There is no Salaah without Purification

This post is part of a series explaining various Prophetic narrations, following the order of al-Tirmidhi

al-Hafiz al-Tirmidhi began his famous collection with the words

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

With the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

And the imam did not add anything else. He did not include any specific praise of Allah or a long khutbah to initiate his monumental work. And that’s not a surprise, as nearly all of the early scholars of Islam began their works in this manner—starting with the name of Allah, but cutting short of any other praise but “diving in” to the subject matter. Imam Muslim was one exception, who also praised Allah in writing and offered salaat and salaam upon the Prophet ﷺ. However, every chapter of the Quran only begins with the basmalah, and that was the first command revealed—to recite in Allah’s Name—and it was also how the Prophet ﷺ began his letters and decrees, with Allah’s Name, but no praise, unlike his speeches which nearly always began with praise.

The best explanation I’ve seen, and Allah knows best, for this practice, is that the early imams saw that writing compilations should begin with the basmalah, but praise and prayers were the proper etiquette for sermons. Imam Muslim specifically began his Sahih with a long elaboration of his methods and some words about hadeeth preservation and a refutation of someone unnamed concerning how strict we should or should not be, when declaring a hadeeth authentic.1)Many scholars like al-Qadi `Iyad and some scholars of hadeeth, such as al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi, al-Hafiz ibn Katheer, al-Hafiz ibn Hajr, and others, agree that the only scholars that Imam Muslim could have been specifically refuting were either Imam al-Bukhari, or Imam Ali ibn al-Madeeni, the teacher of al-Bukhari, because they are the only muhaddiths who followed “confirmed meeting” (ثبوت اللقية) as a necessary condition for authenticating. Although Abu Hatim, Abu Zur’ah, and Imam Ahmad are strongly speculated to have those conditions as well, but traditionally, the majority do not. Imam Muslim accused that opinion of being a cause for the unnecessary loss and “weakening” of much of the Prophet’s traditions. According to him, if someone reached the high standards of trustworthiness that the scholars of hadeeth held for an individual to be thiqah, and he said to have heard from someone who is similar and it is reasonable to believe that they met, without knowing for certain, then that was sufficient. An excellent discussion by researchers about the identity of the “unnamed shaykh” can be found here. However, Shaykh Abdul-Kareem al-Khudair beautifully said: the intention of Imam Muslim was not al-Bukhari or al-Madeeni specifically, the intention was to refute innovators who unjustly used their conditions as an excuse to reject authentic narrations. And Allah knows best. Furthermore, some of the imams did not write out the salaah and salaam in their narrations. Imam Ahmad did not—the Imam of ahl-Sunnah—but he was known to say it verbally whenever coming upon it in his writing. So he would say “SallaLLahu alayhi waSallam” as he wrote “…the Prophet said…” This was probably to preserve space, time, ink and paper, just as they would abbreviate haddathanaa to thanaa (ثنا) and akhbaranaa to anaa (أنا) and would usually remove qaala in between each narrator.

This brings us to another point: there’s definitely no blame on people for not typing out an Islamic phrase, assuming they say it aloud, nor for abbreviating it. For example, if you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see and read a du’aa, you don’t have to type “ameen”, but if you say “ameen” then it would seem just as good if not better. It’s not disliked to type ameen, or inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un, since it reminds other readers to say it as well, verbally or in writing. And when it comes to statements of congratulations or consolation, then it is best to convey that directly to those concerned, verbally or in writing. But there is no harm in brevity when the intention is there in heart for meaning or on the tongue for du’as. Many scholars dislike the shortening of inshaa’Allah to iA for example or SallaLLahu Alaihi waSallam to SAW, however, many of the scholars of the past would make similar abbreviations or remove it entirely if it was understood.

 

In Tirmidhi’s style, rather than call each major section heading kitaab like other imams, he simply titled each section as such:

أَبْوَابُ الطَّهَارَةِ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

Abwaab is plural of bab, meaning entrance, although usually translated as chapter or section, but we could say “chapters” following al-Tirmidhi’s lead, like “the chapters of purification from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah exalt his mention and grant him peace”.

Imam al-Tirmidhi chose to begin his Jaami` with the subject of purification, like most jurists. The most important act of worship is prayer, and the most detailed requirement of prayer, that deserves its own detailed study is purification. One of the earliest commands to the Prophet ﷺ , thus showing how it would become a central part of Islam, was:

{وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ} ﴿٤﴾ سورة المدثر

And your clothing, make pure

uhr or ahārah literally means purification and cleanliness from every kind of filth – tangible or intangible. There are a variety of verb forms with this root, all with a similar meaning, and all used in the Quran and Sunnah:

Masdar Meaning Present tense Past tent verb form
طُهْرٌ / طَهارةٌ To be pure يَطْهُرُ 1.    –  طَهُرَ
تَطْهِيْرٌ To make (something) pure يُطَهِّرُ 2.    –   طَهَّرَ
تَطَهُّرٌ To make one’s self pure يَتَطَهَّرُ / يَطَّهَّرُ 5.    – تَطَهّرَ

 

Consider a different usage for the word:

{… قَالُوا أَخْرِجُوهُم مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ} ﴿٨٢﴾ سورة الأعراف

They said: expel them from your city, for they are a people who like to keep themselves pure.

This context suggests purification from lewd sin. That is a linguistic usage of the word, whereas jurists use the word for a more specific meaning, which is purification from anything that would prevent prayer from being accepted. That includes impure substances (خَبَث) and impure ritual states (حَدَث) and how to purify them. Hadath proceeds from the person and is a word used for both major and minor defilement; the action that creates the defiled state as well as the substance that nullifies the ablution.2) Speech is called hadeeth, from the same root, because the speaker let it out from himself, it proceeding from him. Hadath and ihdath can also refer to innovation in the religion, which the Prophet ﷺ referred to saying: “Whoever innovates [أحدث] into this affair of ours what is not from it will have it rejected.” Khabath affects the worshiper from an outside source. Note that the purification processes do not attempt to purify wholly impure substances, only the things affected by them (المتنجس لا النجس). Correspondingly, a person or thing that is ṭāhir or pure is said to be the opposite of the mudith person or the najas substance.

The purification of ritual washing, ablution and bathing, are what is meant here:

{… فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَن يَتَطَهَّرُوا ۚ وَاللَّـهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ} ﴿١٠٨﴾ سورة التوبة

In [Masjid Quba] are men who love to purify themselves, and Allah loves those who purify themselves.

Note that if Arabs strictly want to use a word that only means tangible cleanliness, they would most often prefer (نَظافة).

Al-Tirmidhi then said:

بَابُ مَا جَاءَ لاَ تُقْبَلُ صَلاَةٌ بِغَيْرِ طُهُورٍ

Ibn `Umar narrated that:

the Prophet said: “Salaah is not acceptable without purification, nor is charity [acceptable] from ghulool.

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو عَوَانَةَ، عَنْ سِمَاكِ بْنِ حَرْبٍ (ح) وحَدَّثَنَا هَنَّادٌ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، عَنْ إِسْرَائِيلَ، عَنْ سِمَاكٍ، عَنْ مُصْعَبِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ، قَالَ: لاَ تُقْبَلُ صَلاَةٌ بِغَيْرِ طُهُورٍ وَلاَ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ غُلُولٍ.
Hannad said in his narration, “except with purification” [Abu `Eisa said: This Hadith is the most correct narration on this topic, and the best. There are also narrations on this topic from Abu Al-Malīḥ, from his father; and Abu Hurairah and Anas. And Abu Al- Malīḥ bin Usāmah’s name is `Āmir, and they also say it was Zaid bin Usāmah bin `Umair Al-Hudhalī.

قَالَ هَنَّادٌ فِي حَدِيثِهِ: إِلاَّ بِطُهُورٍ.

هَذَا الْحَدِيثُ أَصَحُّ شَيْءٍ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ وَأَحْسَنُ.

وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ أَبِي الْمَلِيحِ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، وَأَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، وَأَنَسٍ.

وَأَبُو الْمَلِيحِ بْنُ أُسَامَةَ اسْمُهُ عَامِرٌ، وَيُقَالُ: زَيْدُ بْنُ أُسَامَةَ بْنِ عُمَيْرٍ الْهُذَلِيُّ.

 

Most other early hadeeth compilers put this narration under the heading “The obligation of ablution” [فرض الوضوء], focusing on the ultimate ruling (obligation) and on what comes to mind with purification for prayer: ablution. Imam al-Tirmidhi, even though his chapter title simply agreed with the hadeeth’s text, likely considered the text more general than simply ablution, but encompassing the purification of the location—the prayer spot—and clothing. Imam al-Bukhari put the narration of Abu Hurairah under the same heading as well, the second bab in the book of ablution in his sahih.

 

Rijaal

For many of these narrations, it is beneficial to mention some biographical notes regarding some of the individuals, and general tips on the preservation of hadeeth literature. Hadeeth preservation through isnad is one of the most unique aspects of Islam’s scriptural integrity. Orientalist scholars with an axe to grind against Islam and Muslims were in such awe and denial of the isnad system they saw Muslims have, that most of them simply categorically discarded it and simply say that the Muslims “made it all up”. Other orientalists, likewise baffled by this tremendous legacy of Muslim hadeeth scholars’ databases of the hadeeths and their narrators’ and levels of trustworthiness have gone to the opposite extreme and just accepted everything, or more specifically, whatever may lend some ill-conceived support for their theories. Because anything and everything with an isnad is more authentic and traceable than anything of the Bible, none of which has any chain or agreed upon authorship among Christian biblical historians and scholars. Thus, Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak used to say:

الإسناد من الدين، لولا الإسناد لقال من شاء ما شاء، ولو لا الإسناد لدخل على أهل الإسلام ما دخل على اليهود والنصارى

The isnad is from the deen. Were it not for the isnad, whoever wishes, could have said whatever they wanted [and been unable to separate it from the truthful], and were it not for the isnad, Islam would have been plagued with the same that plagued the Jews and Christians.

Christians and Jews work to verify scripture through archaeology(!!) because their forefathers had no concept of isnad. We Muslims have to appreciate this system and learn about it as much as is required for us to maintain confidence in its preservation. Otherwise, people who are jealous of the scriptural veracity will tell young and ignorant Muslims not to trust the hadeeth literature or that it is “about as authentic as the gospels”, and that only the Quran is indisputably preserved. In reality though, once you remove the Sunnah, there is no easy way to understand worship and faith from the Quran. Part of Allah’s preservation of the Quran was preservation of its understanding, which is only possible through the Prophet’s living example and speech.

So throughout these duroos, with each lesson, we will mention some benefit from the isnad in question or the study of isnad in general, because our faith is one based on evidence. Once we know that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is true, and that following him is the only path to Allah’s Love and Paradise, then we have to take everything we know about him with utmost importance, and we have to expend the utmost energy to actually verify that he did say it.

Notice that the imam, while relating his chain back to the Prophet ﷺ wrote ح. This letter, which is read simply as حاء, is an abbreviation for التحول or the conversion from one chain to another, each meeting at the point of the chain where the last one ended. This means that al-Tirmidhi heard from two completely different people, each name a separate chain of narrators, that both linked at the individual named Simaak ibn Harb, and from him, the same individuals all the way to the Prophet ﷺ, with the same wording preserved from each. If nothing else, this practice testifies to the great integrity of all the imams in between al-Tirmidhi and Simaak. Regardless of what Simaak narrated, the fact is, for a couple generations, his wording was preserved word for word by multiple people who may have lived and traveled multiple places, before they each told al-Tirmidhi what they heard, and al-Tirmidhi realized they each told the same narration.

Al-Tirmidhi’s shaykh in this hadeeth from which he narrated his second chain is Hannād (d. 243), a scholar from Kufah. When Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked who is the best to write hadeeth from in Kufah, he said: go to Hannād. Qutaibah said: I never saw Wakee’ magnify anyone the way he would magnify Hannād. Hannād also wrote a large book about asceticism, and he never married or owned any slaves, so he lived chaste his entire life celibate.

As for Hannād’s shaykh, Wakee` ibn al-Jarraah (d. 196), one of the most famous muhaddith, Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “I did not see anyone with better grasp of knowledge nor its preservation than Wakee`.” His father was once responsible for the Muslim treasury and Harun al-Rasheed wanted to appoint him as a judge but he refused.

Also, from Tufah, a good note from “al-Halabi” was that tadlees was nearly extinct by the year 300, and al-Hakim said: I don’t know any of the latter generations known for it except so-and-so.

 

Textual Variations & Supports:

 

This narration from al-Tirmidhi is from ibn Umar and all of the 9 compilers recorded it except al-Bukhari. Nominally variant versions are related by many companions—al-Kitaani in Nam al-Mutanaathir counts 14, sometimes reversing the order of the two statements of the hadeeth. So this hadeeth is on the borders of being mutawaatir. In the version recorded by Muslim, ibn Umar tells this hadeeth to ibn `Aamir when visiting him while the latter is sick and asks ibn `Umar why he won’t make du’a for him! Mus’ab was present and governing Basrah. Presumably, ibnUmar is rebuking ibn Aamir, and encouraging him to keep his finances clean in order to earn his du’aa.

Abu Dawud (and al-Bukhari with addition) recorded:

حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ حَنْبَلٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنْ هَمَّامِ بْنِ مُنَبِّهٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ ‏ “‏ لاَ يَقْبَلُ اللَّهُ صَلاَةَ أَحَدِكُمْ إِذَا أَحْدَثَ حَتَّى يَتَوَضَّأَ ‏”

From Abu Huraiah: the Prophet ﷺ said: Allah does not accept the salah of any of you if they’ve tainted until performing ablution. [from al-Bukhari: a man from Hadramaut asked Abu Hurairah what hadath is, and he said: silent or audible passing of wind.]

Ibn Abi Shaibah (d. 235) recorded in al-Musannaf (1/14, no. 34):

عَنْ أَبِي رَوْحٍ قَالَ: صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ بِأَصْحَابِهِ، فَقَرَأَ بِسُورَةِ الرُّومِ فَتَرَدَّدَ فِيهَا، فَلَمَّا انْصَرَفَ قَالَ: «إِنَّمَا يُلْبِسُ عَلَيْنَا صَلَاتَنَا قَوْمٌ يَحْضُرُونَ الصَّلَاةَ بِغَيْرِ طَهُورٍ، مَنْ شَهِدَ الصَّلَاةَ فَلْيُحْسِنِ الطَّهُورَ»

Abu Rawḥ said: the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prayed with his companions and recited surah al-Rum and hesitated during it. When he finished [praying] and turned to his companions, he said, “The only thing that confused us in our prayer were some people who attend the salaah without purifying. Whoever attends the prayer should perfect their purification.

This narration uses ahūr with fatḥ of the aa’, supporting the view that there is no difference between ahūr and uhūr, as was held by Khaleel. A variation was also recorded by al-Nasa’i.

And another narration that supports the meaning, collected by Imam Muslim (d. 261):

حَدَّثَنِي سَلَمَةُ بْنُ شَبِيبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ أَعْيَنَ، حَدَّثَنَا مَعْقِلٌ، عَنْ أَبِي الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ، ” أَنَّ رَجُلًا تَوَضَّأَ، فَتَرَكَ مَوْضِعَ ظُفُرٍ عَلَى قَدَمِهِ، أَبْصَرَهُ النَّبِيُّ ﷺ فَقَالَ: ارْجِعْ فَأَحْسِنْ وُضُوءَكَ، فَرَجَعَ، ثُمَّ صَلَّى “

Jabir said: Umar ibn al-Khattab told me that a man performed ablution but he left off part of his foot, about the size of finger nail, and the Prophet saw that and said: go back and perfect your ablution. So he did so and then prayed.

As for narrations with details, “Allah does not accept the prayer of anyone until he puts the ahūr its proper places, so he washes his face, then arms, then wipes his scalp, the washes his feet,” or similar wordings, then there is no transmitted source for it (ibn Hajr, al-Talkhees, 1/144-5).

There is another hadeeth, recorded only by al-Ṭaḥāwi (Mushkil al-Athar) and graded hasan by al-Albani (al-Saheehah no. 2774), threatening punishment in the grave for those who pray without purification, narrated by ibn Mas`ud:

حَدَّثَنَا فَهْدُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ عَوْنٍ الْوَاسِطِيُّ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا جَعْفَرُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ ، عَنْ عَاصِمٍ ، عَنْ شَقِيقٍ ، عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ ، قَالَ : ” أُمِرَ بِعَبْدٍ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ أَنْ يُضْرَبَ فِي قَبْرِهِ مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ ، فَلَمْ يَزَلْ يَسْأَلُ وَيَدْعُو حَتَّى صَارَتْ جَلْدَةً وَاحِدَةً ، فَجُلِدَ جَلْدَةً وَاحِدَةً ، فَامْتَلأَ قَبْرُهُ عَلَيْهِ نَارًا ، فَلَمَّا ارْتَفَعَ عَنْهُ ، قَالَ : عَلامَ جَلَدْتُمُونِي ؟ قَالُوا : إِنَّكَ صَلَّيْتَ صَلاةً بِغَيْرِ طُهُورٍ , وَمَرَرْتَ عَلَى مَظْلُومٍ ، فَلَمْ تَنْصُرْهُ “ وحسنه الألباني في السلسلة الصحيحة (2774)

A servant from Allah’s slaves was ordered to be flogged 100 times in his grave. So he kept pleading and invoking until his sentence was reduced to one single stripe. So he was whipped a single time and his grave filled over him with fire. When it subsided and he came to, he asked, why was I whipped? And they said, you prayed once without purification, and you passed by an oppressed person without aiding him.

 

The main subject: The Universal Requirement of Purification for Prayer

 

Note that wudhoo’ (وضوء) comes from the word (وضاءة) which means attractive and clean.

Originally, performing ablution was obligatory for every single prayer, even if you did not otherwise “nullify” your ablution, because of the ayah, and similar

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا … مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ} ﴿٦﴾ سورة المائدة

Ibn al-Mundhir, among numerous others, said (al-Ijma, 2): “The people of knowledge have all agreed that prayer does not count without purification, if the person is able to.”

The acceptance qabūl referred to in the narration is the ijzā or fulfillment of obligation and removal of the command from one’s responsibility dhimmah (البراءة من الذمة). As for acceptance for reward with Allah, then that requires that the prayer fulfill its other requirements, including worshipping Allah whole-heartedly.

What may be done without ablution? Al-Nawawi in his commentary of Sahih Muslim says:

اعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْعُلَمَاءَ مُجْمِعُونَ عَلَى أَنَّ لِلْمُحْدِثِ أَنْ يَأْكُلَ وَيَشْرَبَ وَيَذْكُرَ اللَّهَ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى وَيَقْرَأَ الْقُرْآنَ وَيُجَامِعَ وَلَا كَرَاهَةَ فِي شَيْءٍ مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَقَدْ تَظَاهَرَتْ عَلَى هَذَا كُلِّهِ دَلَائِلُ السُّنَّةِ الصَّحِيحَةِ الْمَشْهُورَةِ مَعَ إِجْمَاعِ الْأُمَّةِ

“Know that the scholars have all agreed that a tainted person may eat, drink, mention Allah, recite Quran, have intercourse, and there’s no disdain for any of that; and the evidences have added up from the well-known Sunnah and consensus of the Ummah.”

[From the mu`allaqaat of al-Bukhari] Ibrahim said: there is no harm with reading in the bathhouse.

Is ablution necessary for all types of prayer?

وَأَجْمَعَتِ الْأُمَّةُ عَلَى تَحْرِيمِ الصَّلَاةِ بِغَيْرِ طَهَارَةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ أَوْ تُرَابٍ وَلَا فَرْقَ بَيْنَ الصَّلَاةِ الْمَفْرُوضَةِ وَالنَّافِلَةِ وَسُجُودِ التِّلَاوَةِ وَالشُّكْرِ وَصَلَاةِ الْجِنَازَةِ إِلَّا مَا حُكِيَ عَنِ الشَّعْبِيِّ وَمُحَمَّدِ بْنِ جَرِيرٍ الطَّبَرِيِّ مِنْ قَوْلِهِمَا تَجُوزُ صَلَاةُ الْجِنَازَةِ بِغَيْرِ طَهَارَةٍ وَهَذَا مَذْهَبٌ بَاطِلٌ وَأَجْمَعَ الْعُلَمَاءُ عَلَى خِلَافِهِ

Al-Nawawi also said: The Ummah has agreed that salaah is forbidden without purification by water or dirt, and there is no difference between the obligatory salaah or the voluntary, or prostration from recitation or gratitude or funeral prayer, except from what was recorded from al-Sha`bi and Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari who each said funeral prayer was allowed without purification. But that is a false opinion and the scholars united against it.

Note that Imam al-Nawawi, like al-Qurtubi, al-Tabari and others, has a different understanding for the word consensus than a textbook definition.

What if someone performed the actions of prayer knowing they lack the minimal purification and have no excuse?

وَلَوْ صَلَّى مُحْدِثًا مُتَعَمِّدًا بِلَا عُذْرٍ أَثِمَ وَلَا يَكْفُرُ عِنْدنَا وَعِنْدَ الْجَمَاهِيرِ وَحُكِيَ عَنْ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى أَنَّهُ يَكْفُرُ لِتَلَاعُبِهِ وَدَلِيلُنَا أَنَّ الْكُفْرَ لِلِاعْتِقَادِ وَهَذَا الْمُصَلِّي اعْتِقَادُهُ صَحِيحٌ وَهَذَا كُلُّهُ إِذَا لَمْ يَكُنْ لِلْمُصَلِّي مُحْدِثًا عُذْرٌ

Al-Nawawi also said: And if someone prayed while tainted, intentionally without excuse, they are sinful but not disbelievers according to us and the vast majority. It was related from Abu Hanifah (rA) that such a person disbelieved because they were playing with and belittling the religion. But our evidence is that disbelief is restricted to creed, and this worshiper likely has proper faith [that they are sinful by intentionally neglecting ablution].

 

What if prayer time is here, and about to leave, and there’s no water for ablution nor dusty dirt for tayammum?

أَمَّا الْمَعْذُورُ كَمَنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ مَاءً وَلَا تُرَابًا فَفِيهِ أَرْبَعَةُ أَقْوَالٍ لِلشَّافِعِيِّ رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى وَهِيَ مَذَاهِبُ لِلْعُلَمَاءِ قَالَ بِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهَا قَائِلُونَ أَصَحُّهَا عِنْدَ أَصْحَابِنَا يَجِبُ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ عَلَى حَالِهِ وَيَجِبُ أَنْ يُعِيدَ إِذَا تَمَكَّنَ مِنَ الطَّهَارَةِ وَالثَّانِي يَحْرُمُ عَلَيْهِ أن يصلي ويحب الْقَضَاءُ وَالثَّالِثُ يُسْتَحَبُّ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ وَيَجِبُ الْقَضَاءُ وَالرَّابِعُ يَجِبُ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ وَلَا يَجِبُ الْقَضَاءُ وَهَذَا الْقَوْلُ اخْتِيَارُ الْمُزَنِيِّ وَهُوَ أَقْوَى الْأَقْوَالِ دَلِيلًا فَأَمَّا وُجُوبُ الصَّلَاةِ فَلِقَوْلِهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَإِذَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِأَمْرٍ فَافْعَلُوا مِنْهُ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَأَمَّا الْإِعَادَةُ فَإِنَّمَا تَجِبُ بِأَمْرٍ مُجَدَّدٍ وَالْأَصْلُ عَدَمُهُ

Al-Nawawi continued saying: as for the excused one who couldn’t find water or dirt, then there are four opinions from al-Shafi`I, and these opinions representative of [all] the scholars, each opinion having a group following:

  1. (The most authentic one with us) is they must pray in their condition and they must also repeat and make-up for the prayer whenever they are able to properly purify.
  2. It is not allowed to pray, and they must make up for it.
  3. It is recommended to pray, but they must make-up for it [even if they did?]
  4. They must pray, and they do not have to repeat it. And this is the choice of al-Muzani, and has the most evidence.

As for the obligation of praying in that situation, then because of the Prophet’s words, “If I commanded you to something, then do it to the best of your ability.” And as for repeating or making it up as qaḍā, then it is only obligated by a new command, while the default is none.3)I [CC] add, the obligation to pray no matter your condition is further emphasized by two āyāt:

{فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا اطْمَأْنَنتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ ۚ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا} ﴿١٠٣﴾ سورة النساء

And if you’ve completed your prayers, then remember Allah, standing and sitting and on your sides. And if you’ve become secure, then establish the prayer, for the prayer has been subscribed upon believers at fixed times.

{فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ فَرِجَالًا أَوْ رُكْبَانًا ۖ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ كَمَا عَلَّمَكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ} ﴿٢٣٩﴾ سورة البقرة

And if you’re afraid, then [pray] on foot or while riding, but if you’re secure, then remember Allah just as He taught you when you used not to know.

It is because of these verses that the Hanabilah say: pray no matter your condition. That is, if you are unable to make ablution, tayammum, or have been stripped of clothing or are in an impure place, etc.

Other narrations to come will give example of all the different things that could taint a person’s purification and impact the validity of prayers, whether it is what nullifies ablution, of impurities on their clothing or body, or the place they’re praying or even the water they have for ablution. The scholars generally refer to everything that nullifies ablution as hadath just as used by the Prophet ﷺ, whereas any impure substance that taints your clothing or location, then that is called khabath. Hadath proceeds from an individual, whereas khabath comes from the outside affecting him/her.

Finally, it’s worth reflecting on the importance of purification in Islam. Many Muslims treat ablution like an annoying ritual, ignorant to its importance and centrality to our faith. The purification for the prayer is analogous to the purification of our hearts with tawheed for all our actions.


Ghulul refers to taking from the spoils of war before its division.

Imam al-Dhahabi, in his book al-Kaba’ir lists ghulool as number 19 in his compilation of seventy major sins, and he quotes this narration among others.

Spoils of war are not something we have to worry about, since alhamdulillah, Allah has spared us from battle, but al-Dhahabi also lists under the heading, taking money from zakat and from the treasury. One could perhaps add embezzlement from one’s employer, as that is a major sin without any doubt. Scholars defined ghulool as covering every kind of secret betrayal of trust, especially regarding money, wealth and property. There are many subtle important issues concerning it, with respect to what an employee is rightfully entitled to from their employer or customers, and what is off limits even to accept. A topic deserving more depth when more specific narrations cover it inshaAllah.

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Many scholars like al-Qadi `Iyad and some scholars of hadeeth, such as al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi, al-Hafiz ibn Katheer, al-Hafiz ibn Hajr, and others, agree that the only scholars that Imam Muslim could have been specifically refuting were either Imam al-Bukhari, or Imam Ali ibn al-Madeeni, the teacher of al-Bukhari, because they are the only muhaddiths who followed “confirmed meeting” (ثبوت اللقية) as a necessary condition for authenticating. Although Abu Hatim, Abu Zur’ah, and Imam Ahmad are strongly speculated to have those conditions as well, but traditionally, the majority do not. Imam Muslim accused that opinion of being a cause for the unnecessary loss and “weakening” of much of the Prophet’s traditions. According to him, if someone reached the high standards of trustworthiness that the scholars of hadeeth held for an individual to be thiqah, and he said to have heard from someone who is similar and it is reasonable to believe that they met, without knowing for certain, then that was sufficient. An excellent discussion by researchers about the identity of the “unnamed shaykh” can be found here. However, Shaykh Abdul-Kareem al-Khudair beautifully said: the intention of Imam Muslim was not al-Bukhari or al-Madeeni specifically, the intention was to refute innovators who unjustly used their conditions as an excuse to reject authentic narrations. And Allah knows best.
2. Speech is called hadeeth, from the same root, because the speaker let it out from himself, it proceeding from him. Hadath and ihdath can also refer to innovation in the religion, which the Prophet ﷺ referred to saying: “Whoever innovates [أحدث] into this affair of ours what is not from it will have it rejected.”
3. I [CC] add, the obligation to pray no matter your condition is further emphasized by two āyāt:

{فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا اطْمَأْنَنتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ ۚ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا} ﴿١٠٣﴾ سورة النساء

And if you’ve completed your prayers, then remember Allah, standing and sitting and on your sides. And if you’ve become secure, then establish the prayer, for the prayer has been subscribed upon believers at fixed times.

{فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ فَرِجَالًا أَوْ رُكْبَانًا ۖ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ كَمَا عَلَّمَكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ} ﴿٢٣٩﴾ سورة البقرة

And if you’re afraid, then [pray] on foot or while riding, but if you’re secure, then remember Allah just as He taught you when you used not to know.

It is because of these verses that the Hanabilah say: pray no matter your condition. That is, if you are unable to make ablution, tayammum, or have been stripped of clothing or are in an impure place, etc.

About Chris
Chris, aka AbdulHaqq, is from central Illinois and accepted Islam in 2001 at age 17. He studied Arabic and Islamic theology in Saudi Arabia from 2007-13 and most recently earned a master's in Islamic Law from Malaysia. He is married with children.

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