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Oct 28, 2016, 10:29 AM

Kinds of Water

The Shariah has divided Water into four kinds:

1.         Mutlaq Water,

2.         Used Water (for purification)

3.         Water mixed with pure elements and

4.         Water mixed with impure elements. We shall discuss each of them separately.

Mutlaq Water

This kind of water is considered pure because of its inherent purity and as such, it can be used by an individual to purify him or herself. It consists of the following categories:

Rain Water, Snow, and Hail

These substances are pure because Allah says so

“He caused water (rain) to descend on you from the sky, to clean you.”

And He says,

“We send down pure water from the sky.”

This is also supported by the following hadith: Abu Huriarah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, used to be silent between the (opening) takbir of the prayer and the verbal Qur’anic recitation. Abu Hurairah asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, why do you remain silent between the takbir and the recital? What do you say (silently during that time)?” He said, “I say, ‘O Allah, make a distance between me and my sins similar to the distance you have made between the East and the West. O Allah, Cleanse me of my sins in the manner that a white garment (is cleansed) from dirt. O Allah, wash my sins from me with snow, water, and hail.”’ This hadith is related by the “group”, except for At-Tirmidhy.

Sea Water

Sea water’s purity is based on the following hadith: Abu Hurairah related that a man asked the messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, “O Messenger of Allah, we sail on the ocean and we carry only a little water. If we use it for ablution, we will have to go thirsty. May we use sea water for ablution?” Said the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, “The sea water is pure and its dead (animals) are lawful (i.e., they can be eaten without any prescribed slaughtering). “ This Hadith is related by “the five.” At-Tirmidhy calls it Hasan Sahih, and Al-Bukhary says it is Sahih.

Water from the well of Zamzam  

`Aly narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be open him, called for a bucket that contained water from the well of Zamzam. He drank from the bucket, then made ablution (with its water). This hadith is related by Ahmad.

Altered Water

This involves Water whose form has been altered because of its being in a place for a long period of time or because of the place in which it is located, or because of its being mixed with a substance that cannot be completely removed from it (i.e., water mixed with algae, tree leaves, and so on). The scholars agree that this type of water falls under the heading of mutlaq water.

The rationale is simple: everything that falls under the general term of water, without any further qualifications, is considered pure, for the Qur’an says: “And you find no water then perform tayammum.”(Al-Ma’idah)

Used Water

This category refers to water which drips from the person after he performs ablution or ghusl. It is considered pure because it was pure before its use for ablution, and there is no basis to think that it has lost its purity.

 This statement is supported by the Hadith of Ar-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh which describes the ablution of the Messenger of Allah. She states, “He Wiped his head with (the water) remaining on his hands from his Ablution.” This hadith is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud’s version is “The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, wipe his head with the extra water that was in his hand. “Abu Hurairah also reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, asked him “where have you been, Abu Hurairah?” He answered, “I was in post-sex impurity and did not want to sit with you while I was in that condition.” The Prophet replied, “Glory be to Allah. The believer does not become impure.” This is related by “the group.”

This is based on the rationale that since a believer never becomes impure, the water he uses for purification also those not become impure. Thus, a pure object touching a pure object cannot result in one’s becoming impure. Ibnul-mundhir  said that it is related that ‘Aly, Ibn ‘Umar, ABU Umamah ‘Ata, Al-Hasan, Makhul and An-Nakha’y said that if a person forgot to wipe his head while making ablution, it is sufficient for him to wipe his head with any water remaining in his beard. Ibn Al-Mundhir stated that his proves that they took “used water” as pure. This opinion comes from one of the narrations attributed to Malik and Ash-Shafi’y. Ibn Hazm ascribes it to Sufyan Al-Thawry, Abu Thawr, and all scholars of the Zhahiri school of thought.

Water mixed with pure elements 

This category includes water that has been mixed with substances like soap, saffron, flowers, and so on, that is objects considered pure by the shari’ah. Such water is considered pure as long as it has not been so mixed with other substances that one can no longer call it water, if this is the case, the water still considered pure, but it cannot be used for purification. Umm `Atiyyah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, entered her house after the death of his daughter Zainab and said, “Wash her three or five or more times-with water and dry tree leaves. For the final washing, use some Kafur or something from Kafur. When you are finished, inform me.” She did so, after which he gave the woman his outer garment and told them to wrap Zainab in it.

The deceased should be washed with something that may purify a live person. Ahmad, An-Nasa’y and Ibn Khuzaimah record from Umm Hani’ that the Messenger of Allah and Maimunah washed themselves from one (water) container that had a trace of dough in it. In both of these hadith, we find that the water was mixed with another substance, but since the other substance was not substantial enough to alter its nature, it remained fit for consumption.

Water mixed with impure elements

We can divide this category into two sub-categories:     

1.The impure substance alters the taste, color or odor of the water. In this case, it cannot be used for purification. According to Ibn Al-Mundhir and Ibnul-Mulaqqin, there is a consensus on this point.

2.The liquid is still considered water, meaning that the impure substance has not altered its taste, color or odor. Such water is considered pure and may be used for purification.

This is based upon the following Hadith: Abu Hurairah reported that a Bedouin urinated in the mosque. The people stood to get him (and stop him). The Prophet said, “Leave him and pour a bucket of water or a container of water over his urine. You have been raised to be easy on the people, not to be hard on them.

This hadith is narrated by “the group except for Muslim. 

 To be continued.