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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Taharah (purification) in Islam: Path to Purity

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Introduction – Taharah in Islam

In Islam, the concept of Taharah is essential to our daily lives. It contains physical cleanliness and spiritual purity and guides our worship and interactions. Taharah keeps our bodies, clothing, and surroundings clean, reflecting Islam’s holistic approach to cleanliness and purity. At one place in the Quran, Allah (SWT) said,

"Purify your garments." [Surah Muddaththir verse 4]

“Taharah” means being pure, clean, and free from impurities and is a requirement for various acts of worship in Islam. To maintain purity, such as Wudu (ablution), Ghusl (full-body ritual purification), and Tayammum (dry ablution) when water is not available. On the other hand, Najasah refers to impurity and is considered unclean, able to make things unclean by contact, including blood and urine.

Taharah in Islam encourages us to purify our hearts and minds from sin and negativity, creating an environment of moral and ethical goodness. This dual focus on physical and spiritual cleanliness helps us develop personal discipline and promotes a sense of unity within our community.


Types of Taharah in Islam

Taharah in Islam ensures physical and spiritual cleanliness. There are two main aspects to achieving this state:

  1. Taharah from Najasah (physical impurities)
  2. Taharah from Hadath (spiritual impurities)

Taharah from Najasah (Physical Impurities)

As mentioned above, in Islam, Najasah refers to physical substances considered impure. To purify yourself from Najasah, you must cleanse your body, clothes, or prayer area from these impurities.


Methods of Purification from Physical Impurities

The methods for purifying physical impurities vary depending on the nature of the impurity:

  1. Washing: Water is the primary and most important method of purification. Most impurities can be removed by washing the affected area with clean water until the impurity is gone. For example, if clothes or the body are soiled with urine, rinsing with water is required until no trace of the impurity remains.
  2. Scraping: Solid impurities like mud mixed with impure substances can be rubbed off.
  3. Sprinkling Water: Sprinkling water can be a purification method for items that cannot be washed directly. For example, pouring water over a soiled floor can purify the area.

Taharah from Hadath (Spiritual Impurities)

Hadath refers to a state of ritual impurity that requires purification before certain acts of worship can be performed. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said about Hadath,

The prayer of a person who does Hadath (passes urine, stool or wind) is not accepted till he performs the ablution.” A person from Hadaramout asked Abu Huraira, “What is ‘Hadath’?” Abu Huraira replied, ” ‘Hadath’ means the passing of wind. “

[Sahih al-Bukhari 135]

There are two types of Tahara of Hadath:

  • Minor Hadath
  • Major Hadath

If individuals in these states find water of suitable quality and purify it through Wudu, Ghusl, or Tayammum with Niyyah, they are considered clean. Let’s discuss the three purification methods in detail and how to perform them for minor Hadath and major Hadath.


Minor Hadath

This includes states that require a person to perform wudu (ablution) to attain purity. Examples include:

  • Passing wind.
  • Sleeping deeply.
  • Touching private parts without a barrier.

Purification of Minor Hadath (Wudu)

Ablution is an important form of worship for achieving physical and spiritual purity. Proper washing involves the following actions in the specified order:

  • Washing hands.
  • Cleansing nose with water.
  • Washing the face.
  • Washing the point where the elbows meet the arms.
  • Washing portion of the head, including the neck.
  • Washing the feet, including the heels.

For detailed information, you can visit this blog post: How To Perform Wudu/wazoo According To Sunnah.


Major Hadath

This includes states that require a person to perform ghusl (full-body ritual washing) to attain purity. Examples include:

  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Ejaculation.
  • Menstruation and postnatal bleeding.

Purification of Major Hadath (Ghusl)

It consists of rinsing out every part of your body until nothing is dry to touch. There are three stages to it:

  • Taking a mouthful of water.
  • Take a deep nasal water inhalation.
  • Cleaning oneself thoroughly

For comprehensive information, please visit this blog post: Ghusl: The Ritual and Spiritual Purity.


Tayammum

When water is unavailable or cannot be used, you may perform this ablution using sand or another earthy item to remove impurities caused by small or significant Hadath. Tayammum requires intention, so set your intention before saying “Bismillah (in the Name of Allah).”

  • Pick up the dry sand of the earth and strike the palms of both hands with dust or sand.
  • If there is any excess sand or dust, shake it off or blow it away.
  • Wipe your face off with your hands.
  • To prevent spreading germs, it’s best to switch hands and wipe the back of your right hand with your left palm.

For more information, visit this blog post: Tayammum: Step-by-Step Guide.

In Islam, Tahara refers to spiritual purity. Just as we wear clothes on our bodies, our souls are worn with the clothes of the heart. The impurities that pollute the soul’s garment are not mud or dust but Kufr, Shirk, sins, and haram.

These impurities cannot be cleansed with water; purification of the heart and mind is achieved through repentance. Allah (SWT) has promised good news to those who purify their hearts from diseases and their bodies from impurities.

"Successful indeed are those who purify themselves." [Surah Al-A'la verse 14]

What kind of Dirt is Called Najasah?

Najasah is not simply “dirt” in the physical sense. Still, it encompasses various types of impurities. Najasah includes:

  • Human Waste: Urine, feces, and other excretions from the human body.
  • Animal Waste: In Islam, animal waste is considered an impurity (Najasah) if it comes from non-permissible animals or from permissible animals not slaughtered according to Islamic guidelines.
  • Blood: Blood that flows from a wound.
  • Pus: Impure fluid from infections or wounds.
  • Dead Animals: Remains of dead animals.
  • Alcohol: Most jurists consider intoxicating drinks to be impure.
  • Menstrual and Postnatal Blood: Blood from menstruation and post-childbirth bleeding.

Difference between Taharah and cleanliness

While both Taharah and cleanliness are concerned with purity, Islam makes a critical difference between them. Cleanliness refers to the general state of being free from dirt, germs, and anything physically undesirable. Wash your hands after gardening or wipe down a dusty surface to achieve cleanliness.

In Islam, Taharah, however, goes beyond the physical realm. It’s a purification that removes physical and unseen ritual impurities that discourage participation in specific religious acts.

Think of it as a spiritual washing alongside the physical one. As mentioned above, Removing these Hadath and physical impurities (Najasah) through practices like Wudu and Ghusl allows Muslims to enter a state of purity.

Therefore, while cleanliness is important in everyday life, Taharah holds deeper spiritual significance in Islam.


The Unique Qualities of Tahara

Now, Let’s explore the unique qualities or benefits associated with Taharah (ritual purity) in Islamic teachings:

Means to Earn Allah’s Love: Taharah is a means to earn Allah’s (SWT) love and closeness. Allah (SWT) said in the Quran: Surely Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves. [Surah Al-Bakarah verse 222]

Continuous Worship and Believer’s Quality: Maintaining Taharah encourages a state of constant worship and remembrance of Allah (dhikr).

Angels’ Blessings: Angels are considered regular places of Taharah and purity. It is said that angels do not enter places where there is impurity. Therefore, maintaining Taharah invites Allah’s (SWT) blessings and creates an environment conducive to angelic presence and blessings.


Role of purifying in Different conditions

We come across various impurities in our daily lives. Let’s now discuss each of these circumstances and their implications in Islamic practice, along with relevant explanations.

Wudu (Ablution) and Salah

  • Breaking Wudu in Prayer: If a person’s wudu (ablution) is invalidated during salah (prayer), such as due to passing wind, using the restroom, bleeding profusely, or other causes, the prayer becomes invalid. In this case, the person must stop the prayer immediately, restart their wudu, and then restart it from where it was broken.
  • Maintaining Taharah for Diseased Persons: In Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), the rulings concerning Taharah for a person with a disease like urinary leakage vary. These variations depend on the nature of the condition and its prevalence.

Constant Urinary Leakage

A person with this condition experiences constant urine leakage that does not stop, even after they have urinated. Any amount of urine that collects in the bladder immediately leaks out. Then the ruling is that the person should:

  • Cover their private parts with something clean (such as a cloth).
  • Perform the prayer (salah) in this state, and it will not invalidate their prayer if urine leaks out during the prayer.

This ruling is based on the principle that excuses a person due to the continuous nature of the condition beyond their control.

Intermittent Urinary Leakage

If the urinary leakage stops after urinating, or it stops temporarily (for example, for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour), then the ruling is:

  • Wait until the leakage stops completely.
  • Perform wudu (ablution) once the leakage has stopped.
  • Pray in a state of purity (having performed wudu) without any leakage.

This means that the person should wait for the leakage to cease, perform wudu while they are in a state of purity, and then proceed to pray.

Note: The scholars regarded the one who suffers urinary incontinence as coming under the same rulings as the woman who suffers from istihadah (irregular non-menstrual bleeding).

Impurity Due to Bodily Fluids

  • Bleeding: In Islamic teachings, continuous blood flow is considered to invalidate Wudu (ablution), which is necessary before certain acts of worship like Salah (prayer). If bleeding occurs, it necessitates the renewal of Wudu before you can perform Salah again. However, minor bleeding that stops and does not continuously flow does not invalidate Wudu.
  • Najas for Ghusal: This refers to the full-body ritual purification required in Islam after certain states of impurity, including menstruation, post-childbirth bleeding (Nifas), and sexual intercourse. Ghusal involves washing the entire body in a specified manner, ensuring physical and spiritual cleanliness before one can continue acts of worship.

Animal Interactions

  • Dog Liking: Many Islamic scholars consider a dog’s saliva impure (najasah). If a dog licks a person’s skin or clothes.
  1. Wet Saliva: If the dog’s saliva is wet, it necessitates washing the affected area using clean soil (tayammum) if water is unavailable.
  2. Dry Saliva: If the dog’s saliva has dried up, it does not require washing unless there is visible wetness or moisture.

Misconception and Clarification Child Urine

  • A child who consumes solid food: Islamic teachings consider the urine of a child who has started consuming solid food as impure (najas). Therefore, if such a child urinates on clothing or any surface, the affected area should be washed thoroughly to remove the impurity.
  • Infant or child exclusively on milk: Islamic teachings do not consider the urine of an infant or a child exclusively breastfed or consuming only dairy as impure (najas). However, it is recommended that the affected area be washed to ensure cleanliness.

Najas of Vomiting

In Islamic teachings, vomiting is considered impure (najas). If an adult vomits and soils clothing or any surface, they should wash the affected area thoroughly to remove the impurities from the vomit.


Conditions During Travel

During travel, if a Muslim encounters impurity situations where water is scarce or time for prayer is limited, Islamic jurisprudence offers concessions (rukhsah). Here’s what should be done in such circumstances. When water is unavailable or harmful. Travelers can perform tayammum.


Conclusion

The concept of Taharah (purification) in Islam is a fundamental principle emphasizing physical cleanliness and spiritual purity. By practicing Taharah, we aim to achieve a state of cleanliness in preparation for acts of worship and daily life.

Islam stresses the importance of external cleanliness and internal purity. Inner purification involves cleansing one’s heart and intentions of negative traits such as arrogance, jealousy, and greed while cultivating virtues such as sincerity, compassion, and gratitude.

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