Previously Asked Questions
Purification Questions:

The Explanatory Notes for Songs 5 through 10 give more details about this topic.


Wet Ablution (Wudu')
Dry Ablution (Tayammum)
Bathing For Purification (Ghusl)

Wet Ablution (Wudu') Questions

> Can you give info on ablution and prayers for ablution?

You may get detailed information on wet ablution from
the Explanatory Notes for Song 6 of the Guiding Helper.

As for prayers of ablution, first and foremost, before starting
say: "a`udhu billahi min ash-shaytani r-rajim.
bismillahi r-rahmani r-rahim"

Then, upon finishing say the testification, "ash-hadu an la ilaha
illallahu wahdahu la sharika lah. wa ash-hadu anna muhammadan
`abduhu wa rasuluh."

These practices are well established in hadith of the Prophet
(May Allah bless him and give him peace) (e.g., those found
in Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari).

If you want more prayers for ablution, please refer to
Kitab al-Adhkar written by Imam al-Nawawi.  He has done
an excellent job at gathering the verbal prayers of the
Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) that
he uttered on specific occasions (e.g., when he was
unable to sleep, when he was sick, when he went to the
bathroom, etc.).

We will just mention one very good prayer that Imam
al-Nawawi mentions from the Prophet (May Allah bless
him and give him peace):

The Prophet used to say during (or after) ablution:

"allahumma gh-firli dhanbi wa wassi` li fi dari wa
barik li fi rizqi."

Translation:  O Allah, forgive my sins.  Make my house
expansive.  And bless me in my provision/sustenance.

Pronunciation:  Allaahummaghfir lee dhanbee wa wassi`
lee fee daaree wa baarik lee fee rizqee."

[KA: volume 1: page 24: line(s) 13-14: {al-Nisai's Hadith Collection}]

There are many more remembrances listed in Imam
al-Nawawi's book above and other books of the scholars.

> Allah's name in the washroom is it haram or not?

It is makruh according to most scholars of Jurisprudence
to recite with one's tongue Allah's Arabic names or the Arabic Qur'an in
a toilet-room in which impurities abound.

  Introduction to Kitab al-Adhkar, Imam al-Nawawi

> what would be defined as a washroom because i want to say bismillah
> when i make wudu in my washrooom or ghusl but i don't know if it's
> permissable because my washroom has a toilet in it

According to our teachers, a modern bathroom does not necessarily
fit in with an ancient toilet-room (khala').  Thus, if one keeps one's
bathroom sparkling clean (and cleans and dries the sink area with a sponge),
then it is their view that one may recite bismillah out loud and get
mandub credit for it.

> This is a revised edition of my second question
> on the previous email. After reading the wudu section
> of the Guiding Helper, I'm confused about wiping the
> head for people with long hair: must they (men and women)
> wipe all of their hair? or can they just wipe their scalp?
> I got the point about braids/plaits (note: 394 of the
> Explanatory Notes), but what about pony-tails?

The popular opinion in the Maliki school states that women
and men with long hair must wipe all the external parts
of the hair down to the end of the strands (which have roots
in the scalp).  Thus, one must wipe pony tails and hair
braids down to their ends according to the popular opinion.

We have narrated the popular opinion in the Maliki school in the
Guiding Helper (since we were trying to stick to the popular
opinions in about 95% of the subject matter;)

However as we realize that the popular opinion is
difficult, we have recommended a minority opinion
in the Notes of Sources which all users of the Guiding
helper are free to follow.

The minority opinion is noted in footnote 183 of the
Notes of Sources:

183 This is the popular opinion in the Maliki school. However, another valid
opinion in the Maliki school states that one need only pass
one's wet hands over the scalp [KH:V1:125:I2] (as mentioned in
lines 215-217 of the Guiding Helper). Those with long hair strands
(e.g., females wearing head scarves in public) that find it difficult to
wipe the entire head hair to the ends of the strands may follow the
easier opinion and wipe only the part of the head hair directly on the
scalp (by passing their hands under their scarves) and we pray that
their ablution is accepted in either case. Males with
long head hair may also take this dispensation.

Please note here that one need not be wearing
headgear in order to take this dispensation.

> I have a personal question for which I
> very much need an answer. Please could you answer this one
> for me, even if you cannot/will not answer the others, because
> this problem affects me very frequently. Sometimes I have a
> post-unine emission which sounds like what is being described
> in line 5:170 of the guiding helper.

Yes.  It is what is described there.

> This emission is continuous and lasts for about 20-30 mins.
> So I wait for this period before I perform the ablution, as
> mentioned in line 8:278, which includes washing the entire penis.
> The problem is that up to about one hour and a half after
> urinating, I still find very small amounts of the emitted liquid
> at the exit of the penis. This amount is very small, and not
> enough to exit the penis and stain my underwear, for example,
> but nevertheless it is still there. This is annoying to me,
> especially if I discover it after I have completed a prayer,
> because I am uncertain about the validity of the prayer
> . Sometimes, I wait for its complete disappearance,!

A man asked Ibn Rushd about exactly the same thing and he replied
in words that mean "Don't worry so much about such a small amount.
You have done your job".

   [Durr al-Thamin, explanation of verses 72-75 of al-Murshid

Thus, this is the position you may follow:

   a) Since you are regularly experiencing such emissions, you
      may ignore them altogether.
   b) Try to ascertain whether the fluid emit is post-urinary
      fluid or pre-semen fluid.  The way you tell is that
      pre-semen fluid is emit in conjunction with sexual
      arousal and foreplay.
   c) From what you state above, it seems that it is post-urinary
      fluid, thus there is no need to wash the entire penis.  That
      is only necessary for pre-semen fluid which is emit in
      conjunction with sexual arousal and foreplay.
   d) If it is difficult to wash your underwear from the post-urinary
      fluid (for example when out in public), you may pray with
      it and your prayer is still correct.  This is because
      washing off impurities before prayer is only wajib if one
      remembers to do so and if one is able to do so (for example,
      it is not lawful to display one's coarse nakedness in public
      in an attempt to wash one's penis).
    e) Remember that if you discover impurities *after* you are done
       with prayer, you previous prayer is still correct as long as
       you had no cognizance of such during prayer.

   GH Explanatory footenote(s) 459, 462, 803 and associated entries
   in the Notes of Sources.

> but since this is about 1.5 hours, I have missed the first
> time for that prayer. Please could you give me advice regarding
> this matter.

The advice is ignore the emission and consider your previous
ablution to still be valid.  Also, you might want to pray
to Allah to cure you by the doing the following:

   a) place your right or left hand on your forehead and recite
   the last four verses of Surah Hashr in Arabic and then ask
   Allah to cure you or make it better.

This cure is an established practice of the Prophet (May Allah bless
him and give him peace) that Ibn Mas`ud narrated and is recorded
in the history book of al-Khateeb and also mentioned in the
tafsir of Shawkani Fath al-Qadir.

You can use the above dhikr as a cure for many ailments both physical
and metaphysical.

> Must I wait for the complete disappearance of this emission?
> Does it matter that I am missing the timings of my prayer as
> a result?

Ibn Rushd says about your case, "Don't worry about such a small

> My question, enshAllah, is case sensitive. I have had
> continous health problems for the last 7 years. I have a
> consistent problem with gas and urine. Whenever i have to
> urinate the urine will take about 10 minutes to be completely
> gone, that is without fail.

Try this when you can:

  a) After urinating, stand by a private sink or crouch in
     a tub/shower and wash you penis with cold water
     until it feels like no more urine is coming out (e.g.,
     wash with cold water for one minute).
  b) Dry off your penis and surrounding area with soft
     paper towels or some other absorbent material.
     Be sure to gently squeeze your penis as is outlined
     in footnote 496 of the Explanatory Notes during this
     drying off process (placing absorbent paper/cloth
     near the opening of the penis when doing so).

If you do this regularly, your body may learn to associate the
closing of the urine duct with the washing with cold water and
this will most likely reduce the time of the leak if it does
not entirely eliminate the leak altogether.

> Gas comes is usually between 2 states, building or releasing.

Gas is highly dependent on your diet.  You may wish to change your
diet to a more "raw" type (e.g., uncooked cucumbers, celery, apples,
and carrots) to reduce your gas spells.  This does not mean that
you cannot eat cooked foods, but it means that you have to balance
better between raw foods and cooked foods - reducing the number of
cooked foods (e.g, rice, bread, meat, beans, fried food, etc.)
which you intake.  This is if you want to reduce your gas fits.

     > Also, it seems I'm having trouble with the method that you teach for
     > washing the arms during wudhu'. It seems, for me at least, that when it
     > comes to twisting the arm over (so I'm wiping the top part of the arm),
     > it is barely wet, since all the water already flowed over the bottom
     > part and wetted that the most. Am I doing anything wrong here?

     We're going to try to explain this to you even if it takes multiple
     passes and in the process we will improve our directions.

     Let's start with the right arm:

     a) Turn on your faucet (or dip your right hand in the water container)
     and cup your hands such that a significant amount of water
     remains cupped in your hands as you lift it up horizontally
     providing a left wall for the water cup with the inside of
     your left hand flat against the left side of your right hand.
     b) Next, start to tilt your right arm up, you should start to see the water
     cupped in your hands starting to roll down the inside of your
     right forearm.
     c) Slide your left hand down rapidly with the thumb pointing to the
     right and in contact with inner forearm. The other four finger
     of the left hand should be in contact with the exterior surface
     of the right forearm (where light hair usually grows).
     d) When the thumb reaches the midway point between the wrist bone
     and the elbow, you must begin twisting your right hand towards
     the left while continuing to lift this right hand up. Similarly,
     you should continue to slide the left hand down.
     e) When the thumb of the left hand is close to the inside of the
     elbow joint, your right hand should already be halfway twisted to
     the its maximum destination towards the left (its thumb should
     be pointing directly at you). At this point the other four fingers
     of the left hand should be in contact with the inside of the right
     f) When the left thumb hits the inside of the right elbow joint,
     you should be continuing to twist the right hand down and to the
     left (you should not feel any strain rather you should make it move
     along its natural joints). At this point, you must start twisting
     the left hand clockwise such that the four fingers
     of the left hand will move from the inside of the forearm over
     the elbow joint while the thumb moves down and then over the inside of
     of the elbow joint as it shown in Figure 6-4 (the fourth and
     fifth pictures) of the Explanatory Notes.
     g) Now that the thumb of the left hand has changed places with the
     other four fingers - in that the left thumb is now in contact with
     the external surface of the forearm and the other four fingers
     are in contact with the internal surface of the forearm (as shown in
     the fifth and sixth pictures of figure 6-4), you must now continue
     to slide the left hand down towards the ends of the fingers of the
     right hand as shown in the last three pictures of figure 6-4.

     If you did it right with the required speed, you should carry water with
     you all the way down and a few droplets should actually splash off the
     tips of the fingers of the right hand at the end.  If you did it the
     correct way you will fulfill both requirements of washing the arms in the
     Maliki School all in one pass: (1) you have passed the internal side of
     your hand over the washed part and (2) made water reach all the parts of
     the external limb.

     Once you master this procedure for the right arm, it should be easy for
     you to learn the reverse procedure for the left arm.

     If you do not use this regular procedure, you may have doubts about
     fulfilling the requirements and it will take you longer to perform
     ablution. Additionally, you will waste more water. If you use this
     procedure approved by the Maliki Scholars all the way back to Imam Malik,
     you can be sure that you have fulfilled the requirements.  Nevertheless,
     those who do not use this procedure will still have valid acts of ablution
     as long as water reaches the entire external surface of the washed part and
     the underside of at least one hand passes over the washed part.

     Yes. This procedure requires practice. And with practice, one gets better.

Dry Ablution Questions (Tayammum)

> where can i get rocks to preform tayammum?

Anywhere.  If you don't have rocks lying around in your residence,
then get a hand shovel and dig the ground (not on someone else's
private residence, but in the general shared public land) until you find
one.  You should not have to dig more than one foot deep until you
find an appropriate rock (even if it is small or large).  Take this rock
and wash it well at home in your sink with water and disinfectant soap.

And this rock can then serve as your tayammum rock.  The tayammum
rock does not have to brittle but can be hard and smooth according to
the Maliki school (even if brittle rocks are preferable).

  Footnote 591 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper
  and associated entries in the Notes of Sources

Bathing For Purification (Ghusl) Questions

> how to preform ghusl in the shower?

Basically, you can still follow the method outlined in footnote 586
of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper.

Your question returns to the fact that the ancient fuqaha' were assuming
that the person  will make ghusl with a bucket full of water and a mug
to pour water on the body.  Thus if this method is used, it is quite
easy to keep to the mandub order of washing the body parts (e.g.,
head first, then right side of body (top down), then left side of
body (top down), etc.)

However, you can do this in the shower in two ways:

   a) Only stand partially in the shower and wet the body parts
       in the mandub order while performing dalk on them.
   b) As (a) may be difficult (especially if it is very cold and
   one is likely to get sick standing half in water and half outside
   of it), then one may gain credit for the mandub order by standing
   fully in the shower but performing dalk in the order mentioned
   in footnote 586.

[As a side note, those that keep to the mandub order of the ghusl
will find that they are able to finish faster and not linger endlessly
in the shower.]

In any case as long as the four wajibs of ghusl are performed
(i.e., to begin with an intention, wet the entire external surface
of the body, perform dalk on the external surface, and not take

a big break between the parts), the ghusl will be acceptable
according to the popular opinion in the Maliki school.

   [KF: volume 1: page(s) 18-19 : {ghusl, first section, questions 1-6}]

> How long can a woman have post-natal bleeding
> or discharge?

Of course, practically-speaking it can be of a very short or very
large interval.

But in terms of Jurisprudence, the maximum limit is sixty days
from the date of birth.  Any blood seen after sixty or more consecutive
bleeding days should be considered pure.  And the woman can
pray, fast, and is not otherwise restricted after taking an
initial bath.

> Is there a maximum number of days or weeks that a woman
> must resume prayer, even if she has discharge?

If she has been having the discharge for more than sixty days
since the birth of the child (or miscarriage), she should ignore that
extra blood after sixty days.

> Does the discharge have to completely end before
> she takes ghusl?

If the woman feels that she is now completely free of post-natal
discharge, then she should do ghusl; this is similar to how she feels
whether or not she is completely free from menstruation when her
period ends.  If she still sees some discharge during the day,
then she is not responsible for taking a bath yet (if sixty bleeding
days have not passed) nor praying.

Please also note that after the post-natal discharge ends and no
blood is seen for fifteen days, the next blood seen is considered
to be that of normal menstruation.

If the post-natal discharge ends for one or more days and then blood
is seen again before completing fifteen blood free days, the woman has
irregular postnatal bleeding.  Thus, she should add the bleeding
days together until she reaches sixty.  After which, any blood seen
is that of an illness and she is no longer restricted after taking
an initial bath.

   Guiding Helper Explanatory footnote 551 and associated entries
   in Notes of Sources.

> I hope that all is well with yourself and the GH people since the last time we
> corresponded. The question below is from my mother who is also a student of
> the GH, and she has read and attempted to understand the GH's notes on
> menstration, but she still is confused:
> Q. How does one know that one's menstrual period has ended? My problem is that
> I am not sure of the exact moment of cessation. For instance, I recently went
> a day without seeing any signs of menstrual flow, but after making ghusl and
> praying there was a slight streak of blood. Therefore I decided to try and
> clarify this issue because my period seems to withdraw very slowly over a
> somewhat lengthy period of time (a couple days).
> My practice in determining the end of my menstation is to await the passage of
> clear mucus; but this can take varying time limits; infact, there are
> occasions - like the recent one outlined above - in which there seems to be an
> extended waiting time, which makes me wonder whether my menstration has ended
> or not? Herein lies the confusion: am I waiting too long to ascertain its
> finish or am I making ghusl too early?

The clear mucus is the "qassah" or lime-like fluid spoken of in footnote

Now there are two ways in which a woman can determine whether her
menstrual period has ended:  (1) the emission of the "qassah" or clear
mucus or (2) the drying up of the menstrual pad for an entire 24 hours
(24 hours is the maximum wait period and women who are accustomed to
having quicker endings to their menstrual period may take a bath earlier)
- what this means is that there are no red or pink streaks on
a menstrual pad placed on one's lower body and the menstrual pad
remains clean for an entire 24 hour period.  If there is even a slight
red or pink stain then, one is still considered to be in menstruation.

Now if the menstrual bleeding/staining ends for an entire twenty-four
hour period, but then starts again, then the woman is said to have
irregular menstrual bleeding.  In such a case, after the initial blood-free
twenty-four hour period, the woman should take a bath when able.  And
then she should pray afterwards assuming that she is now pure.  But
if she afterwards (after taking the bath and cleaning the area well)
sees a new blood stain or streak, then she will repeat the twenty-four
hour wait again and is not responsible for praying during this wait.
She will only repeat these 24-hour waiting periods up until the total
number of days she is excused for praying is three days more than her
previous longest normal menstrual bleeding period as is explained in
footnote 549.

This is the easiest but still acceptable way to handle a situation such
as that of your mom who sees a gradual (and not immediate) end to
her menstrual cycle.

    Footnote(s) 538 and 551 of the Explanatory Notes.
    [al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah, Book of Prayer, Timings of Prayer,
     Menstruation and Post-natal bleeding as an excuse from

> Note 578 to GH line 9:350 says: "If one does break one's ablution during (or after)
> the bath for purification, one may simply re-perform ablution in order to be pure for the
> next prayer." I'm not sure if this refers to breaking ablution by any means in general
> (i.e. urination, flatulation etc) or does it only refers to breaking ablution by touching the
> penis (as in line 9:350)?

Any act which will break ablution (if performed during ghusl) will
necesssitate that one re-perform ablution before the next prayer
or before the ghusl is complete or after the ghusl is complete. However, one's ghusl will still be correct even if one breaks ablution during the

This act of breaking ablution can be urination, flatulation, or any of the acts mentioned in footnote 455 of the Explanatory Notes.

[KF: volume 1: page(s) 20: line(s) 25-29: {taharah, ghusl, ruling for breaking
wudu' during ghusl}]

> I have one final question on this matter.
> It is regarding running the hands over the
> entire body for ghusl and the required areas
> for wudhu This is the established opinion of the
> Maliki madhab as your text indicates. Ibn Rushd
> says the following in Bidayat al Mujtahid:
> "The majority of the jurists maintained that letting
> water flow over the body is enough. Malik, most of
> his disciples, and al-Muzani from among the disciples
> of Shafi'i held that if the person undertaking purification
> misses a single spot of his body over which he does not
> pass his hand, his purification remains incomplete."
> My question is regarding if there is an acceptable minority
> position within the Maliki madhab that agrees with the
> "opinion of the majority of the jurists" who "maintained that
> letting water flow over the body is enough." Thank you for
> taking the time to read this short question. May Allah reward
> you and bless you.

We are not aware of a minority position on this

However, the popular opinion in the Maliki school states
that passing one's hand over the wet body is only wajib if
the person is able to do so.  Unable people or inflexible
people are excused from rubbing the spots of their body which
they can not reach unassisted by a person or instrument.

   [QF: volume 1: page 27: line(s) 10: {book 1, chapter 3,
    section 2}]:

     "And dalk (passing one's hand or a cloth
    over the wet body)is a wajib essential of ghusl; however,
    this is in disagreement with Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam al-Shaf'i,
    and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal) "

[As a side note, there is a minority opinion in the Maliki school
which states that going between the body hair (e.g., undoing tight
braids) is not wajib but is a less-stressed sunnah or fadilah.
Thus, those that find difficulty with the popular opinion we have
narrated in line 341 of the Guiding Helper may follow the minority
opinion in the school which allows them to bathe for purification
without undoing their tight hair braids.

   [QF: volume 1: page 27: line(s) 14: {book 1, chapter 3,
    section 3}]:

    "..And among the sunnahs are going between the hair, but a
     another minority opinion is that it is a fadilah  . . .]

[As another side note, the only absolutely agreed upon wajib
essential of ghusl among the traditional scholars outside the
Maliki school is making water reach all parts of the external body
(as long as one does not have a valid excuse not to).

For example, Imam Abu Hanifah has not counted making an intention,
passing one's hand over one's wet body, nor not taking a big break
as among the absolute fard acts of ghusl.

  [MF: volume 1: page 42-43: line(s) 5-6, 1-2:
   {Ghusl, Fards of Ghusl, before sunnahs are listed} ]

  "Eleven acts are fard in ghusl: (1) rinsing the mouth, (2) rinsing
   the nose, (3) washing the entire body, (4) washing under the foreskin
   [if uncircumcised], (5) washing within the belly button, (6) washing
   other holes in one's body, (7) washing between braids for men (but not
   women), (8) making water reach the skin under the beard, (9) making water
   reach under the moustache, (10) making water reach under the eyebrow,
   and (11) making water reach the external of one's private parts."

  [In the Maliki school, it is merely a less-stressed sunnah to rinse the
   mouth, nose, and wipe other holes in one's body (e.g., ears).  Thus,
   it is more relaxed than the Hanafi school on this point.]

> Q. Bearing in mind that it is necessary to 'rub' one's
> skin when performing ghusl and wudu, when can one omit
> this pillar?
> i.e. can one avoid rubbing an area which has been merely
> cut, and is thus sore? If so, what area around the cut
> should be left un-rubbed?

First of all, 'dalk' as a fiqh term means simply passing
the underside of the hand for wudu` over the washed parts.

For ghusl, dalk can be done with the underside or backside of
the hand, any other limb, or a piece cloth or some other article.

Thus, there is no need to "rub" the area continuously.

The popular opinion in the Maliki school states
that passing one's hand over the wet body is only wajib if
the person is able to do so.  Unable people or inflexible
people are excused from rubbing the spots of their body which
they can not reach unassisted by a person or instrument.

Thus, if one has a cut or a sore, one may omit rubbing that
part.  Rather, one may simply pour water on it.  If pouring
water on it will hurt, then, one may wipe it.  If wiping it
directly will hurt, then, one may wipe a bandage that is
put over it.

   [QF: volume 1: page 27: line(s) 10: {book 1, chapter 3,
    section 2}]:
    Footnote 557 of the Explanatory Notes of the
    Guiding Helper and associated entries in the Notes of sources.

Impurity Questions

> My question concerns taharah. I know what the impurities are and how to
> remove them from the body or one's clothes (plentiful water), but I am
> not so clear regarding bedding. I'm not sure how things are done in
> Morrocco, but here in America, one typically sleeps underneath a blanket
> and a sheet, with one or more sheets below, between the sleeper and the
> mattress itself. The sheets and blankets can be easily removed and
> washed following (for example)any sexual intercourse when fluid drops
> into the sheets. However, the same is not so for the mattress.
> A drop of fluid may fall onto the sheet between one's body and the
> mattress; given the porous nature of the sheet's material, some residual
> wetness may potentially touch the mattress itself. The sheet can be
> removed and washed. The mattress can be wiped down with a(very)wet
> cloth, but it cannot be immersed or inundated with large amounts of
> water, due to its size and its dense and fibrous nature. Would such a
> wiping be sufficient to ostensibly remove an impurity that would
> otherwise make the bed impure? Provided that the amount of fluid falling
> onto the sheet and possibly indirectly onto the mattress is quite small,
> would such a wiping be enough?
> If not, what other measures may be undertaken to render the place of
> sleeping clean?

You may look into an affordable steam cleaner (such as the lean
green machine by bissel (under $100 U.S.)) for cleaning mattresses
and other such hard to wash surfaces.

In any case, you should understand the following two points:

   a) If there are multiple layers, you need only worry about the
      top-most layer to make sure that it is pure.  For example, the
      Fuqaha' state that there is nothing wrong with praying on
      a clean wooden plank under which impurities are found.
      Thus, you need only worry about the top-most sheet on which
      you sleep to make sure it is pure and clean.
   b) You should know that sleeping on impurities is not among the
      unlawful acts.  But, the learned scholars state that those
      who sleep directly on impurities are more likely to see nightmares
      and scary dreams even if their own bodies and clothes are clean
      and pure.

   [{Durr al-Thamin Sharh al-Murshid al-Mu`in, conditions of prayer,
     purity of place, derivative ruling}]

> I have two questions regarding the following issues:
> It is mentionned (see bottom of this message) that "Additionally, ethanol
> alcohol which has been chemically altered to no longer be intoxicating is
> pure." Does this rule apply to the Alcohol Denaturalized (knowns as Alcohol
> Denat.) which is an altered ethanol alcohol (however it is not sure that it
> does not make people drunk)

The first thing you must understand is that the Laws of our
din pre-date modern chemistry and the break up of liquids into
different categories (e.g., primary alcohol, secondary alcohol,
tertiary alcohol, etc.).

Rather, the Maliki scholars labeled the "normally" intoxicating
substance (which they call a "muskir") as impure.

The second thing you must understand is that there is disagreement
in the Maliki school about whether or not chemical alteration of
impurities makes them pure.  The mashur opinion (the opinion of
Ibn Rushd) is what we narrate that a chemical alteration that
deteriorates the normal intoxicating quality of alcohol will
render it pure.

As for your question: the way most manufacturers denaturalize
alcohol is by heating it up until it boils or by adding methanol to it
rendering it undrinkable for purposes of intoxication.  We would say
that if the denaturalization is high (which is usually the case) then the
resultant liquid after treatment is pure.  Now if something is labeled as
SD alcohol (that means it is "specially denaturalized" and one can be
assured that it is not intoxicating) and SD alcohol can be treated as
pure without stipulations.

  [KH: volume 1: page 88: line(s) I7-8: {Explanation of Sidi
   Khalil's words "And Wine, hardened wine or vinegar-type"}]

>    The second question is related to other liquids from the
> familly of alcohol such methanol, xylithol and tjhe like. It
> is mentionned here that they are not impure (however i think
> that these alcohols are intoxicating). Many of these alcohols
> are called sugar alcohols and they are used in candies and
> tooth paste etc.
> Is it lawful to swallow these substances?

You may be confusing menthol with methanol.  Menthol is
a natural crytalline substance found in peppermint oil whereas
Methanol is a poisonous substance known as "wood alcohol".

Methanol, Isopropyl, Cetyl alcohol, etc. are poisonous substances.
The poison characteristics of these alcohols takes precedence over
their intoxicating qualities.  For example, if you tried to
drink a glass of Isopropyl (even if only 50% pure), you probably wouldn't
survive the night without needing to have your stomach
pumped.  The same is not true for vodka (which is ethanol).

Thus, the Maliki scholars after looking at this subject decided
that only unaltered ethanol is impure.

As for small quantities of other alcohols (which will not harm
one), one may swallow them.

As for trace amounts of ethanol alcohol (e.g., .002% left over
from natural fermentation processes) which cannot be detected without
advanced modern instruments, it is forgiven.

As for non-Alcoholic wine beverages which have some ethanol alcohol
added *on purpose* (e.g., .05%) but not enough to intoxicate, the popular Maliki
opinion is that they are pure but disliked to intake (other opinions declare them
unlawful). Other scholars of jurisprudence (e.g., Hanafi) state that such a
low amount is mubah to intake.  This is taken from a modern analogy from the
subject of "nabeedh" debated by our previous scholars.

   [QF: volume 1: page 31: line(s) 16-19:
    {Book 1, chapter 5, section 1, type 5}]

> Q. I have been informed that the Malikis do not consider leather
> made from unslaughterd animals to be pure; nor do they permit
> the purification of such leather (for instance, with water, as is the
> case in the Shafi'i school). Is this true?
> If true, can we - in the West - simply buy leather products which are
> made in the Muslim world? Also, should we ensure that we avoid
> praying Salat in leather which has been made in the kafir world?

The Guiding Helper states that tanned leather is pure and
usable for all daily tasks regardless of whether the animal
was slaughtered or not slaughtered.  This is a reliable
minority opinion in the Maliki school.

The popular opinion in the Maliki school states that leather from
an unslaughtered animal is impure (even if tanned) but mubah
to use for one's necessities (e.g., belt, wallet, shoes, jacket, etc.).

The popular opinion states that salat is not permissible while
wearing or carrying such leather taken from an unslaughtered

With that said and done, please note the Guiding Helper is
not a blindly put together work of fiqh.  Rather, the Guiding
Helper was written after many years of studying the situation
of the Muslims in the West.

For this reason, we have narrated reliable and strong minority
opinions in the Maliki school for issues whose popular opinion
was deemed too difficult for the average Westerner.  Thus, the
Guiding Helper contains about 5% minority opinions in the
Maliki school and 95% popular opinions.  We have noted the
places in which we have diverged from the popular opinion
in the Notes of Sources so that there is no confusion over this

  Footnote 321 of the Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes and
  entries for line 169 in the Notes of Sources for the Main Text

> Q1. Ustadh, you mentioned in your previous answer that a reliable
> opinion in the school is that 'tanned' leather, even from an unslaughtered
> animal, is pure. Does this ruling of purity extend to tanned leather that
> is made from pig-skin?

All pig skin is impure, regardless of whether or not it is tanned.  This
is agreed upon in the Maliki school.

> Q2. Is suede (i.e. leather with hair remaining on the skin) from unslaughtered
> animals (pig or other) pure (according to the reliable minority opinion)?

Actually most suede is just regular leather with a puffed up soft side.
As is noted in this excerpt from

  This could involve:

   1. Completely softening the leather (taking out any area of hardness
       that may be left in). This is achieved by hand or machine process called staking,
       in which the leather is flexed and pulled.
   2. Final colouring.
***  3. Buffing up the flesh side with abrasives to produce a nap finish (suede). ***
   4. Rolling and glazing to produce a high gloss by flattening out and smoothing the grain surface (grain leather).
   5. Pigmenting the leather to cover outstanding imperfections.
   6. Correcting grain side leather by abrading the grain surface to give a more uniform and less marked appearance.
   7. Patented polyurethane finishes which produce easy care - 'wipe clean' and 'wet look' leathers.

Suede is pure if made from dried animal skin (which was either tanned
using a natural process or a synthetic one).

As for leather with the hair attached, it must be fully dried/tanned
(as much as possible - at least the underside) for it to be considered
pure from an unslaughtered animal.  If such hair-attached leather is from
a properly slaughtered animal, then it is pure even without

    Refer to Notes of Sources for Main Text of the
    Guiding Helper, Entry 124

> My question is connected to the process of dry-cleaning. In the West
> and the East (I have in mind Jordan, where I lived for almost a year),
> it seems that 'religious' people (i.e. people who would be considered
> serious students of knowledge and teachers of religious knowledge)
> seem to send their clothes to outlets which dry-clean their clothes.

Sorry.  We don't know their rationale for this.  Please note however
that if the dry cleaning using some non-water substance to clean the
clothes (e.g., chemical solvents), then this cleaning process will *not* be an
acceptable way to remove impurities in the Maliki school.

This link states:

    Dry Cleaning isn't really "dry" at all. Dry cleaning refers to
    cleaning clothes with a liquid solvent rather than with water
    (although water is technically a solvent). Dry cleaning is the
    most effective process for cleaning most natural and man-made
    fabrics. In fact, some fabrics cannot be washed in water because
    of the possibility of shrinkage or fading of dyes in the clothing.
    For this reason, dry cleaning has become an essential service
    around the world today.

If clothes do not have any impurities on them, then one may
clean them in any way one desires.

If clothes have impurities on them, then it is safest to first
handwash the impurities with water and then one may
clean them in an automatic washing machine.

However, we are narrating the opinion, that if the
washing machine goes through at least two rinse
cycles (with pure water), then one may clean clothes
with impurities in the washing machine without
a preceding handwash. [The rationale for two rinses
is one rinse to get out the dirt and detergent and
one rinse with unchanged pure water to seal the
purification. As a side note, most automatic
washing machines do actually go through two cycles.]

    Footnote 296 of the Explanatory Notes of the
    Guiding Helper and associated entries in the Notes
    of Sources

> I suppose that this question is also touching upon
> a query about whether the Maliki School requires 100%
> certainty about something being made impure (like the
> Shafi'i School) or whether a balance of probabilities is
> sufficient, in the School, for establishing such a condition?

We have encouraged every person who uses the Guiding Helper
to get into the habit of convincing themselves of surety when
they are "pretty" certain (e.g., 85% certain). This will make things
much easier for them when practicing the Maliki school which states
that an act becomes invalid by merely doubting about it  (now, if one
is engaged in an act like formal prayer, then one waits until finishing
the prayer.  Then, one ascertains whether or not whether one still
doubts before deciding to repeat the act).

As for doubts about the purity of a garment, the Maliki school states
that one simply sprinkles water over the area one doubts about and it
automatically becomes pure.

   Footnotes 296, 489, 1032,  and 2638 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper
   and associated entries in the Notes of sources.

> Q1. Bearing in mind what I have told you about
> the dry-cleaning process, do you feel that I should
> 'doubt' whether my dry-cleaned clothes have maintained
> their purity after mixing with a non-water liquid solvent
> and the clothes of other people? or, am I suffering from waswasa?

You may assume that they have retained their purity.

Your doubt is similar to a waswasa whose definition is
"a repetitive doubt caused by no real physical fact".

> If I should be doubtful (i.e. less than 85% certain of
> purity), must I 'sprinkle' water upon the entire garment
> that is returned from the dry-cleaners? (NB: I would avoid
> the process, but I need to clean some special work garments).

No. There is no need to sprinkle water as you know that
the chemical solvent used is not among the impurities.  And the
chances that wet impurity is spilled on your clothes from
another person's garments are very low (and as such may
be ignored).

> Q2. What is the process of 'sprinkling' water on an
> item which one doubts is pure?

Basically, one can simple wet one's hand (with fingers loosely
folded) with water and "shoot" the water towards the
article by rapidly outstretching one's fingers towards
the garment.  Small droplets of water should fly off
your wet hand onto the area in the garment which you have
a doubt about.  If you are uncertain of the area, then you
should sprinkle all parts of the garment (this is the Maliki

   Footnotes 296, 489, 1032,  and 2638 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper
   and associated entries in the Notes of sources.-

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