Dialogue on ritual purity (Taharah)
Before my father came to attend this session, I had been meditating. I was
trying to find applications to the theoretical information, I gleanedfrom the
Dialogue on Najis Things, in my daily life. In so doing, I mightbe able to
rectify my misconception of najasah. I was eager to know fromtoday’s session
how purity is restored to things after they have been contaminated.
No sooner had my father arrived, I started by asking him:
* Yesterday, you told me that things become tainted if they meet
withnajasah. I wonder how lost purity is restored to these things?
- “The First” of purifying agents is water. By washing najis thingswith
water, you render them tahir again. That is why we should start ourdiscussion
Water is of two kinds: pure and diluted.
* What is pure water?
- Pure water is that which we and animals drink, and irrigate
plantationswith. The water of oceans, seas, rivers, streams, wells, and that
which weuse at our homes through mains supply is pure water. For example, the
waterof rivers and brooks remains pure, even though it may contain some
impurities,such as soil and sand.
* What then is diluted water?
- Diluted water is known by the additional name you give it to qualifythe
type of water. For example, you say rose water, grape water, melon waterand so
on. However, this is not a matter that concerns us. As you may havenoticed,
our discussion revolves around the water we drink and use to washand clean
things that became najis.
Moreover, pure water is of two types: immunized (mu’tasim) and thatwhich is
* Immunized! What precisely do you mean?
- Immunized water is that which does not become najis when najasahmeet with
it, except when either its colour, taste, or smell changes as aresult. Water
that is not immunized is that which turns najis as soon itcomes into contact
with anything najis, even though none of its three attributesis affected by the
* Could you tell me more about immunized waters?
- 1. Abundant water that satisfies the capacity of a kurr (a unitof size,
equivalent to 384 litres) or larger, such as the water connectedto our homes
through the water grid, the water of storage tanks installedin our homes, if
they were of a kurr capacity, and smaller water storage tanks,if they were
directly connected to mains water supply.
2. Well water.
3. Running water, such as that of rivers, tributaries, streams,
These are the immunized waters.
* What then are waters that are not immunized?
- These are waters found in small reservoirs, utensils, bottles,
tumblers,etc. that are stagnant, apart from well water that is less than kurr,
andthat which is termed “little water”. By now, you know they become najis
oncontact with najis things.
* What about diluted water?
- It is judged by the same criterion as that applied in the case of“little
water”. However, it becomes najis on contact with najis things, irrespectiveof
its quantity. An example of water that comes under this banner is thatof tea.
Liquids that may come under the same definition are milk, kerosene,medicinal
liquids, etc. They turn najis when they meet with najasah.
Moreover, when “abundant water” is connected to “little water”, thelatter can
be regarded as abundant whereby it remains immunized as long asit is fed from an
abundant source of water. To give you some examples, yourdomestic storage tank
that is normally connected to water mains supply becomesabundant; likewise, if
you placed a bowl or a saucepan under the running waterof a sink tap, the water
in it becomes abundant, and so on. That is, as longas the water remains
* Fine. What, if a drop of blood falls in the water of a tank thesize of a
kurr, that is not connected to the mains?
- It will not become najis, unless blood keeps dripping that the colourof
the water changes to yellowish, for example.
* What, if it falls in a small plate?
- It will render it najis.
* What, if we turn the tap on, thus restoring the original purityof the
- The water in the plate will become tahir. [However, it will becomenajis
again, if you turn the tap off. This is because, if the plate becomesnajis, it
becomes tahir only when it is washed three times], as shall be explainedto you
* If we were to pour water from a pitcher, or watering can, onto
somethingnajis, does the water become najis?
- No, because najasah does not climb the water column. Accordingly,neither
the cascading water nor the water in the can becomes najis.
* How would rain water render najis things tahir?
- When rain continues to fall on things that had become najis, bethey floor,
garments, mats, utensils, etc. in such a quantity that it soaksthem, they become
* Is it sufficient that rain pours on such najis objects once to renderthem
- Yes, except in the case of the human body and garments that becamenajis
through contamination with urine. They need to be washed a number oftimes. [The
same goes for najis utensils].
* Does rain water render tahir other water that became najis?
- Yes, when they mix.
* How do we render tahir objects that had become najis, if we havelittle
- We can render tahir anything najis by washing it once with water,be it
abundant or little. However, when washing with a limited quantity ofwater, you
need to separate the water from the najis thing.
* Can all things that turned najis be rendered tahir in this way?
- Yes, except the following:
1. Cutlery that became najis through contamination with alcohol shouldbe
washed three times so that they become tahir again.
3. Objects that became najis through contamination by nursing babiesshould
be rendered tahir by soaking the affected parts with water; therewill be no
need for wringing the garments, for example.
4. Utensils licked or lapped by dogs should first be scrubbed withsoil or
dust. They should then be washed with water twice. If, however,dog’s saliva
falls in such utensils, or they meet any part of the dog’s body,[they should be
wiped with soil first, then washed with water three times].
5. Garments contaminated with urine should be washed with running wateronce.
They should be washed twice if the water used was that of taps, kurr,or little
water; they should also be wrung. As for garments that became najisthrough
other means, they should be washed with either little water and wrungor with
abundant water without the need for wringing.
6. Restoring the purity of the body, that became najis by urine, shouldbe
done following the way outlined in the preceding paragraph. However,if the
water was little, you should separate the water used for purificationfrom the
body as is customary.
7. If the interiors of utensils have become najis as a result of anysource
of najasah, other than those of alcohol, dogs, licking by a pig, deathof a
rodent, they should be washed three times with little water, or [threetimes too]
with abundant water, running water, or rain water.
* What, if the interior of utensils become najis in the same way?
- They should become tahir again, if they were washed once, even withlittle
* How can I render my hand tahir after it has become najis, if I havelittle
- If it was not made najis through urine, you can pour water on itonce. As
soon as the water becomes separated from your hand, it becomes tahiragain.
The Second purifying agent is the sun.
* What are the najis things, that the sun can render tahir again?
- It renders ground and buildings - apart from doors and other
woodenmaterial - straw rugs, not the strings used in making them, and bamboo
matstahir again. [Other things that are not covered are trees and their
leaves,plantations, and fruits before they are picked, etc.].
* How does the sun render the floor and buildings tahir?
- It does so by drying them up, provided that the actual najasah
* What, if the najis ground was dry, how can we restore its
- By pouring water on it. Once sun light causes the water to evaporate,it
becomes dry and thus tahir.
* What, if the ground became tainted with urine, then the sun shoneon it and
it became dry?
- The ground restores its taharah, if no trace of urine was left.
* Suppose things like shingle, stone, soil, and mud, that are consideredpart
of the earth, became contaminated with urine. They were then rendereddry by sun
light. Should they be considered tahir?
- Yes, they should be considered tahir.
* What about nails used in buildings?
- [They are not covered by the same principle, i.e. they are not
renderedtahir by sun light].
The Third purifying agent is the removal of najasah from certain partsof the
human body, and those of animals, that have become contaminated.
* Could you give me an example?
- Removal of blood from the mouth, ear, and nose is a removal of
In other words, as soon as the blood is removed they become tahir,i.e. there
is no need to use water.
* What about an animal’s body?
- The same rule applies. For example, if the blood disappears fromthe beak
of a chicken, or the mouth of a cat, the beak and the mouth shouldbecome tahir
* Does the needle, used in injecting medicine into the body of a humanor
animal, become najis as a result of meeting blood inside the body?
- No, it does not become najis, if it comes out uncontaminated withblood.
This is because najasah does not materialize through meeting najisthings inside
the body per se.
The Fourth purifying agent is earth:
Whatever comes under the definition of earth, such as stones, sand,soil,
flooring with bricks or cement - not tarmac, has a purifying quality. It is,
however, conditional that the earth should be [dry] and tahir.
* How can I ascertain that it is tahir?
- As long as you do not know that it was najis, it is tahir, and
thereforecan be considered a purifying agent.
* What are the najis things that the earth renders tahir?
- The soles of feet and shoes are rendered tahir by walking or rubbingthem
against earth, provided that the material najasah is removed as a resultof
walking or wiping. It is to be noted, however, that the najasah shouldhave
originated from the earth, be it through walking or in any other way. [If it has
come about from other sources, earth cannot serve as a purifyingagent].
The Fifth purifying agent is the state of belonging or affiliation.
* For example?
- If the unbeliever, who is deemed najis, becomes a Muslim, he isrendered
tahir. Subsequently, his young offspring become tahir. The samegoes for the
grandfather, grandmother, mother, and their young babies, afterthey have
embraced Islam. This should be the case regarding the young child,as long as it
is under the guardianship of those who converted to Islam. That is, the child
should not be in the company of an unbeliever.
Also, if alcohol turns into vinegar it becomes tahir. As a resultthe bottle
or glass that contains it becomes tahir too.
The dead body becomes tahir, when it undergoes three types of ghusl. As a
result the hands and clothes of the person conducting the ghusl becometahir, and
so does the bench on which the body was laid for washing.
If a najis garment was washed with little water, for instance, it wouldbecome
tahir, and so would the hands that did the washing.
The Sixth purifying agent is Islam.
* How does Islam work as a purifying agent? And whom does it
- Islam renders tahir an infidel who was deemed najis. That is, afterhe had
Accordingly, all parts of his body become tahir.
The Seventh purifying agent is the absence of a Muslim who is adultor a
* What do you mean by the absence of a Muslim?
- The Muslim who is physically not around.
* How does his absence work as a purifying agent?
- When a Muslim is away, all his belongings should be considered tahir,if
you think that he rendered them tahir.
* Could you give me an example?
Suppose the shirt of your brother was najis. He does not know whetherit was
najis or not. However, you may know it is the case, irrespective ofwhether or
not he was a practising Muslim. Your brother has gone away andreturned. To the
best of your knowledge, your brother has rendered his shirttahir, in which
case, you should assume that the shirt be tahir, withoutthe need to ask him.
The Eighth purifying agent is transfer.
* For example?
- Human blood that was sucked by a mosquito. If you had smashed theinsect
and your clothes became tainted with that blood, it is tahir.
The Ninth purifying agent is istihala (transformation).
* What is transformation?
- Transformation is a complete change of something to something else,not
only by name, but also through change of its properties, or dispersalof its
* Could you give me an example?
- If a najis wood, or the dried animal dung used in fire, is burnedand
subsequently turned into ashes, the latter is tahir.
The Tenth purifying agent is the blood trapped inside the carcass ofanimals
slaughtered according to Islamic law.
The Eleventh purifying agent is the change of alcohol into vinegarbecause,
while in the process of fermentation, it turns najis. If it turnsinto vinegar,
it becomes tahir.
The Twelfth purifying agent is weaning the animal that developed ahabit of
eating human excrement. This is because the meat of such an animalbecomes
haraam to consume, so does drinking its milk. Its urine, dung, ordroppings, and
sweat become najis too.
* How do we achieve the weaning of this animal?
- It could be achieved by preventing it from eating human excrementfor such
a period that it could be said that it reverted to its natural self.
* If this was achieved, what then?
- We can then deem its meat, milk, etc... tahir.