How to Deal With Confusion When It Comes to Filth?

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi


When I didn’t used to clean myself from impurities properly, and I scratched over an area that had najis on it and never washed it, what should I do? Is quickly washing your hands enough? So every time I did wudu, I washed my hands. Can I assume the najis is gone even though I don’t rub over my nails or wash inside them? And do I need to wash my hair now since I scratch over my head as well? How do I deal with najis from the past in general?


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

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

You can assume the purity of your nails after scratching the filthy surface as long as you didn’t notice a trace of the filth on them. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

If your nails were indeed filthy, you can assume the purity of your nails after washing them for the first time because you can be confident that water has removed the filth. [Ibid]

As for your hair, you can assume its purity as long as you have not witnessed traces of filth in them. [Ibid]

The Principle behind the Rulings Above

When two objects come into contact, and one of them is filthy, then filth is considered to have transferred only if one of the two objects was dripping wet or a sign of the filth (color, smell, taste) is manifest on the pure object. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

This principle is an application of the following legal principle:

“Certainty is not lifted by a doubt.” [Majalla]

Which is, in turn, based on the following verse of the Quran:

“Most of them follow nothing but conjectures. Surely, conjectures are of no avail in the matter of truth at all.” [Quran, 10:36]

[Al-Du’ass, Al Qawa’id al-Fiqhiya]

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.