَرَافِقِ وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًۭا فَٱطَّهَّرُوا۟ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَآءَ أَحَدٌۭ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لَـٰمَسْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا۟ مَآءًۭ فَتَيَمَّمُوا۟ صَعِيدًۭا طَيِّبًۭا فَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍۢ وَلَـٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُۥ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ٦
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women2 and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favour upon you that you may be grateful. [5:6]
- Wash the face – the whole face, from your hairline down to your chin and from one ear to the other. (This does not include the nose and mouth in the Shafi school, but is obligatory in the Hanafi school)
- Wash hands and then arms including the elbows. Between fingers etc.
- Then wipe the head. There is some discussion on how much of the head has to be wiped – the minimum is part of head/hair.
- Washing feet up to and including the ankles, between toes.
The rest of the wudu is sunnah. E.g washing three times is sunnah, (except the head which is wiped only once). The ears are sunnah, and the back of neck is weak.
Therefore if you have limited water and you want to do wudu do only the faraid (the obligations). Otherwise do all the sunnah as you are rewarded for it.
If you have a medical reason which makes it hard for you to rinse your mouth or nose, for instance dental treatment, then you can omit rinsing your mouth/nose.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim
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