Tayammum and Its Description from the Risālah of Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qarawaanī

Tayammum and Its Description

6.1 When it is done

[If you cannot find water, then you must do tayyamum, which is recommended. Linguistically tayammum means aiming for something. The Almighty says, “Do not have recourse to bad things,” (2:267) i.e. aim for them. In the Shari’a it is a legal act of worship by which the prayer becomes allowed. This means that the Shari’a has judged it. This exists in wudu’ and ghusl. By it the prayer is permitted when wudu’ and ghusl are excluded because tayammum is only to make lawful. Wudu’ and ghusl are done in order to remove impurity. It is obligatory by the Book, Sunna and consensus. The Almighty says, “If you cannot find any water, then do tayammum with pure earth,” (4:43) and in Muslim the Prophet said, “We were preferred over people by three things: our rows were made like the rows of the angels, the entire earth was made a mosque for us and its earth is purification if we do not find water.” The consensus is that tayammum is obligatory when water is lacking or the ability to use it lacking it. There are preconditions for the obligation: Islam, adulthood, sanity, absence of the blood of menstruation or lochia, the arrival of the time, lack of water or lack of ability to use it, and that there is no barrier over the limbs and nothing which precludes it.]

6.1a. On a journey

If you are on a journey and you cannot find water, you have to do tayammum, provided that you do not expect to find any water before the time for the prayer has finished.

[The situation is that either that there is no water to be found at all or a judgement that he will not find enough water for wudu’ or ghusl in a journey (or while resident), whether short or not, whether the traveller is healthy or not, and whether the journey is permissible or not, because the allowance for doing it on a journey or while resident does not have the precondition that the journey be for something permissible. If the allowance is only in the journey, like breaking the fast in Ramadan, then the journey must be permissible and it must be a distance of at least four postal stages, like that for shortening the prayer.

Thus the mere absence of water is only a reason for the obligation of tayammum when he despairs of finding water or he thinks it probable that there is no water. It is not the case if he is unsure or hopes for water or is certain of finding water within the time.

What is meant by the obligation is the widest period of obligation. The one who has despaired is someone who has searched for it in a manner which is not arduous for someone like him. He is only obliged to seek if he hopes to find it or suspects its presence. If he is certain that he does not exist, then he does not look for it in the time. By ‘time’, the preferred time is meant.]

6.1b. Lack of ability

You also have to do tayammum even when there is water, whether on a journey or staying in one place, if you are unable to touch water on account of illness or are disabled by illness to such an extent that although you could use it, you are unable to get to it and cannot find anyone else to bring it to you.

[ This is when there is water and you are unable to use it, on a journey or at home, because of illness which prevents using it since you fear that using it will cause death, loss of use of a faculty or limb, increased illness, delayed recovery, or will actually cause a illness. If he does not fear any of that, but is only pained by it, he must continue to do wudu’ or ghusl. So tayammum is obliged for someone who is healthy when water exists because he cannot use it because illness would occur, or for a sick person who is able to use it, but does not find anyone to bring it to him, even for a payment equal to the price which the seller would oblige or it or he does not find a vessel or he only finds a forbidden vessel or cannot pay for using it.]

6.1c. Danger

The same applies to someone travelling who is near water but prevented from reaching it because of the fear of thieves or wild animals.

[ This is also true about the traveller who is near water but cannot reach it out of fear of thieves as he must preserve his property and the property of others. The property must be more than what he would have to pay to buy water. It must be ascertained that they exist or he thinks that it is probable that they exist. Uncertainty is not taken into consideration. The same applies if he fears for himself from wild animals when he is certain about that or thinks that it is probable.]

6.1d. Certainty about reaching water

If a traveller feels certain that he will get to water within the time of the prayer, he avoids doing tayammum until the end of the time.

[Whether he is in a journey where he shortens the prayer or not and he is certain that he will find enough water for wudu’ or ghusl, it is recommended that that he delay tayammum. The upshot of the fiqh in the matter is that one of the preconditions of the obligation of tayammum is the arrival of the time. The judgement in it varies according to the state of the person doing tayammum because either he is certain that water will exist in the time or he will reach it or he despairs of finding it or reaching it, or he is unsure about finding it or reaching it in time or hopes to find it or reach it in time. The author clarifies these circumstances and indicates it when he says, “If a traveller feels certain.” In fact, it is not particular to the traveller, but applies to all who are permitted to do tayammum due to the absence of water. When he is certain that water exists or that he will reach it within the time or thinks that it is probable that it exists or that he will reach it in time, then it is recommended to delay tayammum to the end of the time.]

6.1e. Certainty about not reaching water

If he feels certain he will not get to water he should do tayammum at the beginning of the time.

[This is about the absence of water or the failure to reach it in time after seeking for it. If there is what obliges seeking, then it is recommended that he do tayammum at the beginning of the time to obtain the excellence of the time because the excellence of water is despaired of. That is how it is judged by the one who thinks it probable that it will not exist within the time or will not be found in it.]

6.1f. Uncertainty about reaching water

If he does not know whether he will get to water or not, he should do tayammum in the middle of the time. This also applies to someone who is afraid that he will not be able to get to water but nevertheless hopes that he will.

[ If he is unsure about finding it, it is recommended to do it in the middle of the time. It is affirmed by Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq that what is meant is uncertainty about reaching it. He said that there is no difference between it and what before it according to the Maliki School. Although it is sound from the aspect of the judgement, the author’s words imply a difference when based on what is meant by the one who hopes. He said that the words of the author contain something different from the position of the School. That is because his literal words say that the one who hopes does not delay, but does tayammum in the middle of the time. It is not as he said. His judgement is that of the one who is certain and the one who is certain delays to the end of the time. Ibn Harun said, “I do not know of anyone who transmitted that the one who hopes does tayammum in the middle of the time except Ibn Abi Zayd. Ibn Naji said that it is possible that it refutes his words. According to the words of Ibn Naji by “fears” the author means ‘suspects”.]

6.2 Finding Water after doing Tayammum

If, under any of these circumstances, you do tayammum and do the prayer and then come across water within the time of the prayer the following judgements apply.

[ These seven who can do taymmum are: the sick person who cannot touch water, the sick person who cannot find anyone to bring him water, the traveller who is near water but is prevented from reaching it by fear of thieves or animals, the traveller who is certain that water will exist within the time, the one who despairs of finding it within the time, the one who has no knowledge, and the fearful one who hopes to find it. This is what happens if such a person (except for the sick person who cannot use water then find water or the sick person who can, but does not find anyone to bring him the water) finds water. Finding water means having the ability to use it, its existence, or the existence of a vessel to bring it.]

6.2.a A sick person

A sick person who could not find anybody to bring water to him should do the prayer again.

[It is recommended that he does the prayer again within the time. The rule for the sick person who does not find anyone to bring him water or any vessel with which to bring the water is to delay tayammum to the middle of the time. If he does the necessary tayammum in the middle of the time and prays and then before the end of the time of the prayer then that which stops him from using the water is removed, as when he finds what will enable him to obtain it, then it is recommended for him to repeat the prayer within the time if he is restricted in that people do not come in to him often. If people come in to him often, then he has no restriction, then he does not have to repeat it.]

6.2b. A Fearful person

This also applies to someone who was afraid of wild animals or other dangers of that sort, and to a traveller who was afraid he would not get to water but hoped that he would. If you have done tayammum for any other reason, you should not repeat the prayer.

[ The one who fears for himself from wild animals or for his property from thieves is like the sick person who does not find anyone to bring him water in the time. It is recommended that he repeat the prayer when he gets water within the time. The result is that when the person who is afraid of animals does tayammum in the middle if the time, it is recommended that he repeat it in the time with four provisos. That is that he is certain that water exists or that he will find it were it not for his fear. His fear must be definite or likely and he ascertains the absence of what he fears and the existence of water itself. If he is not certain that it exists or that he will reach it, or what he fears is clear, or none of it is certain and someone else finds it, he does not repeat if. If his fear is a simple doubt, then he always repeats it. ]

6.2c. A traveller

and to a traveller who was afraid he would not get to water but hoped that he would.

[When he finds water within the time, it is recommended that he repeat the prayer he has prayed in the time allotted for it, which is the middle. Part of the subject is that it is better if it is advanced. What is meant by ‘fear’ in the words of the author is uncertainty about reaching it. It is recommended for the one who prayed in the time allotted to it to repeat it within the time. That is even more the case if he has advanced it. As for the one who is unsure about whether it exists, if he does it before the middle of the time allotted for it, then he repeats it. If he prayed in the middle of the time allotted for it, he does not have to repeat it. The difference between them is that the one who is unsure about reaching it, has a sort of falling short and so he is asked to repeat it. As for the one who is unsure about whether it exists, he relies on the basis, which is its non-existence.]

6.2d. Other reasons

If you have done tayammum for any other reason than these three, you should not repeat the prayer.

[It appears from his words that the one who despairs does not repeat the prayer when he finds water absolutely. It is not like that, and it must be explained. If he finds the water which he despaired of, he repeats it. If he finds other water, he does not repeat it. It also seems from his words that someone who finds water in his bag or saddle or forgets it is there and then remembers it, does not have to repeat it. The one who acts deliberately in the three cases has to repeat it, which differs from the literal words of the author.]

6.3 Frequency

6.3a. Number of fard prayers with one tayammum

You should not pray two fard prayers with one tayammum except if you are ill and cannot touch water because of some harm to your body which will last at least until the time of the next prayer.

[ None of those seven categories should pray two obligatory or sunna prayers at home or on a journey. whether they share in the time or not, with the same tayyamum except for the person with a constant illness which will continue to the time of the second prayer. It may happen that he does not do the first prayer in its time, either intentionally or by forgetfulness or ignorance. In that case he can pray them both together with one tayammum. This is a general judgement for prayers at home and on a journey.]

6.3b. For each prayer

Although there are some who say that even in this situation you should do tayammum again for each prayer.

[For each obligatory prayer, whether he is healthy or ill, travelling or at home.]

6.3c. A number of missed prayers

It has been related from Malik that someone who remembers not having done a number of prayers can do them with one tayammum.

[ This is a number of fard prayers which he missed by forgetfulness or by sleeping through them or deliberately not praying them and then repenting and wanting to make them up: he can pray them with one tayammum, whether healthy or ill, travelling or at home.

The first statement is by Ibn Sha’ban and the second is by Ibn al-Qasim and is the famous one. This is why it was rejected by the shaykh when he was ill at midday when someone else suggested it to him. According to the well-known position, if he disagrees and prays two prayers with one tayammum, whether they are shared or not, he does not ever have to make up the second.

According to his words at the beginning of the chapter about the time, one does tayammum for the obligatory prayer absolutely, even for Jumu’a. That is not the case, since the healthy person who is resident does not do tayammum for Jumu’a since it is a substitute for Dhuhr. He prays Dhuhr with tayammum, even at the beginning of the time. If he prays Jumu’a with tayammum, that is not acceptable. The sick person and the traveller can do tayammum for it. It That is also the case with the funeral prayer. The healthy resident does not do tayammum for it unless it becomes a specific obligation for him since no one else is found who can pray it nor is it possible to delay it until he can obtain water.]

6.3d. Voluntary prayers

[As for the sunnas and the voluntary prayers, the traveller but not the heathy resident person does tayammum for them, i.e the one who is obliged to do tayammum because of lack of water. The judgement of the healthy resident for whom tayammum is obliged out of fear of illness is like that of the sick person and he does tayammum for Jumu’a and the funeral, even if it is not a specific obligation, and for the sunna and voluntary prayers. If he intends an obligatory prayer by his tayammum, he is permitted to pray the voluntary prayer with it afterwards with the precondition that it is connected to the obligation, even if he did not intend the voluntary prayer after the obligatory. It is limited to prayers which are after the obligatory, although if he prays a voluntary prayer before it, it is valid by his statement, ‘provided that it is connected to the obligatory.’

If there is a long separation or he leaves the mosque, he must repeat his taymmum if he wants to pray the voluntary prayers. A short separation is overlooked. That is defined as about the length it takes to recite Ayat al-Kursi. It is also a precondition that he does not do more than the voluntary. What is “more” is defined by custom.

6.3e. What can be used for tayammum

Tayammum is done using pure surface earth, that is any substance on the earth’s surface such as soil, sand, stones, or salt deposits.

[“Pure” is how the people of firm knowledge and those who know fiqh explain “tayyib” where Allah says,”do tayammum with clean earth,” Tayyib means pure earth in Arabic and that is what Malik said. Malik said that sa’id means what is on the surface of the earth in accordance with Arab usage. Others believe that the sa’id in the ayat designates pure earth found on the surface of the earth or brought out from inside of it. This includes salt desposits, and secretions. Tayammum is not done deliberately on wood, plants and grass and groups. The literal meaning of his words is that tayammum can be done on stones, even hard ones, if there is no soil as long as it has not been baked. It is not permitted to do tayammum on lime nor baked bricks, which are red bricks. Tayammum can be done on soil, whether it has been moved or not, although it is better when it is not moved by agreement. The first is based on the well-known position.

One does not do tayammum on other things than earth. Things like salt, alum, sulphur, copper and iron are not used for tayammum except in their original place or moved from one place to another. But it is cannot be in a form which is firm in people’s hands, like medicines. As for what can be held in people’s hands like medicines, it is not valid to use them for tayammum.]

6.4 How to do it

6.4a. Beginning tayammum

To do tayammum you hit both hands on the ground – if anything clings to them it should be lightly shaken off –

[This clariifies how tayammum is done. He strikes both hands on the ground. If he is missing a hand, he does tayammun with the other. If he is unable to do it, someone does it for him. If he cannot delgate someone, he rubs his face in the dust. What is meant by ‘striking’ is not actual striking. What is meant is to place his hands on the surface used for tayammum, soil or whatever. This ‘striking’ is an obligation. It is not a precondition that anything clings to his hands. If something clings to them, he shakes them lightly so that some people consider this shaking as one of the meritorious parts of tayammum so that it does not harm his face.]

6.4b. The Intention

[Before beginning, the one doing tayammum must intend earth and nothing else with which tayammum is not valid. He must intend to make the prayer lawful or intend the obligation of tayammum in the first striking. If he is in minor impurity, he intends to make the prayer permissible from the lesser impurity. If he is in greater impurity, he intends to make the prayer lawful from the greater impurity. If he does not call the major impurity to mind and thus omits the intention regarding the greater impurity intentionally or by forgetfulness, and prays with that tayammum, then he must always repeat the prayer. If he intends the greater impurity, believing that he has it and then the opposite is clear, then it allows the lesser. When he intends the obligations of tayammum, it is enough for him, even if the intention of the greater does not occur to him, If he intends to remove the impurity, it is enough enough for him in the well-known position. Tayammum does not remove lesser impurity. It only makes the prayer permissible.]

6.4c. Wiping the face

then using both of them you wipe over your whole face.

[After shaking his hands, then he wipes his face and does not omit any of it. He does not miss the cartilage of the upper ear and other things. If he leaves any of the wiping of all of the face, even a little, then it is not allowed. He begins from the top, as in wudu’ and runs his hands over the length of it to his beard. He passes over the lines of the face, because the basis of wiping is doing it lightly.]

6.4d. Striking the ground a second time

Then you hit both hands on the ground again

[The second blow is for wiping the hands by way of sunna. It is not said how the obligation is done in a sunna manner because we say after the obligation that the second comes after the first so if he fails to strike the earth the second time and then wipes his face and hands with the first, it is adequate.]

6.4e. Wiping the hands

and then wipe your right hand and arm with your left hand. To do this you put the fingers of your left hand on the tips of the fingers of your right. Then you slide your fingers down the back of your right hand and arm, as far as the elbow, folding your fingers round it as you do so. thoroughly.

[ The recommended manner of wiping is to first wipe the right with the left, putting the fingers on the right on the left except for the thumbs. The palm is passed over the top of the hand and arm to the elbow. It appears from the words of the author that the elbow is not wiped because it is the end. It is said that he meant including the elbows as is done with wudu’ since tayammum replaces it.

Wiping to the elbows is sunna, and to the wrists is obligatory according to what is in al-Mukhtasar. Al-Bisami adds to it by saying that the well-known position of the school is that wiping is to the elbows is obligatory. The dispute is when it is confined to the wrists and he prays. The well-known position is that he repeats the prayer if still within the time. An opposite position is that he must always repeat it. This consequence is rejected. Al-Muqaddamat (Ibn Rushd) prefers that which is followed in al-Mukhtasar,and Qadi ‘Iyad summarised it in his Qawa’id, and it is preferred.

The well-position of the school is that the fingers go between each other, and that is by the flat sides of the fingers, not the sides because they have not touched earth. The well-known position is also that a ring is removed and moving it from its place can be done instead of actually removing it. The difference between tayammum and wudu’ is said to lie in the fact that the ring is removed in tayammum but not in wudu’ because of the force of the water flowing in wudu’ which is not the case with earth.

6.4f. Wiping the inside of the right hand

Then you put your palm on the inside of your arm and, gripping your arm, slide your hand from your elbow just back as far as your wrist

[After wiping the outside of the right hand, using the palm, because the fingers because the fingers were already use on the outside of the hand except for the thumb. ]

6.4g. The thumb

and then run the inside of the left thumb over the outside of your right thumb.

[This is because it was not wiped before. What he mentioned about wiping the thumbs was also mentioned by Ibn at-Talla’ who is Muhammad ibn Farah, the shaykh of the fuqaha’ in his time. The literal of the transmission, which is relied upon, it wiping the outside of the right thumb with the outside of the fingers. Al-Fakhani said, “I do not know of anyone of the people of language who transmit that the thumb is the largest “finger”].

6.4h. The Left hand

You then wipe over the left hand and arm in the same way and after reaching the wrist you wipe your right palm with the left down to the tips of the fingers.

[After finishing the right, then do the left to the wrist. The tips of the fingers designates the inside of the palm and fingers. Observe how he is silent about the left palm unless he says that each of them wipes and is wiped. This is the description which the shaykh mentioned and it was also mentioned by Shaykh Khalid. He begins with the outside of the right hand with the left and moves to the left before completing the right. This was transmitted by Ibn Habib from Malik. Ibn al-Qasim said, “He only moves to the left after finishing the right.” Al-Lakhmi and ‘Abdu’l-Haqq preferred that. The position of Ibn al-Qasim is preferred. The basis of the preference is that moving to the second before completing the first misses out the excellence of proper order between right and left. Some of the shaykhs recommend the transmission of Ibn Habib so that he does not wipe the dust on the palm, but the one with the reliable position says that the remaining of the dust is not sought aso that its judgement should be observed.]

6.4i. Other methods of wiping

If you wipe the right with the left or the left with the right in some other way that you find easy, that is acceptable as long as it is done fully.

[ If you differ from the recommended manner, your tayammum is still allowed. It only differs from the best manner. One can deduce from his words, “done fully” that if he does not wipe his forearms, it is not allowed because the arms are mentioned in wiping. The well-known position is that if he confines hismelf to the wrists and then prays, then he repeats it within the time.]

6.5 Judgements about someone in a major state of impurity

6.5a. Tayammum for janaba or end of menstruation

If someone is in a state of janaba, or has been menstruating, and cannot find any water to do ghusl with, they should do tayammum and do the prayer and then when they find water they should do ghusl.

[ Even if someone like this finds enough water for wudu’, they still do tayammum following the previous information regarding the possibility of finding water which is not repeated here. Tayammum is obliged when there is no water. He mentions it here to refute those who say that someone in a state of janaba and or a woman who has been menstruating do not do tayammum.]

6.5b. Not repeating prayers done with tayammum

They do not have to repeat any prayers they have done.

[Because their prayer occurs in manner which is commanded. The literal import of his words is that that is the case in the time or after it. It is explained that it is repeated within the time in the instances which were already mentioned. Its literal meaning is that is the case or not whether there is impurity on their bodies. It is the text of the Mudawwana and it restricted by there not being any impurity on the body. If there is impurity in his body and he prays with it by forgetfulness and they remember after they have finished, then they repeat it within the time. The statement of the author about not repeating it is informing about when water is found after they have prayed with tayammum. If there is water before the prayer, and there is enough time for ghusl and the prayer, even a rak’at, within the time, then tayyamum is invalid. If they find it after the time has begun and before it finished, even if the time is ample, or the time has begun, but there is not enough time for a ghusl and still catching a rak’at, they pray with tayammum.]

6.6 Further judgements about tayammum

6.6a. Taymmum does not make intercourse permissible

A man cannot have sexual intercourse with his wife if she has just finished menstruating or the bleeding after childbirth if she has only purified herself by tayammum until there is enough water for her to do ghusl first and both of them to do ghusl afterwards.

[ This is whether she is a Muslim or a kitabi or a slave girl. According to the well-known position, it is forbidden for him to have intercourse with her. This does not only imply to actual intercourse, but enjoying her between the navel and knee, even through a barrier, is unlawful. Finding water can either be his responsibility or the responsibility of both.]

6.6b. Water for ghusl after intercourse

[There must be enough water for ghusl on account of bleeding and then for ghusl on account of janaba. This explains the words at the end of the book about not approaching a woman bleeding from menstruation or lochia because the literal meaning is would be that when the bleeding stops, he is permitted to have intercourse, and so here he explains that even if menstruation has stopped, intercourse is not permitted, even with tayammum. Intercourse is forbidden in the well-known position beause tayammum does not remove impurity. It only makes the prayer permitted. The words of author show that tayammum is called ‘purification,’ and that is indeed the case since the Prophet said, “Its earth is pure.” It is also called wudu’ by since the Prophet said, “Tayammum is the wudu’ of the Muslim.]

6.6c. Avoiding janaba if there is no water

[It is also deduced from this that he if he does not find water, he should not voluntarily bring about a state of janaba in himself. That is the position of Malik in al-Mudawwana, i.e. that it is disliked. if he does tayammum for the lesser impurity, he should not bring about janaba in himself so that he has to do tayammum for the greater impurity. This does not negate what was already stated about the unlawfulness in the statement of the author about having intercourse, because the unlawfulness comes from his going to have intercourse with her when she has purified herself from menstruation by tayammum. This is is when he does not fear any harm to his body or fear fornication. If he is physically harmed by the length of time or fears fornication, then he has intercourse and does tayammum.

From the Translation by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura, MA

(Which Includes the commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dani by al-Azhari)

Click the above red link to see the entire text.

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