Najasa – is defined in the ma’natal lughawi [Language of the Arab] as everything that nauseates a person and referred to as “kulli mustaqdhir”. These include dirt on a dump, urine, dogs [regarding dog’s there is difference of opinion, which we will explain in the forthcoming lessons].
Najasa Ma’natul Lughawi [Najasa in the language of the Arab] has a wider meaning that Najasa Shar’i [Najasa according to the Shari’a]. Najasa Lughawi therefore incorporates the Najasa Shar’i. Najasa according to the Ma’anatu Shar’i is defined as,
“kullu mustqdhiran ‘an yama’na sihhati Salati”, “Everything nauseous which prohibits the correctness of the Salah”,
with the condition that nothing in the Shari’ah should permit this kind of Najasat. The second part of the definition “yamna’a sihhati Salati” means, excluding all those Mustaqdhar’s, which the Shari’ah does not recognise as Mustaqdhar Shar’i [Nauseous by the Shari’a].
The Shari’ah considers only certain kinds of Mustaqdhir’s, namely those which keep you away from the Salah including blood, urine, faeces, wine etc. Wine is considered Mustaqdhar Shar’i [Nauseous by the Shari’a] and is therefore unacceptable even though it might be pleasant and tasty according to the definition in the Language of the Arab. Why is this so? Because the Shari’ah considers it detrimental to man and therefore classifies it as being Mustaqdhar.
Thus it is not every Mustaqdhar Lughawi which is a Mustaqdhar Shari’ or every Mustqdhar Shar’i which is a Mustaqdhar Lughawi.
We cannot translate Najasa to mean ‘impurity’ since the word cannot be defined as specifically as the Shari’ah defines Najasa. In certain cases the Shari’ah allows you to perform the prayer with Najis, for example, if the Najis amounts to a very little or is unavoidable and so forth.
A rule in the Shari’ah regarding the Ma’natul Lughawi [The meaning of word according to the language of the Arab] and the Ma’natul Shar’i [The meaning of the word according to the Shari’ah].
Whenever a word in the Ma’natul Lughawi is used and understood in a specific meaning in the Shari’ah, then that word should not be used again Lughatan [according to the language of the Arab outside of the Shari’ah] since it will led to confusion. Examples include the words Salah, Wahi, Nabi and Dua. Dua according to the language of the Arab means to pray [to God] where Salah in the Shari’ah means “To commence with the Takbir, to end with the Taslim and all the actions, speaking and deeds between”. The words Nabi and Wahi in the Sharia have been sued so many times in the Shari’ah that they have become acceptable [Shar’an] as having that particular meaning only, e.g. Shar’an the word Nabi is not used for any person other than the messengers of Allah. The words Wahi and Nabi are inseparably linked with one another.
Similarly, the words Najis and Najasa are not used in the Ma’natul Lughawi any longer, only Shar’an.
With respect to water capacity, the Fiqh differentiates between little and much as follows:
Little is less than two Qulla’s.
Much is 2 Qullah’s or more.
The Fiqh also differentiates between Maa and Maa’i
Maa is water while Maa’i is liquid other than water.
If Maa [water] is two Qullah’s or more, then it does not become Najis if Najis falls into it except if the colour, smell or taste changes. If the colour, smell or taste does not change then it is not Najis.
Below are two hadith’s on the volume of water and Najis:
- Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar, Allah’s Messenger [peace be upon him] said, “If water [any amount] fills two pots (qullatayn), it carries no Najis.” Bukhari and Muslim.
This hadith does not mention anything about the smell, colour or taste changing. It seems to be unrestricted and indicates that if the water reaches a [quallatayn] then it is clean. Since this hadith does not mention whether the water changes [In colour, smell or taste or not, it is considered Mutlaq i.e. unqualified].
- The Prophet [peace be upon him] said, “If water reaches a [qullatayn] then it does not become Najis, unless the colour, smell or taste changes” [Note that there lies difference of opinion on this hadith].
This hadith has an addition i.e. “any amount” which, indicates that it could be less or more than 2 Qullah’s, after which it becomes 2 qullah’s. It also has the addition, “unless the colour, smell or taste changes”
Comment: If a word is [‘Am ] then it includes unlimited things of its kind [meaning it is universal]. If a word is [Khass] then it restricted or limited.
Water can be any volume. It could fill a cup, kettle or even the Sea. Water can thus be ‘a little water’ or ‘much water’. These 2 narrations restrict each other.
According to Imam Shafi’i, 2 Qullah’s or more of water is Najis if the Colour, smell or taste changes when Najasa falls into it, but if the water is less than 2 Qullah’s – whether or not it changes – then the water is Najis.
If water is less than 2 Qullahs and there is Najis in it, after which, clean water is then added to it until it becomes 2 Qullahs or more and there is no longer trace of Najis in it, then the water is considered be pure.
In Usulu Fiqh, the Hukum [Ruling] and illa [reason] are closely linked. The illa of the Najasa is the ‘changing’ aspect. If the signs of Najasa [i.e. the illah] disappears from, say less than or more than 2 Qullahs of Musta’mal water, then the water is pure.
If Najis water is add to Najis water until there are no traces of Najasa in the increased volume of water, then the water is pure.
If less than 2 Qullahs water increases after other water [any kind] is added and the volume increases to 2 Qullahs or more and the traces of Najis disappear, then the water is pure.
If much water [plus 2 Qullahs] has changed with Najasa and water is added to it and the traces of Najasa have disappeared, then it is also pure water.
Fiqh considers the position of all people – on farms, near dams where animals drink, near salt pans or where underground water is available. If water is added, the water becomes pure. In Fiqh too, water which contains Najis where the colour, smell or taste has openly changed, is Najis water. But if no water is added, can this water become pure, Shar’an? The answer is “Yes”. If water is stagnant for a long time such that all the signs of Najasa disappear [by natural means] then the water is pure Shar’an because the illa is not found anymore.
What happens if sand or saffron is added to water?
The additive can either remove the Najsa or it does not remove it. If anything which removes the characteristic or quality [Sifat] is added to the water and the dirt sinks, and no smell occurs, then the water is pure. If the additive removes the illa of Najis and does not cover it, then the water is pure.
If we [have] more than 2 Qullahs of water which has no colour, taste nor smell and an additive which has no colour, taste nor smell is added, such that the original colour, taste or smell disappears, then the water is pure.
If we have water which undergoes chemical processing until there are no more signs of Najasa, then the water is pure.
The water is fit for Tahara although it might not be fit for human consumption. This should be determined medically.
According to history, the ‘ulama of Egypt were confronted with a problem where water which flows through canals and other places where animals urinate and through places of Najsat.
Ibn Hajar gave the following Verdict [Fatawa]
If something becomes narrow then it must be stretched. Difficulties should be made easy. Necessity should remove difficulties.
Imam al-Ghazali in his Ihya says that if a condition becomes fully Haram such that it is impossible to find anything Halal, then what is Haram should be made Halal.
All the ‘ulama of Egypt agree with the Fatwa of Ibn Hajar that the water is fit Shar’an according to the above condition.
Allah knows best.