Tuesday 28 May 2019

Understanding Islam: Q&A - How to Perform Tayammum (Dry Ablution)

Salat or the Muslim prayers are obligatory for every adult Muslim. There is no escape from it and one has to offer salat whether at home, office or traveling. However, there are certain concession given on count of ill health or to cater for the rigours of travel.

One of the prerequisites of offering Salat is wudu or the ablution, without which the Salat cannot be performed. A detailed post has already been published on How to perform Wudu / ablution in one of our earlier posts.

It would be appreciated that wudu or the ablution cannot be performed without water for water is the most purifying substance / agent and it completely takes away dirt and other impurities from one's face, hands and feet. But what if one is traveling and adequate water is not available for ablution?  Should one skip the prayer for without wudu salah cannot be performed?

Well no way. Like Allah has given concession to Muslim to shorten the salat during travel, likewise a concession is also given to still perform ablution even if adequate or no water is available. This procedure is called Tayammum or the Dry Ablution.

Following conditions fulfill the requirement to perform the dry ablution:
  • When sufficient amounts of water for ritual washing are not available, including when using the available water for wudu or ghusl (complete bath) would leave insufficient water for drinking.
  • When obtaining water is hazardous or prohibitively expensive.
  • When using water poses a health risk.
  • When the water available is impure.
If above mentioned conditions exist, in such situations Tayammum or the dry ablution is allowed. The procedure to perform Tayammum is very simple as is given in the verse 6 of Surah V of the Holy Quran:
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 (having had marital relations with one's spouse), 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.
The same allowance is also mentioned in the 43rd verse of Surah An Nisah, chapter 4:
O you who believe! Approach not As-Salat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter, nor when you are in a state of janabah, (i.e. in a state of sexual impurity and have not yet taken a bath) except when traveling on the road (without enough water, or just passing through a mosque), till you wash your whole body. And if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (by sexual relations) and you find no water, perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands (Tayammum). Truly, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.
As is evident from the two verses referred above, the procedure to perform Tayammum involves only two actions: Taking clean earth (or sand) and rub it on your face, and hands.

So when one has to perform Tayammum, one must make the intention of performing the dry ablution, take Allah's name or say:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
"In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Then one must strike both palms of hand on clean dry sand or dust or anything containing these, e.g. earthen wall or stone etc. then blow into the palms.

Then pass the palms of both hands over the face once and then rub right hand with the left palm and left hand with the right palm).

This simple procedure thus readies one for offering salat if conditions on non availability of water and other conditions mentioned above are met.

It may be added here that  it is permissible to do tayammum on walls or vessels made of clay, so long as they are not painted. If they are painted, tayammum is not valid unless there is dust on them.
Other procedures include the forearms and shoulders as well as armpits. These have been transmitted by reputable scholars but the most preferable and authentic is one that has been elaborated above.
It must be seen how simplify difficult situations are made in Islam for the ease of believers and to assist them to perform obligatory rituals even when one is hard pressed on account of travel constraints and shortage of water. May Allah help us following Islam which has been made very simple and practicable by Allah Almighty.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 
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