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Kinds of Water

Water is the medium to get purification from pollution. But not all kinds of water can beget purification. It is, therefore, essential to discuss the nature of water that can be used as a medium of purification:

The following are the kinds of water that can be used as a medium of purification:

  1. Rain water, melted ice and snow, water of wells and springs and water drawn by pumps. It is generally taken as water.
  2. Water left over after drinking by men and animals. Of the leftover water of animals that which is left by the swine and dogs is regarded as impure. Hadrat Ayesha (RadhiAllahu Anha) has narrated that the pot from which I drank during my menstrual flow the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) drank the same water from the same spot where I had put my lips (Muslim). According to another narration, the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was once asked about the use of water left over by a donkey for ablutions. He said yes, and you can perform ablution with water left over by all cattle (Dar Qutni, Bihaqi). About water left by cats he said that cats are not impure because they are always frequenting your homes (Most compilers).
  1. Water in which a small quantity of some pure substance like soup or grain floor gets dissolved without changing its colour or taste.
  2. Water in a large quantity which gets mixed up with a small quantity of some impure substances without changing its colour or taste remains pure; for instance, a running river or a canal or a deep well which is prone to exposure to dust, dirt or other impure substances.

Water Unfit for Cleansing Purpose

  1. Water that gets mixed up with some pure substance so much as it changes its colour, smell and taste.
  2. Water that gets mixed up with some impure substance which changes its colour, taste and smell.
  3. Water left over by dogs and swine. The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has recommended that if a dog puts its mouth in a pot it should be washed seven times (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).

 Method of Cleansing

  1. If the human body or garments are touched by something filthy, it/they should be washed so that the filth is removed.
  2. If some impure thing on the soil is visible like faeces or dung it should be properly cleaned. But if some invisible impurity like urine is spilt on the soil, its mere drying up is enough for its purity. Or else water can be poured over the spot to clean it.
  3. If the hide or skin of some dead cattle is to be utilized, it must be tanned. The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that tanned leather and skin are pure (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).
  4. If the footwear of a person is touched with filth it should be rubbed clean against the soil or any other object.
  5. If a man is touched by any substance of which he does not know whether it is pure or impure, it will be considered to be pure. But if it is suspected to be  most probably dirty then it should be washed.
  6. If a man feels that his garment has been touched with filth but he is doubtful about the spot touched, the whole garment should be washed.

 Calls of Nature

The natural calls of defecation and urination are normal processes of life. There are two ways of getting cleansed:

  1. By the use of water. Allah (Ta’ala) Himself has praised the Ansar for their habit of cleansing with water after attending to their natural calls. He says:


فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَتَطَهَّرُوا وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ (التوبة : 108)


(Translation of meaning) [“wherein are men who love to purify themselves. Allah loveth the purifiers” (At-Taubah: 108)].


  1. In place of water a sod of earth or a piece of stone or toilet paper or any other cleaning substance may be used. It is desirable that first dirt be removed by a dry object like toilet paper then washing be done.

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