Monday, November 29, 2004

The five kinds of water

I. Pure (Taahir), purifying (muTahhir/Tahuur) and not disliked (not makruuh)

This is the pure water of rain, rivers, lakes, wells, dew or the sea. It can be used for wuduu' (ablution) and ghusl (Complete Body Wash).

II. Pure, purifying and disliked.

This water is makruuh to use for wudu' or ghusl IF one has other water. It is like the water above (pure, purifying and liked), but it is little (see below for the definition of little water) and one of the following animals drank from it:
  • A domesticated cat (not a wildcat) because it eats najis meat.
  • An uncaged hen or rouster because it eats najaasah
  • A gecko or a domesticated snake or mouse because their meat is najis, but the water they drink from does not became najis due to domestication (they live in peoples houses.)
  • A animal whose meat is edible (not najis), such as a cow or a sheep, but it is in the habit of eating animal feces.
Important Notes:
  • If humans or edible animals drink from little water then the water is still considered pure unless one knows there is filth in their mouth, such as alcohol.
  • If the domesticated cat licks ones hand, then it is disliked to pray without washing it.
  • If the domesticated cat eats from one's food, then it is disliked to eat it unless one is poor.

III. Pure but not purifying

This water cannot be used for wudu' or ghusl but can be used to remove najis. This water is of two kinds:

First kind: used water

a. Water that has been used for sound worship* with the intention of worship, such as all the three washes in wudu', or washing ones hands before and after food.
(* Note: Repeating ones wudu' in a single seating is not sound unless one broke it. In such an unsound case the second wudu' will not make the water used, because the second wudu' was makruuh and not valid worship.)

b. Water that washed the hadath (ritual impurity) of wudu' or ghusl, even if it was without the intention of worship. An example would be someone washing dirts off his hand after breaking his wudu'.

Note that water becomes used by leaving the surface of the body in case a and b above.

Second kind: Water that has been changed substantially by a pure substance (not najis)

"Changed substantially" means that the water is no longer called "water" or it becomes viscous or loses its flow. This happens in the following cases:
  • by being absorbed by plants - water from plants is not allowed to use for wudu' or ghusl
  • water which's natural viscosity or flow was lost by cooking, such as soup
  • water which lost its name through cooking, such as tea
  • water which was mixed without cooking with a solid matter, so that it lost its viscosity and flow. NOT if it only changed color, smell and/or taste
  • water that was mixed or cooked with something meant for cleaning, such as soap, to the extent that it became like shampoo. Not otherwise
  • water that was mixed with a fluid that has two characteristics (smell, taste or color) so that one of them appeared in the water. E.g. if the taste OR color of milk appeared in the water, since it has taste and color but no (significant) smell
  • water that was mixed with a fluid that has three characteristics (smell, taste and color) so that two of them appeared in the water. An example would be vinegar that has color, taste and smell; if only one of these characteristics appeared in the water, then it can still be used for wudu' and ghusl
  • water that was mixed with a fluid that has the same smell, taste and color as water (such as used water) so that its weight was greater than the water it was mixed with.

IV. Filthy (najis) water.

This water is not used for wudu', ghusl, washing najaasah or human drinking. Water becomes najis in two ways:
  1. by direct contact with najaasah if the water is little. Water is considered little if it is either less than approx. 7 meters across or it is not flowing. Water is considered flowing if it can carry a straw away.

    It is important to note that:
    • water that is little does not become najis unless one is sure that najaasah came in direct contact with it. Sureness is not achieved unless one is informed by a trustworthy muslim or sees it by ones own eyes. One does not have to ask anyone about the state of the water one wants to use.
    • Note that if a dog, wildcat or beast of pray drink from water that is little, it becomes najis. Any contact with a pig makes water najis if it is little. The details of what is considered najis has been mentioned in detail elsewhere.
  2. by contact with najaasah so that the water changes in either color, smell or taste - even if it is flowing or in a large quantity.

V. Water which's purifyingness is doubted (not its purity).

This is the water that was little and a mule or a donkey drank from it. If one only has this type of water, then one makes ablution with soil AND water.