Umdat Al-Fiqh – Chapter on Water

طهارة (Taharah) – Uplifting spiritual purity and removing physical impurity

There are 3 types of water:

  1. طهور (Tahoor): This is water that is clean and can be used to uplift spiritual purity
  2. طاهر (Tahir): This is water that can be used to clean other things but not uplift spiritual purity
  3. نجس (Najis): This is impure water that cannot be used

4 Changes to water that can make it impure regardless of size:

  1. Color
  2. Taste
  3. Smell
  4. Name (ex: soup instead of water)

To determine the size of a body of water, it is compared to one قلتان (Qullatan)

There is a difference of opinion on the size of one Qullatan. The common opinion of the Hanabilah is 191 liters (roughly the size of two bathtubs full of water).

There are 4 kinds of water:

  1. Large bodies of water that don’t move. This is always Tahoor unless affected by the above 4 changes
  2. Large bodies of water that move. This is always Tahoor unless affected by the above 4 changes
  3. Small bodies of water (less than 1 Qulatan) that are in motion. This is always Tahoor unless affected by the above 4 changes
  4. Small bodies of water (Less than 1 Qulatan) that don’t move. This water is pure unless an impurity falls into it

It is impermissible to use the Dead Sea to make wudu because a punishment took place there.

Certainty supersedes doubt, so if you doubt the water is pure or impure go with certainty. For example: If a body of water smaller than a Qullatan seems pure, but someone says they think something impure might have fallen into it, it is still considered pure are there is doubt that it is impure.

If you have 2 bodies of water, and one is Tahoor and one is Tahir, make wudu with both to ensure you have wudu.

Hanbali specific ruling: If you have x pairs of clothes with impurity on them and y pairs of clothes that are pure but aren’t sure which are which, pray x amount of times while changing each time, then change once more and pray again. This would mean you definitely prayed once in clean clothes. For example: if you have 5 pairs of clothes that have impurity on them and 5 that are clean, pray 6 times while changing clothes each time to ensure you prayed once in clean clothes.

Washing Impurities with Water:

List of what is considered impure:

  • Urine and Fecal matter from humans or other animals we cannot eat
  • Saliva or sweat from a dog
  • Human blood
  • Preseminal fluid

The impurities from pigs and dogs are washed 7 times, once with dirt or soap. Anything wet from a dog is considered impure. This means you can pet a dog as long as you don’t touch its sweat or saliva.

All other impurities can be washed 3 times with water to be cleaned according to the author. Imam Ahmad’s opinion however was seven times.

If there is an impurity on the ground, water just needs to be poured on it for it to be cleaned.

The urine of a baby boy who cannot eat yet can be cleaned from clothes by simply sprinkling water over it with your hands and wiping it. The same can be done for preseminal fluid and a little bit of blood.

If there is a lot of blood, it needs to be washed once. The amount that is considered to be a lot of blood is at the discretion of the person and therefore different per person

Semen is considered pure while preseminal fluid needs to be washed as described above.

Hanbalis believe the waste of animals we can eat is pure, while Shafiis disagree with this. Therefore, Hanbalis can pray in a field where cattle grazes while Shafiis cannot.