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What is Tayammum (Dry Ablution) and how it is done?

What is Tayammum (Dry Ablution):

In Arabic, the word Tayammum literally means an 'aim' or 'purpose.' In Islamic Law, it refers to: 'Aiming for or seeking soil to wipe one's face and hands with the intention of purification and preparing oneself to pray, and so on."


Proof of its Legitimacy:

This act of ritual cleansing is proven by the Quran, Sunnah (prophetic tradition) and Ijmaah (consensus of Muslim scholars). The Quran says (what means):

"…And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women [i.e., had sexual intercourse] and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving." (Surah An-Nisa 4:43)

From the Sunnah, we have the Hadith (prophetic statement) related by Jabir bin Abdullah (R.A.) in which the Prophet (S.A.W.) said:

" …. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform Tayammum. Therefore my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due …. ” (Sahih Bukhari 438)

Finally, there is a consensus that Tayammum forms a legitimate part of the Sharee'ah (Islamic Law), as it replaces ablution with water or Ghusl (ritual bathing), under specific circumstances.


A Blessing from Allah:

This form of ablution is viewed as a blessing from Allah to the Muslims. Jabir bin Abdullah (R.A.) related that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said:

" I have been given five things which were not given to any amongst the Prophets before me. These are:

1.  Allah made me victorious by awe (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month's journey.

2. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform Tayammum. Therefore my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due.

3. The booty has been made Halal (lawful) for me (and was not made so for anyone else).

4. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation exclusively but I have been sent to all mankind.

5. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection.)."

(Sahih al-Bukhari 438)


When to Make Tayammum:

One is permitted to make Tayammum in any of the following cases:

1- If one cannot find water or the amount one finds is insufficient for ablution.

Imraan Ibn Husain Al-Khuzai (R.A.) said:

‘Allah's Messenger (S.A.W.) saw a person sitting aloof and not praying with the people.
He (S.A.W.) asked him, "O so and so! What prevented you from offering the prayer with the people?"
He replied, "O Allah's Messenger (S.A.W.)! I am Junub (not pure) and there is no water."
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Perform Tayammum with clean earth and that will be sufficient for you."

2- If one is injured or ill:

If one is in this condition and thinks that using water will worsen it (he does not have to be absolutely sure, but may base his assumption on past experience or what a knowledgeable person has told him), he may perform Tayammum.

Jaabir (R.A.) said:

‘We were on a journey and one of us was injured. Later, he had a wet dream.
He asked his companions, 'Can I perform Tayammum?'
They said, 'No, not if you have water.'
He performed Ghusl, which caused him to die. When news of this came to the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.),
He (S.A.W.) said: "They killed him! May Allah kill them! Do you not ask if you do not know? The remedy for ignorance is to ask. He could have performed Tayammum and not dropped water on his wound, or wrapped it with something, then wiped over the wrapping, and then washed the rest of his body."’

3- If water is cold enough to physically harm the user:

Tayammum is allowed when water is available but is too cold and cannot be heated, or there is no public bathroom available.

Amr Ibn Al-Aas (R.A.) narrated that:

‘I had a sexual dream on a cold night in the battle of Dhat as-Salasil. I was afraid, if I washed I would die. I, therefore, performed Tayammum and led my companions in the dawn prayer. They mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).
He (S.A.W.) said: Amr, you led your companions is prayer while you were sexually defiled?
I informed him (S.A.W.) of the cause which impeded me from washing. And I said: I heard Allah say:
"…Do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." (Surah An-Nisa 4:29)
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) smiled at this and did not say anything.’

(Abu Dawud: 334)

4- If water is nearby, but one cannot fetch it due to fear:

If one fears for his life, family, wealth, [for example, if an enemy (beast or human) is nearby or if one is a prisoner, and so on], he may perform Tayammum. This is also allowed if there is water but one lacks the proper means to get it, or if one fears some accusation against him if he gets it.


5- If one is saving his water for later use

This could be for dough, cooking, or to remove an impurity that is not pardonable.

Imam Ahmad said:

"Many of the Companions (R.A.) performed Tayammum to save their water for drinking."

'Ali (R.A.) said: "A man who is traveling and becomes unclean because of sexual intercourse, or a wet dream, can perform Tayammum if he fears he will go thirsty. He should perform Tayammum and not Ghusl." (narrated by Ad-Daaraqutni)


6- If one can get water, but fears that the prayer will be over by the time he gets it

He can perform Tayammum and pray, and does not need to repeat his prayer (after he gets water).

The Soil Used for Tayammum must be pure soil: this can be sand, stone, gypsum, and so on. Allah Almighty Says in the Quran (what means):

"… If you are in a state of Janaba (i.e. had a sexual discharge), purify yourself (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes from 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 ..." (Surah Al-Maida 5:6)

All scholars of the Arabic language agree that 'soil' (in Arabic) is whatever covers the earth, dirt or otherwise.


How to Perform Tayammum:

First, one must have the intention to perform ablution and purifying himself, then he mentions Allah's name (Bismillah), strikes the soil with his hands, and wipes his face and hands up to the wrist, starting with the right hand. Nothing is more authentic and clear than what narrated from Saeed bin Abdur-Rahman bin Abza from his father, that Ammar bin Yasir (R.A.) said:

‘A man came to Umar bin Khattab (R.A.) and said: "I became impure following sexual emission and cannot find any water." Umar (R.A.) said to him: "Do not pray." But Ammar bin Yasir said: "Do you not remember, O Commander of the Believers, when you and I were on a military expedition and we became sexually impure and could not find water? As for you, you did not pray, but I rolled in the dust and then prayed. When I came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and told him what had happened, he said: 'It would have been enough for you (to do this).' (Then demonstrating) the Prophet (S.A.W.) struck the ground with his hands, then blew on them, and wiped his face and palms with them." (Ibn Majah: 569)

This Hadith shows that one strike of the earth is sufficient, and one only wipes the arms to the wrists. It is an act of Sunnah that one who makes Tayammum with dirt should blow into his hands first and not make his face dusty or dirty.


What Tayammum Makes Permissible:

After performing Tayammum, one is pure and may perform any of the acts requiring prior ritual purification, such as praying and touching the Quran. He does not have to perform it during the time of prayer, and he may pray as many prayers as he wishes (unless he nullifies it), exactly as it is the case with regular ablution.

Abu Dharr (R.A.) reported that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said:

"The soil is a purifier for a Muslim, even if he does not find water for ten years. Then, if he finds water, that is, to make ablution, and so on, it becomes incumbent upon him to use it." (Tirmidhi: 124)


Source: http://www.missionislam.com/knowledge/Tayammum.html

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