It-haf al-Talib: Fiqh Of Tayammum

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Salam.  I have been working occasionally on the wonderful beginners level aqidah-fiqh-tasawwuf text from al-Ahsa.  Those who have visited the blog in the past will have noticed that other sections from this work have been posted.  May Allah (the Exalted) give us tawfiq to complete this work.  A reminder: The text of  ‘It-haf al-Talib’ is in bold, and the other notes are based on the authors and editors commentary and footnotes. Please refer to other posts on the blog for more details about this blessed text.

Chapter on Tayammum

-In the sacred law (shariah) it is the intending the use of clean earth, and its use in a specific manner for the performance of an act of worship.

[Integrals of Tayammum]  Its integrals are two things:  1- The two strikes  2- Complete covering

[Conditions of Tayammum] Its conditions are six:  1- The intention[1] 2-The Wiping  3-That it be with three fingers or more  4-The soil  5-That it be clean  6-The absence of water

[Recommended Acts of Tayammum]  Its recommended acts are eight:  1-Striking with the inner part of the hands  2-Passing them forward  3-Passing them backwards  4-To dust them both off  5-To spread out the fingers  6-The tasmiyah  7 -Order[2] 8-Continuity.

[Reasons Permitting Tayammum]

One who is unable to use water Which is unqualified (mutlaq) and is of a sufficient amount to purify with due to it being a distance Even in a city of a mile Which is a third of a farsakh, 4000 steps, and is a cubit and half from the general cubit (aamah), which in turn is 24 fingers.[3]

or due to illness From which a person fears an increase in the illness or a delay in the healing based on a predominant view, or the opinion of an expert Muslim cold From which he fears harm or illness, even in a city, this is for a person in a state of major ritual impurity (junub)[4] if they do not possess the fees for a bath house (hammam).  If they do possess this then there is agreement that it is not permitted.  As for the person in a state of minor ritual impurity it is said tayammum is permitted for them.  Al-Aini said[5] in ‘Sharh al-Kanz’:  The correct view is that it is not permitted for a resident person in a state of minor ritual impurity to perform tayammum (i.e. if they possess enough money to use washing facilities).

fear of an enemy Whether it be a human or other, whether he fears for himself, his properties or trusts thirst Whether he fears it at that moment or in the future, or for a friend amongst fellow travellers, his riding animal even if it be a dog.  Likewise his need for it for making dough or the removal of filth[6]

absence of a means Such as a rope and a bucket, for all of the previously mentioned reasons performs tayammum, intending Purification from ritual impurity (hadath) upon his person.  It is not a condition to specify the removal of major ritual impurity (janabah) from the minor ritual impurity, or the making of the prayer permissible, or an intended worship[7] which is not correct without purification such as prayer and prostration of recitation.  Such that if a person made tayammum for the entry to a masjid, calling the adhan or iqamah he cannot perform the prayer with this tayammum.  The time of the intention is:  At the time of striking the hands upon that which the person will be making tayammum from, or at the time of wiping the body parts with dust which they have come in contact with.

with two strikes Even if it be from other than the person making tayammum.  So for example if he intends tayammum and orders another to perform tayammum on him it is correct/valid.

Note: If a persons face and arms come in to contact with dust during strong winds for example, or a wall collapses creating a large amount of dust in the air and the person wipes his face and arms accompanied by an intention then it will be correct.

covering Meaning with the wipe the face and hands along with the elbows[8] A person should remove the ring, rub between the fingers and wipe all of the skin and hair of the face even if The person performing tayammum is in a state of major ritual impurity (janabah) or menstruating Or in a state of post natal bleeding[9]

With a pure substance from the type[10]of the earth Such as dust, pebbles, stones, mountainous salt not sea salt.  If the dust is admixed with something else, if the dust is predominant then it is permissible, if not then it is not.

It is correct Meaning tayammum before The entry of the time Likewise one performance of tayammum and for more than one obligatory (prayer) Because it is regarded as absolute purity such as wudu.[11]

[Nullifiers Of Tayammum]

It is nullified by Referring to tayammum because it is a substitute for it and therefore takes its ruling That which nullifies wudu, And It is also nullified by the disappearance/absence of the reason which permitted it in the first place.  Thus if a person performed tayammum due to an illness it is nullified by his recovery.  Likewise due to cold when the weather is no longer cold or the absence of an enemy, or the presence of a means. to access water.  All of these are included in his statement:

The ability to use a sufficient amount of water For his purification even if only washing each part once.

Completion: It is compulsory to seek water for the distance of a ghalwah[12] which is 300 cubits[13] if he thinks it is close by[14]


[1] The difference between the Wudu and Tayammum such that the intention is not required as a condition for the validity of wudu, but however is a condition for the validity/correctness of tayammum is because wudu (and its like such as ghusl) is that they are performed with water which is cleansing substance by nature.  So when a person performing wudu or bathing uses water the desired aim of purification and cleanliness is achieved from the use of the water.  As for Tayammum it performed by the use of soil/dust which by its nature is a soiling substance.  However the sacred law has regared it as being a purifying substance due to need.  Therefore if any one of us were to wipe their face with soil/dust we would not know if this was a soiling or purification of our face except by the accompaniment of an intention.  Therefore it is necessary for the intention for the wiping of the face and hands/arms with dust as being an act of purification.  Maraqi al-Falah (p.660).

[2] That a person start with the face and then the hands/arms as was the practice of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

[3] It is equivalent to approximately 50 centimetres, therefore based on this a farsakh would be 3000 metres, a mile would be a third of this and would be approximately 1000 metres.  According to Abu Yusuf (Allah have mercy on him) if the water is at distance such that if the person went towards it, performs wudu, and his caravan should depart and disappear from sight, it is defined as being distant and then tayammum becomes permissible (Ibn al-Hummam 1/85).  Some of the scholars defined it as that if ones voice would not reach a place, then it is regarded as being distant, see al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi (1/115).

[4] If there is surety of there being harm in the performance of wudu there is agreement that tayammum is permitted for him, because harm is repelled by statements of the sacred law. See Rad al-Muhtar ala Dur al-Mukhtar (1/156).  The basis for this is that which is reported by Imam Ahmad in ‘al-Musnad’ (3/204) from Ibn Abbas from Amr bin al-Aas that he performed prayer with the people whilst in a state of major ritual impurity.  When they came to Madinah they asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) who questioned him regarding it.  He replied:  O Messenger of Allah I feared that the cold would kill me, as Allah (the Most High) has said: ‘Do not kill yourselves, Indeed Allah is Most Merciful with you’ so I performed tayammum and prayed.  At this the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) laughed.

[5] He is Mahmud bin Ahmad bin Musa bin Ahmad bin Hussein bin Yusuf bin Mahmud al-Ayntabi, al-Halabi and then al-Qahiri, al-Hanafi.  Better known as al-Aini (Badr al-Din, Abul Thana, Abu Muhammad).  A jurist, scholar of Usul, Mufassir, expert in hadith, historian, grammarian, poet.  He was fluent in both Arabic and Turkish.  He was born in Kaykan on the 17th of Ramadan in the year 762 Hijri and passed away in Cairo in 4/12/855 Hijri.  From his numerous include:  His commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari in 21 volumes called Umdat al-Qari, Uqd al-Juman fi Tarikh Ahl al-Zaman in 19 volumes, Ramz al-Haqaiq fi Sharh Kanz al-Daqaiq in fiqh.  See Mujam al-Muallifin (12/150) and Fawaid al-Bahiyyah (p.205).

[6] Meaning more than a dirham in terms of size.

[7] Intended worship (ibadah maqsudah) is that which which is not obligated is the course of having to perform another act of worship.  See Bahr al-Raiq (1/157).

[8] Jabir reports from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:  ‘Tayammum is two strikes, a strike for the face, and a strike for the hands up to the elbows.’  Reported by al-Hakim in ‘al-Mustadrak’ (1/180).

[9] Meaning a menstruating and post natal bleeding woman both of whose bleeding has ceased.

[10] Everything which burns with fire and becomes ash such as leaves and wood.  Likewise everything which is malleable such as metal, gold, and silver.  Also everything which is consumed by the earth such as grains and seeds.  All of these are not regarded as being from the type of the earth.  All such objects/materials which are not like the above are to be regarded as being from the type of the earth.  Therefore all that which is not from the type of the earth is not permissible to make tayammum from if it is not covered in dust.  As for that which is from the type of the earth it is permissible to make tayammum from it even if it does not have dust on it with the condition that it is pure.  See al-Zaylai ala al-Kanz (1/38-39).  The basis for this are His (the Exalted’s) words:  ‘Perform tayammum from pure earth’.  The earth is defined as that which is apparent upon the land from its type.  And that which is from the hadith of Jabir: ‘…the earth was made a masjid and pure for me…’ reported by al-Bukhari (335) and Muslim (3).

[11] Because tayammum is akin to wudu due to the order in the noble verse where He (the Exalted) said:  ‘If you do not find water then perform tayammum with pure earth’ (al-Maidah:6) and His (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying:  ‘Dust is a purification for a Muslim even if it be for 10 Hajj’s if he does not find water’  reported by Abu Dawud (333) and Ibn Hibban (1308 ) al-Hakim (1/176-177 ) from Abu Dharr.  It was graded Sahih by al-Tirmidhi (124) who said it was Hasan Sahih.  I say:  However it is superior to repeat it for every obligatory prayer to remove oneself from the difference of opinion regarding the matter.

[12] Ghalwah:  It is the furthest point at which an archers arrow will fall.  From al-Layth:  a complete farsakh is 25 ghalwah, and from Ibn Shuja: a ghalwah is the distance of between 300-400 cubits. In modern measurements it would equal approximately 184.80 metres.  See ‘Mujam Lughah al-Fuqaha’ (p.334).

[13] Even by looking in its directions if it is evident by looking.

[14] Meaning has a strong view because it necessitates action in practical acts, as opposed to doubt for no ruling is built upon it.

Categories: Fiqh It-haf al-Talib

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