I've realized that during the Wudu, hands, arms, face, etc are all washed 3 times each one. Also I've noticed that during the Salat, many prayers are repeated 3 times. Also, to divorce, talaq word has to be repeated 3 times.

Is there any reason to explain why does the number 3 repeats itself in the Islam? Or is it just a coincidence?

Note: I'm not Muslim, just an agnostic trying to understand this amazing religion better.


3 Answers 3


In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Well, the reason we have to do certain things three times, is because God says so. Why does He say so? According to Sheikh Nezaam bin Yahya Ali, he says the following in regards to this question:

In Islam, accomplishing certain tasks in odd numbers is significant. Imam Tirmidhi mentions a Hadith in which Nabi (SAW) is reported to have said, “Certainly Allah is odd and loves that which is odd.” In Arabic, the first (odd) plural number is number three. If a person counts from number one, the very first number which denotes multitude is number three, which is odd. It is for this reason, that in certain aspects of Shari'ah, when a large amount is intended, then it must be done in the least odd number which denotes multitude, and that is number three.

So, no, it's not a coincidence. There's no such thing as "coincidence" in Islam. Everything happens for a reason, but we humans, don't always know that "reason".

As for you being agnostic, here's my e-mail if you want to ask me some questions personally, because you being agnostic means that you don't know whether God exists or not. I can give you proof that He indeed exists.

I hope that answers it, and God knows best.

May God reward you, peace be unto you.

  • "There's no such thing as "coincidence" in Islam." This is only true according to ones definition of the word "coincidence".
    – Kilise
    Feb 7, 2016 at 13:29

Apart from the fact that some of the number occurrences may be different in the practices of different Islamic sects, (for example, Shia jurisprudence only allows maximum of two times for washing the face and the hands during ablution), nonetheless your general premise about frequent occurrence of number three (among other specific numbers) in Islam is true.

As for the wisdom behind this pattern, I have read that odd numbers symbolize Tawheed or Monotheism. Since God is a supreme unitary being without counterpart that encompasses all multiplicity, odd numbers best symbolize this reality for an odd number can not be divided into equal smaller numbers, and their progressive division ultimately ends in number ONE!

This also holds true for even numbers such as 10, 12, 40 and 70 that frequently occur in Islam. The common feature of these numbers is that they are ultimately divisible into the smallest odd numbers that can not be further divided, i.e. 3, 5 and 7. And interestingly these last set of numbers also frequently occur in Islam.

This numerical pattern however is not confined to Islam. This is apparently shared in Judaism and Christianity as well.


It could just be practical.

If you rinse something 3 times it's clean. A washing machine goes through 3 cycles too.

If you divorce someone 3 times, you should start dating other people. You might be more appreciative of a former spouse after marrying someone else. Or finally realize that there are better choices out there.

Not everything is an odd multiple. There are 2 rakaats in the light prayers. A man can have up to 4 wives. And many surahs have an even number of verses.

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