Taharat & Najasat:
Ritual Purity & Impurity
Questions and Answers
- Question: The earth is one
of the purifying agents. Following the example of a shoe's sole that can be
purified by walking on the earth, would the same rule apply to car tires?
Answer: The earth cannot purify the tires.
- Question: Where does the domino effect
of mutanajjis items stop when it is no longer wet?1
Answer: The first mutanajjis item would
make the item that comes into contact with it impure; similarly, the second
mutanajjis would make the item that comes into contact with it impure; but
the third mutanajjis can no longer make other items impure, irrespective of
whether it is wet or dry.
- Question: If a dog licks my body or
clothes, how should I purify it?
Answer: It is sufficient to wash it once.
However, if the water is little, it is necessary to rid it of the water by
- Question: Are the Sikhs considered
to be among the followers of the past revealed religions like the Jews and
Answer: They are not counted among the
People of the (Revealed) Books (the Ahlul Kitab).
- Question: Are the Bhuddhists among
the Ahlul Kitab?
Answer: They are not from them.
- Question: Can Muslim, who rents a fully
furnished house in the West, consider everything in it to be ritually pure
as long as he does not find any trace of impure things in it, even if the
previous occupant was from Ahlul Kitab, i.e., a Christian or a Jew? What if
the previous occupant was a Bhuddhist or an atheist who does not believe in
God and the prophets?
Answer: Yes, he can consider everything
in the house ritually pure as long as he does not know that it has become
impure. Just conjecture or doubt about impurity is of no value.
- Question: The floor of most houses
in the West is covered with carpet which is glued to the floor in such a way
that it is difficult to lift it off. How can such a carpet be rendered pure
(tahir), if it becomes impure with urine or blood? The water used to purify
in both the cases could be qalil or kathir. Please explain the ruling in both
Answer: If it is possible to wipe the
water off the carpet by using a piece of cloth or a vacuum cleaner, it can
be purified with qalil water, provided that the water is wiped off the carpet,
in the process. Conversely, it must be purified by kathir water [i.e., by
using a hose pipe connected to the tap].
- Question: In the West, there are many
public laundry places in which Muslims and non-Muslims wash their clothes.
Is it permissible for us to pray in the clothes washed in such facilities,
especially when we have no knowledge whether or not the washing machines are
connected to the kurr water2
at some stages of the washing, and whether or not it purifies the clothes
in the process of washing?
Answer: There is no problem in praying
in those clothes that were pure before washing them [in such facilities] as
long as you are not aware that they have become impure. [In other words, what
goes in the public washing machine as pure comes out as pure unless you are
sure that it has become impure.]
Similarly, [you can pray in] the impure clothes [that were washed in the public
laundry machines] provided that you are reassured:
- that the impure element, if any, has been washed away;
- that the pure water covered the entire impure area twice (if
it had become impure by urine and even if the water was connected to kurr
source as an obligatory precaution) or just once (if it had become impure
by other elements);
- and that the water was removed from the clothes by wringing
or other similar method [i.e., spinning of the machine] if it was qalil.
However, if you are not sure and just have conjecture that the garment
has been purified as per religious requirement, the previously impure
garment will still be considered impure and praying in it would not be
- Question: Can the clothes washed with
liquid detergent in laundry facilities owned by a non-Muslim be considered
tahir while knowing that Muslims as well as non-Muslims wash their clothes
Answer: If you do not know that the clothes
have come into contact with a source of najasah, you can consider them tahir
- Question: Some soaps contain pigs'
fat or other animals not slaughtered Islamically. Furthermore, we do not know
whether or not chemical change has taken place in the manufacturing process.
Can such soaps be considered tahir? [Chemical change is a purifying agent
in the sense that it purifies a najis item.]
Answer: If it is proven to contain those
[impure] elements, it should be considered impure, except if the occurrence
of chemical change is proven. Such a change is not proven in manufacturing
- Question: A toothbrush that contains
bristles from the hair of a pig: is it permissible to buy, sell and use it?
Does the mouth become impure by using such a toothbrush?
Answer: It is permissible to buy, sell
and use it; however, the mouth will become impure by using it; and the mouth
will become pure by taking that toothbrush out and getting rid of the remaining
toothpaste from the mouth.
- Question: If blood is seen in the yolk
or the white part of the egg, does it make the egg impure and haram for us?
Is there a solution for it?
Answer: The clot of blood inside the egg
is pure, but it is haram [for consumption]. Therefore, the egg can be eaten
by removing the blood from it, provided it not very minute and been absorbed
in it. [In the latter case, is not removable, then the egg becomes haram.]
- Question: Are alchoholic beverages
pure? Is beer pure?
Answer: There is no doubt about the impurity
of alchoholic drinks. As far as beer (fuqa') is concerned, it is impure on
the basis of precaution; however, there is no doubt in it being haram.
- Question: The people residing in Europe
are of different faiths, nationalities and religions; and when we buy moist
or wet food items, the shopkeeper may touch it with his hands. Since we do
not know his religion, can we consider that food as pure?
Answer: As long as it is not known that
the hands of the shopkeeper were najis, the food is to be considered tahir.
- Question: What about the leather products
made in a European country, if we are unaware of the source of that leather?
It is said that some European countries import cheap leather from Muslim countries
and then use it for manufacturing various products. Can we consider such leather
pure? Are we allowed to say salat in them? Can such a weak probability [about
it originating from a Muslim country] be given any credence?
Answer: If the probability of the leather
originating from a zabiha (an animal slaughtered Islamically) source is so
weak that people would not normally give any credence (for example, the probability
of 2%), it is to be considered impure and this cannot be used in salat. But
if the probability is not so weak, it can be considered pure and using it
in salat would be permissible.
1. Translator's Note: An item
which is impure by itself is known as 'ayn najis or simply najis; the item that
becomes impure by coming into wet contact with an 'ayn najis is known as "mutanajjis,"
that is impure by secondary reason.
2. Translator's Note: All
laundry machines are connected to kurr source because it comes from the main
reservior supplying the water to the city.