Najasah (Physical Impurities) And Ways Of Purification From Najasah


What is najasah? What does najasah means in islam?

Najasah is the term used for material impurities that prevents the validity of acts of worship in the presence of Allah. In certain acts of worship like ritual prayer (salat) and pilgrimage (hajj), Islam commands us to cleanse our bodies, clothes, and the places of worship from material impurities.

Even if there is a drop of material impurity, it should be cleansed. If someone performs ritual prayer (salat) in clothes with najasah without being aware of it, and then realizes the najasah after finishing the prayer, he should re-perform the prayer.

I. Materials that are Considered Impure

a- Urine and excrement. Everything, fluid or solid, that comes out of the front or the back ways of the body are accepted as impure. Little amounts of milk suckling infants’ urine is regarded as light najasah.

b- Wadi and Mazi: Wadi is thick, murky, white liquid that comes out from men after urination. Mazi (preseminal fluid), on the other hand, is thin, clear, and sticky liquid which comes out mostly from men and rarely from women during arousal without gushing (dafaq) and does not diminish the arousal. Mani (semen) which requires ghusl (major ablution) and gushes out of body as a result of arousal is considered impure according to the Hanafi and the Maliki schools, whereas the Shafii and the Hanbali schools do not regard it as impure.

c- Blood and Pus: Blood is impure. Bodily fluids and pus that come out of wounds and have a bad odor are impure. (Blood and pus which come out from any part of the body except the private parts do not nullify a person’s state of ablution, however they are considered impure and one cannot perform prayer in clothes fouled by blood or pus.) The blood, which comes from women during their menstrual period, as well as unclear genital flows are also accepted as impure.

d- Vomit: Everything that comes from the stomach and leaves the body through the mouth is impure. Ruminant animals’ cud is also impure.

e- Intoxicating fluids: All kinds of intoxicants are impure.

f- The saliva and the milk of non-edible animals are impure.

h- Pig, dog, carrion and cow dung: The entire body of the pig and the dog is impure. The carrions of the animals that die without being slaughtered by proper religious process are impure. The pieces cut from a live animal is also considered as carrion. Due to the respectful nature of human beings, the human corpse is not considered impure. Dead bodies of fish and locust are not considered impure, either.

The urine of an infant boy, who is less than two years old and is fed nothing but breast milk is accepted a slight najasah. It is enough to sprinkle water over the place fouled with such urine in order to cleanse it.

It should be noted that certain impurities are forgiven; such as invisible urine splatters on body and clothes; blood that amounts to so little as to be accepted as najasah; blood that expels from pimples and flows by itself; little amount of blood, which may rub on the butcher’s body, while slaughtering animals; blood that remains on the meat of slaughtered animals; the blood of small insects such as dead mosquitoes; the excreta of flies; the excreta of birds as long as it does not foul a big area; the vomit of an infant smeared to his/her mother’s breast; the suckle of an infant’s mother; and mud stains that splash on people while walking on the street.

II. Ways of Purification From Najasah

  • Purification with water:

Purification from material impurities (najasah) is carried out with water. If some najasah is found on clothes or body, najasah should be washed so much so that at least two of its three qualities, color, smell and taste, is removed. If removing najasah from a cloth is difficult, in other words if the color, smell or taste of the impure material could not be removed after washing and rubbing it three times, that cloth can still be used. If its smell and color remains even after washing and rubbing it three times, one should use cleaning materials like soap to remove the impurity. If removing the impurity becomes mutaadhdhir, i.e. if it is not possible to be removed with cutting that part of the cloth, that person is forgiven even if his cloth is impure.

The saliva, urine, or other wet parts of a pig or a dog touches something, it should be washed seven times, one of which needs to be done by soil.

When the urine of an infant boy, who is less than two years old and fed nothing except breast milk, fouls a place, it can be cleansed by sprinkling water over it. There is an authentic hadīth in this regard. If the urine of a girl fouls a place, that place needs to be washed.

If the color, taste or smell of impurity is not felt, then one should pour water over the fouled place. It is a Sunna to wash that place with soap and by rubbing it.

Liquid oil has to be disposed of if some impure material is found to be mixed in with the oil. If something impure falls into solidified oil, then it is considered enough to throw only the part where the impure material is found.

One should use enough water to wash his/her mouth that has become impure because of an impurity like vomit, etc.

Islam is a religion that regards cleanliness as a crucial concept, and commands every Muslim to be meticulously clean. Although impurities of the amount stated above do not invalidate the prayer, it is still strictly recommended that a person stands for prayer with clean garments. Since Muslims have to be examples to others with their actions and behaviors, they must be clean and tidy.

Even if it is in the amount that does not invalidate an act of worship, cleansing our body, clothes, and place of worship from all kinds of impurities is a behavior befitting piety.

b- Purification through istihala (chemical transformation):

Istihala means a transformation or a change in the nature of a thing into something else. If an intoxicant can be transformed into vinegar, it becomes permissible for use. It is no longer considered impure.

c- Purification by way of tanning:

The skins or hides of dead animals can be purified by tanning. The hides of edible and most of the non-edible animals can be purified by this method. However, the skins of pig and dog do not become pure even by tanning.

III. Water in Terms of Purity

As it is needed for purification, the purity of water used for cleansing is also important.

Water, in terms of its use in purification, is classified under four types:

  1. Pure and Purifying Water (Mutlaq (Absolute /plain) Water): It is the pure and natural water whose taste, color, and smell has not been changed; has not lost its thinness and liquidity; and has not beforehand been used for purification. Water from fountains, springs, well, rivers, lakes, rain, melting snow or sleet are all accepted as mutlaq (absolute/plain) water. Such water can be used for minor or major ablution, and for all kinds of cleansing.

One can perform ablution in sea, river, or well water. If there is najasah in them, it is permissible to perform ablution in parts where the signs of najasah are not directly seen. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said in this regard:

“Water is pure. Nothing makes it impure as long as its color, taste, or smell does not change.”[1] Since earth is naturally found mixed in water, plants grow naturally in water, and solid materials like mud, which can be found over or next to water, do not change the natural form of water, such waters are accepted as pure and purifying. If water, which is found in its natural form in nature, gathers moss or pure and solid materials such as earth or soap, which is too little to change its taste or some solid foodstuff such as corn or chickpeas are soaked in it, water does not lose its character of being pure and purifying, even if its color, smell and taste change. However, if it loses its natural features, liquidity, and thinness, one cannot use such water to perform ablution.

  1. Water which is pure and purifying, but whose usage is tanzihan makruh (reprehensible but close to permissible): Even though water, which is kept in metal containers such as copper or iron, left under the sun and heated excessively, especially in the very hot regions of the world, is considered pure and purifying, washing the body with it when it is still hot is reprehensible (makruh). It is important to note that water that is heated by solar power is not placed under this category and it can be used.

Moreover, due to the possibility of being an impediment to washing one’s limbs thoroughly, performing major ablution (ghusl) with cold water is deemed tanzihan makruh (reprehensible but close to permissible).

  1. Water that is pure but not purifying: It is divided into two groups:

a-Musta’mal water (used water): is the water which has already been used to perform major or minor ablution and saved in a container like bucket. Even if such water seems to be clean, it is not permissible to perform ablution with it.

b-Muqayyad (qualified /changed) water: is the water in which some solid or fluid material is mixed and this material constitutes its majority. Fluids extracted from vegetables, fruits, or other plants like rose water, fruit juices as well as water mixed with something solid or fluid of pure material, but has not lost at least one of its characteristics, i.e. color, taste, smell, or its liquidity are classified under this category. Milk, vinegar, soup, and water mixed with soap or salt that has lost its thinness are deemed as muqayyad (qualified /changed) water. Water mixed with flour that has lost its thinness is also accepted as muqayyad water.

Under normal circumstances, muqayyad (qualified /changed) water is not used for performing major or minor ablution even if it is not mixed with impure materials.

  1. Water which is neither pure nor purifying (Najis water): is the type of water which is mixed with any kind of impure materials and whose outcome may or may not change the color, taste, or smell. This type of water is of two categories:

a- Impure water in small amounts: Pools or wells which is smaller than two qullas (qullatayn = about 210 liters) are deemed as small amounts of water. Two qullas are equal to a pool 60 cm in width, height, and depth. When an impure material falls into a small pool, it becomes impure even if its color, taste, or smell do not change.

b- Impure water in large amounts: Water which is more than two qullas is deemed as large amounts of water. If something impure falls into such amounts of water, it only makes the place where it falls impure, and does not make the entire pool impure. However, if the impure material changes at least one of the three features of water (its taste, color, and smell) completely, then all water becomes impure.

IV. Etiquette of Using the Restroom

Before entering the restroom, one should say bismillah and recite the following invocation

“Allahumma inni ‘audhu bika min al-hubsi wa al-habais”

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from male and female devils.”[2]

If a person is wearing any jewelry or accessories with Allah’s name or verses from the Qur’an, he/she should leave it outside before entering the restroom. One must avoid mentioning Allah’s name in the toilet.

It is important to try not to splatter any of the urine or get impurities on ourselves. This is why it is advised to sit while urinating or defecating, and not to stand up without a valid excuse.

While relieving oneself in open spaces, one should try not to face or turn his back directly to the qiblah. One should be careful not to let anybody see his/her private parts while relieving himself / herself in open spaces.

It is a reproachable act to urinate or defecate towards the wind, in running or stagnant water, into the holes of insects, and in places where people pass by, use or sit.

Cleansing the private parts after urination and defecation is called istinja. After relieving oneself in the toilet, washing the private parts thoroughly with water, then drying it with toilet paper is the most effective way of cleansing. Wiping the private parts with toilet paper without using water is considered makruh. When water is not available, performing istinja with clean and dry objects such as leaves, rocks etc. is permitted. However, these objects may not be something that is edible and must be something that can thoroughly clean the impurity. If the najasah is spread or splattered too much in the area of release, performing istinja becomes obligatory.

Ensuring that the last trace of urine has been released (for men) after urinating is called istibra. It may be done by coughing, walking or leaning on the left side. Men should be sure that the last drop of urine has come out before performing ablution.

While passing by two graves, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “They (their occupants) are being tormented, but they are not tormented for a grievous sin. One of them carried tales (created enmity between people) and the other did not keep himself safe from being defiled by urine (istibra)”.[3] Moreover, in another hadith, he said: “Avoid soiling (oneself) with urine, as it is one of the reasons for the torment in the grave”.[4] Thus, he pointed out the importance of paying attention to istibra and istinja.

The cleansing process in istibra and istinja needs to be carried out by the left hand. The Prophet said: “One who is cleansing his private parts (in the restroom) should use his left hand and not his right hand”.[5]

One should leave the restroom with his right foot first. When exiting the restroom, one should say “Alhamdulillahilladhi azhaba anni al-aza wa afani, ghufranaka

“All Praises due to Allah who removed from me discomfort and gave me ease (relief).”[6] andI seek Your forgiveness.

V. Definition and Types of Hadath

The State of Major Hadath The States of Menstruation and Postpartum Bleeding The State of Minor Hadath
It can be removed by major ablution (Ghusl) It can be removed by minor ablution (Wudu’)


Hadath lexically means to happen, to come about, and to be recent. In terminology, it means the state of legal impurity that one must remove before performing certain acts of worship. In order to remove the state of hadath which happens as a result of a situation that nullifies the state of minor ablution, one should perform minor ablution. On the other hand, to remove the state of major hadath, which occurs as a result of semen discharge, having sexual intercourse etc., one must perform major ablution (ghusl). The state of major impurity, menstruation or post-partum bleeding can be removed by performing major ablution at the end of such states.

[1] Al-Bukhari, Wudu’, 67[2] Abu Dawud, Taharah 3[3] Bukhari, Wudu’ 55, 56; Muslim, Taharah 111[4] Ibn Majah, Taharah 26[5] Bukhari, Wudu 18; ibn Maja, Taharah 15[6] Ibn Maja, Taharah 10

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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