How Should I Deal With Housemates Making Filth?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question

I live with people who do not care about filth, or are very careless, or are very uninterested in learning. How do I deal with them appropriately? I’m wasting a lot of time cleaning after them in secret, often my own possessions. I know through certainty by seeing with my own eyes, or sometimes by extreme likelihood.

Answer

There are two issues here: the filth, and your housemates.

With regards to the filth, if you are not certain that they have made something impure then assume it’s pure. The default ruling for most things is purity. Usually, something only becomes impure if there is a transfer of impurity via something wet. 

Also, as long as your food, the clothes you pray in, and the place of prayer are not sullied by filth, you can carry on normally. Filth is not necessarily something unhygienic, which could promote the spread of illness. You can relax as long as it does not affect what you consume and your worship. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Healthy Boundaries

As for the people you live with, simply explain to them the matter of filth, and how it has an impact on worship. If they are deliberately using items belonging to you and getting filth on them (and you’re sure of this!), and this is taking up a lot of your time cleaning these things, simply speak up.

It’s important to be nice and kind in dealing with them. Don’t offend them, and don’t pick a fight. Simply tell them the inconvenience this is causing you, and if they do not treat these things in the way you ask them to then you will not permit them to use them. 

Failing to address the situation will just build up resentment within yourself, and that isn’t good for anyone. Ask them nicely, and if they fail to respect your wishes, perhaps not having access to your things will teach them.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.