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Najaasah (physical impurity)

Categories of Najaasah

Urine coming out of the body leads to minor ritual impurity. However, if it goes onto the clothes it leads to major impurity of the clothes. In this way, there are different types of Najaasah (physically impure substances). This is a very complex topic and the basics will be addressed here.

According to the Hanafis

There are two kinds of najaasah:

Major Najaasah: Everything that leaves the body and necessitates wudhu or ghusl regardless of whether it is a minor or major ritual impurity.
Minor Najaasah: The urine of those animals permissible for consumption, as well as the urine of the horse and the droppings of birds not permitted for eating.

The Hanafis considered those parts of the animal that do not contain blood are not najis such as the hair, wool, horn and hooves. This is based on the following aayah:

"And Allah has made for you from your homes a place of rest and made for you from the hides of the animals tents which you find light on your day of travel and your day of encampment; and from their wool, fur and hair is furnishing and enjoyment for a time." [16:80]

According to the Maalikis

All the non-living things are pure except intoxicants. They considered intoxicants to be najis, thus if it falls on your clothes, you have to wash them.

All that comes from the dead (living) beings are najis. All that comes from the living beings that do not have flowing blood are pure, like the fly or the fish, regardless of whether dead or alive.

According to the Shaafi'is

The Najaasah is of three kinds:

Severe: The dog and pig and all that comes from that including the saliva and excretement.
Moderate: All those things the Hanafis considered severe
Lesser: Urine of a small male child that only drinks milk. This is based on the following two hadith:

"An infant boy was brought to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and it urinated on him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, called for some water and rubbed over the urine with it."

(Maalik from 'Aaishah)

“The urine of a baby girl should be washed off and the urine of a baby boy should be sprinkled (with water)”

(Abu Dawud, An Nasaai and ibn Maajah from Abus-Samh, the servant of the messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)

Note: the reason for this distinction is not known.

They also said that all comes from the non-living things are pure as well as all that comes from the living things other than the dog and pig. They also considered all that comes from the dead as najis other than the dead of the sea and the locust. These two exceptions are based on the following hadith:

"Two types of dead meat and two types of blood have been made lawful for our consumption: The two dead meats are: fish and locust, and the two types of blood are: liver and spleen."

(Abu Dawud, Ahmad and Ibn Maajah from ibn Umar)

They also made exceptions for the dead human and the dead unborn child of the slaughtered animal that is found in the animal after slaughter and said these are not najis. Finally, they also mentioned the animal that is killed by a hunting tool/animal without slaughtering is not najis.

According to the Hanbalis

Their views are very similar to the Shaafi' views and will not be detailed here.

Purification from Najaasah

Plain water (al maa ul mutlaq) is the remover of both hadath (ritual impurity) and najaasah/khabath (physical impurity) as was mentioned in the previous lesson. Plain water was also defined in the previous lesson.

Actions/situations that necessitate physical purification

1. Salaah: Physical and ritual purification are both required.

2. Janaazah: The deceased must be purified both physically and ritually for the janaazah (the funeral). This extends to the purification of the place in which those who are praying the janaazah pray (i.e. if the deceased is not physically pure, their is impurity where the janaazah is being prayed).

3. Prostration of Qur'aanic recitation: Again physical purification is required. The scholars differed on the requirement of ritual purity for Qur'aanic recitation and this difference extends to the issue of the prostration of Qur'aanic recitation.

4. Tawaaf: With regards to ritual purity, many scholars are of the view that it is required, however, the view that it is not is stronger. The view that it is not required is the view of the Hanafi scholars as well as ibn Taymiyyah, ibn ul Qayyim and others.

The first view is based on the following hadith:

"Tawaaf around the house (ka'bah) is like the prayer except talking during it. So whoever speaks during it should not speak anything except what is good."

(At Tirmidhi and Al Haakim from ibn Abbaas)

They concluded from this that one must be free from purity during tawaaf just like during salaah. They also mentioned the hadith of 'Aaishah that the prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam performed wudhu before Tawaaf.

The scholars who held the second view said that as it is not explicitly stated that you must be purified to do tawaaf, this conclusion is not correct. It is similar to the khutbah being similar to the prayer, however, the conditions/methodology of participating in the khutbah are different from that of the prayer.

The hadith of 'Aaishah again does not explicitly make it a requirement. Finally, they mentioned that someone performing Tawaaf in crowds would be unable to leave and go and make wudhu without incurring great difficulty.

With regards to physical impurity, the majority hold the view that it is required to be free of physical impurity whilst the Hanafis said it is not.

5. Khutbah of Jumu'ah: Only the shaafi' scholars said that physical purification is required whilst the others said it is not. However, all agree that it is required for the salaah.

Methodology of Purification from Najaasah

Something that is najis in and of itself, known as an najaasah al 'ayniyyah, cannot be purified. For example, no matter how much you wash the excretement of a dog, it will not become pure.

This is different from something that is impure due to some reason but can be changed into something pure. For example, wine that becomes vinegar becomes pure even though it was originally impure due to its intoxicating qualities.

Similar those things that become impure by touching the excretement of the dog can be purified by washing.

The scholars are in agreement that blood that flows, the dead and the excretement of man are all considered from the an najaasah al 'ayniyyah. However, they differed over the dog and pig. The saliva of the dog and the meat of the pig is najis. Some considered the dog and pig themselves as najis whilst others did not.

Does physical purification from najaasah require an intention?

Just like giving up of something does not require an intention, physical purification also does not as it is the removal of impurity. This is different from ritual purification.

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