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Necessity of Tayammum when there is no water

Source: Al-Nass Wal-Ijtihad, Text and Interpretation
By: Allama Abdul Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi

Necessity of Tayammum143 when there is no water
It suffices as evidence on this matter that Allah has said in the sura of al-Ma’ida: “O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith” (Qur’an 5:6)
And He has said in the sura of an-Nisa’: “O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are intoxicated until you know (well) what you say, nor when you are under an obligation to perform a bath, unless (you are) traveling on the road, until you have washed yourselves; and if you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth, then wipe your faces and your hands; surely Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving” (Qur’an 4:43)
The true traditions on this matter are many and one confirming the other and all the umma has agreed unanimously on that except Umar, the only one who had contradicted the consensus. The famous traditions narrated from him showed that he had believed that one144 who had no water, had not to offer the prayer until he would find water.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim mentioned in their Sahihs a tradition narrated by Sa’eed bin Abdurrahman bin Abzi from his father that once a man had come to Umar and said to him: “I have been in ritual impurity and I could not find water to perform the ritual ablution.” Umar said to him: “Do not offer the prayer!” Ammar bin Yassir was present then.
Ammar said: “O Ameerul Mo’mineen, have you not remembered once when you and I were in a brigade (during a war) and we became impure and could not find water (to perform ablution). You did not offer the prayer but I rubbed myself with earth and offered the prayer. Then the Prophet (S) said: “It would have sufficed you to hit the earth with your hands and then you blow and rub your face and your two hands.” Umar said: “O Ammar, fear Allah!” Ammar said: “If I do not narrate it!!” 145 Umar said: “We will see how to deal with you!”
It has been said that Ibn Mas’ood had adopted the opinion of Umar in this matter. Al-Bukhari, and others, mentioned a tradition that Shaqeeq bin Salama had said: “Once I was with Abdullah bin Mas’ood and Abu Musa al-Ash’ari. Abu Musa asked Abdullah bin Mas’ood: “O Abu Abdurrahman, if one becomes impure and he does not find water, what will he do then?” Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said: “He does not offer the prayer until he finds water.”
Abu Musa said: “Then how about the saying of Ammar when the Prophet (S) has said to him: “It would have sufficed you to…”?” Ibn Mas’ood said: “Do you not see that Ammar has not been satisfied with that?” Abu Musa said: “Let us put the saying of Ammar aside! What do you do with this verse…” he recited to him the verse of Tayammum mentioned in the sura of al-Ma’ida. Abdullah did not know what to say.” 146
I say: Abdullah bin Mas’ood was cautious in his speech with Abu Musa because he feared both Umar and Abu Musa. There is no doubt in that. Allah is more aware!

Two supererogatory Rak’as after Asr prayer
Muslim mentioned in his Sahih 147 a tradition narrated by Urwa bin az-Zubayr from his father that Aa’isha (the Prophet’s wife) had said: “The Prophet (S) had never ignored the two rak’as (which he had been used to offer) after Asr prayer in my house at all.”
He also mentioned a tradition narrated by Abdurrahman bin al-Aswad from his father that Aa’isha had said: “There were two prayers that the Messenger of Allah (S) had never ignored, when being in my house, neither secretly nor openly; two rak’as before Fajr Prayer and two rak’as after Asr Prayer.”
He mentioned another tradition that al-Aswad and Masrooq had said: “We witness that Aa’isha has said: “Whenever the Messenger of Allah (S) was in my house, he offered the two rak’as after Asr prayer.” But Umar bin al-Khattab prohibited them (these two rak’as) and punished whoever offered them.
Malik mentioned in his Muwatta’ 148 a tradition narrated by Ibn Shihab from as-Sa’ib bin Yazeed who said that he had seen Umar bin al-Khattab beating al-Mukandar 149 because he had offered two rak’as after Asr prayer.
Abdurrazaq mentioned that Zayd bin Khalid had said that once the caliph Umar had seen him offering two rak’as after Asr prayer and beaten him for that…then Umar said: “O Zayd, unless I fear that people may take it (the prayer after Asr prayer) as a (ladder) to prayer until the night, I will not punish for it.”
He also mentioned a tradition like that narrated by Tameem ad-Dariy but he said in it “…Umar said: “…but I fear that some people may come after you that they offer prayers since the afternoon until the sunset that they may offer prayers during the time, 150 at which the Prophet (S) had prohibited from offering prayers.”
143. Tayammum is performing ritual ablution, before offering prayers and other obligations, with earth when there is no water.
144. Irshad as-Sari fee Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari by al-Qastalani, vol.2 p.131.
145. Ammar said that out of his fear from Umar because the saying of Umar “We will see how to deal with you” was as a threat to Ammar.
146. Sahih of al-Bukhari, vol.1 p.50.
147. Vol.1, p.309
148. At the end of the chapter (prohibiting praying [two rak’as] before Fajr prayer and after Asr prayer).
149. Ibn Muhammad bin al-Mukandar al-Qarashi at-Taymi al-Madani, as in Sharh al-Muwatta’ by az-Zarqani.
150. He meant the time of sunset that the Prophet (S) had forbidden from offering prayers in. The true prophetic traditions about this matter have been mentioned in the books of Hadith. Malik in his Muwatta’ mentioned a tradition from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (S) had said: “Do not offer prayers at the sunrise nor at the sunset.” The wisdom behind this was that the umma shouls not imitate the Magi in their worshipping the sun when rising and when setting. But the caliph Umar became cautious to prevent the Muslims from offering prayers after Asr prayer at all and not only the time of the sunset. And so he contradicted the Shari’ah even if he intended to do good. Would that he had been satisfied with prohibiting offering this prayer without beating the servants of Allah while offering their prayers before their Lord!

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