What is Classified as Pure Water and Impure Water?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Staying clean is extremely important in Islam, if one is not in the state of purity, they cannot fulfill any rituals such as Salaah and Reciting Quran, hence Islam gives great emphasis on one being clean and pure. The way we purify our exterior is with the use of pure clean water.
It is important to understand what is classified as pure water and how to distinguish when water becomes unusable for one to purify themselves.
First, there are 7 types of pure water
· Sea Water
· River Water
· Well Water
· Water melted from snow (ice)
· Water melted from Hale
· Spring Water
The above seven types of water are classified as pure water in its original form.
Then water is categorized into 5 different types.
1. Pure Water & Purifier – water which is not disliked
This is completely pure water in its original form, without any modifications made to it. Such types of water can be used to purify and cleanse oneself for ritual activities. For instance, all the 7 types of water mentioned above are pure water and are purifiers. One can use such water to remove literal impurity and purify oneself for worship.
2. Pure Water & Purifier – Water which is disliked
This is that water which is pure and again one can use such water to cleanse and purify oneself, but it is disliked (Makruh Tanzihi), to use this water for a couple of reasons.
An example of such water is when a domestic cat (or like such domestic animals) drinks this water when the quantity of this water is small. In such instances avoiding using this water for purification would be recommended and one will be rewarded for doing so. On the other hand, if one does use such water to cleanse and purify oneself, they will not be sinful, and purification will be achieved.
What quantity of water would be classified as small in such an instance?
Water in the dimension of 4.6 x4.6 in diameter will be classified as a small quantity.
3. Pure Water & Not a Purifier Water
A water which in its form is pure but one cannot use such water to purify oneself.
For instance, such water which one has used already to purify oneself in the form of Wudhu, now that water does not become impure after being used, but the water cannot be reused by someone else or even the same individual to cleanse and to remove ritual impurity again.
The water is classified as used soon as it separates from the body. Once the water has left the limb that you were washing, that same water cannot be used to purify another limb. For example, if one is washing the arms for wudhu, and the water drips from the arm onto the feet, the feet would still need to be washed with pure water, as the water that left the arm and fell on the feet is not a purifier.
Water that comes out of Trees and Fruits are classified as pure water but are not purifiers one cannot use such water to acquire ritual impurity, even if the water comes out from the tree and fruits themselves without anyone extracting such water.
Any water which has been removed from its nature (its ability to flow and its thickness) due to cooking or anything overcoming the natural ability of making the water flow or it becomes thick, such water will be classified not fit to be used for achieving purity (ablution), but the water is still classified as pure. It just cannot be used to purify anything.
Another example is of liquids that we use daily such as Drinks, these are all pure liquids, as we can touch them and use them, and if such liquid were to fall onto our clothes it does not make our clothes impure. But you cannot use such liquids and fluids to achieve purification.
If natural water still has its ability to flow naturally and it has not lost its density (thinness) the water will still be classified as pure water, which can be used to remove ritual impurity.
Issues of when water becomes dominant
Dominance with solids
When pure water is mixed with any solids that remove the below two qualities of the water, the water is classified as being dominant.
Density: it loses its thinness
Fluidity: the water does not flow naturally
When the above two are lost the water is not suitable for ablution and purification. On the other hand, if a solid item falls into the water but does not remove the above two qualities, that water is still classified as pure, for example if tree leaves or fruits or any such item which falls into the water, but you can notice it has not affected the water, one can continue to use such water to achieve purity, even though the water has lost its below qualities:
Such water is still classified as pure and fit for ablution.
Dominance with liquids
If the liquid has two qualities, and it loses one of its qualities or if the liquid has all three qualities and loses two of the qualities, it is classified as it has been dominated. For example, milk has two qualities (Taste & Color) if one of these qualities were to be lost, you would classify milk being dominated and not usable.
If the liquid has no qualities (taste, smell and color) then the dominance would be determined by measurement (one cannot actually measure physically but can determine and estimate approximately how much liquid has been mixed).
So, any water which has been dominated may still be pure, but it will not be classified as a purifier, with which one can achieve ritual impurity.
4. Impure water
Water in which impurity has fallen into. If the impurity has fallen into water which is less than arms lengths wide and its depth is so that when you scoop up water you can see the bottom surface, even though you may not be able to see the signs of impurity, such water will be classified as impure.
If the water is flowing and impurity falls into it, it will not be classified as impure water, unless you actually see the impurity in the water.
For example, the water is flowing in a stream, and some impurity falls into the water, naturally the stream would flow that impurity away, and as you can see that there is no impurity and filth in the water in front of you, you can perform ablution. On the other hand, if you notice that there is still impurity in the water (color changes, smells, or doesn’t taste right), then that water is not pure until the signs have gone.
5. Doubtful Water – Doubtful in the ability to purify
Such water from which a donkey or a mule has drunk from. If any of these animals’ drink from such water, it is best to avoid using that water for purification.
If one has no option besides to use this water, it is best that they perform Ablution (wudhu) first with intention and then also perform tayammum with intention.
Hence it is extremely important that we ensure that when we use water for purification it is clean and suitable for achieving purification. In most modern countries we are privileged in having taps with access to clean water in the comfort of our homes, mosques, and public areas, hence we do not think into the logistics of where the water is coming from. But when we are traveling abroad and have fewer resources it is important to understand the basic Fiqh of clean water.
نور الايضاح – كتاب الطهارة
مسألة غلبة الماء
Allah knows 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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