Before the noble reader is a concise article on some basic rulings regarding purification. The title headings within the article have been added by the translator. I ask Allāh, The Most High, to make this effort solely for Him.
The great scholar, ‘Abdur-Raḥmān al-S’adi [d. 1376 AH], may Allāh have mercy on him, wrote (1):
[The Importance of Purification]
As it pertains to the ṣalāh (prayer), it has conditions that must be fulfilled before performing it. One of these conditions is purification. The Prophet, prayers and peace upon him, said, “Allāh does not except [any] prayer without purification.” [al-Bukhārī and Muslim]
Therefore, whoever does not ritually purify himself by performing wuḍū or ghusul, nor does he purify himself from physical impurities (najāsah), there is no prayer from him.
[What Substances Can Be Used for Purification?]
Purification is of two types; the first of them is purification with water. This is the origin of purification. All of the water that falls from the sky or springs from the earth purifies. It can be used for ritual purification, and it can be used to remove physical impurities…
The Messenger of Allāh, prayers and peace upon him, said, “Indeed, water purifies, nothing causes it to become impure.” (2)
[Specific Circumstances which Cause Water to Become Impure]
If the smell, taste or color of water changes by contamination of something impure, it is obligatory to refrain from using it. (3)
[The Origin of Things is Purity]
All types of water are pure. It doesn’t matter if it’s seawater, rivers, wells or springs. Everything on the earth is pure as well. This includes dirt, stones…, sand, minerals, and trees. Included in this are all types of clothing as well. All of the aforementioned is pure, until you are sure that its origin has changed due to impurities contaminating them. (4)
[Certainty is not Removed by Doubt]
If a Muslim doubts the purity of water, an article of clothing, a place, or other than these things, they are to be ruled upon as pure. Another situation is if a Muslim is sure that he has ritually purified himself by performing wudū or ghusul, then he doubts whether his is [still] ritually pure. In this situation, he rules upon himself that he is ritually pure.
This is due to the statement of the Messenger of Allāh, prayers an peace upon, to a man who was made to imagine [that he passed wind] in his prayer, “Don’t leave your prayer until you hear a sound or smell an odor. (5)” [al-Bukhāri and Muslim]
Translation and Footnotes by:
Abū Ādam Jamīl Finch
Umm al-Qurā University, College of Sharī’ah
Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The night of the 13th of Muḥarram, 1433/December 9th, 2011
(1) ‘Abdur-Raḥmān al-S’adi, Manhaj al-Sālikīn, 15-17
(2) Authenticated by al-Albānī. See Irwā al-Ghalīl, 1/14.
(3) Translator: Ibn Munthir [d. 318 AH] wrote, “The scholars of Islām have all agreed that if water is contaminated by impurities which cause the taste, smell or color to change, it becomes impure as long as it is in that condition.” – See al-Ijmā’ā, 34-35.
(4) ‘Abdur-Raḥmān al-S’adi, An Explanation of a Poem on Fiqh Principles, 40
(5) Al-Amīr al-San’ānī [d. 1182 AH], may Allāh have mercy on him, wrote, “This lofty hadīth is a foundation of Islām. It is a tremendous principle of fiqh. This hadīth shows that things are ruled on based upon their origin until we are sure that its opposite has defninently occurred. This hadīth shows that doubt has no effect on the origin of things. – See Subul al-Salām, 1/262.