Wudu In Schools: Are You Doing Enough For Muslim Pupils?
Wudu in the Washroom: is Your School Inclusive Enough?
Globalisation, conflict, economic migration and a whole host of other factors mean that Britain is opening its doors to families from all over the world - and as a result, our schools are becoming more and more multicultural by the day. Our classrooms are now host to children from many different walks of life, each with their own sensitivities and requirements - and in the interest of social harmony, it’s important to ensure that these newcomers feel welcomed and respected.
While Islam has been a part of British culture for some years now, the proportion of Muslims living in the UK is rising, and this is reflected in our school populations. Consequently, integration has become an extremely important issue, and making Muslims feel at home, both in schools and in wider society, is a crucial part of tackling extremism.
There are lots of simple changes we can make to help our Muslim pupils feel included and valued - for example, setting aside a special room for daily prayers, and taking into account religious holidays such as Eid. However, the Islamic purification ritual of wudu requires a little more effort on our part.
In this article, we’ll explain wudu and its function within Islam, and show you how you can help your Muslim pupils carry it out safely and effectively in a school environment.
What is Wudu?
The purification ritual of wudu is an important component of Islamic jurisprudence, or fiqh. It is undertaken to cleanse the body in preparation for prayers (known as salat) and before touching the Qur’an.
While the procedure for carrying out wudu differs across the Islamic world, it generally consists of washing the hands, face, forearms, mouth, nose, ears and feet in a specified ritualistic manner.
Once it has been performed, the state of purity brought about by wudu can be invalidated by committing certain acts, such as going to the toilet, bleeding, and sleeping.
Wudu in schools
Performing wudu before prayers is a requirement of the Islamic faith. The salat prayers are carried out five times a day by all Muslims, which makes wudu a central component of day-to-day Islamic life - and that doesn’t stop at the school gates.
Yet despite this, as important as wudu is to Muslims, the facilities for carrying it out are decidedly lacking in many British schools and colleges - even those with a large Muslim population. While it is certainly possible for Muslims to use ordinary washroom facilities to carry out wudu, it’s far from ideal; try washing your feet in an ordinary handwash basin, and the problem will quickly become apparent.
Carrying out wudu in this manner is not only inconvenient and potentially embarrassing for Muslim students, but could also be disruptive for non-Muslim students who need to use the sinks to wash their hands.
Performing wudu at an ordinary basin can also present some serious safety risks. It stands to reason (no pun intended) that perching on one leg on a tile floor can put students at risk of slipping and injuring themselves. The process can also cause water to spill out of the basin onto the floor, resulting in hazardous conditions for both the user and anyone else who uses the washroom.
What you can do
By far the simplest way of providing wudu facilities in your educational establishment is to install a set of purpose-made wudu wash troughs. Built from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, these wash troughs consist of a drainage channel covered by a hinged foot-resting grid, along with a push-button tap to facilitate easy foot washing.
Our wudu wash troughs are available in one-person, two-person and three-person configurations, and can also be purpose built for as many users as required. We also supply matching stainless steel stools to go with them.
Depending on the size of your school and the proportion of Muslim students, you may wish to install such facilities within existing washrooms or changing rooms, or even provide a dedicated wudu room for the use of Muslim pupils.