There is something, in my humble opinion, I really don't understand regarding Tayammum. According to the law, it's possible for one to clean himself by exploring soil, purified sand, or dust? (in case he doesn't have water).

Let's assume that one has already clean hands and face and now he has to put them into the sand, how does it make them cleaner? I'm a bit confused by that.

  • 1
    The issue is that you understand taharah as equal to cleanness and najassah equal to uncleanness. While both are related to religious rituals. Imam a-Shafi'i said if taharah was a matter of cleanness one would wipe over the bottom of leather socks instead of the upper part.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 22:09
  • Nice explanation. Thank you
    – Tilmiz
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 0:32

2 Answers 2


First of all it is Allah's order in the qur'an to purify our selves in a certain manner in order to perform the prayer:

O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful. (5:6)

Allah gave us two different solutions:

  • a general (and best) case (water is available),
  • and an option under unfavorable conditions (no water is available or water would cause you harm). Which is the topic of this question and marked bold in the text quote above.

So we should stick to what Allah orders us and the prophet orders us as Allah further says:

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. (33:36)

Now again as said in my earlier comment purifying or taharah for performing acts of worship is not equal to cleanness nor is najassah equal to uncleanness. You could clean yourself while performing wudu' or ghusl, but this is not the main goal, the main goal is to be in a pure state as Allah defined following his orders. If for example cleanness would be the goal, why is waste or excessive use of of water for ghusl or wudu' regarded as frowned upon?

As the quote I've falsely attributed to imam a-Shafi'i turned out a hadith or athar on the authority of 'Ali ibn abi Talib () here the full correct quote:

Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib:
If the religion were based on opinion, it would be more important to wipe the under part of the shoe than the upper but I have seen the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) wiping over the upper part of his shoes. (Sunan abi Dawod)

Shoe here refers to al-Khuff الْخُفِّ a leather sock.

What does this quote mean:
If the rules of Allah (the religion) would be based on the human logic and what a human would regard as fine neglecting what Allah and his messenger have ordered they would be otherwise. But then we would be in clear conflict, as on one hand we pretend being Muslims (follow Allah's orders) and on the other hand we act against his orders.

This report is qualified as sahih by at least ibn Hajar and al-Albani.


Allah ( The most merciful, most High) says in the glorious Quran :-- "O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles . If you are in a state of Janaba (i.e. after a sexual discharge), purify yourselves (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey, or any of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse), and you find no water, then perform [tayammum] with {clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands}. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour to you that you may be thankful." (سورة المائدة, Al-Maaida, Chapter #5, Verse #6)

Allah ( The most merciful, most High) says in the glorious Quran :-- "(This is) the truth from your lord. So be you not one of those who doubt." (سورة البقرة, Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #147)

Look, if you truly believe in quarn and hadith, there is no choice but you must obey the shari' legislations without any doubt, if you want to fend off yourself from the fire. May Allah ( the Almighty) guide you.

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