Assalamualaikum. I would like to ask, which one is prioritised, whether I preserve my wudu’ until the next prayer, for example, the wudu’ taken for Zuhr prayer is preserved until Asr or I renew my wudu’ for the next prayer?
Hope for an explanation. Thank you.
In conclusion, preserving the wudu’ and constantly be in wudu’ is a commendable act because it helps us be prepared and eases us to perform any acts of worship whether fard or sunnah. If we preserve our wudu’ until the next obligatory prayer, it is enough for us to use the same wudu’ for the next prayer. However, it is sunnah to renew our wudu’ even if we are already in wudu’ because it is sunnah and habit of the Prophet PBUH.
Therefore, renewing the wudu’ for obligatory prayer is more prioritised and better because the action is among the virtues of people who frequently take ablution mentioned in the hadith. Besides, the legal maxim states that whoever is better in acts of worship deserves more virtues and rewards.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The act of renewing the wudu’ for each prayer is a sunnah encouraged by the Prophet PBUH. In a hadith narrated by Saidina Anas bin Malik RA, he said:
كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَتَوَضَّأُ عِنْدَ كُلِّ صَلاَةٍ. قُلْتُ كَيْفَ كُنْتُمْ تَصْنَعُونَ قَالَ يُجْزِئُ أَحَدَنَا الْوُضُوءُ مَا لَمْ يُحْدِثْ
"The Prophet (ﷺ) used to perform ablution for every prayer." I asked Anas, "What did you use to do?' Anas replied, "We used to pray with the same ablution until we break it with Hadath."
Sahih al-Bukhari (214) and al-Baihaqi (761)
The scholars of madhhab al-Shafi’e have differing opinions on the conditions where it is sunnah for a person to renew wudu’. Pertaining to this, Imam al-Nawawi said:
قَالَ أَصْحَابُنَا وَيُسْتَحَبُّ تَجْدِيدُ الْوُضُوءِ وَهُوَ أَنْ يَكُونَ عَلَى طَهَارَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتَطَهَّرَ ثَانِيًا مِنْ غَيْرِ حَدَثٍ وَفِي شَرْطِ اسْتِحْبَابِ التَّجْدِيدِ أَوْجُهٌ أَحَدُهَا أَنَّهُ يُسْتَحَبُّ لِمَنْ صَلَّى بِهِ صَلَاةً سَوَاءٌ كَانَتْ فَرِيضَةً أَوْ نَافِلَةً وَالثَّانِي لَا يُسْتَحَبُّ إِلَّا لِمَنْ صَلَّى فَرِيضَةً وَالثَّالِثُ يُسْتَحَبُّ لِمَنْ فَعَلَ بِهِ مَا لَا يَجُوزُ إِلَّا بِطَهَارَةٍ كَمَسِّ الْمُصْحَفِ وَسُجُودِ التِّلَاوَةِ وَالرَّابِعُ يُسْتَحَبُّ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَفْعَلْ بِهِ شَيْئًا أَصْلًا بِشَرْطِ أَنْ يَتَخَلَّلَ بَيْنَ التَّجْدِيدِ وَالْوُضُوءِ زَمَنٌ يَقَعُ بِمِثْلِهِ تَفْرِيقٌ
The scholars of our madhhab (al-Shafi’e) are of the opinion that it is sunnah to renew (tajdid) wudu’ for a person who is already in a pure state (pure from hadas) then he renews his wudu’ for the second time, not due to hadas. There are several opinions on conditions to renew wudu’: First, it is sunnah (to tajdid wudu’) for those who already prayed one prayer whether obligatory or sunnah. Second, it is not sunnah except for those who perform obligatory prayer. Third, it is sunnah for those who intend to perform an act that is invalid unless by purification like touching mushaf al-Quran and sujud tilawah. Fourth, it is sunnah even without doing anything (ibadah which requires wudu’) with the condition it should be separated between the time of taking wudu’ and renewal of the wudu’ by the same period of time with the actions as a separator.  (Refer al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 3:177)
While in the book al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, he stated the sahih opinion in madhhab al-Shafi’e saying:
اتَّفَقَ أَصْحَابُنَا عَلَى اسْتِحْبَابِ تَجْدِيدِ الْوُضُوءِ وَهُوَ أَنْ يَكُونَ عَلَى وُضُوءٍ ثُمَّ يَتَوَضَّأُ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يُحْدِثَ وَمَتَى يُسْتَحَبُّ: فِيهِ خَمْسَةُ أَوْجُهٍ أَصَحُّهَا إنْ صَلَّى بالوضوء الاول فرضا أو نفلا استحب والا فلا وَبِهِ قَطَعَ الْبَغَوِيّ
The scholars of our madhhab (al-Shafi’e) decided that it is sunnah to renew wudu’ where a person is already in wudu’ then he renews his wudu’ once again not due to hadas. When is it sunnah? There are five opinions. The most sahih opinion is if he prays with the first wudu’ whether fard or sunnah prayer, hence it is sunnah (to renew wudu’). If not (not fard or sunnah prayer), then it is not sunnah.  (Refer al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 1:469)
Based on the above nas, renewing wudu’ is not something wajib, but only sunnah. So, it is enough to remain with the same wudu’ for the next prayer and so on as long as the wudu’ is not invalidated. We are commanded to preserve wudu’ so that we will be prepared and easier for us to perform acts of worship whether obligatory or sunnah.
However, if we are still in wudu’ until the next prayer, it is sunnah for us to renew wudu’ for that prayer, but, renewal of wudu’ is sunnah for matters that are not burdening like taking wudu’ for each obligatory prayer and sunnah prayer which time are close to one another.
Indeed, the action of frequently renewing wudu’ is a sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. He PBUH takes wudu’ for each obligatory prayer even if he is already in wudu’ and pure from hadas before. The Prophet PBUH also mentioned times on the virtues of people who are always in wudu’, among them is the saying of the Prophet PBUH:
إِذَا تَوَضَّأَ الْعَبْدُ الْمُسْلِمُ أَوْ الْمُؤْمِنُ فَغَسَلَ وَجْهَهُ خَرَجَ مِنْ وَجْهِهِ كُلُّ خَطِيئَةٍ نَظَرَ إِلَيْهَا بِعَيْنَيْهِ مَعَ الْمَاءِ أَوْ مَعَ آخِرِ قَطْرِ الْمَاءِ فَإِذَا غَسَلَ يَدَيْهِ خَرَجَ مِنْ يَدَيْهِ كُلُّ خَطِيئَةٍ كَانَ بَطَشَتْهَا يَدَاهُ مَعَ الْمَاءِ أَوْ مَعَ آخِرِ قَطْرِ الْمَاءِ فَإِذَا غَسَلَ رِجْلَيْهِ خَرَجَتْ كُلُّ خَطِيئَةٍ مَشَتْهَا رِجْلَاهُ مَعَ الْمَاءِ أَوْ مَعَ آخِرِ قَطْرِ الْمَاءِ حَتَّى يَخْرُجَ نَقِيًّا مِنْ الذُّنُوبِ
"A Muslim slave (or a trusting slave) does wudu and as he washes his face every wrong action he has seen with his eyes leaves with the water (or the last drop of water). As he washes his hands every wrong action he has done with his hands leaves with the water (or the last drop of water). And as he washes his feet every wrong action his feet have walked to leaves with the water (or the last drop of water) so that he comes away purified of wrong actions."
Sahih Muslim (360)
Based on the above discussion and argumentations, to conclude, renewing wudu’ is prioritised and better because a person will repeat the actions of wudu’ more. This is because those who did more in ibadah, better virtues and rewards await him based on the legal maxim which states:
مَا كَانَ أَكْثَرَ فِعْلًا أَكْثَرَ فَضْلًا
“Actions done more deserve more virtues”
 Al-Nawawi, Yahya Ibn Syaraf, al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, Dar al-Ihya’ al-Turath, Beirut, chapter. 3, page. 177.
 Al-Nawawi, Yahya Ibn Syarah, al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, Dar al-Fikr, chapter. 1, page. 469