Fatawa >Section One: Taharah -- Chapter Four : Tayamum
Section One: Taharah -- Chapter Four : Tayamum
1. Tayamum comprises (a) wiping of the forehead and
eyebrows, using the inside of the hands and (b) wiping the upper parts
of the two hands with the inside of one another.
Like wudhu and ghusl, tayamum is an act of
worship which cannot be deemed good enough unless it is done with the niyyah
of qurbah. Tayamum is performed using dust or soil as
opposed to using water in wudhu and ghusl.
Tayamum is an alternative to wudhu and ghusl
where both are not feasible. That is why it is called an emergency taharah.
Why should tayamum
Water may not be available for the person to perform either wudhu
or ghusl for prayer as may the case be, or it could be
available, but they cannot use it due to illness or any other reason.
In the event of availability of water and feasibility of using it, tayamum
cannot be sanctioned. It therefore follows that wudhu or ghusl
becomes obligatory. However, there are two rare exceptional cases:
a. Tayamum could be condoned for performing prayer for the
souls of the dead, although such prayer can be said without wudhu
b. If, at the time of going to bed, a person remembered that they
were not in a state of taharah, by way of wudhu, some
jurists have permitted this alternative route. Yet, we are not so sure
that this can be sanctioned.
For tayamum to be a last resort there must exist two
1. Non-availability of Water
By this we mean the following:
2. a. Non-availability of water within the entire area within the mukallaf’s
reach, so long as there is still time to perform prayer. Neither the
scarcity of water, nor its characteristics having any bearing on this
factor. In such a case, tayamum becomes obligatory.
3. b. Water could be available within the vicinity of the mukallaf.
Yet, fetching it may place them in an untenable situation,
irrespective of whether the difficulty was material or moral. The mukallaf
can in this case resort to tayamum instead of wudhu.
However, if they chose to bear such a difficulty arising from fetching
the water and got hold of it, they have to take to wudhu that
will then be deemed good enough.
4. c. Water could be available within the vicinity of the persons
and within their reach. Yet fetching it may pose some external or
internal dangers to their life, such as the route to it may be fraught
with dangers or the person may not be fit to travel the distance to
have access to it, especially there may not be other people whom they
can ask for help. The ruling in this case is the same as in the
5. d. Water could be available within the persons’ neighborhood
and within their reach. Yet having access to it may prove impossible
due to the reticence of the owners, or buying it may be very
expensive, i.e. beyond the financial ability of the person. The ruling
in this case is the same as in (3.b).
6. e. Water could be available within the persons’ neighborhood
and within their reach. Yet having access to it may pose some
problems, such as commissioning a forbidden act in the course of
fetching it. The ruling in this case is the same as in (3.b).
2. The Use of Water May not be Viable
Despite the availability of water, using it for wudhu or ghusl
may not be viable for any of the following reasons:
7. a. The short time left for prayer.
8. b. Potential danger to one’s health.
9. c. Difficulty arising from the use of water, although not
bordering on risking one’s well-being, in that both the water and
the weather could be very cold.
10. d. Using the available quantity of water may result in
subjecting the person performing wudhu or ghusl to
thirst, nuisance, or even it may endanger his health.
The danger posed could extend to the humans and/or other creatures.
11. e. Should there be a najasah on the body or clothes of
the mukallaf, and there is an amount of water sufficient for
either removing the najasah or performing wudhu,
restoring taharah to the najis things takes precedence
to using the water in performing wudhu. Tayamum should
therefore be applied.
12. In the cases where tayamum is allowed, yet the mukallaf
may, against most of the odds already discussed, manage to fetch it
and eventually perform wudhu or ghusl, both shall be in
However, the only case where wudhu or ghusl is deemed batil
is when performing either of them constitutes danger to or damages
13. It suffices to rely on the testimony of a trusted person to
resolve the question of non-availability of water. It suffices too
when a trusted doctor tells of the dangers to one’s health from
using water. That said, even apprehension that using water may
endanger one’s health would warrant desisting from using it.
Substances Used for Tayamum
14. It is obligatory to use for tayamum the earth or that
which is garnered from it, provided that it be tahir and mubah.
This could be dust, stone, sand, or clay. Indeed, tayamum shall
be deemed good enough if its done with mortar, stone, cement, tiles,
and marble so long as their original material is extracted from the
ground. Tayamum shall also be in order even if it is performed
by hitting the hands against a wall, so long as the wall is made, even
in part, with ordinary building material.
15. It is not essential that the material used for tayamum
leaves any trace on the parts of the body tayamum has been
performed on. For example, performing tayamum with a polished
clear stone is as good as performing it with dust.
16. The material used for tayamum should fulfill the
a. It should be quantifiable, not grains of dust so minute that they
are considered negligible.
b. It should not be mixed with water in such a quantity that it turns
17. In case, there does not exist a material satisfying the above
two conditions, tayamum can be performed with whatever dust or
mud. However, if both the materials were available at the same time,
dust should take precedence over mud. However, if it is feasible to
dry the mud or gather the dust to form a quantifiable amount of soil, tayamum
could be performed with the latter materials.
18. Tayamum would not be good enough, if it was performed
with that which cannot be called of the earth matter; this may include
gold, iron, steel, copper, lead, and the like, or precious stones,
such as agate, turquoise, pearl, and coral, or minerals, such as salt,
antimony, and ash. Prohibitive too is the use of all that which is
used for food and clothing. Furthermore, it is not permissible to use
wood, or glazed building materials for tayamum.
19. Should the earthly material be found mixed with non-earthly
one, such as salt, performing tayamum using such a blend cannot
be deemed good enough, unless the amount of the non-earthly material
is so negligible that you cannot call the material other than earthly.
20. Those who may not be able to get hold of any material to
perform tayamum are allowed to say prayer without it. Should
they, thereafter, be in a position to use either water or earth they
should do so and repeat each and every prayer previously performed
without wudhu or tayamum.If the situation persisted
until the time for prayer was up, the person concerned does not have
to perform prayer by way of qadha’, even though the latter
should, as a matter of ihtiyat, be advocated.
The Way Tayamum
Should be Performed
21. The person performing tayamum should hit with the inside
of both the hands the source material of tayamum; this has to
be done in one blow. With both the hands, the forehead, including the
temples, should be wiped. The boundaries of this area should be the
hairline to the upper part of the nose, close to the eyebrow. It is
recommended, however, that both the eyebrows are included in the
wiping of the forehead.
Then one should wipe the back of the hand from the forearm to the
fingertips with the inside of the right hand; the back of the left
hand should receive the same treatment, this time with the inside of
the right hand.
It is mustahab to shake the hands after hitting the earth and
Should there be long hair covering the forehead and temples, it should
be lifted to expose both for wiping. As for the hair that may grow in
them, it should be wiped.
22. To sum up, the parts of the body that wiping should be applied
to, are four: the forehead, both temples, both eyebrows - as a matter
of mustahab, and the back of both the hands. The parts of the
body with which wiping is carried out are the insides of the hands.
Every part that is wiped should be completely covered by the wiping.
However, it is not essential that the part that is doing the wiping
should cover the area being wiped. For example, it is sufficient for
the forehead to be wiped with parts of both the hands, provided that
they are used together and at the same time.
23. What is obligatory of hitting the earth with the inside of the
hands is once, irrespective of the purpose of tayamum, i.e. be
it instead of wudhu or ghusl. However, it is more
meritorious to use two blows, one for the forehead and temples and one
for the back of hands, especially when tayamum is performed
instead of ghusl.
24s. There may be a case for not performing tayamum fully,
i.e. for a valid reason. This could be a person with an amputated hand
who has no alternative but to use the other hand only. Also, whatever
left of the hand can serve as a full one. Should a person be unable to
hit the earth hard with his hands, it suffices that he places it
gently on the earth. Should a person be unable to perform tayamum
themselves, he can seek the help of another person to do it for them,
provided that the helper uses the hands of the disabled person for the
Should hitting the earth with the inside of the hands prove
problematic, the mukallafs can use the back of their hands. If
any of the parts intended for tayamum is covered by a jabirah,
the same rules applicable to the person performing wudhu should
apply in tayamum, i.e. by wiping over it.
Conditions to be Met When
25. a. Tayamum materials should be tahir and mubah
as has already been discussed in para.(14). So, it is not possible to
a najis earth in performing tayamum, neither can you use
an earthly material owned by the others without their consent.
26. b. The niyyah of qurbah should be present for tayamum
is an act of worship, i.e.it cannot be deemed good enough without the niyyah.It
is not necessary to name in the niyyah whether tayamum is being
performed instead of wudhu, ghusl, or an emergency cause
However, should there be two breaches of taharah, one requiring
wudhu and the other ghusl, there is not enough time to
perform either, two tayamums should be performed. There and
then, each of which must be performed with that particular purposes,
i.e.one instead of wudhu and the other instead of ghusl.
27. c. The steps required for performing tayamum should be
followed in an orderly fashion, such as not starting with wiping the
hands before the forehead and temples.
28. d. Where possible tayamum must be carried out by the
29. e. Removing that which could mask the surface of a wiping, or a
wiped, part, such as ring.
30. f. Ensuring the interdependence and uninterrupted flow of the
actions of tayamum, i.e.those of hitting the earth and wiping.
31. g. The place where the person performing tayamum is
present should be mubah, i.e.not magsoub. If the latter
was the case, tayamum would be batil. However, if the tayamum
material was used on the floor of a usurped place directly, it should
be deemed batil. But should the tayamum material be
placed in, say, a container on the magsoub place, tayamum
should be ruled good enough.
32. There are certain things, which the person performing tayamum
can do, by way of mustahab acts.
a. The immediate parts of tayamum should be tahir, i.e.
not necessarily the other parts of the body.
b. The starting point of wiping should be from the hairline downward
insofar as the forehead is concerned not the other way round.
Likewise, wiping of the back of the hands must start from the forearm
to the fingertips.
c. Tayamum for prayer has to be embarked on after the time for
prayer has set in.
Things That Can
33. When tayamum is performed instead of wudhu, it
could be broken, or made obligatory, in the same way wudhu
could. Also it can no longer be sustained when wudhu becomes
feasible while there is still time for restoring taharah by
using water. Should wudhu become feasible for a short while,
yet the person concerned does not take the initiative to perform it,
he can no longer rely on an existing tayamum, i.e. he has to
34.When tayamum is performed instead of ghusl, it
could be broken, or made obligatory, in the same way ghusl
could. Also tayamum can no longer be sustained when ghusl
becomes feasible while there is still time for restoring taharah
with the use of water. However, the substitute tayamum cannot
be rendered null and void by that which calls for wudhu; for
example, should a person in a state of janabah perform tayamum
and then sleep, or pass urine, his tayamum, for janabah, would
remain intact. He should perform wudhu for committing that sort
of minor hadath where possible; conversely, tayamum has to be
performed instead of wudhu.
The same thing applies to a woman having had tayamum instead of
ghusl of haydh.
35. In the unlikelihood of finding water, a person could have tayamum
instead of ghusl for touching a dead body; they may need to
perform wudhu for, say, having slept or passed urine. One tayamum
would suffice, in that they are not required to perform a second tayamum
instead of wudhu.
Validity of Tayamum
36. If, after having had tayamum, the persons realized that
they did not do it as it should be done, they have to repeat it.
Should they think that they, say, forgot to wipe the back of the left
hand, they should hasten to do so, provided that there is no time lag.
Conversely, they should repeat the whole tayamum procedure.
37. All the other cases of doubt
concerning tayamum should be treated in the same way as their
counterparts in wudhu. These have already been discussed in
paras.(94, 96, 97, 100, and 101) of the Chapter on Wudhu.