Judgments about waters which are Instruments of Cleaning
• Into How Many Parts are Waters Divided?
Waters are primarily divided into two: Mutlaq (absolute) waters, muqayyad (qualified) waters...
I – Mutlaq waters:
They are waters that preserve their original plainness and qualities like rain, snow, sea, lake, river, spring and well waters. When the word water is uttered, this first part comes to mind. Only waters belonging to this first part are used in making wudu and ghusl.
II – Muqayyad Waters:
They are waters that have lost their plainness and original quality due to the addition of a material and that have been given a new name like rose water, sap, fruit juice, gravy, etc...
If mutlaq water is mixed with muqayyad water and if the muqayyad water changes one or two of the qualities of the mutlaq water, that is, the color, smell and taste, that water is regarded as muqayyad water.
If mutlaq water changes its color or smell due to gathering moss or waiting, or if amounts of clean and solid things like soap, saffron, soil or leaves too little to change its taste fall into it, or if things like corn and chick peas are wetted in it, the water is still regarded as mutlaq water. Even if the three qualities of water are spoiled, it is still regarded as mutlaq water. However, if its fineness and fluidity, which are the natural qualities of water, are spoiled, it becomes muqayyad water.
• Into How Many Parts are Mutlaq Waters Divided in Terms of Being Instruments of Cleaning?
Mutlaq waters are divided into following parts based on the state of being clean or not and the state of being able to clean other things or not:
a – Waters that are both clean and have the quality to clean and that are religiously permissible to use... They can both be drunk and used for cooking meals. They can also be used in making wudu and ghusl.
b – Waters that are both clean and have the quality to clean but that are makruh to use unless there is an obligation to use.
Leftover water of a domestic animal like a cat. That kind of water is clean but it should not be used for cooking, drinking, making wudu and ghusl when there is other clean water. However, if there is no other water, it is religiously permissible to use that kind of water.
c – Waters that are clean but that do not have the quality to clean...
They are waters that have been used in making wudu and ghusl. They are called ma al-musta’mal (used water). They are clean and they can be used to clean material dirt. However, they cannot be used to make wudu and ghusl again.
According to a view reported from Imam Malik and Imam Shafii, those kinds of waters are both clean and have the quality to clean. However, it is makruh to use them for a second time.
d – Waters that are not clean...
A small amount of water into which dirt is definitely known to have fallen. They cannot be used by any means.
Mutlaq waters are divided into two in terms of being regarded dirty or not when dirt falls into them: Still waters, running waters.
I – Still Waters:
They are divided into two as little water and much water in terms of the amount.
Much water and running water are regarded the same in terms of getting dirty.
a – Much water: A puddle or pool of still water with a surface of about 50 m2 is called much water or large pool. They are subject to the same judgments as running waters in terms of getting dirty. The depth of such kinds of waters must be at least 1 hand span or 24 fingers.
b – Little water: A puddle or pool of still water with a surface of less than 50 m2 is called little water or small pool. When any dirt falls into them, they are regarded dirty. For instance, if one drop of blood falls into a small pool, it becomes dirty. They become dirty even when dirt touches them; for instance, when a dog licks a small pool, it becomes dirty...
According to Shafiis and Hanbalis, a water is regarded a large pool if its volume is 206 liters or more. According to Malikis, the amount of water that a container for wudu or ghusl holds is regarded a small pool.
II – Running Waters:
Running water is defined as the water that can drag a straw with the force of its flow. Running waters are regarded as much water. They are not regarded dirty when dirt falls into them unless one of the three qualities of water is spoiled.
When the approaches and the criteria of the scholars regarding the issue are examined carefully, it will be seen that they give importance to the preservation of the original quality of the water and that they also try to prevent a large amount of water from being wasted due to a small amount of dirt that falls into it. Thus, it can be said that taking into consideration the ease or difficulty of obtaining water and the amount of dirt falling into the water, the different views of the madhhabs can be evaluated as permission and that individuals can choose to use one of those permissions based on their cultures, opportunities and even their consciences.
On the other hand, if one of the fundamental qualities of the water is spoiled or if it is determined as a result of scientific studies and laboratory analyses that the water is harmful to the human health and the environment, it is obvious that it is not religiously permissible to use that water. It is one of the general aims of the religion and the main aim of the science to enable man to live healthily, safely and peacefully. Therefore, the conditions that are laid down in fiqh books for the use of water in material and virtual cleaning in terms of religion should not be seen as final criteria or solutions but as offers and contributions to facilitate the daily lives of the individuals and to introduce average criteria. As a matter of fact, it is known that some scholars regard the use of water heated under the sun in metal containers as makruh and that they say so because they think it is harmful to the health. Therefore, it has become vitally important that we evaluate those approaches about the cleanliness of water in our fiqh culture from the point of view of principles and aims and that we make use of today’s technological developments, the means of refining and analyzing, and the results of positive sciences.
• What is the Judgment about Mutlaq and Muqayyad Waters in terms of Cleaning?
Mutlaq waters can be drunk, used in cooking and material cleaning unless there is an external factor that spoils the cleanliness of the waters. They can be used in making wudu and ghusl.
As for muqayyad waters, they cannot be used in making wudu and ghusl because God Almighty ordered us to use mutlaq waters for wudu and ghusl.
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Hazrat Uthman narrates:
"I was together with the Messenger of Allah. There was a man making wudu there. The Messenger of Allah smiled for a moment. I asked him, "Why did you smile O Messenger of Allah ?" The Messenger of Allah said,
– I smiled due to the grace of Allah to His servant who made wudu. Whenever a person who makes wudu washes his organs of wudu, his sins are cleaned together with the water pouring down the organs."