How Does Pouring Water on Items Remove Filth?

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi


1. Can you explain how pouring water on an item to clean it actually removes filth? Nearly all of the SeekersGuidance articles on removing filth basically say to pour water on the impurity, but Wouldn’t it just cause the impurity to spread as it is a small amount of water (qaleel)? Or is it considered flowing water when it is poured over Najasah?

Please clarify this matter.

2. Please also clarify how wiping with a moist cloth removes the impurity, because logically, the filth will mix with the moisture (even if no traces are present because of qaleel water)and spread to anything the moisture contacts. Is my understanding correct?


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

1. Yes, water being poured on an item is deemed running water because it is moving. Thus, as long as traces of filth (color, smell, taste) are not manifest in this water after passing over the filth item, this water remains pure. [Quduri, Mukhtasar; Haskafi, Dur al-Mukhtar]

This is why we have to wait for the water to become clear when we are removing blood from an item, for example. [ibid]

2. One must first understand that the permissibility of wiping a filthy item in order to purify it is only allowed for smooth surfaces such as a mirror or a knife. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

It is enough to wipe this kind of item because the filth will remain at the surface of this item and not penetrate it. Thus water won’t be needed. [Marghinani, Hidaya]

Hanafi scholars recognize that after this process, some filth will remain. But, because the amount will be very small, it will be excused. [Al-Ayni, Binaya]

Allah, Most High, says: “[Allah] did not impose any hardship on you in the religion” [Quran, 22:78]

It is important to understand that this ruling is based on the fact that the companions of the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and Peace be upon Him) would simply wipe the blood on their swords and pray while wearing them in times of war. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Thus we know that for this specific situation, we are simply commanded to follow them, and we have to let go of any rational objections.

Ibn Al-Humam (May Allah be pleased with him) mentions in Fath al-Qadir, one of the most important Hanafi works, that it is from the way to Allah, Most High, that human beings behave with the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and Peace be upon him) and his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) like a blind person with his guide.

It is noteworthy to remember that even using a dry cloth is enough for the purification process. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fatah; Haskafi, Dur al-Muntaqa]

And Allah knows best.
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found. Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha‘ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others. He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.