Book of Prayer, Lesson 3, The Pre-conditions of the prayer, By Muhammad Allie Khalfe.

Shafi’i Fiqh

Book of Prayer, Lesson 3

Pre-conditions of the prayer

According to Imam al-Shafi’i, only water and dust can be used for Tahara. Water for wudhu and dust for Tayammum (dry ablution). He therefore excludes any other medium besides these two and maintains that if there were any other method then the prophet (peace be upon him) would have outlined it.

This is contrary to the madhab (school of thought) of Abu Hanifa who allows any liquid.

Imam Shafi’i uses the following dalil (proof) from the Quran as dalil for his Ijtihad (efforts exerted):

a)   Wa anzala ‘alaykum ma al-tahur, and We send down pure water from the sky – Furqan 48.

 Al-Tuhur could mean ‘clean water’ or ‘water to clean’.

b) And, water has been sent down to you in order that you may cleanse yourselves.

Imam al-Shafi’i points out that this verse explains the first verse quoted and therefore the interpretation is that ‘water is for cleaning’

and  not ‘clean water’.

 c) And if you do not find water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth.

Types of water that are makru (disliked) to be used for Tahara:

Water which is very hot

Water which is very cold

Ma al-mushammas

As for ma al-mushammas, it is water which became warm in a metal container such as copper, iron, tin, brass or alloys and a scum like material is evident on the surface of the water. This applies only to hot tropical climate and metal containers besides those made of gold or silver.

If the container is either gold or silver then the water is not ma al-mushammas.

If the metal container contains copper or iron etc. and is kept in cool climates then the water is not ma al-mushammas.

In order to understand why these types of water are makru, one has to digress somewhat and understand the following concepts.

  1. From the Hadith: la darara wa la dirara fil-Islam’ – there is no harmfulness in Islam nor is one to inflict any harm on others’.
  2. From the Quran: wa la tulqu bi-aydIkum ila t-tahlukati – and do not throw into destruction by your own hands!] (al-Baqara, 2:195).

Both supplement each other in terms of the avoidance of things which are harmful.

Many scholars rank the ahadith related to the dislike of using ma al-mushammas as da’if (weaker than sahih but open for investigation). Da’if hadith can however be used for fada-il ‘a’mal (inspiration to do good works) but not as a dalil (proof) for the Ahkam taklifiya (ruling that binds or burdens one to perform an act).

Al-Shirbini in his Mughni Al-Muhtaj narrates from Saydina ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that ‘Umar said, ‘This kind of water causes leprosy’. There are more narrations where the prophet (peace be upon him) warned Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) not to use this kind of water as it causes sickness.

These Da’if ahadith cannot be used as a dalil to hukum the ma al-mushammas. The ‘ulama use the sahih hadith instead, in which the prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘leave things which cause doubt until (idha ma la yaribuk) you find that which does not cause doubt

To bring anything out of its natural state of purity, one needs a dalil (proof).  There are 2 sources for a ruling render something Haram (forbidden).

1. Haram Shar’an

A ruling derived directly from the Shari’a called adillatu shar’iyah.

2. Haram Tib’an

A ruling of Haram due to medical reasons i.e. it is haram because of its harmfulness to the body or parts thereof. The dalil for Tib’an include the hadith, ‘La darrara waa la dirar – there is no harmfulness in Islam nor is one inflict any harm on others’. Another maxim used as dalil is ‘(Ad-dararu yuzalu wa lakin la bi-darar – Harm must be eliminated but not by means of another harm’ and ‘Every matter that is considered (legally) harmful is Haram’

This clarification should shed some light on how it is applied to ma al-mushammas.

Firstly, although the ahadith quoted above are da’if, they introduce a possibility of harmfulness and if taken in conjunction with the sahih hadith mentioned earlier, ‘leave things which cause doubt until (idha ma la yaribuk) you find that, which does not cause doubt’, a ruling (hukum) in the shari’ah is obtained for the ma al-mushammas’.

Secondly, from ‘al madaru ‘ala –Tahrim‘Every matter that is considered (legally) harmful is Haram’, mentioned earlier, it becomes clear that because of the harmfulness of the very hot or very cold water, a hukum tib’an is obtained. If the Hukum tib’an can be confirmed by the medical professional then it assumes a Haram Tib’an.

In the case mentioned i.e. water warmed by the sun in a metal container, other than gold or silver, in a tropical climate and a fatty scum has formed on the surface of the water, a situation of possible harmfulness arises i.e. a situation of doubt. It is possible that the scum could be medically harmful. In other words, a tib’an reason might exist. This doubt is further substantiated by the da’if hadith mentioned earlier, which can be used as encouragement to perform a good deed.  Also because of the hadith, ‘leave things which cause doubt until (idha ma la yaribuk) you find that which does not cause doubt’, the hukum (ruling) of makru is applied to the ma al-mushammas.

Most of the ‘ulama (scholars) maintain that it is not necessary to investigate by testing whether such water is or is not harmful. It is sufficient that the possibility of harm exists and therefore it is best to leave it alone.

It is therefore clear that the ma al-mushammas is makru and not haram or halal because of the condition of shak (doubt) in that there is a possibility of darrar (harm).

And Allah knows best.

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Continue to Lesson 4: Pre-conditions of the prayer

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3 thoughts on “Book of Prayer, Lesson 3, The Pre-conditions of the prayer, By Muhammad Allie Khalfe.

  1. Salaam we thank and praise Allah ta aala for placing amongst us people like yourself who effortlessly strive in the way of Deen so that others may benefit. May Allah reward you abundantly in dunya and akhira ameen. Jazaak Allahu khayr!

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