Shall we backfill the Oceans, Rivers, lakes, and Reservoirs because a few dead animals were dumped in it?

Sunan Abu Dawud 66–I heard that the people asked the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him):

Water is brought for you from the well of Buda’ah. It is a well in which dead dogs, menstrual clothes and excrement of people are thrown. 

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) replied: Verily water is pure and is not defiled by anything.

Please explain this hadith in detail.


Critical clarification:

Verily water is pure and is not defiled by anything, refers to the high quantity or volume of running water that is can not be defiled by small impurities, in this case the well of Buda’ah had high volume of running water, people used to INDIRECTLY throw dead dogs, menstrual cloths and excrement of people.

People during that time used to throw dead dogs, menstrual cloths, and excrement of people behind their homes and the torrential downpour that used to run for a distance and goes to the well of Buda’ah which had high volume of running water.

This hadith shows the practicality of Islam, that the high quantity or volume of running water that is cannot be defiled by small impurities and since it is not defiled therefore it can be used by people. Otherwise, the other option is death in the event of the lack of water. We doubt it if the non-Muslims who criticise this hadith would backfill their lake or reservoir forever because they found some dead cats or dogs in it.

The Prophet is reported to have forbidden his followers to urinate in stagnant water. (Muslim)

Make sure to read the following article to complement the above meaning.

What is Classified as Pure Water & Impure Water?

This hadith is one of the strong signs of the Prophethood of our beloved Prophet: Mohammed peace be upon him. This hadith had been pronounced almost fifteen centuries ago by prophet Muhammed, which does not only include a ruling and advice for us to follow, but also a prophecy that has been fulfilled in front of our eyes.

This Prophecy we are referring to is that the Prophet foretold us that freshwater is so precious, valuable and cannot be wasted. The hadith implied that we must pay extreme care for fresh water as there will be shortage in freshwater.

Which is the case we can see rarity and shortage in fresh water due to multiple factors such as industrial wastewater being dumped in freshwater rivers. Human wastewater also gets dumped in fresh water in many countries around the world.

To those who have some basic knowledge of the geopolitical dynamics of relationships between countries around the world, will acknowledge the fact that, the rarity, scarcity, and shortage of fresh water around the world is behind multiple diplomatic, economic, political, and social wars and disputes around the world. The current dispute over the Nile River between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan is still a very current hot topic.

The hadith teaches as a very important economic advice on how to handle freshwater with extreme care.

The hadith explains that much fresh running water is not affected by LITTLE impurities such as menstrual clothes, dead dogs, and stinking things.

Let us explores few examples:

First Example:

If you have a freshwater lake behind a dam and some dead animals were thrown in it, what would you do?

Would you backfill the whole lake with dirt and sand and get rid of the whole lake because few animals ended up dead in it?

How about if you have a freshwater small river feeding small villages and some individuals mistakenly dumped some menstrual clothes, dead dogs, and stinking things, would you backfill the whole river and get rid of a critical and vital source of a running freshwater small river or go hang the people who made mistakes. The hatred of Islam has blinded the enemies of Islam from trying to reason or use some basic logic.

Second Example:

There are many incidents where oil shipments carried by ships ended up leaking in water and causing environmental disasters and enormous levels of pollution for water and everything else. What are the solutions the enemies of Islam would suggest to solve those issues?

Should countries get rid of all the ships around the world and stop ships from carrying oil shipments or what?

Third Example:

If we have few cars having accidents, do we have to shut down the automotive industry, close all roads, streets and demolish all traffic management authorities?

Real Life Scenario:

It is not a secret that ALMOST ALL governments around the world -Western Governments are NOT an exception- are recycling grey water= Taking your toilet wastwater (they call it grey water).And then filter it and add too much chlorine and chemicals into it.

They would suggest that it is just used for washing, showering but not for drinking, reality is we do not have assurances that it is not the same as we drink.

Some States within the United States are already dumping the human remains and human bodies at the Sewer system after being cremated, their excuse is: It would be a good fertilizer for agricultural land.

It is ironic and contradictory how some of those enemies of Islam who criticise the attached hadith for our beloved Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him

Perhaps they are sipping a glass of wastewater coming out of their own toilet which has been processed by a nearby desalination station, this is a very realistic scenario.

The shortage in fresh water is due to multiple factors such as industrial and residential dumping of wastewater, growing population around the world and many other factors.

Muslims enjoy the highest standards of personal hygiene. Purification is part of a Muslim’s faith. We read in the Quran what means:

“God loves those who turn to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves clean.” Surah Al-Baqarah=Chapter the Cow (2:222)

Physical purity is a must in Islam. Physical purity includes the purity of body, clothes, and the environment.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the best adviser on issues related to hygiene. The Prophet is reported to have instructed his followers to avoid certain practices that lead to bad health conditions.

The Prophet is reported to have forbidden his followers to urinate in stagnant water. (Muslim)

The general rule is that nothing can make water impure unless it alters the water’s smell, taste, or color.

Regarding the hadith you quoted, the following remarks are not out of place.

Imam al-Khattabi said that it should not be understood that the companions were not the ones who used to throw dead dogs or menstrual clothes into the well of Buda`ah.

The companions were the cleanest ever people. It is not even accepted that non-Muslim people of that time used to do that. (Ma`alim al-Sunan, 1/37)

Further, it was the heavy rain that threw these things into the well of Buda`ah; the well itself is pure. Scholars held that much water is not affected by little impurities according to the hadith which states if the water reaches two qullahs= will be about 192 liters. in volume, it will not become impure due to impurities.

The exact quantity of the qullah is a controversial issue. Several estimates were given to this quantity. One opinion holds that the qullah is equivalent to 375 milliliters. Another strong opinion based on the history of mathematics among Arabs is that Qullah= 96 liters of water. Check referenced study at the end of this article by the title of Volume Unit in the Period of The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him: An Integrated Study of Mathematics and Islamic Histories within the Contemporary Context

Of course, the well of Buda`ah is so large that it wouldn’t be impure if there was such filth in it.

Moreover, the hadith is talking about ablution and nothing more since Muslims have to purify themselves before the five daily prayers. So, the Prophet (peace be upon him) never claimed that Muslims can drink impure water.

Imam al-Tahawi said that the well of Buda`ah was like a river leading to a garden. This means that the water is always running, and it is not stagnant. Therefore, the Prophet declared it to be a pure source of water.

Other scholars maintained that when the Prophet said: “Water is pure”, he was referring to the water of the well of Buda`ah. This means that the Prophet was confirming the purity of this well as it is too large to be contaminated by the impurities that were thrown into it by the heavy rain

Allah knows the Best.

Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.

Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan

Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar- Australia. 

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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.