In Arabic, we have the term wudhu' which means ablution. In Persian basically we call this as aab dast while in Malay simply as ayer semahiyang. Before we perform our salat services, we have to be in good shape and pure condition. So, it is necessary for us to wash or expose the parts of our body which are generally exposed to dirt, smokes, smog or dust to the flowing water or water saved in the bottles.
There are about five steps while we perform the ablution...
First of all we would say the prayer which means, "In the Name of the God the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate". Some scholars such as Imam al-Shafi'ie consider this as very important. Because this is good so I am following this suggestion.
And then say the intention maybe just mentally. No need to be so specific like reciting it in Arabic as it is outside of the salat services acts. We only recite everything in Arabic while performing salat services be they obligatory or optional. The intention proposed is like, "I am performing the ablution as a sacrifice to be closer to the God the Highest". The intention defines the purpose of our act and why we are doing so.
2. Wash Hands
Wash our hands maybe like making it wet so it would make us easier to wash other parts with already wet hands. This is optional.
3. Rinsing the Mouth
We may rinse it once, twice or thrice depends on the condition of our mouth. Rinsing the mouth is not mandatory as it is only optional. One may leave this without any sin or if he or she is fasting.
4. Rinsing the Nostrils
It is not mandatory but optional. Usually we are doing like this when we are waking up for morning prayer services as to clear up our respiratory system. This also has spiritual meaning but I am not talking too deep about this. Once would be enough but it is not a sin to do it more than once up to thrice. As long as it is not wasting the water. Snuff the water
5. Washing the Face
For Shafi'ie school, one may say his intention while washing his or her face. Washing the face is obligatory. Wash the whole face with whole hands, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and from ear to ear. If one has beard at his face so he must also wash his beard. Once up to thrice depends on a person.
6. Wiping Head
Wipe our whole head once with wet hands. I just hold my head down the pipe and let the water flows until my whole hair turns wet. This is mandatory but it depends whether one would do it once, twice or thrice. Usually I am just doing it once as my head will be all wet.
7. Wiping Ears
Wipe the inner sides of the ears with forefingers and their outer sides with thumbs. Make sure the fingers are wet. This is optional part of ablution. If one is leaving it, no sin for that. The ablution is still going on.
8. Wash Feet
Washing two feet up to the ankles, once each or up to thrice for each. Begin with the right foot. This stage is obligatory.
The ablution is complete at the 8th stage. The person who has performed this may get ready to start his salat service or prayer service. The ablution is valid as long as it does not meets the matters that nullify it. He may pray as many prayer services as he wishes while it is valid. It will be more better for one to renew his ablution as often as possible but avoid from wasting the water. Doing everything as according to chronological order is preferable. Those who fail to keep the order but does it completely are not sinful. Their ablution is valid as long as he keeps the obligatory ones with him.
Supplication After Ablution
Once the ablution is complete, face the quibla direction and say the prayer preferably with hands a little bit raised or just point the forefinger of one's right hand to signify the Oneness of the God. Recite...
أشهدُ أنْ لاإلهَ إلاالله وأشهدُ أنَّ محمدً عبدُه ورسولهُ أللهمَّ أجعلني مِنَ التوابين واجعلني من المتطهرين واجعلني مِنْ عبادِكَ الصالحينَ وصلَّى اللهُ على أهلهِ وسلَّم والحمدُللهِ ربِّ العالمينَ
The supplication means...
"I bear the witness that there are no gods except the God, and I bear the witness that Muhammad s.a.w is messenger of the God and His servant. Dear the God, please place me together among the people who seek Your forgiveness and make me person who is constant in cleanliness and make me a servant who strives in goodness and charity. And please be in contact with the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w and with his family members and peace. All praises due only to the God the Lord of the universe, amin!".
One may say this supplication in whatever language that they use. It is not strictly in Arabic as we are not performing the formal salat service yet. Please respect the prayer, thank you.
Nullification of Ablution
Actually many things depending on a person and what is his school of jurisprudence. The general ones according to my school of jurisprudence are:
1. Natural discharges for e.g pissing, pooping, gas, and others.
2. Flow of blood or pus or such from any part of the body.
3. Throwing out.
4. Falling asleep which means sleeping soundly.
5. Losing sanity by taking drugs or intoxicating stuffs.
6. Losing sanity or go crazy.
7. Touching private parts with the palm of hands.
After the occurrence of any of these, the ablution must be renewed for another valid prayer. After natural discharges, water should be applied as toilet paper is not sufficient for the purpose of purity and worship. Some people also have to renew ablution or even perform ghusl if having the contact with some seafood for e.g squid, shrimp and others like Hanafi school of jurisprudence. That is why I am trying to avoid taking seafood. Some who follow the Shafi'ie school of jurisprudence would have to renew his or her ablution if they touched people of different gender.
Benefit of Ablution
Some of them are...
1. Helping us to counter diseases.
2. Refreshing our physical body.
3. Tranquilizing our soul.
4. Removing our sins as according to hadiths of prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!