Do I Have to Use a Sink to Perform a Ritual Bath If My Shower Doesn’t Work? [Shafi’i]

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My shower doesn’t work. However, I still have access to my kitchen sink. Due to having access to that source of water, I put some towels down on the floor and perform the ritual bath using the sink.

Can I perform a tayammum instead?

Answer:  Wa’leykum salam,

Ofttimes when one is in a rare situation, it is difficult to have presence of mind of all variables and available options. A situation warranting tayammum is by definition a rare or atypical one, hence situations like an unconsidered water source may arise.

The “classic tayammum scenario” would have us in the middle of a desert with no available water. An obligatory search within a defined area must be completed before tayammum is permissible, but if there were an available source which we didn’t think of, it would not affect our tayammum as, for all intents and purposes, it wouldn’t exist to us.

Similarly in this situation, knowledge of the kitchen water source would necessitate its usage, however should the individual not have thought of the kitchen shower solution through no neglect on their own part (being that they looked for shower solutions, but the kitchen shower simply did not come to mind due to how out-of-the-ordinary it is), we could classify it as an unthought-of water source.

Basically, if she were aware of the kitchen shower solution, she’d have to do it. If she were not aware of it, she’d just do tayammum and repeat the prayer when water is available as her ignorance of the solution renders it non-existent.

[Shaykh] Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila