Pure & Impure Substances

How many pure substances are there and what are they?

There are 30 pure substances which will be mentioned in the course of this chapter.

What is the ruling on components of the earth and the ruling on living creatures, their sweat, tears, mucous, spit, and eggs and what emerges after death?

Things are fundamentally pure. All components of the earth and what is produced from it are pure, and any impurity is incidental. These following substances are pure:

1. A living creature, even if it is a dog or pig.

2. Its sweat.

3. Its tears.

4. Its mucous.

5. Its spit.

6. Its eggs, except for those which have become rotten or become blue or turned to blood: they are impure. As for those whose white has become mixed up with its yolk without being rotten, they are pure.

7. Those substances mentioned above which emerge from a living creature after it has been legally slaughtered.

8. That which emerges from a living creature after it dies when it is an animal which is pure when it dies without being slaughtered, like fish and locusts. As for what emerges from a living creature after death when it is an animal which is impure when it dies by itself, like cattle after they die, that is impure.

3. What is the ruling on phlegm, bile, that which falls out of the brain, the human corpse, that which does not have blood, aquatic animals, that which is slaughtered, hair and down?

All those mentioned are pure and are as follows:

9. Phlegm, which is what comes congealed from the chest, like snot.

10. That which emerges from the brain of a human being or other creature.

11. Bile, which is a thick yellow fluid which is secreted by the stomach like a saffron dye. That is because we consider the stomach to be pure and so what emerges from it is pure as long as it has not been subject to decomposition, like vomit which is no longer food.

12. A human corpse, even an unbeliever.

13. That which is dead and has no blood. This includes all the insects and vermin of the earth like scorpions, beetles and fleas, but not lice, which are impure when dead.

14. Dead aquatic animals: fish and others, even if they live a long time on land.

15. All that is slaughtered, whether by cutting its throat, or by nahr (a spear in the throat), or shooting if it is an animal which is lawful to eat. As for animals which meat is forbidden, such as pigs, the dead animal is impure, even if slaughtered. * As for those who say that their meat is disliked, then the process of slaughter is carried out on those animals and their dead are pure.

*As for dogs, donkeys, as for dogs, donkeys, mules and horses, there is a difference of opinion regarding their meat and whether it is unlawful or disliked. In the view of those who consider their meat unlawful, the dead animal is impure.

[Note. Some even say that horse-meat is permitted without being disliked.]

16. Hair, even from pigs. This includes camel hair and wool.

17. Down from feathers. It is that which connects to the quill on both sides.

4. What is the ruling on in animates, human milk, excrement of permitted animals, their gall, undigested food, vomit, musk, wine, the ashes and smoke of impure things, and blood which has not been shed?

These following categories are also pure with certain preconditions attached to some of them.

18. In-animates, which are substances which have no life and have not been separated from anything living. This includes all the varieties of plants and parts of the earth, and liquids, like water and oil. Milk, ghee, and honey are not included as they are not inanimate because they came from something living, like eggs.

An exception is made for a liquid intoxicant derived from something inanimate, such as wine which comes from the juice of grapes, or the alcohol from the infusion of raisins and dates and the like. They are all impure and someone who drinks them receives a hadd punishment. This is not the case with hashish, opium, hen bane and the like. They are pure because they are from something inanimate. It is, however, haram to use them because they remove good sense. It is not haram to use them for medical treatment on the outside of the body.

19. Human milk, even from an unbeliever.

20. The milk of what is not forbidden to eat, even if it is disliked, such as cats and beasts of prey. The milk of animals it is forbidden to eat, like pigs, is impure.

21. The excretion of permitted animals: the droppings and dung, urine, and the waste of chickens and all birds which do not consume impurity. If they consume impurity in food or drink, then their droppings are impure. A mouse is an animal whose meat is permitted and its droppings have the same ruling, even though it normally consumes impure things, like chickens. Their droppings are only deemed to be impure if they are proven or believed to have consumed impurities.

22. The gall of animals not haram to eat, whether permitted or disliked. It is a yellow liquid which exists in a known place in the animal.

23. Undigested food, which is the liquid which the stomach casts up when it is full.

24. Vomit when it has not changed from the state of food by turning sour. If it has changed, it becomes impure.

25. Musk and the animal which it comes from, and civet, which is similar.

26. When wine is turned into vinegar or turned to a solid by some process it become pure, especially when it becomes vinegar or solid on its own.

27. The ashes of impure things, like impure rubbish and dung. The purity of the ash of impurity is restricted to that which is consumed by fire so that the parts of the impurity are eradicated, but not something whose ashes retain a solid form. They remain impure.

28. Impure fuel, which becomes pure when burned.

29. The smoke of impurity.

30. Blood other than that which is shed and flows from the slaughtered animal and remains in the veins of the animal or its heart or what leaks from the meat. That which remains in the place of slaughter is considered to be shed blood, which is impure, as is that which is found in the abdomen of the slaughtered animal after skinning.

How many impure substances are there and what are they?

There are fifteen impure substances which will are mentioned below in sections 6 to 8.

What is the ruling on the dead body, what issues from it, what is separated from it, and what is separated from something alive? What is the ruling on skins?

Those are impure substances:

1. The dead bodies of all land animals with a circulatory system: sheep, cattle, and donkeys, even lice. A small amount in the case of lice is overlooked due to the difficulty in removing it. Human corpses are pure, as already stated.

2. All that emerges from that corpse after death including urine, tears, mucous, and eggs.

3. All of what is separated from it which had been penetrated by life like flesh, bones, sinews, horns and hooves and teeth. Feather quills from birds alive or dead, which is that which is covered by down, are also impure. It has already been mentioned that down and hair are pure since life does not penetrate them. The skins of living or carrion animals are impure, even if tanned, and cannot be prayed in or on. Most of the imams believe that the become pure when tanned. Imam Malik, however, hesitated about the purity of the kaymakht, which is a tanned skin of a donkey, horse or mule. Some later scholars preferred that it be considered pure and used to carry liquids like ghee and honey, and that prayer is permitted on it. According to the well-known view that tanned skin is impure, it is permitted to use it for non-liquids, like grains, flour and unmoistened bread, and for water in general because water if purifying and is not made impure by it until its colour. taste or smell is changed. As for other liquids, like ghee, honey, olive oil and other oils, and water altered by pure things, like rose water, they may not be placed within the tanned skin and if placed in it, become impure.

* Elephant tusks, the source of ivory, are also considered impure, although some give more weight to the opinion that it is heavily disliked (makruh tanzih).

What is the ruling of shed blood, black bile, human excreta and excreta of animals not permitted to be eaten and animals which consume impurity?

These are impure substances:

4. Shed blood, which is blood after slaughter, or from cupping or a wound, etc..

5. Black bile, which is what emerges from the stomach like pure blood.

6. Human excreta: urine and faeces.

7. Excreta of animals which it is not permitted to eat. These are animals whose meat is forbidden, like donkeys, or disliked, like beasts of prey.

8. The excreta of birds which consume impurities, like chickens and other birds, whether they eat or drink that.

8. What is the ruling on vomit, sperm, wady, pus, purpulence, and what flows from the body?

These are impure substances:

9. Vomit, which is food expelled by the stomach when its nature has changed. It is impure when it has changed from the state of food in taste, colour or smell. If it is not been changed, it remains pure, as already stated.

10. Sperm.

11. Madhy, which is the thin liquid which emerges from the penis or vagina when thinking about intercourse or other sexual activities.

12. Wady: which is a thick liquid which emerges from the penis without pleasure. It emerges due to illness or a dry nature or the like, usually after urination.

13. Pus, which is the the thick substance which comes from a boil.

14. Purpulence, which is a thin liquid mixed with blood.

15. All that flows from the body from blisters, pimples, pustules, scabs, itch and the like.

What is the ruling on something liquid or solid when an impurity falls into them?

When impurity falls into a liquid, like oil, honey, milk, rose water and the like, it becomes impure, even if there is a lot of liquid and a little impurity, like a drop of urine in gallons of these liquids. This is the well-known position, although there is another one which states that a little impurity does not harm a lot of food. Similarly, when an impurity falls into solid food or a mouse or a similar animal whose dead is impure dies in it, the food also becomes impure when the impurity is believed to have pervaded it when it has been left for a long time. If he does not think that it has spread through all of it, then only the area which he thinks that the impurity has spread to it is impure. This ruling varies according to the circumstances: the liquidity or solidity of the impurity, and the length of time. So he removes from the food that amount through which it is thought that the impurity has spread and uses the rest. If he is less than 50% certain that the impurity has spread, then it is not discarded or the food is not thrown out on account of doubt.

All of this is when the impurity is liquid or a solid which is loose or crumbly. As for an impurity which is solid and hard, like a bone or tooth, the food does not become impure when it falls into it. Included in this category is ivory which women wear and which often makes contact with dough and the like.

Can what is made impure be purified?

When liquids have an impurity fall into them, they become impure and cannot be purified. Meat which is cooked an impure substance cannot be purified, nor oil which is salted with it, eggs which are boiled in it, or clay which becomes impure by something penetrating all parts of the clay when the impurity is liquid, like urine, impure water, and blood. This occurs when it remains in the clay for a long time and it is thought to have permeated it. The same ruling which applies to clay applies to wooden vessels into which the impurity can penetrate.

The impurity of clay vessels is limited by two conditions:

1. That the impurity which is in it is not wine which is meant to become solid or turn into vinegar. As for wine which becomes solid or vinegar, its vessel is purified by that process.

2. That the clay has not been baked. If it has been baked, it is pure.

Clay can be purified when solid impurity is put into it, as things other than clay can be purified: like brass, glass, and iron which is heated and then extinguished in impure water. It does not penetrate it because it is repelled by the heat.

Is it permitted to use impurity or something impure?

It is not permitted to use impure things at all except in four cases:

1. Tanned skins, in the ways we mentioned in section 6.

2. The meat of carrion, when someone is compelled to use it in case of dire necessity.

3. Wine for someone who is choking. It is not permitted to use it as a medicine, even if prescribed. There is disagreement about other impurities when they are prescribed for treatment. It is not permitted to drink wine to assuage thirst because it actually increases thirst.

The Hanafis and Shafi'is permit its drinking to avert death due to lack of moisture, but not for thirst itself.

4. Impurity placed on crops for their benefit, like nourishing melons by impure substances, but it is mandatory to make that clear when selling the fruit.

It is permitted to throw carrion to dogs, as it is permitted to burn its bones in a brick oven or stone oven.

As for an impure thing, it is forbidden to use it in two specific cases:

1. A human being may not eat or drink it, and it is disliked to use it to oil his body. It must be removed for the prayer, tawaf and entering the mosque.

2. The mosque. Nothing impure may be used in it. Its lamps may not be lit with impure oil since the lamps are inside the building. If the lamp is outside of the mosque but illuminates the inside, it is permitted to use impure fuel.

In other than these two cases, it is permitted to use impure things. Impure food may be given to animals and animals and crops are watered with impure water. Calves and the like may be oiled with impure oil, and soap and other things may be made from it. It is not permitted to sell something intrinsically impure because it is not possible to purify it. Ibn Wahb, however, says that it is permitted to sell it. If it something which can be purified, like garments, then it is permitted provided that the seller makes clear that an impurity has occurred to it.

Is it permitted to use silk?

It is prohibited (haram) for a sane adult male to use pure silk as clothing, bedding and covering. As for khazz, which is a cloth whose warp is made from silk and woof is made from cotton or linen (i.e. a mixture of the two), it is disliked, and because it is a doubtful matter, it is more scrupulous to leave it. If someone abandons doubtful matters, he keeps his deen and honour free of blame. An exception to this prohibition is the use of a silk curtain when the legally responsible person does not lie on it, and the banner used for jihad.

Is it permitted to wear jewellery made of the two metals of currency, gold and silver?

It is prohibited (haram) for a sane adult male to use jewellery made of gold or silver or clothing woven with them or embroidered with them, or with buttons made from them. Jewellery itself is even more haram, like goblets and belts, even fighting implements like knives, daggers and spears. There are five exceptions to the prohibition, and their ruling is mubah (allowed):

1. Swords. It is permitted to decorate them with gold or silver, whether on the hilt or the sheath. The scholar al-'Adawi stipulated that a precondition for allowing the decorating of the sword was that it be used for jihad in the Way of Allah. If it is for bearing it in the land of Islam, it is not permitted to adorn it.

2. Copies of the Qur'an. It is permitted to adorn them to honour them, but it is disliked to write its tenths and juz's with it because it distracts the reader from reflecting on the meaning. As for copying down knowledge and hadith, it is not permitted to adorn them with gold or silver. Al-Barzali permitted adorning the inkwell for writing the Qur'an and adorning the ijaza (certificate allowing teaching).

3. Teeth, whether one or several. What is meant is the molar. When it becomes loose, it is permitted to fix it with a cap made of either gold or silver It is the same for a cap which puts the tooth back when it falls out. It is permitted to put it back because what is dead of a human being is pure. It is also permitted to put something in its place if that is pure. As for using something which is derived from a dead animal (such as ivory), there are two views about that: one that it is permissible and one that is forbidden. Based on the view that it is forbidden, it would be mandatory to remove it for every prayer as long as that does not become an impossible burden.

4. An artificial nose which can be made from one of them

5. A ring, which can only be made from silver, with two stipulations.

a. Its weight is that of two legal dirhams or less.

b. There is one ring and not several.

If the combined weight of several rings is two dirhams or less, that is still forbidden, as it is also forbidden if the ring is made of gold or partly of gold unless the gold is less than the silver. In such a case, it is disliked, even if it is distinguishable from the silver. The same ruling applies if the ring is gold plated.

If the two stipulations are observed, the it is recommended to wear a ring, as it is recommended to wear it on the left hand and to have the bezel facing the palm because that entails less pride. It is permitted to engrave rings. They may be engraved with the names of their owners and the name of Allah Almighty. That is the view of Malik, may Allah be pleased with him. It is disliked to wear rings made of iron, copper and the like.

14. Is it permitted to own vessels made from gold or silver or to have vessels covered by one of them, repaired or plated using one of them?

It is prohibited (haram) for the legally responsible person, male or female, to keep vessels of gold or silver, even if they are not actually used. It is not permitted to use them for storage or for fear of poverty or to rent them out, or as ornaments on shelves and the like. This is, however, not the case with jewellery which a man keeps out of fear of poverty. That is permitted because women are allowed to use jewellery but neither men nor women are permitted to use such vessels.

As it is unlawful to use gold and silver vessels when they are covered with copper, lead or tin, and it is forbidden to mend vessels made of wood or clay, or china with gold and silver. This is when a split is filled with gold or silver to mend it. As for copper or iron vessels, including stirrups, it is permitted to coat them with gold and silver, according to the well-known position.

Is it permitted to use gems? What use may women make of silk, gold and silver?

The owning of gems such as rubies, emeralds, pearls and crystal, is not forbidden nor is it forbidden to use them in vessels. It is permitted for a woman to wear silk, gold and silver and adorn herself with them, even on sandals or slippers because they are part of dress. Similar items such as covers, pillows, buttons and hair grips fall into this category. Make-up sticks, beds and vessels of gold or silver are not permitted to her as they are not worn and have no connection to what is worn. She is not permitted to decorate brushes, kohl sticks and daggers with gold or silver nor to decorate a sword if she has one. It is forbidden for her to adorn a sword because it is a male ornament.