(The Dry Ablution)
(The Dry Ablution)
By Sayyid Sābiq
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
Definition: Literally Tayammum means “aim, purpose.” In Islamic law, it refers to “aiming for or seeking soil to wipe one's face and hands with the intention of preparing oneself to observe solat, and so on.”
Tayammum is verified by the Qur’an, Sunnah and the Ijma’ (consensus). The Qur’an says, “And if you are ill, or on a journey or one of you come from relieving himself, or you have touched women, and you do not find water, then go to high clean soil and rub your face and hands (therewith). Lo, Allah is Benign, Forgiving” (An-Nisā’, 4:43). From the Sunnah we have the hadith related by Abu Umamah (radiyallāhu`anhu) in which the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “All of the earth has been made for me and my nation a pure place of prayer. Whenever a person from my nation wants to pray, he has something with which to purify himself, that is, the earth.” (Related by Ahmad) Finally, there is a consensus that tayammum forms a legitimate part of the shari'ah, as it replaces ablution or ghusl under specific circumstances.
This form of ablution is viewed as a blessing from Allah to the Muslims. Jabir bin Abdullah (radiyallāhu`anhu) relates that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “I have been given five things that were not given to anyone before me: I have been made victorious due to fear for a distance of one month's journey; the earth has been made a place of prayer for me--wherever and whoever of my nation wants to pray, he may pray; and the war booty has been made lawful for me, and this was not lawful for anyone before me. I have been given permission to intercede. The prophets used to be raised for their own people only, but I have been raised for all of mankind.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
'Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) said, “We went out with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) on one of his journeys until we reached Baida’. At this place, one of my bracelets broke and fell somewhere. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and others began to look for it. There was no water at that place, nor did anyone have any water with him. The people went to Abu Bakar and said, “Do you see what your daughter has done?” Abu Bakar came to me, while the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) was sleeping on my thigh. He blamed me and said to me whatever Allah willed him to say. He also poked me in my side. I could not move, for the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), was sleeping on my lap. He slept until the morning without any water available. Then, Allah revealed the verse of tayammum. As-Sayyid Ibn Huzhain said, “That was not the first blessing from the family of Abu Bakar.” The camel that I was on got up and we found the necklace underneath it.” (Related by “the group” except for at-Tirmidzi.)
'Imran bin Husain (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “We were with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) during a journey. When he led the people in prayer, one man stayed apart. He asked him, “What prevented you from praying?” He said, ‘I need a post-nocturnal bath and there is no water.’ He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Use the soil, for it is sufficient.” (Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu`anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The soil is a purifier for a Muslim, even if he does not find water for twenty years.” (Related by “the four.” At-Tirmidzi grades it hassan sahih.) But before one makes tayammum, he must look for water from any possible source. If he is sure water is not to be found or it is too far away, he does not have to look for it.
If one is in this condition, and believes water will worsen it (he does not have to be absolutely sure, but may base his opinion on past experience or what a knowledgeable person has told him), he may perform tayammum. Jabir bin Abdullah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “We were on a journey and one of us got injured. Later, he had a wet dream. He asked his companions, 'Can I perform tayammum?' They said, 'No, not if you have water.' He performed ghusl and died. When they came to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), they informed him of what had transpired. He said, 'They killed him, Allah will kill them. Do you not ask if you do not know? The rescue of the ignorant person is the question. He could have performed tayammum and dropped water on his wound or wrapped it with something and wipe over the wrapping, and wash the rest of his body.” This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, ad-Daraqutni and Ibn as-Sakin, who said it is sahih.
This is only allowed on the condition that he can find no one to heat it, or is unable to use the public bathrooms. 'Amr Ibn al-‘Aas (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that he was participating in an expedition. He had a wet dream during an extremely cold night, and was afraid that if he performed ghusl he would die. He prayed the Morning Prayer with his companions. He then went to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), upon whom be peace, to ask him about this. Muhammad said, “O ‘Amr did you pray with your companions while you needed a post-nocturnal bath?” `Amr mentioned the verse, “Do not kill yourselves, Allah is merciful to you” to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) just laughed and didn't say anything. (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Hakim, ad-Daraqutni, Ibn Hibban and al-Bukhari in mu'allaq form.) This example illustrated the Prophet's tacit approval.
If one fears for his life, family, wealth, (for example, if an enemy is nearby--beast or human--or one is a prisoner, and so on), one may perform tayammum. This is also allowed if there is water but one lacks the proper means to get it, or if one fears some accusation against him if he gets it.
This could be for a hound, for dough, cooking or to remove an impurity that is not pardonable. Imam Ahmad says, “Many of the companions performed tayammum to save their water for drinking.” `Ali said that a man who is travelling and becomes unclean because of sex or a wet dream can perform tayammum if he fears he will go thirsty: “He should perform tayammum and not ghusl.” (Related by ad-Daraqutni.) Ibn Taimiyyah says, “If a person needs to relieve himself but has only a small amount of water, it is best that he pray with tayammum and relieve himself, rather than keep his ablution and pray before relieving himself.”
He can perform tayammum and pray, and does not need to repeat his prayer (after he gets water).
It must be pure soil: this can be sand, stone, gypsum, and so on. Says Allah, “Perform tyammum with pure soil,” and all scholars of Arabic agree that “soil” is whatever covers the earth, dirt or otherwise.
First, one must have the intention (see the section on ablution). Then, he mentions Allah's name, strikes the soil with his hands, and wipes his face and his hands up to the wrist. Nothing is more authentic and clear than what 'Ammar related. He said, “We became sexually impure and had no water, so we rolled in the dirt and prayed. This was mentioned to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and he said, ‘This would have been enough for you,’ and he struck the earth with his hands, blew in them and then wiped his face and hands with them.” (Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim). In another text he states, “It would have been enough for you to strike the ground with your hands, blow into them, and then wipe your face and hands up to the elbows.” (Recorded by ad-Daraqutni.)
This hadith shows that one strike of the earth is sufficient, and one only wipes the arms to the wrists. It is from the Sunnah that one who makes tayammum with dirt should blow into his hands first and not make his face dusty or dirty.
After doing so, he is pure and may do any of the acts requiring prior purification, such as praying and touching the Qur’an. He does not have to perform it during the time of prayer, and he may pray as many prayers as he wishes (unless he nullifies it), exactly as he can after performing the regular ablution. Abu Dharr reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The soil is a purifier for a Muslim, even if he does not find water for twenty years. Then if he touches water, that is, to make ablution, and so on, it would be good.” This is recorded by Ahmad and at-Tirmizhi, who said it is sahih.
In addition to the presence of water, everything that nullifies the ablution nullifies tayammum. If a person prays after performing tayammum and then finds water, he does not need to repeat his prayer even if there is time left to do so. Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “Two men went out on a journey. The time of prayer came and, as they had no water, they performed tayammum. Then they found some water during the time of the same prayer. One of them repeated his prayer with ablution and the other did not. When they saw the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), they asked him about the proper procedure in such a case. He said to the one, who did not repeat his prayer, ‘You have acted according to the Sunnah and your prayer is sufficient for you.’ He said to the other, ‘You will get a double reward.”‘ (Recorded by Abu Dawud and an-Nasa`ie) If one comes across water before he prays or finishes his prayer with tayammum, his prayer becomes null and void, for he must make ablution with water. If a person is not clean because of sex or a wet dream, or a woman is menstruating, and they pray after performing tayammum, they need not repeat their prayer after finding water, but they must perform ghusl with water when they can. ‘Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) led the people in prayer, and afterwards saw a man who had not prayed. He said, ‘Why didn’t you pray with us?’ The man replied, ‘I was sexually unclean and there was no water.’ He told him, ‘Use the soil, and it will be enough.’ ‘Imran then mentioned that they later found water. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), upon whom be peace, brought a bowl of water for the man and told him to perform ghusl. (Related by al-Bukhari)
It is allowable to wipe over any wrapper or diseased or injured bodily part. There are many hadith on this point, and although they are all weak, their many chains strengthen each other, making them valid to talk about. One hadith, that of Jabir (quoted earlier), relates a story about a man who was on a journey and suffered an injury. While he slept, he had a wet dream, after which he asked his companions if he could perform tayammum. They said he could not, so he made ghusl and died because of it. When that was mentioned to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), he said “They killed him, may Allah kill them. Do you not ask about what you do not know? ... It would have been enough for him to perform tayammum and drop a little water over his wound or else wipe it, then to wipe it and wash the rest of the body.” This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, ad-Daraqutni and Ibn as-Sakin, who classified it as sahih. Ibn ‘Umar used to do this.
In fact, it is obligatory to wipe over such casts or wrappers in ablution or ghusl instead of washing the injured parts. This must be done even if he has to heat the water. But, if he believes that this would harm the diseased or injured part, or that his condition may worsen, or that his pain would increase, he may wipe the injured part with water. If he fears that this would also be harmful, he should wrap it and then gently wipe over it. It is not necessary for him to be in a state of purity while applying the cast or wrapper to be wiped. There is also no time limit for such wipings, for he can do so as long as his condition lasts. Removing the wrapper or cast nullifies the wiping, as does the final cure.
Whoever cannot get water or soil may pray in whatever state he is in, and he will not have to repeat his prayer later. This is based on what Muslim related from ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha). She had borrowed some jewelry from ‘Asma and it broke (and fell). The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), sent some people to search for it. The prayer time came and they had to pray without ablution. When they came to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), they complained to him and the verses of tayammum were revealed. Usaid ibn Huzhair said, “May Allah give you good recompense. Allah never reveals an order with respect to you except that He removes by it some hardship and gives the Muslims some benefit.” The companions prayed while in a state of impurity, but the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) did not admonish them nor did he order them to repeat their prayers. An-Nawawi (rahimallāh) says, “That is the strongest statement of proof (on this question).”
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Excerpted from Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 1: "Tayammum - The Dry Ablution" by Sayyid Sābiq ]