Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī – Chapter Three: On the Purity of Water, Clothing and the Place of Prayer and What Can be Worn When Doing Prayer

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī

The Risālah : A Treatise on Mālikī Fiqh by ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 -386/996)

Translated by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura, MA (London) (Including commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dani by al-Azhari)

Chapter Three: On the Purity of Water, Clothing and the Place of Prayer and What Can be Worn When Doing Prayer

3.1 Purity of Water

3.1a. Obligation of Purity

When you do the prayer you are talking to your Lord. You must therefore prepare yourself for this by doing wudu’ or ghusl if a ghusl is necessary.

[Purity in the Shari’ah is a legal state which becomes obligatory in order to make the prayer permissible. The one who prays speaks intimately with his Lord. According to the hadith which Malik relates in the Muwaṭṭa, he must prepare for the prayer. The text of the Muwaṭṭa is that the Messenger of Allah came out to his Companions while they were praying and their voices were raised in the recitation. He said, “When you pray, you are speaking confidentially to your Lord. So look to what you confide to Him, and do not say the Qur’an outloud so thatothers hear it.” He must prepare for that conversation by having an attentive heart and humility, and must stand with respect before Him, seeking His protection. When he lacks that, he does not speak to Him and the term “conversation” is not valid for him. Nonetheless, it is true that he prays and must adopt the means for that by being pure of minor and major impurities.]

3.1b. Pure Unchanged Water

This must be done using pure water which is uncontaminated by any impurity.

[Purification from impurities is achieved by pure water, i.e that which is not mixed with what changes any of its three qualities: colour, taste or smell, whether that change in its attributes is due to something either pure or impure. Thus if it is changed by rose water, it is not valid to use it for things like wudū and ghusl.]

3.1c. Change in Colour of Water by Contact with Earth

You cannot use water whose colour has been changed by something mixed in with it whether that thing is pure or impure unless the change of colour has been caused by something in the earth where the water is from such as salt deposits or mud or similar things. [It is a precondition that the water used for things like wudu’ and ghusl has not been changed in its attributes by what is usually separate from it, except for earthwith which it is in direct contact and to which it clings as when it lies in salty earth, sulphurous earth or fetid mud.]

3.1d. Rain Water

Any water coming from the sky or from springs or wells or the sea is all good, pure and purifies impurities.

[These waters which originate from the sky are all pure in themselves and good for any use whatsoever, whether drinking or such things or acts of worship, like wudū’, ghusl and removing impurities as long as the water remains in its original state and is unchanged any anything which is is normally separate from it.]

3. 1e. Change in Colour of Water

If the colour of the water has been changed by something pure which has got into it, it remains pure but cannot be used for purification either in wudu’ or ghusl or for removing impurities.

[Meaning that water whose colour has been changed with something pure, like water from pasta, is pure in itself but does not purify something else, and so it is not used for wudu’ or other things like ghusl.]

3.1f. Change of Water Through Impurity

Water that has been changed by something impure getting into it is not pure and cannot be used for purification purposes.

[Water which has been changed through impurity, whether in colour, taste or smell, and whether the water is little or a lot, it has substance or not, is no longer pure or purifying. It is not used either for normal things or for acts of worship.]

3.1.g A Small Amount of Impurity

A small amount of impurity makes a small amount of water impure even if there is no change in the water.

[If an impurity falls into small amount of water, like the water prepared for wudū’ or ghusl, even if it is something small and the impurity does not change it, it is not permitted to use it. The most famous position is that is pure, but it is disliked to use it when other water exists, provided that it has not been altered. If it has been been changed, its purity absolutely no longer exists.] [Ibn Juzayy states that if there is a lot of water and it is not changed, then it remains pure. There is no specific definition of “a lot” in the Māliki School.]

3.2 Amount of Water Used

3.2a. Using a Small Amount of Water

It is sunna to use a small amount of water when washing provided you do it thoroughly. Using an excessive amount is extremism and innovation.

[A small amount of water should be used as long as washing is done properly. Pouring while rubbing is recommended, i.e. an desirable aspect in the deen. Using a lot of it, pouring it while using it is excess, i.e. increase in the deen and innovation, i.e. something innovated which is contrary to the Sunnah and the Path of the Salaf.]

3.2b. The amount used by the Prophet

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did wudū’ with one mudd of water which is equivalent to (1 1/3 ratls) and he did ghusl with one sa’a which is four mudds measuring by his mudd, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

[He points out that it is established in the sunna that the Messenger of Allah did wudū’ using a mudd, which is 1 1/3 ratls and he did ghusl with a sa’ which is four mudds. So altogether it is 5 1/3 ratls. His aim is to inform us of the the excellence of economy and abandoning profigality and the amount which was enough for the Prophet .]

3.3 Purity of the Place and Clothing

3.3a Purity of Place

It is obligatory for the place where you are going to do the prayer to be pure.

[The purity of the place where the limbs of the one praying will touch is obligatory for the sake of the prayer, i.e. its purity for the sake of the prayer. Purity for other things, like dhikr is recommended.]

3.3b. Purity of Clothing

Your clothing must also be pure. It is said by some that the nature of the obligation referred to here is that of an absolute obligation (fard) and by others that it has the obligation of a confirmed sunnah (sunna ma’akkadah).

[The purity of the garment of the one praying is obligatory provided it is remembered and he has the ability to achieve that. If someone intentionally prays in an impure garment when he is able to remove it, he must always repeat that prayer. If he prays in such a state out of forgetfulness or is unable is remove it, he repeats it if it is still within the time of the prayer. The time of Dhuhr extends until the yellowing of the sky, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’ extend through the entire night. It is said that it is sunnah to remove the impurity, and both positions are known and acceptable. Based on the position that it is sunnah, it is repeated at the time absolutely, whether that was intentional, or he was able to remove it, or out of forgetfulness or ignorance.]

3.3c. Places where it is forbidden to pray:

You should not do the prayer in the following places:

3.3c1. Camel Places

in places where camels congregrate,

[It is disliked to pray in places where camels are kept when they come from water, even if it is safe from impurity and even if something pure is spread out and is prayed on it because the Prophet did not say that the reason was impurity so that it would be negated if it was negated.]

3.3c2. The Middle of the Road

or in the middle of the road,

[It is disliked to pray in the middle of the road where you are unsure whether the ordure of animals and urine will get on you. If you do pray there, it is recommended that you repeat it within the time. When someone prays there because the mosque is too crowded or he spreads something pure and prays on it or he is certain that it is pure, then there is no dislike.]

3.3c3. On top of the Ka’ba

or on top of the Kaʿbah,

[It is prohibited to pray on top on the Kaʿbah, based on the fact that it is necessary to face its building. The one who is above it cannot face the building. So if he prays an obligatory prayer on top of it, he must always repeat it because what is important is to face it.]

3.3c4. Public Baths

or in public baths, a place which you are not certain whether it is pure or not,

[It is disliked to pray in the baths. The reason for the dislike is the likelihood of impurity. If he is certain of its purity, then the dislike is negated and the prayer is permitted.]

3.3c5. Rubbish Dumps

or on a rubbish heap

[It is disliked to pray at a place where rubbish is thrown since one is not safe from impurity. If he is safe from impurity, then it is not disliked.]

3.3c6. Slaughterhouses

or in a slaughter house,

[It is disliked to pray in a place where animals are slaughtered if he is not safe from impurity. Otherwise, it is not disliked.]

3.3c7. Graveyards

or in the graveyards

[When the graveyard is a Muslim one, and there are no disinterred parts of the dead in the place of prayer, then it is permitted to pray there. If there are any parts of those buried in the place of prayer, then the judgement of the prayer there depends on the disagreement about and whether the human being becomes impure by death or not. If the dead person is not impure, and the person prays there deliberately, then it is disliked to pray there since there is uncertainty or certainty that there are parts of the dead person which would involve humiliation or walking on the grave. As for the prayer, it is not disliked initself. Ibn Habīb disliked praying in the graveyards of the unbelievers because they are pits of the Fire, but if someone prays in them and is safe from impurity, his prayeris not invalid, even if he is not actually safe from praying on impurity.]

3.3c8. Non-Muslim Places of Worship

and places of worship of non-Muslims.

[This designates churches, synagogues and fire temples of the Magians. Imam Mālik disliked praying in them because of impurity from their feet, i.e. that is the custom in them. The dislike is inasmuch as he prays in it by choice, not when is compelled to that. Otherwise there is no dislike. There is no difference between the ruined or inhabited place.]

3.3d. Minimum Clothing in the Prayer for a Man

The least clothing a man can do the prayer in is something which covershis ‘awra (everything between his navel and his knees) such as a long shirt or a piece of cloth he can wrap round him.

[This minimum of what does not involve sin and is adequate for what is desiredof the one who prays is a garment is that which covers the private parts, be it a long shirt, cloak or trousers. A precondition for the cloak is that it is thick and not thin or transparent, i.e the private parts should not be outlined or encompassed. If it is like that, it is disliked as long as the definition is not due to wind. Otherwise not. If it is transparent, then sometimes the private parts might appear through it without thinking about and then the prayer would be invalid. Sometimes it only appears by thinking about it, and it is judgement is like the person whose is doing something disliked and the prayer is valid.]

3.3e. Uncovered Shoulders

However, it is disliked to do the prayer wearing something that does not cover the shoulders, but if this does happen the prayer need not be repeated.

[It is disliked for a man to pray in a garment which leaves his shoulders completely uncovered when something else is available. If he prays and his shoulder-blades show when he is able to cover them, he does not have to repeat the prayer either in the time or after it.]

3.4. Women’s Dress and Prostration

3.4a. A Woman’s Minimum Dress

The least clothing a woman can do the prayer in is a thick full-length garment covering her whole body including the top of the feet and something covering her head.

[The minimum of adequate clothing for a free adult women in the prayer consists of two things: one is a thick or ample full-length garment which does not define the figure nor is transparent. This is either hasif, which means thick, or khasif, which a full complete covering which covers the top of the feet. It also means what does not define figure nor is transparent because what he means by the minimum is that the prayer is that with which the prayer does not have to repeated in the time or outside of it. The second item is a head-covering which covers her hair and her neck. Part of its precondition is that it is thick. In short, the fiqh is it is obliged for a woman to cover all her body in the prayer, even the soles of her feet based on the statement of Mālik, “It is not permitted for a woman to show anything in the prayer except her face and palms.”]

3.4b. A Woman’s Prostration

A woman should touch the ground with the palms of her hands in sujūd just as a man does.

[The woman touches the earth with her palms in prostration. It is mentioned here here because it might be imagined from his words about covering the top and soles of her feet that she covers her palms because each of them are part of the person who prays who is obliged to cover the entire body. Therefore this idea which is mentioned here must be eliminated.

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