Tayammum (Dry Ablution/Wudu)

Tayammum (Dry Ablution-Wudu)

Verily, Allah loves purity and those who try to be pure. People become unclean for various reasons. And usually, it is necessary to use water to attain physical purity. If Allah’s servants cannot use water to attain purification, He has created an alternative way for it. And that is to perform Tayammum. It is a significant thing in Islam. If any Muslim can not perform Wudu (ablution) or Ghusl (bathing) because he has a valid excuse, then Islam grants him a chance to perform Tayammum (Dry Ablution/Wudu) to attain purification.

So I will present to you some necessary information about Tayammum (Dry Ablution/Wudu). And at the same time, I will mention the directions of Islam about it with strong proof, Insha Allah. So let’s first know what the meaning of Tayammum is.

What is Tayammum (Dry Ablution/Wudu)?

In this regard, Imam Ibn Abidin Muhammad Amin bin Muhammad Al-Hanafi (Rh) has mentioned in his book that, 

definition of tayammum

According to what is in Bada’i Al-Sana’i and other fiqh, Tayammum is Using clean earth in specific two organs according to the intention of making purification with certain conditions. [Hashiya Ibn Abidin Ala Ad-Durr Al-Mukhtar, volume 1, page 229]

And Mansur bin Yunus bin Idris Al-Bahuti (Rh) has more clarified the definition and said: “Dry Ablution/Wudu is to wipe the face and both hands with purifier soil in a certain way.” [Kashshaf Al-Qina an matn Al-Iqna, volume 1, page 160]

If one does not get the soil, he can perform tayammum with its similar things. And the soil similar things are stone, sand, brick, dust, wall, etc.

Approval of tayammum. In this regard, Allah Ta’ala said, “And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself (i.e., from the toilet), or you have touched women (i.e., had sexual intercourse), and after that, 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, verse 43] 

And in this regard, Abu Dharr (R) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Clean Earth is a purifier for the Muslim; even if he did not find water for ten years. Then if he finds water, let him use it (for purification) on his skin. For, that is better.” [Jami at-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 124]

What are the reasons for tayammum?

There are some reasons if one of them appears, then you can perform Tayammum. Performing Tayammum is valid if these reasons are found. 

  1. If you confirm that there is not enough water to yourself or within a mile or two of your surroundings. In this regard, Narrated Imran bin Husain Al-Khuza’i (R): Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saw a person sitting aloof and not praying with the people. He asked him, “O so and so! What prevented you from offering the prayer with the people?” He replied, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)! I am Junub, and there is no water.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Perform Tayammum with clean earth, and that will be sufficient for you.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 348] 
  2. If you use water, there is a risk of damage to your limbs or an increase in your sickness. In this regard, Jabir (R) said: We set out on a journey. One of our people was hurt by a stone that injured his head. He then had a sexual dream. Then he asked his fellow travelers: Do you find a concession for me to perform tayammum (Dry Ablution/Wudu)? They said: We do not see any concession about tayammum for you while you can use water. He took a bath and died. When we came to the Prophet (peace be upon him), the incident was reported to him. He (peace be upon him) said: They killed him, may Allah kill them! Could they not ask when they did not know? The cure for ignorance is inquiry. It was enough for him to perform tayammum and to pour some drops of water or bind a bandage over the wound; then, he should have wiped over it and washed the rest of his body. [Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith No. 336]

Some more excuses

3. And if you are on the land where the water is frigid, there is a risk of self-harm if you use cold water. And at the same time, there is no way to heat the water. In this regard, Narrated Amr ibn al-‘As (RA): I had a sexual dream on a cold night in the battle of Dhat as-Salasil. I was afraid if I bathed, I would die. I, therefore, performed tayammum and led my companions in the Fajr prayer. So they mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). He (peace be upon him) said: Amr, you led your companions in prayer while you were Junub (i.e., in the state of the major impurity)? I informed him of the cause which impeded me from bathing. And I said: I heard Allah say: “Do not kill yourself, verily Allah is merciful to you.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) laughed and did not say anything. [Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith No. 334]

4. To be unable to use water. For example, Lack of equipment to bring water from the place of water or there is a fear of being hit by the enemy when you will go to the place of water or fear of attack by animals, or you are in a situation where are not given chance to use water, etc.  Verily, Allah Ta’ala said: “But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes after answering the call of nature (i.e., any of you returns from the toilet), 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-Ma’idah, verse 6] 

5. There is a fear of a water crisis if you use water.

For example, if you have little water, If you use water, you will be in a water crisis during cooking, or you will not find water in thirsty or in making flour-yeast. Etc. In this regard,

water crisis

Narrated by Ali (RA), He said about a man who is on a journey, then he falls into Janabah (major impurity), a little water with him and he is afraid to be thirsty. He (RA) said (about this man): “he will perform tayammum and not perform Ghusl (bathing).” [Sunan al-Daraqutni, Hadith No. 774] 

Methods of performing Dry Ablution/Wudu

There are two methods to do it. (1) Intend to attain purification first. Then hit two palms of both hands on the ground once. Then blow on the palms if there is more dust or sand in them. After that, wipe the face, then wipe both hands up to the wrists.

In this regard, Ammar (R) reported, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “It would have been enough for you to strike the ground with you hands and then wipe them your face and your hands (up to the wrists).” [Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith No. 326] 

(2) Intend to attain purification first. Then strike two palms of both hands on the ground once. Then blow on the palms if there is more dust or sand in them. After that, wipe your face. Then again, strike two palms of both hands on the ground. Blow on the palms if there is more dust or sand. Then wipe your two hands up to the elbows. In this regard, 

wiping hands to the elbows in tayammum

Narrated Abu al-Juhaim (RA), he said, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) returned from a place called Bir Jamal. Maybe he returned from the toilet or (he returned after had finished) urinating. Then I saluted him, but He did not return the answer of my salutation. Then he stroked the wall with his hand once. After that, he wiped his face through it. Then he stroked again and wiped his hands to the elbows through it. Then he returned the answer of my salutation.” [Sunan al-Daraqutni, Hadith No. 674]

Things that break Tayammum

For all the reasons break the ablution (wudu), those also break Tayammum (Dry Ablution/Wudu). But some more reasons break the tayammum too. Those are…

  • Getting enough water to attain purification or getting the ability to use the water.
  • The excuses that make tayammum valid if those go away.
  • You have enough water. But you have forgotten it. So when you remember it, your tayammum will be broken down. 
  • To be end the time of obligatory Salah and to be start the time of another obligatory Salah.

If you want to know more information and if you have good knowledge of the Arabic language, you can read the book of fiqh ‘Al Mausu’ah Al Fiqhiyah Al Kuwaitiyah’.

What are the obligatory acts in dry ablution/Wudu?

There are four obligatory acts in Tayammum (dry ablution/Wudu). Those are:

(1)  Intend to attain purification. In this regard, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The deeds depend upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” [Sahih Bukhari, Hadith No. 1]

(2) Wiping the face and the hands. Of course, Allah Ta’ala said: “Then perform Tayammum with clean earth, and wipe your faces and hands therewith.” [Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse 6]

(3) Maintaining continuity. Because Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) always maintained continuity in dry ablution/wudu. And narrated Ammar (RA): The Prophet (peace be upon him) stroked the earth with his hands and then he wiped his face and two palms of his hands. [Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 343]

(4) Not delaying for a long time during wiping one limb after another. Because Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) did not delay in wiping one limb after another in dry ablution/wudu.

In this regard, It was narrated from ‘Ammar bin Yasir (R) that: When they did Tayammum with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), he commanded the Muslims to strike the ground with the palms of their hands. And they did not pick up any dust. Then they wiped their faces once, then they hit the ground with their palms once again and wiped their hands. [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 571]

Our Dua

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the grace to follow Allah’s every command correctly and the Tawfiq to follow the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) perfectly. Ameen.


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