June 23, 2024
Al-Muqni' is a famous textbook of Hanbali Madhab written by Imam ibn Qudamah al-Hanbali rahimahullah.

Non-Purifying Pure Water

The author (Imam ibn Qudamah), may Allah have mercy on him, said in al-Muqni’:

 The second category is non-purifying pure water. This refers to water that has been
mixed with something pure, causing a change in its characteristics, or when its ingredients are dominant on water, or when it has been cooked. If any of its qualities have changed, such as its color, taste, or odor, or if it has been used to remove a state of impurity or for a recommended purification act like renewing ablution or washing on Fridays, or if a hand is immersed in it while waking up from sleep at night before washing it three times, does it lose its purifying status? There are two narrations regarding this matter.”

In his esteemed work, Imam Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi, may Allah have mercy on him, delves into the second category of water, which he refers to as “non-purifying pure water.” This category encompasses instances where water, despite being originally pure, becomes non-purifying due to certain factors.

As for the statement “And regarding it being what has been mixed with something pure…” until the end, it
will be mentioned in its appropriate places. There are two types in this regard, and they are as follows:

Unanimous Non-purifying Pure Water

The first type is unanimously agreed upon in Hanbali Madhab. regarding its purity and non-purifying nature. It includes the following cases:

1. Water that has been mixed with something pure, causes a change in its name. For example, if it is used as a dye or is made into bread, it remains pure but loses its purifying properties. This is because it no longer retains the name “water” and becomes more akin to vinegar.

The first scenario within this category occurs when water is mixed with something pure, resulting in a change in its characteristics. This change can manifest in various forms, such as altering the water’s color, taste, or odor. When such alterations occur, the water loses its purifying properties and is no longer considered suitable for ritual purification or other acts of worship.


2. Water that has been mixed with something pure, and the dominating element overpowers water’s characteristics. In this case, as well, the water remains pure ritually but loses its purifying properties. This is because when the dominating element surpasses the water, the ruling is based on the dominating element itself, and since the dominating element is pure but non-purifying, the water takes on the same ruling.

Furthermore, when the dominating element overtakes the water’s parts, the water itself dissipates because it is no longer sought for its quenching properties. As a result, the water loses its inherent
characteristic for which it was created, and thus its purifying status is revoked.

The third type is water in which something pure has been cooked, such as lentils, chickpeas, and the like. In this case, the water remains pure ritually but loses its purifying properties. This is because it has undergone the process of cooking, and the purpose of the water as a quenching substance is eliminated. It is similar to when it turns into bread.

Allah Almighty says: If you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you has used the toilet or has had
contact with women and can find no water, then make Tayammum, take some clean soil, and rub your faces and hands with it. Allah is the Lenient, the
” [4:43]

Abu Zar Al-Ghifari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Apostle (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) said, “Verily! Clean soil is a means of purification for you until you find water, even after ten years, and when you find water, clean your skin with it.”

[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.21629, 21630, 21698, Sunan Abu Dawood: H.332, Jami at-Tirmidhi:H.124]

Shariah recommends TAYAMMUM (Dry Ablution with soil) when someone can’t find water for ablution, instead of making ablution with other liquids like fruit juices, milk, oil, and vinegar. Even Nabeedh (Date Syrup) can’t be used for ritual purification, according to the Mu’tamad position of the madhab. The water, that loses its original properties by dissolving something clean, whether it is baked or not, is not allowed to use for ritual purification and removal of filth. For example when saffron, camphor, dye, etc are added to water and it dominates water’s color, odor, or taste, then it loses its originality.
Now the water is attributed to the substance dissolved in it. Likewise, when some grains, flowers, or fruits are baked in water, it again loses its originality and it is called now Rose Water, Barley Water, etc. So, despite being clean, such altered water neither lifts ritual impurity nor removes filth.

There is an exception for soil. When soil is added to water naturally or artificially, the water retains its ability to purify, provided that the water can flow normally, retaining its liquidity, without turning into mud. The reason for this exception is that Shariah considers soil, a mean of ritual purification, as described in the aforementioned verse and Hadith. 

Therefore, Imam Ibn Qudamah, may Allah have mercy on him, elaborates on these types, their respective rulings, and the reasons behind them. By delving into these explanations, scholars and researchers gain a deeper understanding of the intricate nuances within the realm of water purification in Islamic Jurisprudence.

Water Employed to Remove a State of Impurity (Hadath)

The author, Imam Ibn Qudamah, continues his discussion by addressing another important aspect of
water purification. He indicates a distinction between water used for washing the body or specific body parts as part of the ritual purification process, such as obligatory Wudhu (Ablution) or Ghusl (Ritual Bath), and the water that remains in the container after the purification has taken place.


When water is employed for washing the body during the purification process, it is considered clean in the sense that it does not carry any visible impurities. However, despite its cleanliness, this water loses its ability to purify or remove ritual impurities. The water that flows over the body and drops down during the process of purification is the focus of this discussion. It refers to the water that is actively used for washing and comes into direct contact with the body. The official position of
the madhab renders such water non-purifying but pure and clean ritually.

It is important to note that this ruling applies specifically to the water in motion, actively used for
purification, and not to the water that remains stagnant in the container. The water left in the container after completing the purification process retains its original purity and purifying properties, provided that the person performing the purification has washed their hand three times before immersing it into the container. This precaution ensures that any remnants of impurities on the hand do not unintentionally contaminate the remaining water. The water remains pure and purifying until it is in contact with the body.

The accidental dropping of a few drops of the used water back into the container does not impact the originality or purifying status of the water. Such minimal quantities are generally overlooked and do not nullify the overall purifying properties of the water.

In this nuanced discussion, Imam Ibn Qudamah emphasizes the importance of distinguishing
between the water actively used for purification and the water left in the container. By addressing this distinction, he provides clarity on the status of water used for ritual purification and highlights the significance of proper hand hygiene and the
handling of water during the purification process.

The ruling mentioned in the commentary is supported by authentic Hadiths. One such Hadith
narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) states that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised against bathing in stagnant water after engaging in sexual relations. The companions asked for guidance on what to do in such a situation, to which Abu Hurairah replied that one should draw water from a vessel instead of directly bathing in the stagnant water. This Hadith is recorded in Sahih Muslim (Hadith 283) and Sunan Ibn Majah (Hadith#605).


This Hadith emphasizes the importance of avoiding stagnant water in small quantities for purification purposes, after being in a state of sexual defilement. It indicates that using stagnant water for ritual
purification after entering it, is not recommended, as it can compromise the purity of the water. The act of inserting any body part into such water turns it into “used” water, rendering it unsuitable for further purification.

And because the companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) used to travel, and water would become scarce for them, they would use the water they had with them sparingly. If it were permissible to reuse the water for purification, they would have refrained from pouring it out
and would have used it again. However, it is not reported that any of them preserved the used water and saved it for ablution.

The reason for such water being clean and pure is that no filth has been added to it, so it retains its original clean quality. It is also concluded from the following Hadith:

Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Apostle  (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) came to visit me while I was sick and unconscious. He performed ablution and sprinkled the remaining water on me and I became conscious and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! To whom will my inheritance go as I have neither ascendants nor descendants?” Then the Divine verses regarding Fara’id (inheritance) were revealed.

[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.14349, Sahih Bukhari:H.194, 4577, Sahih Muslim:H.1616, Sahih Ibni Hibban:H.1266, Sahih Ibni Khuzaimah:H.106]

Washing Hands before Immersing into Water

In the Hanbali madhab, it is mandatory to wash hands three times before immersing them in water after waking up from night sleep. This ruling is based on the command of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized the importance of washing the hands before immersing them in the water for purification, particularly after waking up from night sleep. This practice is mentioned in various narrations where the companions described the Prophet’s method of performing ablution (wudhu). Many companions reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would wash his hands before immersing them in the water by pouring water over them.

The inclusion of this specific action in the Hanbali madhab highlights the meticulous adherence to the Prophetic traditions and the importance of following the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teachings in matters of purification. Washing the hands before immersing them in water serves as a means of cleanliness and ensuring that any impurities that may have accumulated on the hands are removed before engaging in the act of purification.

By following this practice, adherents of the Hanbali madhab seek to maintain the highest level of cleanliness and adherence to the Prophetic traditions in their acts of worship and purification. It is through such attention to detail and adherence to the Sunnah that the Hanbali madhab seeks to uphold the purity and sanctity of worship in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Moreover, it is worth noting that even when a person puts their hand into a small quantity of water with the intention of purification, without washing it three times, that water is considered ‘used
water’ and cannot be reused for ritual purification. This further supports the ruling that water used for purification should be treated with care and the proper cleansing procedures, such as washing the hands three times, should be followed.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Apostle ( May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) said, “Whoever wakes up from his sleep should wash his hands thrice before putting them in the water for ablution, because nobody knows where his hands
were during sleep.”

[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.7590, 7802, Sahih Bukhari:H.194, 4577, Sahih Muslim:278]

The text concludes as follows:

1.      It implies only to the person who gets up from the night’s sleep.

2.      The sleep should be deep enough to invalidate Wudhu.

3.      If the person is not sexually defiled, then it will apply only to his hands, rather than other body

4.      Children, insane people, and disbelievers are exempted from this command.

5.      Washing thrice is an obligation.

6.      It implies that he has the intention of ritual purification.

7. The obligation to wash hands thrice implies when water is small in quantity.

8.      It implies only water, not other liquids. [Kashaf-ul-Qina’a]

The text, being concise, mentions only the obligatory position regarding ritual purification. However, washing hands before putting them into water or touching any food, is recommended all the time for every person, Muslim or Non-Muslim, children or elders, whether they do not sleep at all, whether they have no intention of ritual purification, whether the water in the container or food is large in quantity.

Salman Al-Farisi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that he read in Taurah that there is a blessing in washing hands after taking a meal. I told Allah’s Apostle (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) what I read in Torah. He said, “There is a blessing in washing hands before and after a meal.”

[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.24133]

Mansoor bin Younus Al-Buhuti Al-Hanbali said: Washing hands before a meal is Sunnah (recommended) and after it as well.”

 [Ar-Raudh-ul-Murbi: P.419]

The teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) serve as a guide for Muslims in
matters of purification and cleanliness. By adhering to these teachings, believers ensure that they maintain a state of physical and spiritual purity, as prescribed by the Islamic faith.

The Water Employed for Recommended Acts of Purification

Water that has been used for recommended purification acts such as renewing ablution, showering (bath) on
Fridays, and similar acts, it is considered pure and purifying in the madhab because it is water that has not been used for lifting ritual impurity, and there is no reason to prevent prayer by using it. Though two contradictory
narrations have been attributed to Imam Ahmad in the case discussed, however, the official position of the madhab is as described.

 The non-purifying pure water can be used for other purposes, like drinking, washing hands and face just to remove dust or dyes,, etc, taking a bath just with the intention of cooling the body or removing dust, washing vessels, clothes, or floor, that is not defiled with filth.[Al-Insaf, vol.1, p.28, Kashaf-ul-Qina’a, vol.1, p.25]

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