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The Impure Water
Imam ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali said:
If the impurity is removed by the water while it is still undergoing a change (i.e., the properties of the water are still altered), or before the impurity ceases to exist, then the water is considered impure. However, if the water separates from its location without causing any change in its properties after the impurity ceases to exist, then the water is considered pure if the location is on the ground. If the location is not on the ground, then the water is considered pure according to the more valid of the two opinions. Is it considered purifying? There are two opinions on this matter. If a woman utilizes the water for ritual purification alone, then it remains purifying. However, it is not permissible for a man to perform ritual purification with it, according to the apparent view in the madhab. The third category: Impure water. This refers to water that has changed due to contact with impurities. If it does not undergo any change and it is in a small quantity, does it become impure? There are two narrations regarding this matter. However, if the water is in a large quantity, it remains pure (purifying), except in the case of it being mixed with urine or liquid filth. There are two narrations regarding this as well: one stating that it does not become impure, and the other stating that it does become impure. However, if the water is of such a large quantity that it cannot be drained out, then it does not render the water impure.
Abdullah bin Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported that Allah’s Apostle ( May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) was asked about water in the desert country and what is frequented by animals and wild beasts. He replied: When there is enough water to fill two Qullahs (pitchers), it bears no impurity.
[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.4605, 4753, 4803, 4961, 5855, Sunan Abu Dawood:H.63, 64, 65, Jami at-Tirmidhi:H.67, Sunan Ibni Majah:H.517, 518, Sahih Ibni Hibban:H.1249, Sahih Ibni Khuzaimah:H.92]
Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Apostle ( May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) said, "If a dog drinks from the utensil of anyone of you it is essential to wash it seven times."
[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.7440 Sahih Bukhari:H.172, Sahih Muslim: H.279, Sahih Ibni Hibban:H.1296, Sahih Ibni Khuzaimah:H.98]
The following Hadith also fortifies this ruling:
Kabshah, daughter of Ka’b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) and wife of Ibni Abu Qatadah, reported that Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) visited (me) and I poured out water for him for ablution. A cat came and drank some of it and he tilted the vessel for it until it drank some of it. Kabshah said: He saw me looking at him (with wonder); he asked me: Are you surprised, my niece? I said: Yes. He then reported the Messenger of Allah (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) as saying: It is not unclean; it is one of those (males or females) who go round among you.
[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.22950, 23013, Sunan Abu Dawood:H.75, Jami at-Tirmidhi:H.92, Sahih Ibni Hibban:H.1299, Sahih Ibni Khuzaimah:H.104]
Kabshah bint Ka’ab was surprised thinking that the little water would get impure when a cat drank from it, assuming the cat was unclean. The companion of the Messenger of Allah (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him), confirmed her perception in a way and rejected her assumption on the other hand, by declaring that cat and its saliva is not impure. His words prove that if the cat’s saliva would be impure, the little water in the utensil would become impure.
Here are more examples of avoiding a small amount of filth when mixed in water:
Salama bin Al-Akwa’a (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that we went out with the Prophet (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) to Khaibar. A man among the people said, "O’ Amir! Will you please recite to us some of your poetic verses?” So Amir got down and started chanting among them, saying, “By Allah! Had it not been for Allah, we would not have been guided. “Amir also said other poetic verses which I do not remember. Allah’s Apostle said, “Who is this (camel) driver?” The people said, “He is Amir bin Al-Akwa’a.” He said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on him.” A man from the People said, “O’ Allah’s Apostle! Would that you let us enjoy his company longer.” When the people (Muslims) lined up, the battle started, and Amir was struck with his own sword (by chance) by himself and died. In the evening, the people made a large number of fires (for cooking meals). Allah’s Apostle (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) said, ”What is this fire? What are you making the fire for?” They said, “For cooking the meat of donkeys.” He said, “Throw away what is in the pots and break the pots!” A man said, “O’ Allah’s Prophet! May we throw away what is in them and wash them?” He said, “Never mind, you may do so.”
[Musnad Imam Ahamad:H.16640, Sahih al-Bukhari:H.2477, Sahih Muslim: H.1802, Sahih Ibni Hibban:H.5276]
Abu Tha’alabah al-Khushni (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that I said, “O’ Allah’s Apostle (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) we live in the country of the People of the Book, indeed they eat pork and drink wine, so what we do with their utensils?” He said, “If you do not find the utensils except theirs, then wash them with water and cook in them and drink.” [Musnad Imam Ahmad:H.17889]
Imam Hasan al-Basri r.a (d. 110 H) was asked if a few drops of wine or blood, get mixed with water in a container, and he commanded to pour it out.
[Musannaf Ibni Abi Shaybah:H.1772]
These Hadiths reveal the general trend of Allah’s Apostle (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him), his companions (May Allah be pleased with them), and their descendants, regarding a slight amount of filth, even if it does not alter the properties of water apparently.
If the water separates from the place of impurity while it is still altered, there is no difference of opinion regarding its impurity. However, if the separation occurs before the impurity ceases to exist and the water is not altered, and it is less than two Qullahs (pitchers), it is considered impure based on the contamination of a small amount of water simply by encountering the impurity.
And whatever separates from the place of impurity while still undergoing a change due to it, then both it and the place are considered impure. Even if it has been washed seven times unless the filth no longer exists in its place (e.g. private parts).
If the water separates from the place of impurity after the impurity has ceased to exist, and the separated water remains unchanged, then it is considered pure water, whether the place of impurity lies on the ground or the human body. This ruling implies that the moisture left on the private parts after removing the filth is pure and it does not make the body or clothes impure.
However, such unaltered pure water is not considered purifying in the madhab.
Water left over after a woman’s ritual purification
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him):
One of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) took a bath from a large bowl. The Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to perform ablution or take from the water left over. She said to him: O Prophet of Allah, verily I was sexually defiled. The Prophet said: Water not defiled.
[Sunan Abu Dawood: H#68]
This ruling is based on the following Hadith:
Hakam bin Amr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Apostle (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him) forbade a man to make ablution by the water left after the purification of a woman.
[Musnad Imam Ahmad:H.1801, Sunan Abu Dawood:H.82]