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Fiqh

Tayammum (Purification with Dust)
By Mohammad Yusuf Islahi


The concession of Tayammum has been granted so that Muslims may carry out their religious duties and obligations in all conditions and circumstances and in all regions of the world without any hardship.


The ideal means of purifica-tion is water which Allah Almighty through His grace has made available to man in abundance. But there may be conditions and circumstances when water is not available, or if available, it may not be possible for a person to obtain purity through it, or its use may be harmful to health. In such cases, Allah Almighty in His unbounded mercy has granted the Muslims the concession of using pure dust as means of purification, and has also taught them the method of cleansing themselves with it, so that they may carry out their religious duties without any hardship.


The Qur’an says :

“......and if you can find no water, then cleanse yourselves with pure dust ; strike your palms on it and wipe your hands and faces with it. Allah does not will to make life hard for you, but He wills to purify, you and complete His blessing upon you so that you may show gratitude”. (5:6)


What is Tayammum ?

Literally Tayammum means ‘to will or to turn to’, but as a term of Fiqh it means turning to pure dust for the purpose of obtaining purity from the state of impurity. Tayammum can be performed instead of Wudu and Ghusl both, and so one can cleanse oneself of both the Minor and the Major Impurity. Obviously, this is a great favour of Allah Almighty to the community of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), and for the whole of mankind till the Last Day. This concession has been granted so that the Muslims may carry out their religious duties and obligations in all conditions and circumstances and in all regions of the world without any hardship.


When is Tayammum allowed ?

1. One may perform Tayamm-um if one is staying at a place where there is no trace of water, or no hope of getting water or if water is available, it is at a distance of a mile or so, and it may entail hardship to go and get it.


2. Or there exists a genuine danger of an enemy, or of a harmful animal, like a snake, etc., or of thieves, near the source of water, or there is no rope and bucket to draw water out of a well, or a woman feels a danger to her honour if she goes out to fetch water.


3. Or water is available but in such a little quantity that if it is consumed in Wudu or Ghusl, nothing would be left for drinking and cooking purposes.


4. Or water is available, but its use is deemed to be harmful to health. Instance : Suppose one has formed the habit of using hot water for Wudu and Ghusl during winter now if cold water only is available and one is sure of harm if one uses it, one may perform Tayammum to obtain purity and avoid missing the prayers on the pretext of the non-availability of hot water.


5. Or water is available, but at an exorbitant rate, or if the rate is reasonable, one does not have enough money to buy it, or if one has the money one, has saved it for the travelling expenses, etc.


6. Or water is available, but it is intensely cold and if used, it is likely to cause a disease like pneumonia, paralysis, etc., and there is no chance of getting the water heated.


7. Tayammum may also be performed if one fears that if one goes to get water for Wudu, or Ghusl, one is likely to miss a prayer which cannot be offered later, e.g., the funeral prayers, Id Prayer, or the Solar and Lunar Eclipse Prayers.


8. Water is available, but one is unable to get it on account of a disability, weakness, disease, or cannot draw it out of a well, or cannot work a pump, etc.


9. If a person is travelling non-stop in a bus, train or aeroplane, and water is not available on board, or if available, one cannot perform Wudu due to the rush of passengers, one may perform Tayammum.


10. If one has boils, wounds, etc., on major part of the body, one may perform Tayammum.


11. If one is on a journey having a little water on board, and there is little possibility of getting extra water on the way, one may perform Tayammum and save the water for drinking and cooking purposes.


Tayammum :

The Prescribed way


Begin with Bismillah and have the intention of performing Tayammum, then striking both the open palms gently on pure dust, and shaking off or blowing off extra dust, if any, wipe the entire face completely and comb the beard (with fingers) as well. Then striking the open palms once again on pure dust, and shaking off extra dust, first wipe the right hand from the fingers to the elbow, and then the left hand from the elbow to the fingers completely including the back of hands and spaces between fingers. If one is wearing a watch, bangles or a ring etc., one should move it and wipe the skin under it, too.


Fard Parts in Tayammum

1. To have the intention of seeking purity for the sake of Allah’s approval.

2. To strike both the palms on pure dust and wipe the face.

3. To strike both the palms on pure dust and wipe the hand up to and including the elbows.



Sunnat Parts in Tayammum

1. To begin with Bismillah.

2. To follow the prescribed sequence : wiping the face first and then the hands.

3. To strike the palms, and not the back of hands on dust.

4. To shake or blow off extra dust.

5. To keep the fingers apart while striking the palms on dust.

6. To wipe the face and the hands with at least three fingers.

7. To wipe the right hand first and then the left hand.

8. To comb the beard (with fingers) after wiping the face.



Means of Tayammum

1. Tayammum can be performed with pure dust and like things which cannot burn to ashes or cannot melt, like lime stone, brick, sand, marble and other hard stones etc.

2. Tayammum cannot be performed with those things and articles which can burn to ashes or can melt, e.g., wood, iron, gold, silver, copper, brass, tin and other metals, and also coal, grain, paper, nylon and articles made of plastic etc..

3. If, however, there is a layer of dust on any of these articles, one may perform Tayammum with it. For eg: If dust has settled on a bundle of cloth, chair, table, etc., one may perform Tayammum with it.

4. Articles with which Tayammum is allowed, e.g. stone, brick, earthenware, etc, can be used for Tayammum even if they have been washed and there is no dust on them.



Factors that Break Tayammum

1. Factors that render Wudu void or which make Ghusl necessary, render Tayammum also void.

2. If a person has performed Tayammum, instead of both Wudu and Ghusl, and his Wudu breaks, it will render his Tayammum for Wudu also void , but his Tayammum for Ghusl will remain valid unless Ghusl itself becomes necessary due to some reason, e.g., seminal discharge, menses etc.

3. If Tayammum is performed on account of an ailment or some other genuine reason, it will become void as soon as one recovered from the ailment or the reason has ceased to be genuine. For eg : A person has performed Tayammum in intense cold due to the fear of catching a disease, now if hot water becomes available, Tayammum will become void.

4. If a person has performed Tayammum due to the presence of an enemy, or a harmful animal, like a snake, etc., near the source of water, Tayammum will become void as soon as the cause of fear is removed.

5. If a person has performed Tayammum while travelling non-stop in a bus, train, or aeroplane, but on the way he sees rivers, canals, streams, etc., here and there, his Tayammum will remain valid, because he cannot make use of the water that he sees.

6. If a person has performed Tayammum on account of a genuine reason, which later ceases to be genuine, but another equally genuine reason comes about, his earlier Tayammum will be rendered void. Instance : A person performs Tayammum due to non-availability of water, then water becomes available, but he falls seriously ill and is not allowed to use water, the Tayammum performed earlier will be rendered void.

7. If a person has performed Tayammum instead of Wudu, then sufficient water for performing Wudu becomes available, his Tayammum will become void. Another person has performed Tayammum instead of Ghusl, then water becomes available, but it is just sufficient for performing Wudu, his Tayammum for Ghusl will remain valid and unaffected.

(Source: Everyday Fiqh by Mohammad Yusuf Islahi - Hanafi point of view)