Tayammum : Dry wudhu’ or ghusl that replaces wudhu’ and ghusl in the absence of water.

It is a symbolic ablution to obtain purification when water is not available.

The Story Behind It

Al-Bukhari recorded that `A’ishah said, “We set out with Allah’s Messenger on one of his journeys until we reached Al-Bayda’ or Dhat-ul-Jaysh, where a necklace of mine was broken (and lost). Allah’s Messenger stayed there to search for it, and so did the people along with him. There was no water source or any water with them at that place, so the people went to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq and said, `Don’t you see what `A’ishah has done! She has made Allah’s Messenger and the people stay where there is no source of water and they have no water with them.’ Abu Bakr came while Allah’s Messenger was sleeping with his head on my thigh. He said to me, `You have detained Allah’s Messenger and the people where there is no source of water and they have no water with them.’ So he admonished me and said what Allah wished him to say and hit me on my flank with his hand. Nothing prevented me from moving (because of pain) but the position of Allah’s Messenger on my thigh. Allah’s Messenger got up when dawn broke and there was no water. So Allah revealed the verses of Tayammum, and they all performed Tayammum. Usayd bin Hudayr said, `O the family of Abu Bakr! This is not the first blessing of yours.’ Then the camel on which I was riding was moved from its place and the necklace was found beneath it.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith.


The verse that was sent down concerning tayammum

An Nisa’ 4: 43.

and if You are ill, or on a journey, or one of You comes after answering the call of nature, or You have been In contact with women (by sexual relations) and You find no water, perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith Your faces and hands (Tayammum) . Truly, Allâh is ever Oft­Pardoning, Oft­Forgiving.


There are many hadith concerning tayammum. This is one of them

Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi salam said,

“Pure earth is for for purification for a Muslim even if he does not find water for ten years.” (Authentic hadeeth reported by an Nasaa’ee and Ibn Hibbaan)


When Does Tayammum Become Lawful

Basically one can perform tayammum when
i. There is no access of water
ii. When one is ill and is not able to use water.

Some possible cases of no water that allows one to perform tayammum
i. When there is no water after one searches for it.
– This include if you have water that is only enough for drinking.
– Example : Bad drought in Somalia.

ii. When there is danger to access water.
– In this case there is water but it may be dangerous for one to take the water.
– For example water dam or river is controlled by enemies.

iii. You are unable to get water even when there is water.
– For example one who is sick and not able to move much and no one to bring water to them.

Some possible cases of one who is ill and not able to use water
i. Water will hurt the sick person
– For example being severely burned on their wudhu’ organs.
ii. Severely cold weather and no access of hot water.
– This is especially more for ghusl.

For sick person
– If you break your arm and have a cast on it.
o Take wudhu’ as you normally would on the other part of the wudhu’ limbs.
o Just wipe over the cast as per the wudhu’ ritual.
o Same as ghusl, take bath over other areas and just wipe over the cast area.

– If you have burn only on your arm and you can move. And the burn area is not covered nor can it be wiped over.
o Take wudhu’ as you normally move on the other part of the wudhu’ limbs.
o Complete your wudhu’ by making a tayammum.

– If it is not possible for you to move much because of severe sickness, tayammum will be sufficient for you Insya Allah.

What Acts Can We Do With Tayammum

We use tayammum instead of ghusl and wudhu’in the condition that we cannot have access to water. So just as wudhu’ , with tayammum you can
– Solah, make tawaf, touch quran.
And using tayammum for ghusl allows you to
– Solah, hajj and umrah, sit in the masjid, touch quran.


Things That Make Tayammum Invalid

i. Anything that makes wudhoo’ invalid, makes tayammum invalid.
ii. If one finds water later, the tayammum becomes invalid.

a. If someone performs a tayammum and then prayed and after that they find water, the solah is valid. He needs to take proper wudhu’ for the next prayer even though he did not invalidate his tayammum though.

b. If someone performs tayammum and has not prayed and then he found water – the tayammum becomes invalid and he needs to take wudhu’.

c. If someone performs tayammum and is praying and water was found (Rain for example), his tayammum is invalid and he needs to stop solah and take wudhu’ with water.

iii. When one is healed from his sickness and can use water for his wudhu’ or ghusl.


How to Perform Tayammum
i. Make niyah that you want to perform tayammum. In the heart.
ii. Say Bismillah
iii. Strike the clean earth gently with the palms of your hand. If there is excess dust, blow it from your palms.
iv. Pass the palms on your face once.
v. Then wipe the left hand on the back of the right hand up to the wrists once.
vi. Then wipe the right hand on the back of the left hand once.

Clean Earth

Al Maidah 5: 6.

O You who believe! when You intend to offer As-Salât (the prayer), wash Your faces and Your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) Your heads, and (wash) Your feet up to ankles . if You are In a state of Janâba (i.e. had a sexual discharge), purify yourself (bathe Your whole body). but if You are ill or on a journey or any of You comes from answering the call of nature, or You have been In contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse) and You find no water, Then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith Your faces and hands. Allâh does not want to place You In difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete his Favour on You that You may be thankful.


The word for earth in this verse is – sa’eed. It means the surface of the earth.
So anything on the surface on earth is permissible to be used for tayammum.
For example
– Ground
– Sand
– Rock
– Pebbles
Also one can do tayammum on anything made of clay or mud and is not painted or has wood on it. For example
– Claypot.
– Claybrick wall
– Marble tile.
If they are painted, tayammum is not valid unless you are sure there is dust on it.
So what should you do?
– You can get pieces of marble tiles and make tayammum on it.
– Have some dirt in container.

1. Islamic Education Grade 7, Molvi Abdul Aziz, Darussalam.
2. Bulugh Al Maram, Al Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani, Darussalam.
3. Fiqh Course Volume 1, IIPH
4. Prayer According to the Sunnah, Darussalam
5. Fatawa by Islamqa.com

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