Bulūgh al-Marām: The Chapter of Purification
From the seminar, Bulūgh al-Marām: Chapter of Purification, delivered in Toronto, January 2017. Our elder and teacher, Abū Muʿādh Taqwīm Aslam, a graduate of the University of Madīnah in the Faculty of Ḥadīth Sciences, delivers a highly beneficial series of lectures going through the famous book, Bulūgh al-Marām: Chapter of Purification, by Ḥāfiẓ ibn Hajar al-Asqalānī (raḥimahullāh), drawing upon the explanation of Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzan (hafiẓahullah). Bulūgh al-Marām is comprised of chapters, each of which has several narrations which are related to that particular chapter and its rulings. The opening chapter is the Chapter of Purification, which comprises of issues related to wuḍūʿ, ghuṣl, tayammum and so on, which are briefly touched upon in these series of lectures.
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Narrated Abū Hurayrah: Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ said regarding the sea, "Its water is purifying and its dead [animals] are lawful [to eat]."
- Abū Hurayrah was one of the famous companions of the Prophet ﷺ. Most of the scholars say his name was ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Sakhr al-Dawsī. He narrated more Ḥadīth than any other companion, more than 5000 narrations.
- The full version of this Ḥadīth mentions that there were some sailors who were going on a journey by sea and they had barrels of fresh drinking water; however, the quantity they had would not last the duration of the journey, with having to make wuḍūʿ, ghusl and for drinking. So they asked the Prophet ﷺ if they could use sea water for wuḍūʿ and ghusl, thus reserving the barrels for drinking water. They asked because this is from the precise details of knowledge as they knew that pure water was the aṣl for purification. They knew rain water could be used for purification as it is mentioned in the Qurʾān, but were unsure of the sea water as it is salty and not fresh, so they asked to be certain concerning the rules of this. The Messenger ﷺ replied that the sea water is pure. There are two clear rulings regarding this Ḥadīth:
1. It is pure and purifying, meaning sea water could be used for wuḍūʿ and ghuṣl, and it would be correct to use it.
2. That the dead animals of the sea are permissible to eat.
- Did they ask the Prophet ﷺ about that? No, they only asked concerning the water. Why did the Messenger ﷺ make this point? The scholars say this is from the understanding of the Prophet ﷺ of the situation, knowing it was something that would benefit them.
- Why did he specifically mention dead fish? Because normally the ruling is that the animal that has died without slaughtering is ḥarām, with the exception of using trained hunting dogs to capture animals. The Prophet ﷺ said you can eat the dead animals in the sea even if you did not slaughter them; however, this only applies to the creatures of the sea.
- If a cow falls into the sea and dies overboard you cannot eat it.
- There are some differences amongst the scholars about certain types of fish. For example, some of the madhāhib say the sea horse is ḥarām to eat, because the ruling in this Ḥadīth applies to the animals that live exclusively in the sea. The sea horse looks like a land horse, so scholars say the sea horse resembles the animal that lives on the land, so we cannot say it is exclusive to the sea due to its resemblance to land animals. The majority of the scholars say you can eat any fish in the sea, even the fish whose head vaguely resembles a human; however, this has also been a matter of contention mentioned in the books of fiqh as to whether it is allowed to eat it due to its resemblance to humans. The scholars, however, say it is permissible to eat along with the dead shark also.
- Shaykh ʿUthaymīn narrates a story concerning the āyah:
۞ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ۞
"Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know"
[Sūrah al-Anbīyyah, 21: 7]
A scholar was seated in a restaurant and a non-Muslim approached him and said, "In your Qurʾān, you claim there is guidance for everything.’ The Muslim scholar said, "Yes that’s right." So the non-Muslim said, "This meal in front of you right now, where in the Qurʾān does it tell you how to cook this meal?" The scholar said, "Yes absolutely, in the Qurʾān it tells me how to cook this meal, and he quoted to him, "Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." So he called the chef and asked him how to cook the meal, and then the scholar said, “There you go, the Qurʾān says "Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." I have asked the person of knowledge and the question is answered in the Qurʾān!”
- Shaykh Ṣālīḥ al-Fawzān highlights some points of benefit which can be derived from this Ḥadīth:
1. The obligation of returning back to the people of knowledge when you do not know.
2. Ocean water is permissible to use for purification purposes, whether it is for wuḍūʿ or ghusl, or to wash off other impurities.
3. Normally animals are impermissible to eat if they are not slaughtered in accordance with the Shaīʿah, with the exception of all animals which live exclusively in the sea.
If one has a big bowl of water can it be used for purification?
Narrated Abū Saʿīd al-Khudrī: Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Water is pure and nothing can make it impure.”
Narrated Abū Umāma al-Bahīli: Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Water cannot be rendered impure by anything except something which changes its smell, taste and colour.”
- If you have a bowl of water and something fell into that water and either the colour, the smell or the taste of the water changed as a consequence, this bowl of liquid can no longer be considered water, and whatever has fallen in it can either be pure or impure.
- For example, if you have a bowl of water and you poured some orange squash in it, the colour of the water would become orange, the taste would change and be orange flavoured, and as a consequence, this liquid can no longer be called water. Similarly, a hundred tea bags in water will change the colour to brown, the smell and taste will be different as well, as a consequence it will be tea, not water. Even though tea and coffee are pure, the substance itself has affected the water to such a degree that the smell, taste and colour no longer resemble water, therefore it is no longer water and has changed due to something pure being added into it.
- If the water has changed to such a degree that it can no longer be termed water then you cannot use it to make wuḍūʿ.
- If you have a large amount of water, for example, a bath tub of water, and you drop in a small amount of squash, 100ml. This small amount will not create a significant change in the water, and neither the colour, smell or taste will change. If a small amount of a pure substance falls into the water, the consistency of the water does not change; it is still water and can be used for purification. If you have a big bath tub of water and drop something impure into it, for example, five litres of urine, the colour and the smell would be different, [and not that you would check, but the taste would also be altered]. It will become impure because the substance that fell in it was an impure substance. However, if you have a big bath tub of water and you have a small bottle sample of urine, and you get a pen and dip it into the urine and then put the pen in the bathtub, a few drops of urine will go in. But, the colour, taste and smell will not change. The three characteristics have not changed, can it be used for purification?
Narrated ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿUmar (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “If there is enough water to fill two pots (Qulla), it carries no impurity.” Another version has: “It does not become unclean.”
- Here the scholars differ because this Ḥadith indicates when the volume of water gets to a certain amount then dropping things into it does not render it impure.
- Some say if the water has reached that quantity of qullatain, then after that even if impurity falls into it, it does not become impure (i.e. if it is below the level of qullatain it is instantly considered as impure). This is not the strongest opinion but it is an opinion.
- Other scholars say when water reaches that large volume, when impurity falls into it, typically, it would not change the water's characteristics. The correct opinion however, is that when there is a small amount of water and impurity falls into it, then it is very likely that the three characteristics will change. Whereas with large amounts of water, typically they won’t.
Narrated Abū Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “None of you should take a bath in stagnant water when he is sexually impure.”
Another version of al-Bukhārī: “None of you should urinate in stagnant water that is not flowing, and then take a bath in it.” A version of Muslim has the words “from it (i.e. the water).”
A version of Abū Dāwūd has: “One should not take a bath in it if one is sexually impure.”
- Here, two different types of water are mentioned from different perspectives. Water can be self-renewing like a river or stream, flowing water is not still. Stagnant water that does not flow, like a small pond, is still, as are small lakes. You are not allowed to make ghusl in it (i.e. you cannot dip yourself in it to make ghusl). What is the difference between stagnant water and flowing water? Urinating in flowing water would be swept away, whereas if you were to urinate in a stagnant pond the water does not renew itself or flow anywhere. It is still, and thus that impurity will not go anywhere. Is it permissible to urinate in a river or stream? The fuqahā say it is a despicable action because it is an action which the people view to be as deplorable.
- With regards to the impermissibility of ghusl from janāba being made in stagnant water, then the impermissibility lies in dipping yourself in that water when in a state of janāba; however, it would be permissible to take a bucket and fill it with the water and do ghusl somewhere else outside of the stagnant pond.
- One would not urinate in flowing water, however, making ghusl in flowing water is permissible, so you can dip yourself in it and make ghusl from janāba.
Scenario: You make a trip to a lake and go camping and end up having a wet dream in the night and wake up and wish to make ghusl in the lake. The ruling is that it is not permissible because it is stagnant. However, it was previously mentioned that huge volumes are not impacted, generally, so the scholars say in the case of huge volumes of stagnant water then it (the ruling) would not apply.
- Urinating in a large lake would not change the colour or smell of the water; however, you would not do it due to losing honor in doing so. It is from your dignity not to urinate in it. The issue of dignity is something big, and the scholars of ḥadīth would talk about it when talking about narrators, if it transpired that they had no dignity they would not narrate from him.
Scenario: A man makes ghusl from a tub of water, can his wife come and make ghusl in that leftover water?
A man who accompanied the Prophet (ﷺ) narrated: "Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) forbade a woman to bathe with the water left over by a man and that a man should not bathe with the water left over by a woman [but instead] they should both take scoopfuls of the water together."
- The Ḥadīth mentions that the Prophet (ﷺ) forbade women from making ghusl in the leftover water of the husband, rather simultaneously using water together is allowed.
- This Ḥadīth is narrated by a man who accompanied the Prophet (ﷺ), but his name is not mentioned, so is the ḥadīth authentic? The fact is that he is a Companion, and being unknown makes no difference. All of the Companions are truthful, and their narrations accepted. The problem arises when, in lower level narrations, the narrator is unknown. In other narrations of this Ḥadīth the Companion is mentioned.
- The woman is forbidden from making ghusl from impurity, whether it is from menses or janābah in the leftover water; however, making the ghusl together is permissible.
- Ibn ʿAbbās said the Prophet (ﷺ) used to make ghusl from the leftover water of Maimūnah, one of his wives, and it is narrated in Muslim. In another narration, one of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) made ghusl in a bowl of water and then the Messenger came to make ghusl also, and she informed him that she was upon impurity and used it, and this was the leftover water. The Prophet said (ﷺ) "Water does not become impure."
- What do these narrations mean, since they appear to be in opposition to one another, and what, therefore, is the correct opinion? There are two opinions from the scholars:
1. It is impermissible to use leftover water, and this is the opinion of many scholars, including al-Shawkāni, Ḥasan al-Baṣrī and others.
2. It is not permissible for a man to use the leftover water of the woman if she has gone and used that water in seclusion, but if she was bathing where he could see it is permissible.
3. The majority opinion is that it is permissible to use leftover water.
- But then if it permissible to do that, based upon the Ḥadīth of Maimūnah, then what about the other Ḥadīth? There is a rule in fiqh which states that if a prohibition is mentioned then that indicates it is ḥarām to do it unless there is evidence to support its permissibility; in that case it would mean that this prohibition is not a prohibition in terms of it being ḥarām, but in terms of it being makrūh. Here the Prophet (ﷺ) did it, but the prohibition is there saying you can't do it, so based upon this it is something which is makrūh. So the Prophet (ﷺ) did it to show it is allowed, but it is not something you should do. However, it is not ḥarām and is something that can be done if needed.
Narrated Abū Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu), Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “The cleansing of the utensil belonging to one of you, after it has been licked by a dog, is to wash it seven times, and use soil for cleaning it the first time” [Muslim].
- This Ḥadīth talks about the situation of if a dog licks one of your vessels, a cup/plate or tub. What is the ruling for that water that was in the cup and what is the ruling for the actual cup, glass or bowl? The Ḥadīth says if a dog licks your vessel then wash it seven times, the first time with soil. In some narrations, it says one of the times and in another narration, it says the eighth time should be soil.
- What if a person said after a dog licked his vessel, 'I will wash it seven times but the first time I am not going to dig up soil, I will use washing up liquid instead, and the other 6 times with water', will that do? The scholars say it would not do, as this is revelation, and there is wisdom behind the revelation. Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān says there is scientific research, not that it is needed, but as supporting evidence, that there are certain chemicals in the soil that neutralise the bacteria in the saliva of dogs. Even if that science was not found it would not matter but, it is a supplementary evidence.
- It is not correct to use alternatives to soil; this is because at the time of the Messenger (ﷺ) they had the equivalents of soap for cleaning but those things were not allowed as a substitute, so this indicates that soil must be used. As for the actual water in the vessel, then it is to be disregarded and thrown away, and not used.
Narrated Abū Qatāda (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said about the cat, "It is not unclean, but is one of those who intermingles with you.”
- The story behind the Ḥadīth: On one occasion Abū Qatāda came home and there was a bowl of water which he wished to make wuḍūʿ from, and his wife informed him a cat had drunk from that water. Considering that it was the same as the ruling for dogs, and she wanted to stop him. Abū Qatāda then said ‘Are you surprised that I am using this water? The Prophet (ﷺ) said the cats are not impure’. The scholars mention that this is from the ease that Allāh has given the people because cats are everywhere in our society, so if they were impure there would be difficulty in cleaning and purifying everything the cat licked.
- From this narration we learn: dogs are impure and are from the highest and most severe levels of impurity. Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzan mentions the different types of impurities, such as the severe, like the dog. Then there is a very light level of impurity; like the urine of a boy that is not yet eating solid food, the ruling concerning which is that it should be cleansed by sprinkling water on it.
- When is it actually permissible to have a dog? It is permissible to have a hunting dog, a shepherd dog, and an agriculture dog, [which serves a similar purpose to the scarecrow, to protect the agriculture fields].
- The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that it is impermissible to have a guard dog for your home except the Aḥnāf. The reason for this is because it is not mentioned in the Aḥādīth. Also at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) there were no alarms as such, yet bandits and the likes existed, so there would have been a reasonable need to have a dog to guard the home, yet despite this, it was not a practice that was conducted by the Ṣaḥāba. The only explanation as to why they did not do it must be because it was not permissible to do so.
- There is a principle in fiqh which states, it is not permissible to delay explaining something from the moment of need and necessity. For example, in Ramaḍān do you pray 8 or 20 rakaʿāt? There is a narration of when a man came to Prophet (ﷺ) and asked him how to pray the night prayer, and he replied saying 'pray it in twos'. He did not tell him to pray up to a maximum of 8. So some scholars derived from this, that it is permissible to pray more than 8, since it is not permissible to delay clarification from the moment of need, and when the man asked the Prophet (ﷺ), that was a moment of need for clarification of how to pray the night prayer. If it was ḥarām to pray more than 8 then did this man not need to know at that moment? Wouldn’t that have been something the Prophet (ﷺ) would have told him then and there? And for this reason, this is the evidence some scholars use to say you can pray more than 8 rakaʿah.
- Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzan gives other situations in which it would be permissible to have a dog, such as in the case of police sniffer dogs. As for having dogs as a pet, then that is impermissible.
- Is it only the saliva of dogs that is najis? Some scholars say the whole body of the dog is impure. But the question is, if a dog rubs against you, do you have to rub your thowb with soil and then water? The scholars say that this is particular to the saliva. So what if a dog licks the clothes? In this case as long as the impurity is removed from the clothes by washing it then that is sufficient.
- Why is this Ḥadīth here? It is to indicate that if a dog licks the water you are not allowed to use that water for purification.
- If you perform ṣalāh in the clothes that the dog licked, is the ṣalāh valid? If you forgot there is impurity on your clothes and you start praying, then if you are able to remove the garment and continue praying, you should do so and continue praying. But if the impurity is on an inner garment like the vest, then you should break the prayer, clean it or change it then come back. If you do not remember at all during the prayer and remember later, then the Ṣalāh is still valid.
- What is the difference between the one who has forgotten he had wuḍūʿ and the one who has forgotten that he has impurity on his clothes? The difference is that the making of wuḍūʿ before the prayer is a command upon you to do in order for the prayer to be valid, the najāsah is not a command to do something, but to remove something.
- Forgetting about the removal of impurity is different, and an example of this can be found in the Ḥadīth of the Prophet (ﷺ) when he had some impurity on his shoe and Jibril (ʿalayhi al-salām) informed him of it, and he took it off and continued to pray. If it rendered the ṣalāh invalid he would have started the prayer again
Narrated Anas ibn Mālik (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): A Bedouin came and urinated in one corner of the mosque and the people shouted at him, but Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) stopped them. When the man finished urinating, the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered for a bucket of water to be spilt over it [Agreed upon].
- Anas was 10 years old when the Prophet (ﷺ) arrived in Madīnah, and it is mentioned in his biography that he was over 100 years old when he died
- The masjid at the time was built in a simple format; in fact, the roof of the masjid did not cover the whole building and the sections which were covered, were covered with haystacks, and when there was rain it would leak into the masjid.
- In the history books, it is mentioned that the masjid had no doors, just an open space to walk in and out of.
- It is possible the Bedouin did not consider the masjid to be of important so he urinated in it.
- What do we learn from this incident? Urine is obviously something impure; this is understood from this narration, because after he urinated the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered for water to poured and the impurity to be washed away. So a person's urine is impure by consensus of the scholars and if the urine gets on the body, clothing or ground, then that thing must be purified by being washed.
- It is narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) walked past two graves and said, "These two are being punished. As for one of them, he used to spread tales [namīma] between the people to cause corruption, and as for the other, it is because he used to be careless when urinating." And thus this ends up being a cause for punishment in the grave. Imām Qurtubī mentions that the majority of those punished in the grave are punished due to this reason. So it is important to ensure urine does not splash on clothes etc.
- Here we learn urine is impure and how to clean this impurity. The water needs to be poured over it and a large amount of water needs to go in that area to purify it. The only difference the scholars mention regarding this is the type of ground. If it is moist or porous and the water seeps in when you pour it over the affected area, then there is no problem. The problem arises when the area is solid and dry, and the water remains upon the surface. Some scholars say it requires an additional level of cleansing i.e. brushing, and others say it is the same level of cleaning.
- The other thing we learn is the obligation of respecting the masājid and the prohibition of disrespecting them. One should not throw anything on the floor of the mosque. It is recorded that some of the Salaf, even if a nail were to break off, would not let it fall on the floor. Shaykh Rabīʿ (hafiẓahullāh) when he sees a small piece of tissue on the floor of the masjid will pick it up. The masājid are to be honoured, respected and kept clean.
- We also learn that there is a principle in fiqh that mentions that it is permissible to allow the lesser of the two harms to occur in order to prevent the greater of the two harms from occurring. If you have two evils, then it is permissible to allow the lesser of them to occur to prevent the greater from occurring. How is this present in the Ḥadīth? If the Bedouin was to be stopped whilst he was urinating, he could have urinated everywhere, resulting in a greater impurity occurring upon the masjid. Allowing him to finish means it is restricted and contained in that small area.
- There are many principles similar to that, an example is when the Prophet (ﷺ) said to ʿĀʾisha, "Had It not been that a greater fitnah would have occurred, I would have knocked the kaʿbah down and built it upon its original foundation."
- You should enjoin the good and forbid the evil if the outcome is going to be better than the current circumstance. Ibn Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) gave an example: Imagine you are walking down the street and you see some Muslims outside a bar drinking, and you wish to prevent them through enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, but that group of youth may need to fill their time with something else and may decide to rob and loot stores. The end result of you kicking them out of the bar have led them to commit crimes greater than what they were doing. If you know the outcome is going to lead to greater evil you do not do it. If you know the outcome will be better, then you enjoin the good and forbid evil, and if you think the outcome will be equal then a person uses his judgement to decide whether it is suitable to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. It requires knowledge to evaluate the situation.
- Shaykh ʿUthaymīn gives an example: Imagine you see someone sitting praying and its farḍ (an obligation) to stand, then you go up to the person and tell him this is wrong, that he must stand, that he needs to repeat the prayer. But then he says, look at my ankle, and you see a huge bandage on it. So now you realise he is sitting due to a legitimate reason.
- If you see someone doing something opposite to the Sunnah you have to have knowledge of the affair regarding whether or not this person has a legitimate reason in the Sharīʿah that allows him to do it differently. It is required to be upon knowledge in that situation.
Narrated Ibn ʿUmar (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: "Two types of dead animals and two types of blood have been made lawful for us. The two types of dead animals are locusts and fish [seafood], while the two types of blood are liver and spleen."
- These items have been made exceptions. Some scholars say this Ḥadīth is weak, but there is other evidence that supports it.
- The purpose is to highlight what the scholars mention, that animals that don’t have a blood flow are permissible, as opposed to the cow, for example, which when cut, blood flows.
- So animals or insects that don’t have blood flow, then those types of animals don’t require slaughtering.
- Can you eat spiders and other types of insects then? You wouldn’t eat other insects because of the dislike for it, eating small insects is not typically something which is accepted. The point is they are pure. If a locust fell in your water you make wuḍūʿ with, you can take it out and carry on making wuḍūʿ, and that applies to any insect or fish, as they are pure due to their having no active blood flow.
- Liver and spleen can be eaten even though they are considered blood. But it is not a necessity to cleanse the blood, and this is similar to the heart also. Once an animal bleeds out, the heart will still have blood in it.
- Also, the blood left over in the animal after it has been slaughtered, when you cook it blood it will still seep out of the meat. What is left over of the blood is ḥalāl and it is not a condition to cleanse the blood completely to eat it.
- The purpose of the narration is to show that these types of animals that don’t have an active blood flow are pure.
Narrated Abū Hurayrah (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “When a fly falls in the drink of one of you, he should fully dip it and then throw it away because there is disease in one of its wings and cure in the other.”
- This narration speaks about the fly, which is mentioned in the Qurʾān as an example of how weak human beings are.
- In a narration collected by Abū Dāwūd, it mentions that when a fly is about to fall into a drink, it will always fall in with the wing that has the disease.
- The purpose of this narration is to show that the fly is pure, so the water is still pure as mentioned previously, due to the fact the fly does not have an active blood flow.
Benefits which can be derived from this narration:
1. The Sharīʿah legislates that you dip the whole fly in the water to prevent harm that would occur otherwise, this also means that you kill the fly by drowning the fly. The scholars mention that it is permissible to kill insects and animals that cause harm such as rats and mosquitos.
Narrated Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamān (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Do not drink in silver or gold utensils, and do not eat in plates of such metals, for such things are for them [the disbelievers] in this worldly life and for you in the Hereafter.”
- That does not mean it has been made ḥalāl for the kuffār to be used.
Narrated Umm Salama (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhā): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “He who drinks in a silver utensil is only swallowing Hell-fire in his stomach.”
- These Aḥādīth show the impermissibility of using vessels of gold and silver, for both men and women, no matter what type of utensil it is, cups, bowls even the rim or handle.
- It is not referring to the colour silver, but the materials silver and gold. It is ḥarām even as decorative pieces, as some scholars have mentioned, stating that if it is ḥarām to use in a state of necessity i.e. eating and drinking, then it not allowed for decorative purposes, and the scholars further say that you shouldn’t use gold or silver anywhere in the house, door knobs etc., and this was the opinion of Shaykh Ibn Bāz (raḥimahullāh).
Narrated Ibn ʿAbbās (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: "When the skin is tanned it becomes purified.” [Reported by Muslim]. Al-Arbaʿa has the words: "Any skin that is tanned."
Narrated Salama ibn al-Muhabbiq (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “The tanning of a dead animal’s skin purifies it.” [Ibn Hibbān graded it Ṣaḥīḥ (sound)].
Narrated Maymūna (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhā): Some people were dragging a [dead] goat passed by the Prophet (ﷺ). He told them, “You had better take its skin”. They said, “It is dead.” He said, “Water and the leaves of the Acacia tree will purify it.” [Reported by Abū Dāwūd and al-Nasāʾi].
- There are few opinions:
1. You can use the skin regardless of whether the dead animal is ḥalāl or not.
2. Tanning the skin of an animal does not purify it at all and it is impermissible to use skins of animals completely. The scholars who maintain this have the narration of ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿUqaym where he mentions, "A message came to us from the Prophet (ﷺ) a month/two months before his death and he said in it, 'Do not benefit from the dead animal in terms of its skin.'” They say this narration abrogates the other narrations. The only problem with this narration is that it has a great degree of weakness in it, and many scholars do not accept its authenticity; and even if they do, they say it is not strong enough a narration to outweigh the previous narrations.
3. That when you tan the skin of an animal, the skin is pure and can be used externally not internally. So outside of the skin is pure, but not the inside where the moisture is. You can use it but the internal side cannot be used as a pouch to store liquids but can be used to store solids
4. The tanned skin of animals that you would typically eat is permissible, like the narration mentioned previously. Shaykh Ṣalīḥ al-Fawzān says that maybe the last opinion is the strongest. [Excludes pigs and dogs etc.] The opinion overall, is that tanning is allowed, but it comes down to which animals are allowed.
Narrated Abū Thaʿlaba al-Khushni (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): I said “O Allāh’s Messenger! We are living in a land inhabited by the People of the Scriptures; can we take our meals in their utensils?” He said, “If you can get utensils other than theirs, do not eat in theirs, but if you cannot get other than theirs, wash them and eat in them” [Agreed upon].
- It is allowed under two conditions:
1. That there is no other alternative
2. You must wash it before using
Narrated ʿImrān ibn Ḥussayn (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): The Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions performed wuḍūʿ [ablution] from a water skin container belonging to a polytheist woman [Agreed upon].
- This Ḥadīth is an excerpt from a longer Ḥadīth. The story is that on one occasion, they were on a journey and their water ran out, so the Prophet (ﷺ) sent ʿAlī (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu and another man to find some water. They soon came across a woman on a camel who had two water skins with her, so they asked her where the water was from, and she replied that the source of the water was a distance of 24 hours away. So they asked her to come with them to the Prophet (ﷺ). She came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and he took a small amount of water from each of the water skins, made duʿāʾ and spittled into it. Allāh put barakah in the water that he had taken out such that the whole battalion made wuḍūʿ and there was still extra to drink.
- There are few examples narrated where similar miracles have taken place. In one narration, in one of the battles in Ṭabūk, they ran out of all of their provisions and the Prophet (ﷺ) asked them all to bring what they had from the small items remaining. The Prophet (ﷺ) then made duʿāʾ and the provisions were made sufficient for everybody.
- What is the purpose of the narration? The vessels of the disbelievers are not permissible. But the other narration shows that he took water from the disbelieving Muslim woman.
- What we understand from this, is that it is mentioned in ṣīrah, at the end of battles they would come across the war booty, and there would have been vessels present. The Muslims also used to trade in clothes with non-Muslims, and it is not mentioned in the ṣīrah that the Muslims would thoroughly wash the clothes and utensils obtained in battle and trade before using. Therefore, it indicates that the default with the clothes and utensils which are sold by the kuffār, is that they are actually pure.
- Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān says that the aṣl is that the utensils of the kuffār are, by default, pure as long as you do not know of any impurity.
- However, the first narration the Prophet (ﷺ) said only if you can’t find anything else, and even then you have to wash it first. As for the ṣīrah of Abū Thaʿlaba then, and Allāh knows best, when a Ḥadīth gives a command or prohibition, as in the first Ḥadīth, the prohibition, by default equals ḥarām, but then we said that sometimes you may come across other evidence, which when put together, highlight that the command here does not intend it to be wujūb. Instead due to other evidence, it is actually mustaḥabb. It is not an outright prohibition and indicates that it is not obligatory to have to wash the items out before using; it is only mustaḥabb to wash them out.
- If there is a kāfir owned restaurant which sells ḥalāl food, then you can use their utensils as you have no doubt about what has been in them since they don’t serve alcohol or pork.
- Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān mentions that if you do not know of any impurity, then the utensils and clothes of the kuffār are pure by default, and you can use them without washing; however, if you know of an impurity then you have to wash it. Therefore, the correct opinion is what the majority of the scholars say, and that is that the products of the kuffār, by default, are pure, and the only time it would be a problem is when you know they have been using it for something impure.
Narrated Anas ibn Mālik (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): When the cup of the Prophet (ﷺ) broke, he fixed it with a silver wire at the crack. [Reported by Al-Bukhari.]
- The only time it would be permitted to use silver in your utensils would be for this purpose.
How to remove impurity
- Najāsa is of two types:
1. physical impurity
2. abstract impurity
- Physical impurity would be things like faeces and so on, and the abstract impurity is the internal impurity of shirk.
- Impurity which is of itself by default an impurity, then it cannot be purified, due its being impure by nature, like for example, pig, dog, and faeces
- Temporary impurity is an impurity which befalls a place which was initially pure. i.e. if faeces drops on a table cloth which initially was pure by default, so then it becomes temporarily impure.
Narrated Anas ibn Mālik (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) was asked about making vinegar out of wine. He said, “No [it is prohibited].”
- Khamr is that which intoxicates. Arabic words have root letters which will always indicate a family meaning for the word. So for example, خ - م - ر indicate the meaning of covering something up, so alcohol covers up your senses, and the khimār coves the woman's body.
- So khamr refers to that which intoxicates. Allāh has made alcohol ḥarām, and the prohibition of alcohol came in stages. The Arabs at the time used to drink a lot, so initially it was prohibited only at the times of the prayers, and because the times of the prayers were five times daily, it didn’t leave much time to drink in between, so their consumption of alcohol decreased a lot, and thus they became accustomed to not drinking much. Then later the complete prohibition was revealed.
- Somebody who drinks alcohol out of weakness but knows that it is ḥarām, then he is considered a sinner and not a kāfir.
- Alcohol is not allowed to be kept and further processed into vinegar.
- What is the purpose of this in the chapter of impurities? It is to highlight the impurity of alcohol, so if alcohol goes onto your clothes, your body or the place where you are going to pray, it becomes impure and needs to be purified. The proof for this is that alcohol cannot be purified.
- There is, however, an opinion from some of the scholars that the liquid substance of alcohol itself is not impure, but rather the issue is that it is ḥarām to drink. So if it goes on your clothes it is not impure. This would indicate that just because something is ḥarām it does not mean that it is impure.
- By consensus everything that is impure is ḥarām but not everything that is ḥarām is necessarily impure; however, the jamhūr say alcohol as a liquid is impure, so you would have to clean it if it fell on your clothes.
- Some scholars say that medicines with alcohol are not permissible. However there is a principle with regards to alcohol, and that is that if you were to consume a large amount of that substance which contained alcohol and it would not intoxicate you, then it would be permissible.
- Vinegar is allowed but not when it has occurred through the process of alcohol first.
- Gelatine: the process changes chemical composition and is no longer the pig or cow it was initially derived from.
Narrated Anas ibn Mālik (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): On the day of Khaybayr, Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) commanded Abū Ṭalḥa to announce: “Allāh and His Messenger have prohibited for you [eating] the flesh of the donkeys, for it is unclean” [Agreed upon].
- Everything associated with domesticated donkeys will be impure if they are considered impure.
- So if any saliva of a donkey fell on the floor, clothes, or body then it would be obligatory to remove it because it is an impurity. E.g. if a donkey came and drank from a bowl of water, then it would mean that the water has become impure, due to its saliva. Similarly, if a donkey’s urine or faeces were to go onto one’s clothing, it would need to be purified.
- There is one exception from the donkey that does not make it impure: the sweat and hair of the donkey. This is because when you ride a donkey, especially in the heat, it is inevitable that the moisture/sweat of the donkey would transfer. This is not considered impure since if it were, it would become a burden upon the people.
Narrated ʿAmr ibn Khārija (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) delivered a Khuṭbah [religious talk] to us at Miná while mounted on his camel, and its saliva was pouring on my shoulders.
- In his lifetime, the Prophet made four ʿUmrahs and one Ḥajj.
- He gave several khuṭbahs during the various times of the Ḥajj.
- The Ḥadīth shows that it is permissible to sit and deliver the khuṭbah upon a riding beast.
- The khaṭīb should deliver the khuṭbah from an elevated position so everyone can see him, either upon a minbar or a riding animal.
- It also indicates that the saliva of the camel, in fact, all animals that can be slaughtered and eaten, is considered pure.
- There is a narration in Bukhārī and Muslim which speaks about drinking the urine of camels in certain circumstances. The purpose of the Ḥadīth is to highlight that the camel, and all animals you can slaughter and eat, are pure, as is their saliva.
Narrated ʿĀʾishah (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhā): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to wash semen off his clothes and then go out for prayer in that [very] garment and I could still see the trace of the washing on it [Agreed upon].
- Scholars say that this highlights the humility and modesty of the Prophet (ﷺ). He lived a simple life, and in the early times, it is known he only used to possess one garment, as did the Companions and the Salaf. In the version of Muslim, ʿĀʾishah (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhā) said: “I used to scrape it (the semen) off the garment of Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) and then he offered prayer with it
- Semen is not impure, there are other liquids which may exit from the person prior and after which may have different rulings, but semen is not impure.
- Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzan mentions that the scholars have differed over this issue to a degree. Many scholars mention that the seminal fluid of humans is pure, because the Prophet (ﷺ) used to pray in that same garment that semen had fallen on to; it would be scraped off and he would pray in it. If it was impure, then it would be inconceivable to imagine that he would have left it to dry out on his garment. The fact that it was left until it had dried indicates it was not impure, otherwise, he would have washed it straight away. So then one would ask why did he wash it in the first place then? Because it is not something desirable to see upon one’s clothing, and it is from good manners and upright character that the Prophet (ﷺ) cleaned it off.
- If a person did not clean his clothes after intimate relations and there was semen still on it, and he prayed, is the prayer valid? Yes, it is. There are some scholars, however, who take the opinion that seminal fluid is impure, and this opinion is mentioned from Imām Abū Ḥanīfah and Imām Mālik. There is a narration also from Imām Aḥmad which seems to indicate it as well, stating that the fluid is impure, and the evidence they used was that he washed/scraped it off before the prayer. Thus indicating that it is impure. However, Imām Aḥmad had a secondary narration which is popularly mentioned from the madhab of the Hanābilah that it is not impure.
- It is mentioned by Imām Aḥmad and Imām al-Shafiʿī, and Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān also mentions that seminal fluid is not impure.
- Pre-seminal liquid is mentioned as impure, and if that occurs, as in the narration of ʿAlī when he mentioned to the Prophet that it occurred to him, one should repeat wuḍūʿ as the Prophet ordered ʿAlī to repeat the wuḍūʿ each time since it invalidates wuḍūʿ.
Narrated Abū al-Samḥ (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “The urine of a baby girl should be washed off and the urine of baby boy should be sprinkled [with water].”
- This refers to the small baby who is not yet eating solids.
- Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān mentions that in the Ḥadīth we learn the difference between the urine of the baby girl and the baby boy; a proper washing is required for the baby girl but not the baby boy.
- Some scholars don’t accept this difference, such as Imām Abū Ḥanīfah and Imām Mālik, stating that the boy still needs proper washing.
- The point of the narration is to highlight that human urine is impure.
Narrated Asmāʾ bint Abī Bakr (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhā): The Prophet (ﷺ) said regarding menstruation blood that smears a garment, “She should scrape it, rub it with water, then wash it and then she may pray in it” [Agreed upon].
- Asmāʾ bint Abī Bakr was the sister of ʿĀʾishah, who was approximately ten years younger than Asmāʾ.
- There are various stages involved in cleaning off menstrual blood from clothing. First, scrape it with something, secondly, rub water into it, thirdly, use the water to wash it. Then after that is done you can pray in it.
- The Ḥadīth clearly indicates that menstrual blood is impure.
- A common issue that is often raised is whether the menstruating woman is allowed to go in the Masjid. Some scholars say it is not permissible for the menstruating woman to come in the masjid other than to pass through or collect something. Another opinion is that she is allowed to sit in the mosque as long as she has taken extra precaution to ensure that no blood will exit from her onto the masjid, and it is permissible to attend the gatherings of knowledge. This is the opinion of Shaykh Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī. The scholars who say it is allowed explain that none of the narrations are valid as proof since they are weak. Shaykh ibn Bāz, and Shaykh ʿUthaymīn and others say it is not permissible for the menstruating woman to come to the masjid at all.
Narrated Abū Hurayrah (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Khawlah said, “O Messenger of Allāh, suppose the [trace of] the blood does not go?” He said, “[Washing it with] water will suffice you and its trace won’t harm you.”
- The narration is weak but the meaning of it is correct.
- Does changing nappies break wuḍūʿ? Many scholars say it is excused and does not break wudu. Urine coming on you isn’t something which breaks wuḍūʿ anyway. It falls under the condition of removal of impurity, but it is not a nullifier of wuḍūʿ.
- The issue concerning changing the nappies is about touching the private parts, some scholars say it breaks wuḍūʿ, but many scholars say it is excused due to the difficulty it would pose upon the mother to make wuḍūʿ every time she cleaned the child.
- Wuḍūʿ is the use of water with a specific intention upon a specific description upon specific body parts.
- This definition will exclude everything which does not fit with the reality of wuḍūʿ. For example, if somebody immersed themselves into lake Ontario and came out, would they have wuḍūʿ? No, because they didn’t have the intention of wuḍūʿ.
- What if somebody washed the actual body parts, i.e. rubbed the hands, face, feet etc whilst in the lake, then still they would not have wuḍūʿ if they did not have the intention. That’s why scholars say there are certain types of worship which are purely just worship, whether we understand the reasoning behind it or not.
- The reason we perform wuḍūʿ is because it a command, even if you are completely clean. It is a pure act of worship, but if that wuḍūʿ breaks it doesn’t matter how clean you are, you still have to perform wuḍūʿ again.
- In Arabic, there is another word called waḍūʿ, which is the actual water used to make wuḍūʿ. Wuḍūʿ has a root meaning; some scholars say it comes from waḍāʿāh, ‘enlightenment’, because on the Day of Judgement, this Ummah will come forth and their body parts where the wuḍūʿ was performed upon will be bright and shining.
Narrated Abū Hurayrah (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu): Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Had I not feared burdening my Ummah, I would have commanded them to use siwāk before every Ṣalāh.”
- It is a Sunnah to use the siwāk when performing wuḍūʿ
- Some of the times it is Sunnah to use the siwāk: at the time of wuḍūʿ, before Ṣalāh, when you enter the home, when you wake up, before you recite the Qurʾān; and in general when the consistency of the mouth changes, like after food etc.
- Is using a toothbrush and toothpaste instead of siwāk still considered to be implementing the Sunnah? Many scholars say that the Sunnah isn’t about the siwāk itself, it is about the act itself. The purpose of siwāk is to make the mouth clean and smell fresh, so technically the toothbrush serves the same purpose. But you must have the intention to do it for the Sunnah to be rewarded for it in general.
- It is permissible to use the siwāk when fasting.
- The purpose of the Ḥadith here is to highlight the Sunnah act of using siwāk when making wuḍūʿ
Narrated Ḥumrān, the manumitted slave of ʿUthmān: ʿUthmān (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu) called for water to perform ablution. He washed the palms of his hands three times, then rinsed his mouth and sniffed water in his nose and then blew it out. He then washed his face three times. Thereafter, he washed his right hand up to his elbow three times, then the left one likewise, then he passed wet hands over his head. Then he washed his right foot up to the ankle three times, then the left one likewise. He then said, “I saw Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) performing ablution like this ablution of mine” [Agreed upon].
- Washing the hands three times in the beginning is a Sunnah
- A classic mistake people make when washing the arms is to take water in cupped hands and pour it over the arm, so water doesn’t actually go in the hand. If you do this your wūḍūʿ is invalid. It is all of the hand you have to wash, the handwashing in the beginning is a Sunnah. The obligation is to wash the hand when washing the arms.
- Many scholars mention that washing the mouth and the nose is not two separate movements, rather it is one movement of taking a handful of water and putting it in the mouth and nose at the same time.
- What are the boundaries of the face? It is from the hairline to the chin, and if you have a beard it includes all of the beard. If the beard is see-through, meaning you can see the skin underneath, i.e not a thick beard, then the whole beard must be wet through to the skin. If it is a thick beard and you cannot see the skin through it, then you just have to wipe over the top of the beard, because that is now technically a section of the face.
- There is a difference of opinion concerning the boundaries of the face, with some saying that it is from ear to ear, whilst others say it is the area of whiteness between the beard and the ear. Some say this area is not part of the face. The better and safer opinion is from ear to ear.
- When washing the elbows, it is an obligation to wash from fingertips to the elbows including the elbows, and then one can wash between the fingers.
- The wiping of the head begins from the hairline back to the nape of the neck and then back up to the front of the hairline again. Here, if you look into detailed books of fiqh, there are differences between scholars, with some saying that it is sufficient to get water on four hairs, whilst others mention that as long as you get two-thirds of the head and come back it counts. However, the correct opinion is that you should go all the way down to the nape of the neck and back to the front.
- When washing the feet you must wash between toes and up to the ankles.
- Beginning the wuḍūʿ with washing the left side first and then right side first, is still valid; however, it is Sunnah to begin with the right and then the left, but the order is still the same. If this is done forgetfully it is ok; however, if it is done purposefully you have opposed the Sunnah. Narrated ʿAlī (raḍi Allāhu ʿanhu) regarding the description of the ablution of the Prophet (ﷺ): He (the Prophet) wiped his head (with water) only once.
For a more on this important topic, please listen to the full lecture by Abū Muʿādh.
Here are some of the questions:
[Q]: Can a woman pray whilst wearing alcoholic perfume?
[Q]: how do you perform the prostration of thankfulness?
[Q]: Is it allowed to miss the prayer because you are working?