Should I Articulate the Intention for Wudu in My Mind or Is My Awareness Sufficient?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

Do I have to say the intention in my mind for wudu? I get confused. For example, if I see an apple on the table and decide to eat it, I just go and eat it, is that not an intention? I didn’t intend anything in my mind, rather I just decided to eat it.

Similarly, if I am aware of the fact that I am making wudu for prayer, can that awareness be termed as an intention? Or do I have to say it in my mind, or articulate it verbally? I am Shafi’i and suffer from waswasa (baseless misgivings).

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah cure you of your waswasa, and may He bless you with easy worship, and grant you His good pleasure.

Intention

In the Shafi’i school, one’s intention must be brought to mind, and one’s awareness is not sufficient.

It says in the Reliance of the Traveller that the person performing ablution intends:

  1. To lift a state of lesser ritual impurity (hadath) (since the purpose of ablution is to
    eliminate that which prevents prayer and the like);
  2. To purify for the prayer;
  3. Or to purify for something not permissible without purification, such as touching a
    Koran, or something else. (The simple intention to perform the obligation of ablution suffices in place of all the
    above.)

Please see these links for more details about intention for ablution and waswasa:
How to Deal with Doubts About the Intention in Wudu? (Shafi’i)
Intention for ablution
How Can I Deal with Doubts I Experience during Ablution?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.