Category Archives: Tahara

Purity, purification, and all those related things. Wudoo, ghusl, impurity and najas, characteristics of water, etc.

What is a Mursal Hadith?

In the sciences of hadith, there’s something called a “mursal” hadith. What exactly is a mursal hadith? What is it’s status? What are the fiqh rulings on mursal ahadith? And why does it matter?

(Ok, for the answer to the last question, read and learn about the science of hadith. In a sentence: Scholars have devised an extremely rigorous process to determine which hadith are authentic, and which are not. You wouldn’t want to spend your whole life following a “hadith,” only to find out it really wasn’t legit, do you?)

A mursal hadith is a hadith where the chain only goes up to a tabi’ee. (So the hadith goes: X narrated, from Y, from Z, … from such-and-such a tabi’een.) Tabi’een are the generation after the companions–they are the sons and daughters and followers of Islam who came after the sahaba. Most hadith continue–the tabi’ee will narrate from a sahaba, who will narrate directly from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

So mursal ahadith are ahadith where the chain cuts off at the tab’iee level; it doesn’t go directly to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

And why is this important? Because a tabi’ee can narrate from another tabi’ee! It doesn’t necessarily mean that they heard it directly from a sahaba, who heard it from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

So the ruling on mursal ahadith? They are considered as da’eef ahadith. All the same rulings apply.

For example, in the issue of “does laughing in salaah break your wudoo?,” imam Abu Hanifa says yes, and cites a mursal hadith as his proof. The majority of scholars disagree, and insha’Allah this is the correct opinion–why?

Because the hadith is mursal (i.e. da’eef), and it contradicts shari’ah principles–why would it break your wudoo inside salaah, but not if you laugh outside salaah? (And these are not the only proofs; only a taste of the discussion.)

Wallahu ‘alam.


Abdul-Bary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib. The Purification Act. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2006.


Find Peace


Sitting in a halaqah–in a khutbah–in an AlMaghrib class, learning about the deen of Allah– the emanrush, your heart just flutters with tranquility. With satisfaction. With humility. With peace.

Why do we only feel this way in these gatherings?

Allah azza wa jal provides the answer:

He says in Surah Ra’d ayah 28:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوب

Those who have believed and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, it is the remembrance of Allah which provides tranquility to hearts.

The true believers are those who find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Their hearts find rest. Their hearts are still. Their hearts find satisfaction. When dhikr (the mention of Allah) is made in their presence, their hearts find assurance and security. Dhikr, in this verse, can be the Qur’an or any deed that includes the remembrance of Allah. The Qur’an is the most effective dhikr because it is a shifaa’, a cure, for any illness in our chests.

The believers in this verse are those who remember Allah, recognize His ayaat, and are conscious of their emaan. Their hearts are the ones that find peace and security in the remembrance of Allah.

Why do their hearts find rest?

Simple: Our purpose in this life is to worship Allah, dhikr is worship, and when we remember Allah, we are fulfilling our purpose. Therefore, our hearts are at peace.

People often seek peace of mind (or heart) in such things as music, alcohol, shopping, or eating. But Allah ta’ala uses “alaa” in this verse. ‘Alaa’ is known in the Arabic language to imply exclusivity, meaning, ONLY with the remembrance of Allah will hearts be at peace–there is no other way!

Allah ta’ala also says

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

The true believers are those whose hearts tremble with fear when Allah is mentioned, and whose faith increases as they listen to His verses and their put their trust in their Rabb. (8:2)

Again, Allah ta’ala uses a phrase in Arabic that shows exclusivity, for “inna-ma” is like saying the reality is nothing but this, meaning the reality is that only the believers have these special qualities.

Ask yourself how your heart feels when the name of Allah is mentioned? Does your emaan increase when the Qur’an is recited? If not, we need to re-evaluate our emaan because this verse shows that only the true believers feel this way.

Notice that Allah ta’ala describes this as a cause and effect relationship. The believers feel their hearts tremble–they are literally awe-struck–and their emaan increases and becomes stronger. Still, they take the means, put their trust in Allah, and enjoining what He has commanded while staying away from His prohibitions. These believers don’t just seek a fuzzy feeling, they follow their fuzzy feelings with actions.

These fuzzy feelings are what is known as an “emanrush.” Many of us may attend gatherings of dhikr just to soften our hearts and bask in the mention and remembrance of The Most High. It is this feeling that draws people again and again to classes at the masajid, lectures by the shuyookh, and almaghrib seminars. Yes, our intention also includes seeking knowledge for the sake of Allah, but nothing can come close to hearing an ayah and whispering to yourself “subhanAllah” while your heart is utterly humbled. This is where the believers find tranquility.

In these two verses we see that Allah ta’ala mentions the effect of dhikr on the hearts of the believers, but does dhikr effect us externally as well?

Allah, azza wa jal, says

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاء وَمَن يُضْلِلْ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

Allah has revealed the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating: the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the remembrance of Allah. Such is the guidance of Allah. He guides therewith whom He pleases, but such as Allah leaves to stray, can have none to guide. (39:23)

Imam ibn Katheer states beautifully,

“this is the description of the righteous, when they hear the Words of the Compeller, the Protector, the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving, because they understand the promises and warnings contained therein. The frightening words and threats make their skin shiver from fear. ‘Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah’ because of their hope for His mercy and kindness.”

Qatadah said about this verse,

“`This is the characteristic of the friends [auliyaa] of Allah; Allah has described them in this manner, saying that their skin shivers, their eyes weep and their hearts find rest to the remembrance of Allah.”

Then Allah ta’ala says in the end of the verse, “Such is the guidance of Allah,” meaning these feelings are a trait of those who are truly guided, and no one else. This, again, shows exclusivity.

Thus, these verses imply three implications of exclusivity:

ONLY with the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace.

the believers’ hearts tremble with fear when Allah is mentioned, and their faith increases as they listen to His verses.

ONLY the skins and hearts of the guided will shiver with the remembrance of Allah and then become soft.

Next time you have an emanrush, remember these verses and thank Allah ta’ala. Always seek out the dhikr of Allah to soften your heart, to reach peace of mind, to feel humble in front of The One to Whom prostrates what is in the heavens and earth. Remind yourself that Allah ta’ala is not in need of your worship or remembrance in any way, He is Al-Ghaniyy (The One Free of All Needs), and this good is only for your weak and needy self, so be not among those whom Allah has cursed:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْقَاسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مِّن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ

So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah! They are in plain error! (39:22)

These are the ones whose hearts do not become soft, who do not take heed when the verses of Allah are recited to them, who do not feel any fear or humility, and they are in plain misguidance. may Allah azza wa jal protect us from being amongst them and may He soften our hearts and skins to His remembrance and make us among those who act upon it, Ameen.


Is Alcohol Najas?

The word “khamr” in Arabic refers to intoxicants (in general), but also specifically to alcohol. We all know drinking alcohol is haraam–but is alcohol itself najas? People use alcohol in medicine, in lens-cleaners, even in foods. What have scholars said about this?

Summary: Allahu ‘alim, both sides–those that say alcohol is najas, and those that don’t–have strong proofs. Having said that, all four madhahib say alcohol is najas. The main proof–and there are a few proofs–is the ayah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالأَنصَابُ وَالأَزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

Translation: O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are rijs of Shaytan’s handwork; eschew such (filth), that ye may prosper. [Surah Ma’idah, verse 90]

The word Allah uses–rijs–means filth, which is najas by default. Gambling and divination are spirituall najas, and alcohol is physically najas! (Those who say alcohol is not najas use this ayah too–gambling and divination are spiritually najas. If you walk into a gambling machine, you don’t go wash it off! And alcohol is mentioned here too. But the refutal is that it’s common sense that gambling and divination aren’t physically najas.)

Another proof: Abu Tha’labah Al-Khushani asked the Prophet: “We are in a land inhabited by people of the book. Can we eat from their inaa’?” The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said: “Don’t eat from them, unless you can’t find an alternative; in that case, wash them and eat from them.” The word used, inaa’, refers to dishes (plates, bowls), utensils (knives, forks, spoons), AND cups! If alcohol wasn’t najas, the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) wouldn’t have mentioned inaa’, only plates/bowls/etc. and utensils! So the majority of scholars use this proof, too, to say alcohol is najas.

And follow Imam Malik–who says that even though alcohol is najas, if it’s mixed into something–as long as it doesn’t change the colour, smell, or taste of the thing–then that thing is pure.

But don’t cook with it–because there’s a hadith, that “whatever intoxicates in large amounts is haraam even in small amounts.”

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alim.


Abdul-Bary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib. The Purification Act. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2006.


Reusing Purification Water

Can you re-use water used for purification–wudoo or ghusl? This issue doesn’t apply to most people unless they’re stuck somewhere without much water–like Cambodia, where they get water once a year, during flood season, and keep it for nine months.

(Before you read this, read about the three-fold categorization of water; in summary, water can either be purifying (tuhoor), pure (taahir), or impure (najas), and we can only use purifying water for wudoo and ghusl.)

Scholars agree that, if the water changes–the colour, smell, or taste change due to najaasa–then the water is najas, and you can’t use it. And water that remains free of impurity is recyclable.

But what if some najas falls into it, and it doesn’t change colour? For example, you’re washing your son/nephew/grandson, and a few drops of urine fall into your bucket of wudoo water–but the water doesn’t change in it’s three characteristics.

Is it pure?

Scholars disagree on this. Let’s blitz through some of the opinions:

Opinion 1: the water remains pure even if 100 people make wudoo with it 100,000 times–because as long as the three characteristics are the same, it’s still purifying water! They quote the following proofs:

Hadith: Water is purifying, and nothing will defile it.

Hadith: Aisha (رضالله عنها) narrates that she used some water to wash when she was in a state of janabah. The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said: “Water does not come into the state of janabah,” i.e. it doesn’t carry impurity or become impure and remains purifying. [Musnan of Ibn Ahmad]

Hadith: Urwa ibn Mas’ood As-Sa’id met the Prophet, then said to the Quraish: “When the Messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) performed his wudoo, his companions rushed to share the water he used.” [Bukhari, Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

Also, the default opinion with water is that it’s purifying, until proven impure.

Opinion 2: Water becomes pure, but not purifying (like tea or coke). While it’s not najas, you can’t make wudoo or ghusl from it. They quote the following proofs:

Hadith: Don’t urinate in stagnant water and wash yourself with it.

(Meaning, even if the water looks pure, you can’t make wudoo with it.)

Opinion 3: Water already used for purifying becomes najas. (So if you make wudoo and drip water from your elbow onto your clothes, you need to re-wash them.) They use the same hadith above as proof–because one of their principles is “Any time Allah or the Prophet put two things together in a sentence, they take the same ruling.” But there are many ayaat in the Qur’an where this isn’t true, so this is a very weak proof.

So what’s the conclusion? Allahu ‘alim, scholars put forward opinion one–you can reuse wudoo water so long as it’s characteristics don’t change–because the ahadith that speak directly about this topic are many and strong; you can’t get a better proof then that.

So if a little bit of something najas falls into your bathtub or wudoo bucket, don’t freak out–remember, it’s all good! (It’s still purifying.)

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alim.


Abdul-Bary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib. The Purification Act. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2006.


Utensils and Vessels

What utensils and vessels (called inaa’ in Arabic, which includes cups, plates, utensils, and the like–though we’ll call it “utensils” for simplicity) are halal to eat from? This is important–your du’a is at stake! If you eat from haraam, Allah will not accept your du’a.

Scholars agree that all utensils made from pure and clean things–other then silver and gold, because we’re prohibited from eating from those–are pure and clean. So throw out your silverware, even if it’s only partially silver; gold plating is not allowed, either.)

Is it halal to eat from the cutlery (vessels–plates, cups, etc.) and utensils of non-Muslims? This issue most impacts Muslims living in non-Muslim localities, such as North America. What’s the answer? Scholars disagree on this. Let’s look at the opinions.

Opinion 1: We can eat from their utensils, because Allah made the food of non-Muslims lawful–the only things that make their utensils najas is najas stuff.

Opinion 2: We can eat from their utensils–when necessary. Abu Tha’labah Al-Khushani asked the Prophet, “we’re in a land inhabited by People of the Book. Can we eat from their utensils?” The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said: “Don’t eat from them, unless you can’t find an alternative, in which case, wash them and eat from them.”

Opinion 3: We can use them if we don’t see non-Muslims eating pork or driking wine on them. Because in one hadith–a long hadith–the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) ran out of wudoo water. He used water from a water-skin of a mushrik and made wudoo with that (as did all his companions–because of barakah).

So what’s the conclusion? Allahu ‘alim, scholars put forward opinion three–you can use their utensils–so long as they’re not used for wine or eating najas stuff–because of the hadith of the water-skin.

What about eating at non-Muslim restaurants? If you go, and they serve alcohol, pork, or najas things, and they cook it on the same skillet/pan/grill/pot/container as your food, then it’s haraam. But if it’s, for example, a seafood restaurant, and the majority of their food is ok, then it’s ok. (But, it’s preferable to avoid this situation if you can.)

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alim.


Abdul-Bary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib. The Purification Act. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2006.


My Purity and the Qur’an

Use the following chart as a quick reference

Type Description Can I recite from memory? Can I touch a mushaf? Comments
Menstruation The periodic blood that flows as a discharge from womens body Ok according to stronger opinion. No
  • There is another opinion that forbids reciting Qur’an during menstruation
  • May read Qur’an that is printed with tafseer/ translation (given that the non-Qur’anic text is more than the Qur’anic text)
  • May read Qur’an from the computer screen
Janaba The state of a person after sexual discharge, whether it was due to intercourse, an erotic dream or anything else No No You can touch a mushaf (a copy of the Qur’an — more Arabic then anything else) if there’s something in between you and it, such as a cloth
Minor Impurity The state of a person after wudoo is broken Yes No There is another opinion that allows touching a mushaf in this state

There are differences of opinion in some of these issues. I encourage everyone to study the evidences in details.

Want to know the differences between different fluid discharges and their rulings? Inshallah in the next post, we will provide a summary of these rulings. Stay tuned!

References (contain proofs for the above):


The Purification Act

The Purification Act

The Purification Act is an AlMaghrib Institute course taught by Abdul-Bary Yahya. If you think you know wudoo, think again! This course teaches you the ins and outs of tahara (purity and purification) and salaah (prayer)–everything from whether one adhaan or two is more correct, to the proper way to purify dog-slobber from your best china, to whether a pigskin football (or for that matter, a leather jacket) is najas or not. In addition, you get a firm grasp of scholarly opinions, and learn which opinion–or opinions–are the strongest, and why.

Primary Categories

Abdul-Bary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib. The Purification Act. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2006.


The Sock-Wiping Test

Stuck with only a chest-high sink for wudoo? Maybe you feel really tired and just want to make wudoo quickly so you can pray and sleep?

Then you’re in luck! Pass this quick test, and you can just wipe over your socks for wudoo!

  1. Wudooified feet: Were you in a state of purity (post-wudoo) before you put on your socks?
  2. Permanent socks: Did you leave your socks on after losing wudoo? You can’t take them off if you want to wipe!
  3. Smellified socks: Are you within 24 hours (72 for travellers) of when you first broke wudoo after putting on your socks?

And that’s it! Wipe over the top of your socks, and you’re good to go!

Some other things to keep in mind:

  • You only need to wipe over the top of your socks.
  • Removing your socks if you wipe over for wudoo breaks your wudoo!
  • You can make wudoo over leather socks or any ol’ socks–because the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) used to wipe over his shoes, according to some ahadith.
  • You can safely wipe regardless of how “holey” your socks are.

And Allah Almighty knows best.


Abdul-Bary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib. The Purification Act. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2006.