According to most scholars, alcohol is impure. Says Allah in the Qur’an; “Alcohol, games of chance, idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork.” Some scholars say that it is pure, for they take the meaning of rajis in its abstract sense as describing alcohol and whatever is related to it. This is not labeled as impure in a definite, sensory way. Says Allah; “Stay away from the impurities of idols.” Idols are impure in the abstract sense, and they are considered impure if one touches them.
The explanation of the preceding verse is that they are a tool of Satan, for they cause enmity and hatred and keep people away from the remembrance of Allah and pra.yer. In Subul as-Salaam it says, “Their origin is pure and their being prohibited does not mean that the object itself is impure. For example, hashish is prohibited but it is pure. But, something impure is not necessarily prohibited. Every impure thing is prohibited, but not vice-versa. That is because of the ruling that something impure cannot be touched under any circumstances. If a ruling says that something is impure, it is also prohibited. This differs from a ruling that something is prohibited. For example, it is forbidden to wear silk and gold, but they are absolutely pure by consensus.” If one understands that, then the prohibition of alcohol does not necessarily entail it’s also being considered impure: it needs some other evidence to prove that it is impure. If not, then we are left with the original position that it is pure. If one claims other than that, he must substantiate it.
Purifying the body and clothes
If the clothes or body are contaminated with impurities, it is obligatory to wash them with water until they are cleansed of the impurities. This is especially the case if the impurity is visible, such as blood. If there are some stains that remain after washing which would be extremely difficult to remove, they can be overlooked. If the impurity is not visible, such as urine, it is sufficient to wash it one time. ‘Asma bint Abu Bakr related that a woman came to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and said, “Our clothes are contaminated with menstrual blood. What should we do about this?” He said, “Scrape it, rub it with water, pour water over it and then pray in it.” (This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim) If impurities get on the lower portion of a woman’s dress, it is purified by dust as she trails along. A woman said to Umm Salamah, “I have a long dress that drags on the ground, even when I walk through places that contain filth. What should I do about it?” Umm Salamah answered her, “The Messenger of Allah said, ‘What comes after it purifies it.”’ This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.
Dogs are considered impure. Any container that a dog has licked must be washed seven times, the first time with dirt. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, “Purifying a container that a dog has licked is done by washing it seven times, the first washing being with dirt (that is, water mixed with dirt until it becomes muddy).” This was related by Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Baihaqi. If a dog licks a pot that has dry food in it, what it touched and what surrounds it must be thrown away. The remainder may be kept, as it is still pure. As for a dog’s fur, it is considered pure.
Purifying the ground
If there are impurities on the ground, it is purified by pouring water over it. This is proven by Abu Hurairah’s hadith, mentioned earlier, about the Bedouin who urinated in the mosque. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said all that needed to be done for purification was to pour water over it. Said; Abu Qulabah, “The drying of the ground is its purification.” ‘Aishah said, “The purification of the ground is its becoming dry.” (Related by Ibn Abi Shaibah.) This, of course, refers to the case where the impurity is a liquid. If the impurity is a solid, the ground will only become pure by its removal or decay.
Purifying clarified butter and other similar substances
Ibn ‘Abbas relates from Maimunah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, was asked about a mouse that fell into a pot of clarified butter. He said, “Take (the mouse) and what is around it out, and throw it away. Then eat (the rest of) your clarified butter.” This is related by al-Bukhari.
Commenting on the subject, al-Hafezh Ibn Hajr says, “Ibn ‘Abdul Barr reported that there is agreement that if a dead animal falls into a solid matter, what the dead animal touches and what is around it must be thrown away, provided that one can make sure that the animal did not touch the remainder. As for a liquid substance, there is some difference of opinion. The majority says that the entire liquid becomes impure; az-Zuhri, al-Auza’i, and some others disagree with that opinion.
Purifying the skin of dead animals
Tanning purifies the skin and the fur of a dead animal. This is based on the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, in which the Prophet said, “If the animal’s skin is tanned, it is purified.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
A: Purifying mirrors and similar objects
Mirrors, knives, swords, nails, bones, glass, painted pots and other smooth surfaces that have no pores are purified by simply wiping them and removing any impure remains. The companions of the Prophet used to pray while wearing swords smeared with blood, and they used to just wipe the swords to purify them.
B: Purifying shoes
Shoes may be purified by rubbing them against the ground, as long as the remains of the impurity are removed. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, “If one of you stepped in some filth, the dirt will purify his shoes.” Related by Abu Dawud. In another narration it states, “If one of you steps in some filth with his shoes on, the dirt will purify them.” Abu Sa’eed reported the Prophet, upon whom be peace, saying, “When a person comes to the mosque, he should look at his shoes. If he finds any filth on them, he should wipe them against the ground and pray in them.” (Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.) Since shoes are repeatedly exposed to filth, it is sufficient just to wipe them against the ground. This is similar to the case of defecation. In fact, it is stronger than that case, as defecation usually occurs only two or three times a day.
To be continued