Should I Prefer Ablution to Quenching My Mother’s Thirst?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Concerning the reasons for wiping with dirt: Does this imply that if my mother is a Muslim who neglects prayer and requires water due to severe thirst, I am not permitted to provide her with the water in case I need it for Wudu? Is it because she is not considered inviolable, or how should I understand this?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

Conditions of Tayammum

This refers to the following condition of dry ablution (tayammum). Specifically, if one has water for ablution but needs to quench the thirst of worthy creatures, one may quench their thirst and resort to dry ablution.

The need for water exists by (oneself or) worthy creatures. The following six people or animals are classified as unworthy:

  1. A person who forsakes prayer.
  2. A convicted married adulterer.
  3. An Apostate.
  4. A non-Muslim from a non-Muslim country that has war with a Muslim country.
  5. A vicious dog.
  6. A pig.


The critical lesson herein focuses on the severity of neglecting the prayer and the other associated crimes rather than practical instruction to be compassionless. In this age, the scenario is predominantly hypothetical and should not be taken literally (in my humble opinion).

Islam teaches compassion for all living creatures. Consider the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.” [Bukhari]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.